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Eternal torment in Hell

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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Compassionist
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Eternal torment in Hell

#1 Post by Compassionist » June 30th, 2012, 12:46 pm

I was looking at the answer to "How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?" If it is true then I consider it to be unjust. It said, "God is an eternal and infinite Being (Psalm 90:2). As a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment." That's like saying that stealing from a powerful man deserves greater punishment than stealing from a baby. I am surrounded by Christian evangelists who are convinced that they are on the only right path through life and then to eternal heaven while everyone else (about 5 billion humans alive now are non-Christians, also there have been many more billions of non-Christians who have already died) is supposed to be going to an eternal torment in hell. Any advice on how I can handle these Christians?

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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#2 Post by animist » June 30th, 2012, 2:01 pm

Compo, I am really sorry that you are in this situation, and I also identify with you a lot as a humanist who is not as certain of the non-existence of God as some other atheists are; the more I think about this question, and spend time on Theologica, the more I feel that these so-called Xians are guilty of hate crime in believing what they do. I suppose, however, that they cannot actually change their beliefs any more than you or I can force ourselves into believing the rubbish that they believe, but other Xians do not believe in eternal damnation, and it it certainly possible to interpret the Bible in one way as easily as the other.

I have not answered your question at the moment; there is lots to say, but maybe I will let someone else have a bash first.

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Dave B
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#3 Post by Dave B » June 30th, 2012, 3:19 pm

animist wrote:I feel that these so-called Xians are guilty of hate crime in believing what they do.
Surely, like us, they are allowed to believe what they like?

The crime is that they use this belief as a weapon to harass and torment those who are either unable to make a decision for themselves or, like you Compo, those who are wrestling with their own understanding and beliefs.

I do not have much advice to give, Compo, but to suggest to them in a very polite but very, very firm way that they go elsewhere. Threaten them with the police and a claim for religious hatred if it is a specific group or individual. I had the occasion to dial two nines on my mobile once and show the person that I had done so, with my thumb hovering over the nine button ready to press it again. He got the message.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#4 Post by animist » June 30th, 2012, 3:31 pm

Dave B wrote:
animist wrote:I feel that these so-called Xians are guilty of hate crime in believing what they do.
Surely, like us, they are allowed to believe what they like?
true I guess, I suppose I meant to say that. But whoever holds a controversial view like this without seeking to influence others and therefore expressing it? Anyway, if you accuse these hell and damnation pushers of this, ie hate crime, it might put them off! Another obvious tack is to insist loudly and forcefully that God must be evil rather than good if he allows this eternal punishment. If the other side responds that God wants us to be saved as long as we believe the right stuff, you then say that this is unreasonable since it is impossible to decide what one believes, and that God is a celestial bully who makes his own rules and punishes anyone who evenly unknowingly fails to fall into line. These people are very stupid, and TBH I think you have to just shout back at them.

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Alan H
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#5 Post by Alan H » June 30th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Oops! Looks like I was tidying up animists comment at the same time he was! I hope it's OK now?
Alan Henness

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1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#6 Post by animist » June 30th, 2012, 3:40 pm

Alan H wrote:Oops! Looks like I was tidying up animist's comment at the same time he was! I hope it's OK now?
till the next correction, yes!

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Altfish
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#7 Post by Altfish » June 30th, 2012, 4:19 pm

If heaven and hell were to exist :hilarity: Think I'd rather be in hell, all the people I'd get on well with would be there, I don't think any of my mates believe in JC or go to a church, just imagine heaven - all Mother Teresa and Malcolm Muggeridge types, no thankyou.

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Tetenterre
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#8 Post by Tetenterre » June 30th, 2012, 4:23 pm

I'm not in your position, Compo, and never have been, so I can't give a lot of advice (but I do sympathise!). However, I do wonder if it's not really "them" you have to handle, but yourself. I suspect that when, eventually, you become more settled and secure in what you believe (whatever that turns out to be), the "them" problem will diminish into insignificance.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

Compassionist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#9 Post by Compassionist » June 30th, 2012, 5:11 pm

Thank you to all who have already posted. I am a strong agnostic regarding the existence and nature of all deities. I am under pressure from Muslims and Christians as I am an ex-Muslim ex-Christian Humanist.

Fia
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#10 Post by Fia » June 30th, 2012, 6:03 pm

Compassionist wrote:Any advice on how I can handle these Christians?
Only with full protective clothing... :laughter:

I don't think shouting helps anything. Ever. Perhaps thank them for their concern over your afterlife welfare, but as you're a strong agnostic you'll just get on with the one life you think you have, and spend the time they may wish you to spend worrying on more useful, compassionate and loving pursuits. Something like that, anyway. And smile - yours is beautiful :)

If they are bullying you then call them on their behaviour. Many bullies don't realise they are...

Compassionist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#11 Post by Compassionist » June 30th, 2012, 11:08 pm

Fia wrote:
Compassionist wrote:Any advice on how I can handle these Christians?
Only with full protective clothing... :laughter:

I don't think shouting helps anything. Ever. Perhaps thank them for their concern over your afterlife welfare, but as you're a strong agnostic you'll just get on with the one life you think you have, and spend the time they may wish you to spend worrying on more useful, compassionate and loving pursuits. Something like that, anyway. And smile - yours is beautiful :)

If they are bullying you then call them on their behaviour. Many bullies don't realise they are...
Thank you Fia for your wise advice and complement. I will keep trying...

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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#12 Post by animist » July 2nd, 2012, 8:57 am

Fia wrote: I don't think shouting helps anything. Ever.
probably not. If you follow Fia's sensible advice, Compo, I trust they leave you alone. If not, then maybe try mine :laughter:. Let us know how it goes.

Compassionist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#13 Post by Compassionist » July 2nd, 2012, 11:03 am

animist wrote:
Fia wrote: I don't think shouting helps anything. Ever.
probably not. If you follow Fia's sensible advice, Compo, I trust they leave you alone. If not, then maybe try mine :laughter:. Let us know how it goes.
Still getting pestered. They are desperate to save me from eternity in hell. Also, they want me to be a Christian role-model for our son.

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Dave B
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#14 Post by Dave B » July 2nd, 2012, 12:35 pm

. . . they want me to be a Christian role-model for our son.
When the best role-model you could be would be one that exhibited understanding and tolerance - unlike them.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#15 Post by animist » July 2nd, 2012, 12:42 pm

you are obviously very bright, knowledgeable and thoughtful, eg in your point that the claimed justification for God's punishment being eternal is analogous to making theft from a powerful person more serious than theft from a weak one. How do these people (who are they, BTW? - is it your wife and other family members?) react to your arguments? Do they try to combat them or just go back to threats?

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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#16 Post by Fia » July 2nd, 2012, 1:11 pm

Dave B wrote:
. . . they want me to be a Christian role-model for our son.
When the best role-model you could be would be one that exhibited understanding and tolerance - unlike them.
Well said Dave.

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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#17 Post by animist » July 2nd, 2012, 3:05 pm

developing my previous post, maybe you should write a full and proper (not shouty!) refutation of that idiotic "Got Questions?" thing, if that is what your fundies take seriously; I am sure you could do it, and we could help if necessary. For instance, the bit about Lazarus and the rich man in Hell states that everyone understands why they are in Hell and blames themselves: but clearly, even if Hell did exist, that would not be true of those people who simply disbelieve in the Christian message, and they would instead rightly blame God.

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animist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#18 Post by animist » July 2nd, 2012, 6:32 pm

Altfish wrote:If heaven and hell were to exist :hilarity: Think I'd rather be in hell, all the people I'd get on well with would be there, I don't think any of my mates believe in JC or go to a church, just imagine heaven - all Mother Teresa and Malcolm Muggeridge types, no thankyou.
judging by the tone of some of the arguments in Theologica, whose members are united by their a) evangelical Xian faith, b) US background (mainly) and c) Protestantism (mainly), God would soon get bored by their craven desire for salvation and petty bickering over young versus old creationism. Hell in Heaven, serve them all right! Meanwhile, the untold billions condemned to official hell ally with Satan to overthrow the celestial dictatorship! :laughter:

Compassionist
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#19 Post by Compassionist » July 3rd, 2012, 4:32 pm

How much time passed between the Fall of Adam and Eve and the coming of Jesus? Why didn't God send Jesus immediately after the Fall? Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Does that mean everyone before Jesus came went to Hell for eternity? Do all non-Christians go to Hell for eternity?

I asked the above questions to the people who run Got Questions. I will let you know once they reply.

Fia
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Re: Eternal torment in Hell

#20 Post by Fia » July 4th, 2012, 8:57 pm

I've been thinking about this today.

One of the most useful things I have learnt, in the over half a century of my existence, is that sometimes it's best to draw a line and agree to differ.

Had I not have done that some important relationships would have been lost by become mired in the same old argument. Neither side will 'win', and in the meantime the joy of living is diminished because you all can't get beyond that point. Shake hands and agree to differ. Then the things that you have in common can be explored and experienced, which is a good human walk together...

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