For as long as religion existed, there has always been the threat of torture in the afterlife (unless you subscribe to *insert religion here* and convert today!), but when you actually think about it and apply a single brain cell to the idea, it doesn't make any kind of sense at all. Given that I was a follower for 20 years before finally putting the Kool-Aid down, I'm going to use the Hell of Christian mythology as my primary example.
All throughout the Bible, particularly the New Testament, we get all kinds of descriptions of Hell. Short Version: Here you go. Fire, brimstone, undying worms, darkness, separation from God, etc. But like I said before, let's apply one brain cell to this idea: How will this affect me, again?
From here on out, we're just going to happily assume that Christianity is true, Hell is a thing, and I'm definitely on my way there. Oh, no! I'm dead and my soul has gone to Hell! Let's take a look around and--oh wait, my eyes are in my head, and my head is still inside my casket.
Well, the Bible told me Hell is dark, so I suppose eyesight wouldn't have helped me anyway. I just need to take a second to be overcome by the torturous flames--oh wait, the sensation of pain requires nerve endings communicating with my brain, and wouldn't you know it, I left those back in the casket, as well. Can't take it with you, I guess?
Unfortunately for Mr. Wormy, I can't see him and I certainly can't feel him, so whatever he's doing to torment me is sadly going to be ignored by me--wait a minute, why is there a worm here? The only organisms that can withstand 1,000+°F heat are the extremophiles that live around underwater thermal vents, and they're microscopic. A full-blown worm would vaporize in seconds! Luckily for me, so would I if my body were here, but darn it, I forgot that mess in my casket.
Wait a minute, what am I even experiencing? Thought requires the firing of neurons, and those are in the brain I left with the rest of my body, so how am
Interesting question. I have written about 3 hubs on this topic. Check them out if you have the time!
First of all, I want to applaud you on the humorous way in which you presented a potentially controversial topic. I actually laughed out loud.
On a more serious note, you are right. Most religions carry with them the teaching of a torturous afterlife. A "hell" or "Gehenna" or whatever it is in the Christian terms. I am a Christian, but my belief in what hell actually is is slightly unorthodox and would probably have me removed from even a liberal church. My theories are that either (1) It really doesn't exist and is a scare tactic (2) represents the soul's state upon not being in communion with God (3) earth. I'm leaning toward the third option since three years ago.
Earth will not last forever; when it is destroyed (by being consumed by the sun in it's red giant phase) will the souls be released to join God? Transferred to another planet? Become part of the sun?
Have you carried the thought through, in other words?
The answer was more satirical than it was serious.
I'm not really sure what your answer has to do with what I said. Please elaborate.
Earth is the future hell. People that don't make heaven will remain on earth, then, forever. I've heard this from other Christians more than once, and not as satire.
The problem is that earth is only good for a few billion more years, not eternity. At that point hell (earth) will be destroyed, freeing all those souls condemned to hell.
Seems no one can agree on what Hell is and they likely never will. Some believe that Hell is the eternal separation from God. On that thought, we are perhaps in Hell right now, on Earth because we are separated from God while here on Earth, right? So when we die here, we are released from this "Hell" of being here on Earth and such being separated from his presence, we then unite with him forever (Heaven) so long as we are "good" and follow the Bible, yadda yadda, something along those lines.
Then there are those that take the fire and brimstone, torture, pain, etc. to be an actual and factual place of existence, but like you have pointed out, if we are in a spiritual/soulful state when this occurs, how or why will that matter? Any how, it's in the Bible and some take each word and verse literally.
Some do not believe in it at all and think it to be made up, scare-tactic nonsense "created" by man in attempts to keep/make people lawful, honest, pious, humble, etc., etc. and subservient to priests and the church.
Until we die, we will never know. Some people believe that when we die, we just die. Nothing else happens, we end. For some, they care not, but for others, that thought is scarier than anything else imaginable.
Perhaps fear itself is Hell...a perceptual frame of mind fed by dogmas, indoctrinations, and/or unknowns.
From the contents of this post, it would seem that your version of hell would be separation from your self. If there is a Hell, maybe we get to create our own? The perfect punishment it that which we fear the most.
What? I'm forever separated from something I don't even believe in?!
Im just responding to the title. You asked what it was. That's the answer. Whether or not you believe in it isn't necessary to answer the question.
I guess my theoretical sorrow will be yet another sensation my bodiless, sensory-deprived soul cannot feel due to lack of neural processes in a non-brain environment.
When I think about hell, and think about the possibility of being of separated from God, it is a loss for me which I can't really put into words. I have loved God my whole life. I have wanted to be in His presence and experience the entirety of Heaven, from family to a life of joy with no tears... to the things I can't imagine. I had a friend who wondered if there would be surfing in Heaven, which I thought was interesting. In the book Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, he paints a really interesting picture that Heaven is very much a new earth... the beauty of nature and the wonderment of the supernatural woven together. To be apart from a God I know and love would be a depression I cannot imagine... and I have felt great moments of darkness, I would not want to experience that for eternity. Anyway, this is not aimed at you or anyone else, this is just my own personal thoughts I've had over the years when considering the loss of Heaven.
So the ultimate torture of the afterlife is just an eternity of "God's not here? Bummer, man."
How are people scared of this, again?
To me... yeah... the hell fire and brimstone stuff doesn't mean as much to me as the fact that I would not be with God. Some ppl take the fire parts literally, some ppl take it to mean that it would be a never ending torture to stand before God and then be sent away into darkness because He did not know you. I tend to take the bible literally whenever possible, but Im not one to say I know for sure what God has planned, only that He is and that He is love. I don't want to be separated from that.
I assume Z asks "what is hell to you?"
It might appear it is where Z is.
I think that explanation would well describe reality, that we are separated from gods for all eternity, that mankind does not now nor ever has come in contact with any gods, including gods throughout history, Zeus, Mithra, etc.
I am not separated from God. I talk to Him and He to me. As I told you, I wrote a hub on it. "Ive heard the voice of God." I only include that b/c I know your next post will be to mock and so I am providing that hub as an answer to your qualms with my assertion.
I would submit that is not true and is nothing more than an unsubstantiated belief made possible by any number of reasons from early childhood indoctrination to the psychology of belief to mental illness and any combination thereof.
Your hub is no evidence at all. If you talk to God, we would all talk with God and we would all be talking to the same God, not a variety of gods.
Hey Beth37 let them mock!lol....They just don't know yet, because they've never asked the question themselves....I actually did ask the question on whether or not, there was something up there trying to show me something....Iv'e never been religious, & all i did was gain control of my mind....Then i meditated on the question for a few months as well as other things, like doing what i "knew" i should be doing with my life.....Then i got the signs/clues, that i asked for....Also what happened to me "can not" be explained mathematically/scientifically, it "had" to be because i "asked"!. :-)
Hell is Newark, New Jersey, late at night. Trust me on this. Been there.
hell is a trendy decorated karaoke bar,... full of Japanese tourists,.. drunk,... dressed in drag,... singing "Viva Los Vegas" at the top of their lungs,.... just sayin
Rush hour commute in London is my incarnation of hell at the moment. Or an ever encroaching sense of movements of a corporate/government ruling class to exterminate ppl, species, regions of the world for gain. It changes forms for me, as does my perception of heaven. Hell is a slow, heavy vibration but essentially whatever/wherever you want it to be, that makes you feel or imagine that you'd feel a certain way, born from the beauty of our consciousness and power for creation.
Hell is poverty and want. Hell is being born unwanted. Hell is being abused physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and psychically. Hell is being homeless and at the VERY BOTTOM of society.
Hell is being bullied relentlessly whether at school, home, and/or on the job. Hell was enslavement in the antebellum South. Hell was Auschwitz, Belzec, Bergen-Belsen, Majdanek, Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Ravensbruck, and other such infernos where innocent souls perished. Hell is East New York, East Harlem, the South Bronx, and other impoverished neighborhoods where life is highly precarious.
Hell is working at minimum wage, wondering, wondering how you will socioeconomically survive until the NEXT paycheck. Hell is working at a hated, dead end job that really SUCKS. Hell is wondering how you are going to adequately feed and clothe your children. Hell is being unemployed with no savings and wondering if you will socioeconomically fall through the cracks.
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What causes so many traditional and/or fundamental religionists to believe that the overwhelmingmajority of humankind will be among those damned to some sort of Hell?
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