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Old 03-14-2011, 01:43 PM   #31
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As an atheist, no. Although, if I believed in Hell, this is close to how I would imagine it.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #32
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no. but Japan, right now, seems pretty close.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:03 PM   #33
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I just kind of look at heaven the way I look at religion in general.

No one wants to be alone, whether in life or in death. The idea that we just cease to exist after 75 years on this planet troubles a lot of people, although not me personally.

I think religion (or Christianity, at least) is the manifestation of the needs of the human ego. The idea of repenting for one's sins as a get out of jail free card, the need to have a "purpose", the need to not be alone.

So it's either Jesus or shopping at American Apparrel, or the Red Sox, basically.
Someone once said, Religion is like a really big credit card with an unknown limit. You might be able to buy anything under the sun with that card, but in the end, you'll never be able to pay it off in full. Not that you'd want to, until its too late, of course.

Im not sure what that means, i have my beliefs, but im certainly open to others.

I guess for some its the new car, furniture set, or the persian rug covering distressed wood floors.

I too struggle with the belief that a loving God would allow the majority of his children to be tortured and condemned for all eternity because they didn't meet his strict guidlines for entry into paradise. That said, im pretty sure there are wicked and evil people throughout history who will spend a good deal of time (if not eternity) in someplace other than where streets are paved with gold.

Isn't it odd, however, when describing an event (party, movie, concert, etc.) People will often say "it was one HELL of a good time"...."one helluva show!"

Never do people say "it was a Heavenly good time...show...etc"

Maybe we just don't know what we want...
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:05 PM   #34
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The series finale of LOST holds all the answers.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #35
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Anyone who's spent time in counseling knows that there comes a point when the lights come on, and you realize that -- however tragic a hand you've been dealt in life -- there's a point when you choose whether to break the cycle or perpetuate it. Even those who are in recovery from addiction know that they are one choice from undoing the positive -- and the choice is theirs.

As a result, I don't find it hard to believe in Hell. I think people "choose" it every day -- anyone who's known someone in the grips of self-destructive behavior (alcohol/drugs/sexual addiction, a bad relationship, a cycle of dysfunction), knows that there was a point when they made a choice to engage in the behavior, and now it's consumed them.

I've spent time counseling such people -- and the saddest moment of clarity is when they realize that they can choose something else, but it requires work to break the cycle, and they decide that they feel that it's safer going back. As someone in the grips of sexual addiction once told me, "freedom scares me."

I don't think this is true for everyone, but I think at the end of the day, a lot of people are trapped in their own misery not by circumstance, but by choice.

So I don't think that Hell is a crazy notion, since I think Hell (like Heaven) is a destination that is the sum of our choices. I don't think God has much to do with it, especially if (as we've discussed on this board) He gives us the freedom to choose. As a result, I don't think Hell is a place of eternal torment because of God; it is because those who are there realize what the sum total of their decisions led to. Probably the best picture of Hell is Jesus' story from Luke 16:19-31; Hades is a place not of agony, not from torture, but from regret.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:34 PM   #36
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as an atheist, no. Although, if i believed in hell, this is close to how i would imagine it.
lol!
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:43 PM   #37
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I'm a bit perplexed by this Christian notion that Hell is not a punishment but a choice. I don't 'choose' to live in Hell in this life, sometimes I sin yes but I try not to. I do not live in a permanent state of self destructive behaviour and if I did a loving and merciful God would want to drag me out of this and not let me 'choose' to live in it for eternity. Who would want an eternity of 'regret?'
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:06 PM   #38
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I believe God took the biggest gamble in the universe by creating beings with a free will.

He did not create human robots.

He was seeking friendship.

We decide.

He will not drag us into heaven against our will.


“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way”

~C.S. Lewis
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:22 PM   #39
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So what do you think - or believe - about those who don't decide, were not given a choice in their lifetimes, for one reason or another?
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:24 PM   #40
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So what do you think - or believe - about those who don't decide, were not given a choice in their lifetimes, for one reason or another?


I think we just need to wake up to reality.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:29 PM   #41
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He was seeking friendship.
That's what this whole thing is about?
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:30 PM   #42
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That's what this whole thing is about?

Yes.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:41 PM   #43
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I do not live in a permanent state of self destructive behaviour and if I did a loving and merciful God would want to drag me out of this and not let me 'choose' to live in it for eternity.
He does want to drag us out, but He's not going to do it if we're kicking and screaming. A pastor friend once put it the best way: Hell wasn't created for humans, but God will not stop those bent on getting there.

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Who would want an eternity of 'regret?'
I think many people don't give much thought to the fact that their actions have consequences, whether in this life or the next. Grace means that we don't have to live with the consequences of our actions -- but in order to receive it, we must believe it. (And believe that we need it.) For many, that's a bridge too far.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:49 PM   #44
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I think we just need to wake up to reality.
Who?
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:56 PM   #45
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I'm a bit perplexed by this Christian notion that Hell is not a punishment but a choice. I don't 'choose' to live in Hell in this life, sometimes I sin yes but I try not to. I do not live in a permanent state of self destructive behaviour and if I did a loving and merciful God would want to drag me out of this and not let me 'choose' to live in it for eternity. Who would want an eternity of 'regret?'
Actually, I'd suggest that the "Christian notion" that Hell is not a punishment but a choice is a relatively new idea--a sort of "kindler, gentler" reteaching of the doctrine of hell. Traditionally, I think most Christians have viewed Hell as a place of punishment.

I do see the argument that nathan is suggesting about hell being about our choice rather than God's and his analogy to those who persist in self-destructive behaviors is not unreasonable. . .except, that some times those that persist in self-destructive behaviors end up choosing the ultimate in self-destruction--suicide as a way of escape. It would seem that even the kinder, gentler version of hell does not allow for any kind of escape or respite--forever. It is really the eternal aspect of hell that is so problematic to me. Also, for those choosing a cycle of destructive behavior in this life there is always the possibility of the person making a different choice at some point and breaking the cycle. But my understanding is that once you go to hell you're stuck there for eternity with no hope of changing course.

Finally, I don't think the question of what happens to those who "didn't know" and thus didn't have a "choice" has been adequately addressed. We can kind of understand the heinous criminals of the world being sent to hell, but what about all the people who just had the bad luck never to hear the gospel?
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