Yesterday’s post set up some homework for today: Listening to the This American Life episode about Heretics. Specifically, Revered Pearson, an evangelical preacher who preaches the Gospel of Inclusion. Pearson doesn’t preach about hell.
Now, I grew up believing in hell. Kinda. It never made much sense to me. God, who loves us humans so much, is going to have us burn for eternity? Does that doesn’t make sense. He cannot be all forgiving and have you burn. Even if you reject Him, He’s supposed to be a font of love and compassion. He’ll forgive that too…
One can ask for forgiveness or it can just be given. I’m pretty sure God can forgive people, even without them asking for it.
The establishment of Hell seems to be a method of control. “Do what we say or you burn. Follow our rules or your soul is forfeit.” It is my understanding that Evangelical’s replaces “our” with “God’s;” however the Bible itself has been translated and re translated by other parties, typically those in authority, that “God’s word” has been replaced by, “divinely inspired author, who just happens to be paid by the Royal Bank.”
My dad** believed in more than just Hell. He flat out believed in a pervasive evil force in this world. I also think he believed that individuals are inherently good; however, the evil force corrupted people and their intentions. Hell, and the Devil, gave him the wiggle room to keep both thoughts in his head.
He wasn’t an idiot, nor was he zealot. He was religious, but he could curse better than any sailor I’ve ever met (well, nuclear sub tech). He was liberal and religious. I mention my dad in this only because he had an idea of Hell, and evil, that doesn’t sit well with me either. I don’t think that God can be the most Benevolent if he lets people who’ve been seduced or influenced by evil, burn for eternity.
If God isn’t benevolent, then why should I praise Him? Why should I live a Christ Like Life if he’s going to turn his back on individuals who don’t follow His (or, really just the Evangelical) way? And if God’s going to let people who have 11th hour conversions into heaven, but keep out Atheists who do a lifetime of good work, then God’s neither benevolent or omniscient. He becomes a spoiled brat who takes his ball and goes home when people don’t follow his rules.
So give me your views of hell and damnation. Why do (or don’t) you believe in hellfire?
**If you’re new to the blog, you should realize that my dad wasn’t stupid. He was a lawyer, a public defender, and he worked in the homicide task force. He defended the people that most other individuals would be hard pressed to talk to. It was his job to ensure that they received the full protections enshrined int the Constitution. Before he died, he was certified to try Death Penalty cases in the State of Illinois and sworn in before the US Supreme court (I have the coffee mugs they give you as mementos).
**Edit: I published this yesterday after Shannon left for the hawks game. It didn’t publish, it’s saved. Sorry about that. I’m only publishing this now, with the right date, for my records. Not for Nablopomo