Posted by: the warrioress | September 12, 2013

Hell & How Not to Go There

A reader asked me if I believe in the punishment of hell, of the eternal burning in fire of those who don’t believe, who have rejected God.

I really don’t enjoy writing about or dwelling upon this fact of hell that is described for us and written about at length within the bible, but it is there. I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss hell on this blog. Denial of the existence of hell because it makes me or you uncomfortable is leaving out an important part of the bible and thus not telling you, the reader, the entire story.

Hell is described in many different ways, and not just as of a burning.

Some have described hell as everlasting darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Some state that it is a place where there is nothingness and no ability to feel the presence of God at all, anymore. Some say the person in hell is conscious of the absence of God — and deal with a sort of eternal emptiness/loneliness. Some believe that the person who goes to hell simply ceases to exist, like an animal who they claim is spiritless. The various theories are interesting and limitless, but in my opinion, if it’s not actually described within the bible, it’s probably not relevant

A very good summation of the facts of what the bible says about hell can be found here. This particular reading is well done and also includes some erroneous views of hell, according to the writing:

  • there is a way to escape hell
  • after death all are somehow saved (universal-ism)
  • people who go to hell just cease to exist (annihilation-ism)

I also appreciate several other readings, one of which I included part of below.

While it’s difficult to imagine God, who loves us as much as He does, sending anyone to hell, it’s more understandable when we grasp that God clearly offers everyone a choice. We can be with Him and with the others who know Him, or we will not be with Him and will be somewhere where others who reject Him are going. He prefers we choose to be with Him, but He leaves the choice up to us.

The bible tells us how to make the choice and why we need to.

Sin is the problem. God is holy and we are sinful and cannot achieve holiness without being rid of sin. Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the sin problem. Belief in Jesus Christ, and acceptance of His death on the cross, as well as repentance of our sins, saves us from the sin problem.

No one has to endure hell. Why would anyone want to? Why would anyone logically choose to reject God and wind up apart from Him if they were instead offered the choice to be with Him? I simply do not know. People do, though. For them, hell is a fact of the end of their life on this earth. Once this is all over, that will be their eternity. This is all there is for these people who have rejected Jesus Christ as their mediator before God.

“The Bible describes hell as a terrifying and horrible place. Hell is described as “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), a place where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), and “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).Revelation 20:10describes hell as a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever.” Obviously, hell is a place we should avoid.

Why does hell even exist, and why does God send some people there? The Bible tells us that God “prepared” hell for the devil and the fallen angels after they rebelled against Him (Matthew 25:41). Those who refuse God’s offer of forgiveness will suffer the same eternal destiny of the devil and the fallen angels. Why is hell necessary? All sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal being, only an infinite and eternal penalty is sufficient. Hell is the place where God’s holy and righteous demands of justice are carried out. Hell is where God condemns sin and all those who reject Him. The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20;Romans 3:10-23), so, as a result, we all deserve to go to hell.

So, how can we not go to hell? Since only an infinite and eternal penalty is sufficient, an infinite and eternal price must be paid. God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14). In Jesus Christ, God lived among us, taught us, and healed us—but those things were not His ultimate mission. God became a human being so that He could die for us. Jesus, God in human form, died on the cross. As God, His death was infinite and eternal in value, paying the full price for sin (1 John 2:2). God invites us to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, accepting His death as the full and just payment for our sins. God promises that anyone who believes in Jesus (John 3:16), trusting Him alone as the Savior (John 14:6), will be saved, i.e., not go to hell.

God does not want anyone to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). That is why God made the ultimate, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice on our behalf. If you want to not go to hell, receive Jesus as your Savior. It is as simple as that. Tell God that you recognize that you are a sinner and that you deserve to go to hell. Declare to God that you are trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Thank God for providing for your salvation and deliverance from hell. Simple faith, trusting in Jesus Christ as the Savior, is how you can avoid going to hell!”  (Source)

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  1. You say, “While it’s difficult to imagine God, who loves us as much as He does, ….”

    And yet, in observing the world and the horrible suffering here-and-now, even among Christians, contrary to your claim, it is almost impossible to imagine an all powerful, all-loving, intervening god at all. Instead, it is easier to imagine a cruel god in control of things, and thus imagining that god [Yahweh] further torturing people after they die is very easy to do.

    But all that fantasy work seems silly to me, so instead I just stopped the god-chatter.

    But thank you for taking the time to tell me why I should burn for eternity and then offering a good-ole Baptist altar-call in hopes I and your other pagan listeners would heed and repent. And thanks for telling me why you will teach your daughter to think my daughter should go to hell for not believing. She is told this often by her school mates who have parents like you.

    Heck, your world is nice and neat — with more than two-thirds of the world burning for eternity. Unbelievable!

    Lots Christians, using the Bible as their source of authority (to me a laughable thing), disagree with you. There are universalists, pluralists and inclusivist Christians — lot of fellow Christians who believe differently than you. But I guess that belief won’t earn them hell, just mine and the beliefs of billions including my daughter.

    I am glad your daughter is safe (for now), unless like me, in the future she stops telling herself she is talking to a god and starts seeing what she is really doing. Then, you will face the horrible life-long pain of imagining your own daughter burning in hell after she dies and struggle to bring her back into the fold until the day you die. It may not trouble you to imagine others burning (though you mouth that it does), but trust me, that will wake you up (or not). Much like some anti-gay folks change their views when they find their child is gay. It takes a lot to wake us up from our own stupidity.

    You think I am stupid for not believing your god-stories, I don’t mind you believing yours, but to believe and teach that others are damned for not thinking like you is a crime. [Yes, I know you think my atheist teaching a far worse crime — but there we are.]

  2. Actually, this post inspired a post from me today — with pic and everything.
    See here: “When Your Child is Hell-Bound

  3. […] Hell & How Not to Go There ( […]

  4. Sabio,

    I’m sincerely sorry that my post has angered you. It is what should be expected from any bible-believer however, who claims belief in the bible. I believe the name on my blog assures you that I stand by, stand up for, and firmly believe what the entire bible says. I believe it is absolute truth. I would not be doing you, myself, or anyone else any favors by attempting to compromise what I believe in order not to provoke wrath.

    I’m afraid there is no compromise on this matter, Sabio. There is one way to God and that way is through Jesus Christ. There are no other “get out of hell” cards available this season, despite the preponderance of false teachings that claim this to be the case; that’s just someone blowing hot air up your shorts because he or she can’t face the reality of the thing.

    Changing the subject to the obvious elephant in the living room; I will ask it.

    Why are you so dead set on rejecting God and teaching others to do the same?

  5. Hey Adrienne (oh great warrioress),

    Yes, you are right. You doing what I expect of a “Bible Believer” but you are not what I’d expect a Christian would do. You need to read books by Christians who see though naive Bible worship. (I can make recommendations when you are ready to venture out of your echo chamber).

    Remember, early Christians didn’t even have a New Testament. Early Christians read things very differently than you are now. You are far less about God than you are the Bible. The Bible *is* your god — a literal, time-locked ancient book. The vast majority of Christian scholars read the Bible radically different than you and I am not even sure you realize that.

    Absolute truth is fine, but your archaic way of reading these ancient texts does not have to be the source of your absolute truth. Do you seek God, or the security of a book? I think you seek security and an anchor and are willing to sacrifice God for that. I get it. But I am hoping that someday you will feel more secure and be able to drop this false rigidity.

    Concerning your last question: I reject, Allah, Zeus, Amida, Mao, Elvis Presley, Astrology, Krishna — and Yahweh and much more. But I do not reject truth though and have always valued a true understand of the heart. I feel *you* are the person doing the rejecting — your parochialism blinds you to deeper truth. Why do you do that? I think because at one time you needed security and Bible-worshiping Christianity was what landed in your lap and saved you. Maybe someday you can thank your Bible savior and actually move on to the heart that we all share — “God”, if you will.

    There, that is “the obvious elephant in the living room” — I am not angry, Adrienne, I am being firm with love. Some call it agape — it may appears like anger to those with fear, insecurity and/or hate.

  6. I don’t worship the bible, Sabio. You create a lot of hyperbole surrounding my beliefs through intentional assumption, all in an effort at dramatic effect on this blog and your own. I’ve never told you that your child or children were going to hell as I strongly believe in something called “the age of accountability.” I also do not put myself in the position of judging someone’s heart because that is not my place — it’s God’s place to judge hearts and determine one’s destiny.

    In fact, the only thing I’ve shared with you about your eternal destiny is what the bible tells us. Period. I’ve spoken with you in a general way, based upon what it says.

    I’m truly a little disheartened that you expect to be accepted for who you are and what you believe, but you do not seem to be willing to allow the same in return. You have been attempting to de-convert me since we began to interact. You don’t seem to be able to simply “live and let live,” and this tells me that your atheism is not the panacea you lead people to believe that it is.

    Your bitterness, anger that you can’t hide, and intensity over this topic make it obvious that you are extremely invested in something you claim you do not believe in. You don’t know if you are right or wrong, obviously, or you would be apathetic and probably not have the time of day to devote to writing about all of this unceasingly.

    In my last post, I wrote a perfectly innocent piece about my daughter’s attempt to make the swim team. It had nothing whatsoever to do with religious belief and certainly was no swipe or dig at anything to do with whatever religious beliefs your children choose, but you seem to perceive atheist persecution behind an innocent sharing of one’s own belief system.

    Please accept that you are not going to change my mind about what I believe, Sabio. Your opinion & judgment of it are not going to influence or change my pov. I have made my decision, researched it thoroughly, and am far too old to change it. I do not want to change it.

    I have long accepted your choice, though I do not believe that it suits you or your life in the least. Your choice is not making you happy and you are certainly not at peace in your life, based upon the intensity and bitterness of spirit that bleeds through in a lot of your writings, comment-wise or post-wise.

    I hope you can find peace, but either way, it’s time for a break as you’re becoming too emotional over all of this, irrationally so, imo, and I’m beginning to worry for you.

    (I’m also referring to your most recent posting in response to this one, and the comments you’ve made about me below that posting. You don’t seem to be your normal self. Perhaps you’re overtired.)

  7. @Adrienne

    (1) Anger
    The typification of non-believers as angry and bitter is a generic Christian move. I see it all the time. And now you accuse me of “denying” all that. You see, I must be unhappy, or bitter, or angry or some horrible sinful state of mind in order to have rejected your Jesus. You’d have to meet people who know me to see how far off you are on that, but I see how it is a convenient way to handle things for you.

    Your closing manipulative psychological belittlement is noted. You are wrong, but it makes the world seem nice and neat for you, I guess.

    (2) Hell Bound
    As I have said, you say it all indirectly. You know clearly what the implications are of what you say and believe. You hide behind false sayings like “I can’t judge” and “who am I to know” … while all along, you are using ancient decisively tribal heaven-hell stories as your “Absolute Truth”. This post clearly says what you think will become of nonbelievers. Remember, other Christians read the Bible very different from you.

    Putting things dramatically can help communicate — as long as it is honest.

    Remember your post that was a big poster saying something like:

    A life without God is a life without meaning

    When you say dramatic hateful things like that, and that 2/3 of the planet is going to hell, how can you label me dramatic?

    (3) Deconvert vs Change
    Nah, I am not trying to deconvert — just to get you to change the sort of Christianity you embrace. I actually think deconverting would not be good for you. Indeed, I have made this sort of suggestion to lots of folks through the years — in several religions. And I have been clear with you on what parts I would love to see changed — not parts of your personality, just your ideology of exclusiveness. That is it.

    I live-and-let-live more than you can imagine. It is exactly your rants about how special your god is and how those who don’t believe have meaningless lives and are hell bound that I protest. I don’t see you as having a meaningless life, nor as hell bound.
    The way you envision and classify nonbelievers is horrible — yet you pretend all sweetness. I may want to change a persons exclusive hatful thoughts, but that is far different from imaging that the very person is hell-bound.

    There is no reason I have to “accept” that you won’t change your mind. When you put stuff out here on a public blog with such hateful ideology, I may come and say something hoping you may one day stop it.

    You certainly don’t accept that the world is godless — afterall, you call yourself “a Bible Warrioress” — > and I am the aggressive, angry one — really?

  8. Sorry, Adrienne, I should have asked. If you’d prefer I don’t visit with these sort of comments, please let me know. I can’t come, as most of your readers, as say stuff like, “Praise the Lord sister, this witnesses to my heart.”

    So, let me know.

  9. Sabio, on your blog post that you wrote in response to this one, one of your readers said much of what I did in my last several comments. You are oversensitive…. hyper-vigilant to atheist persecution syndrome; in other words, you see persecution where there is none.

    I spend a lot more time “warring” against my stubborn conservative Christian brothers and sisters than I ever do you atheists. Wake up and smell the coffee and get a clue of what my blog is all about. It most definitely is not about warring with and persecuting atheists.

  10. So this post on Hell was written for your fellow Christian “brothers and sisters”?

  11. Believe it or not, I actually get heckled by Christians more than I ever have atheists. Because I lean left somewhat and even hint at “progressivism” in my politics, yeah a lot of Christians aren’t too pleased with my blog. The fact that I’m sympathetic to those who are mistreated through alleged “Christian love,” (like gays, lesbians, transgendered, etc.,) doesn’t make me real popular with a good majority of Christians.

    I think if you read me more regularly, you might get what I’m up to with this blog. But yeah, I did write this post on hell because you brought up the topic and I realized I had not written any on hell in the whole time I’ve been blogging so I thought I should clarify my take on hell.

  12. Yes, and I have always given you credit for that part of your Christianity — fighting injustice and the religious Right.

    However, it was obvious that this post was to me.
    It was about Hell.
    And it does not take a rocket scientist to see what it says about me and my daughter (after she comes of age, of course).
    Your belief in these doctrines is dangerous and destructive.
    I am writing against those. My anger is focus on an evil doctrine, not on you as a person.

  13. oh, one more thing, Sabio..I am mulling over writing a post about inclusivism, pluralism, etc.., and why it won’t work for me, according to the bible. You brought the topic up and it’s worthy of looking into an exploring why I cannot view things like hell like you would like me to.


    You don’t see that you make it personal with some of your comments. And not just your comments on this blog, but your own as well. You saw persecution where there was none on a posting of mine about my daughter making the swim team, (which she didn’t make it, btw). Anyways, let’s just drop it. No need to beat this thing to death, eh?

  14. And most likely you will go to the same websites you do to get most of your conservative doctrines — yes, you are still a fundamentalist. You were a fundamentalist in regards to politics, gays, and more but shook that off. But you still embrace fundamentalist understandings of the Bible.

    Before you write (cut and paste) on Inclusivism and Pluralism, may I suggest reading several Christians who disagree with you and your go-to websites? It may take you several months to do the reading (as you are probably busy with much more important things), but I think you would grow that way — even if you came out believing exactly the same thing.

    So, what do you think?

  15. I subscribe to Sabio’s blog, but grew up fundamentalist and worship with evangelicals, so I appreciate your position, too.

    Since you’re both now talking past each other, I hope no one feels they need to have the last word.

    In the meantime, you both might find value in a book by an Evangelical which critiques “Biblicism” in a way I found most effective, but who also offers a range of responses that I think are also evangelical.

    If not, please accept my apologies.

    The book is “The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture” by Christian Smith.



  16. Chris and Sabio,

    I will definitely review this book you’re suggesting, Chris, to see what you’re talking about. I don’t see a problem in taking in new information, even when it conflicts with what I understand the bible to be saying.

    Sabio is correct that I believe in the fundamentals of Christianity. I would not consider myself to be a fundamentalist conservative Christian, however, because there is a negative stereotype strongly connected to that label — and that label frankly does not fit me because I’m Independent politically and now lean to the left. I do believe in the fundamentals, however, and am unlikely to change my mind about those, no matter what I read; still, I will have a look at this book and see what I think. Thanks, Chris.

  17. @ Chris,
    Thanx for the suggestion. I will add it to the list I am building of books Christians recommend to conservative Christians to help them better understand the Bible.
    I am not sure the Warrioress and I are “talking past” each other — this is just a hard topic. I totally admire much that she does and her courage for the changes she has made to date. I believe Christianity serves her very well and don’t desire her to deconvert.

    I did not say the you “believe in the fundamentals of Christianity”, instead, you follow a variant of fundamentalist, literal Biblolatry. As I said, many, many Christians would feel that this has led you to some big mistakes about what “the fundamentals of Christianity” are.
    Unfortunately, you have Conservative Christians belittling you for leaving your former Christian Flag-Waving Rightist Christianity. And by emphasizing love and mercy, you piss off Christians who clothe themselves in a theology that reinforces their harsh notions of Justice. So they are using Bible verses to chastise you. I think a different view of the scriptures would help you even further in dealing with these folks.

  18. Excellent article, Hell is real and unless people understand the seriousness of Sin and repent and turn to God, they will experience it first hand 😦

  19. @ Alton Costa,
    I have lived in many countries for years on end.
    “Hell” is a creation of many cultures.
    Not only do the Abrahamic Monotheisms believe in it (Judaism, Christianity & Islam), but so do Hindus and Buddhists cultures.
    I had a collection of children religious comic books from Buddhism, Hindu and Christian sources teaching children the horrors of hell.
    So for Christians, they must believe that all these other faiths have it all wrong and only their hell is real — that is, they tell a story of what puts kids there and they don’t agree.

    One way to think about it, is that only one can be right. And Christians tell themselves, they are right. The others do the same, of course.

    The other possiblity is that they are all wrong and that HELL is a human constructed idea used in many religions to control.

    Christians feel this is the devil’s lie, of course. They feel the other religions correctly understood there is a hell but they are wrong about how people escape its clutches.

    Just thought I’d share the experience of one former Christian who traveled through a world of CHristian Black-and-White but then started seeing color.

  20. Alton,

    Thanks! Yes, I felt that I better be firm about some of the tough truths within the bible. I know none of us enjoys confronting these, but denial of them won’t help anyone. Thanks for reading and commenting, Alton.

  21. I’m afraid, Sabio, that I have no doubt what the fundamentals of Christianity are because I see the bigger picture and the point of Christ’s divinity through the bible itself — (so that He could forgive the sins of humanity and conquer sin & death, restoring us to God in the process, but yet He was also only a man/human too, but still yet divine ie: born of a virgin etc.)

    Jesus Christ has incredible power. He is the Son of God. Anything that attempts to neuter and neutralize His power and divinity is a lie and a trick of the devil.

    There are certain aspects of the bible that must not ever be compromised upon. Satan would like nothing better,and I have no intention of helping him, no matter who advises it.

    Love and mercy are very important and without these and the rest of the fruits of the spirit, one’s Christianity isn’t real. There is a place, however, for a firm, strong foundation that nothing can shake or tear down; we must never compromise upon that.

  22. Well, Adrienne,
    My comments to Alton still stand. And your defense of your particular conservative theology and Bibliolatry by alluding that either I am Satan or that Satan is using me is comical at best, but a common ploy and one used to control conservative Christians from doubting or even reading outside their echo chambers. I get it, because I use to do it too.

    Here’s a question for you — it is a thought experiment: “If you were able to go back in time to Jesus’ time and there you found out that he was mythologized and he was not the “son of God”, would your faith in God change? Would you drop your belief in God? Would you now tell yourself, that, “Well, that must have been God I was talking to in my head, and not Jesus.” What do you think you would do?

    [my guess: you will say something like, “It is a bizarre question and since it is not possible, I won’t entertain it. Why give the Devil room?”]

    BTW, I put up more posts concerning Hell.

  23. Sabio,

    I would never take back my allegiance to God, to Jesus Christ, no matter what. As I’ve already told you, I’m in this for the duration. I’m committed. Firmly. This Christian life is the best there is and I would never go back to the way things were before Christ, before loving God. This is an absolutely beautiful way to live life and it’s healthy for me and my family too.

  24. […] Hell & How Not to Go There ( […]

  25. You misunderstood my question above, but I will drop it for now.

  26. […] Hell & How Not to Go There ( […]

  27. most welcome sister 🙂

  28. […] Hell & How Not to Go There […]

  29. […] Hell & How Not to Go There […]

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