T Nation

God and Hell


#1

I went to the cemetery yesterday to inspect my grandparents headstone, to make sure it wasnt sinking or in disrepair. While I was driving my car through the cemetery, I noticed what probably was thousands of headstones there. My grandparents were hardcore pentecostal christians, especially my grandmother. She didnt believe in going to casinos (she called them gambling houses)going to the movies, drinking, women wearing pants, etc. etc. And i was thinking, if she was correct, then she would certainly be in heaven right now.

But then I thought, what about everyone else? Im sure its people buried there that are (or were) muslims, atheists, agnostics, jehovas witnesses, or people who didnt care one way or the other. Is God punishing them with an eternal torment in hell? Ive heard that Gods justice demands punishment, but is eternal torment for believing the wrong religion or no religion at all righteous justice? There may even be people buried there that during their lifetime were just evil people, but is infinite torment for finite behavior justice at all?


#2

Well, if you are talking about the Christian hell, it's really only defined as separation from god or death in the spiritual sense. In that sense the torment in hell is not caused by god but by a lack of god. We are essentially left to our own evil hearts. Hell is of our own creation.

There are lots that don't really believe in hell though. In fact much of what we understand about heaven and hell is from the mind of artists and theologians long after christ. The heaven and hell we think of aren't really in the bible.


#3

Indeed. An interesting question.

I've heard it termed 'necessary evil'. My Christian friends claim: Its not supposed to be easy to get into heaven. God has made it a challenge.. (so you respect it more?) Thats why he has created people in various parts of the world who practice different religions and may not receive the proper chance to learn about Jesus.

Something like that.


#4

I'm a nurse and have seen more than a few people die. Of course, you hear the phrase "They are in a better place." While I keep my mouth shut, my mind asks "How can anyone be sure?"


#5

I find teachings on this pretty interesting. Essentially, the way I understand it, the more that is relieved to you, the higher the standard you have to meet. So essentially god could appear to all of us to remove all logical doubt, but doing so would also burden us with blame for not living up to his standards.


#6

This is a very difficult question to answer and not piss anyone off, because wars have been started fighting about this very question.

I beleive getting into heaven is very easy and not hard at all. I will keep my religious beliefs to myself but many on here might already know them. I see the point that Lordcliff has pointed out by "How can anyone be sure?" Most religions from my research rely on our own works here on earth to get us into heaven. That is really scarry to think about because I do a lot of bad things, but murder and rape are not any of them.

I believe that the Bible does show us the path to getting to heaven, and it is very easy, but the path after the acceptance is the road that is less traveled. We as humans really do not know what sin even on a relatively small scale, stealing a pack of gum, does to separate us from God. Our finite minds can not fathum the infinite goodness of God. Just my thoughts.


#7

There is no way to know until you're dead. We have a limited observational view point, this earth. As we are bodily beings, we only know what's around us. Heaven and hell are out of our scope.

If hell is real (and not just the absence of God hell), and all those people you saw are burning in hell for their beliefs, then that's pretty shitty. I would not want to worship whatever sent them there.


#8

I thought the exact same thing when it was said at the funeral I recently attended. This was followed up by "he will be looking down on us". Sure, it made people feel better, but part of me just felt like it was a lie. I agree with you, how can they know for sure.


#9

I had a really interesting question posed to me that has really lead me ponder some of my beliefs and I'd like to share it.

If you believe that humans have an eternal soul/being outside of the physical existence, and that the soul is in some way a continuance of our essence, why can we remember nothing of our spiritual selves BEFORE we were given physical existence?


#10

I've wondered that too. I think there's two possibilities:

1) There was nothing prior, so the soul isn't real.

2) Our previous experiences were erased (or absorbed?) prior to our latest physical existence. We are a blank slate for fresh experiences.


#11

If substance of experience doesn't transfer from physical to spiritual and vice versa, in what sense is the soul mine? Or how can events one place have results in the other?

A clone is the same structural being as a clean slate with different experience, but I think we can agree that the clone and the original aren't the same thing.

I'm not pushing a point here, I just trying to figure things out myself.

But if a soul is eternal and there is some sort of existance post death that relates to my person in this world, there must have been something of me before I was born.


#12

My guess would be it's not yours to begin with. I've heard about an idea that we are all from the same spirit, but just pieces of it. Think of a bucket of water, we would be like drips of water from that. If that's true, none of our souls are really ours, it's all part of the big bucket of waters soul.

And again, this is just a creative guess. I have no idea :slightly_smiling:


#13

It has really made me doubt the continuity of a conscience between a soul and the physical.


#14

No worries, if this idea is true, we are not really ourselves right now :slight_smile:

I think everyone will eventually ask themselves these types of questions. It shows you're interested in finding some type of truth. The original poster is doing the same thing.

I can't tell you how often I look around at everyone around me and think "what actually are we?". Just bags of meat or something more... Something temporary or eternal...

Perhaps nothing is eternal.


#15

Could I add a third?
3)The soul and physical were created/formed at the same time, but the soul continues after death which would make it eternal.

Most religions think that Human souls have a begining. Only the higher being/God never had a begining.


#16

Yes, that could be a valid third option as well. Definitely the popular one today.


#17

No worries, if this idea is true, we are not really ourselves right now :slightly_smiling:

I think everyone will eventually ask themselves these types of questions. It shows you're interested in finding some type of truth. The original poster is doing the same thing.

I can't tell you how often I look around at everyone around me and think "what actually are we?". Just bags of meat or something more... Something temporary or eternal...

Perhaps nothing is eternal.[/quote]

Good post BackinAction. Your thoughts are very logical and well thought out. Everyone wants to find the truth. The search for the truth is fun. I will not say I have never doubted my Faith, because I do it all the time.


#18

A lot of people feel that they will go to heaven. I always ask, "what will you do in heaven?"


#19

Good post BackinAction. Your thoughts are very logical and well thought out. Everyone wants to find the truth. The search for the truth is fun. I will not say I have never doubted my Faith, because I do it all the time. [/quote]

Thanks, dmaddox!


#20

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb"

If we accept that the soul has a beginning and is thus not eternal, doesn't this lead to doubt on it lasting forever more or even at all after death?