Atheism Christian God

A word about Hell and humans

Now, I am going to keep it short but I want the people who constantly complain about hell to get a little perspective because they seriously lack one. I want atheists to read this too because they talk about this one more than anything.

Nowadays, atheists and Christians alike have a very strange version of hell, a hell which burns with fire, sulfur  brimstone, a red man with little red horns holding a trident in his hand. The fear of mutilation, bodily punishment etc etc. This is the most romanticized version of hell.


Let me tell you how this version was made, it started with medieval age where artists like Michelangelo and others of the time, took artistic license to fill in the simplicity of scriptures and made hell more colorful, an artistic rendition so to say.

An interesting thing is that the horns on the devil came with an artist’s interpretation of the character too, which is amusing since it was a mis-translation of some note-taking office boy of the artist, who wrongly assumed the word torched light with pointed horns and so instead of Lucifer being the “morning star”, he became the horned beast. And this depiction showed him as cruel and savage and being the bad guy and all, the image stuck.

An artist depiction of the opening of the book of Job

The same is true for Michelangelo’s famed Sculpture of Moses with the tablets of the ten commandments, since in the biblical account the light of God shone on Moses face. It was that mistake about the translation about the word light that ended with Moses having a set of horns, same as the devil.

Moses with Horns

The idea of punishment and torture became popular with Dante’s Divine Comedy and his epic poem, Inferno which actually portrayed a very imaginative, artistic view of hell. With the idea being in print and in art, the image got so mixed up in culture that now for many people that is the default version there is and many are too lazy to research otherwise.

Dante’s Inferno Artwork

Some Christians believe the entire opposite, like hell being a place separate from God, a place of sorrow; which is the most closest to the scriptures.

Now, as of late I saw some people saying that I was actually avoiding the biblical chamber of torture. That I was trying to soften it up. And that it is JUST A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION.

Well, let me inform you guys, it is not a matter of interpretation, and if someone thinks it is; he is wrong and he can think what he likes but that does not change how proper hermenuatics work.

Important points to note:

1. Christian doctrine does not believe in the eternity of physical but the spiritual. The body that we have now will be replaced by a spiritual one. Therefore anything related to this body can not possibly exist thereafter.

For example  those who think hell is place for torture, can you just imagine a fork being pushed into you when you don’t have a physical body? My! what tremendous pain you will suffer right?

Hello, if there is no physical body, how can the fire burn you? How can you be tortured?

Short answer: you can’t.

2. Jesus said the place was a place where people will be sorry or feeling about their lives one earth, nothing else.

3. How can hell have fire when we know it ain’t going to burn human flesh? How can it have torture devices, does the devil have engineers making guillotines. The slight mention of the word brings back scenes from the middle ages where such devices were wrongly equated to God’s judgement on the wicked and thus the common perception became that such would also exist in hell too.

4. The biblical language of apocalypse is very much vivid and colorful and yet it is only symbolic, words like fire, do not mean actual fire, the words “lake of fire” is a symbolic representation of justice, not a real place.

This is so obvious and so simple that I am baffled at times when someone tells me that my God is torture freak who likes to put people in hell and burn them. I get sad and at times a little amused as to how emotional a reaction, this scenary which is only imagined at best, sparks in them.

I mean you have to leave all evidence aside to not to see the obvious.

If we don’t have a physical body, how can we feel pain?

There is no mention of torturing anyone in hell, so don’t even go there.

If you are mesmerized by Hollywood and artistic works then don’t equate them to theology. You have no right to do so on any grounds except misrepresenting someone.

As  have always said, study. At least know what you are attacking.

By John A. David

A student of theology, a bible teacher and a graphics designer. I ramble a lot about Christian faith, apologetics and atheism.

23 replies on “A word about Hell and humans”

Um… ” The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.” (Luke 16:22-23a ESV).

Is torment metaphorical here as well? Before you say it is I looked up the word in Greek: basanos – the rack or instrument of torture by which one is forced to divulge the truth; torture, torment, acute pains of the pains of a disease or of those in hell after death.

I agree that burning is an analogy for the kind of spiritual torture that the people of hell know, but it is going to be torture. So severe is the pain that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28). Hell is clearly not a neutral or a pleasant place in scripture. God takes no pleasure from this torture but created and uses it to satisfy His Justice.

The stuff about Satan I totally agree with. Satan will look, feel, smell, touch, and taste exactly like God all the way up until he destroys your life. This is why the word says to test the spirits.

I disagree. This isn’t simply about translating a greek word, you have to reason its usage.

First of all this is parable/story to teach a lesson and there is no mention of torture anywhere. This is not an exact account of hell. You are reading into it whats not there.

Second, the point is pain is something of this body, if you are in spirit, you don’t have the body and since you dont have the body, i dont think you can feel pain. Pain is a neural reaction, which informs the brain that something is wrong at a certain part of your body.

The word basanos basically means, pain, like you would have from a disease.
The usage here is highly dramatized and metaphorical. The rich man is obviously not diseased physically, he died remember? Here the two sides show good and bad on a heavenly scale. Therefore the rich man is in spiritual pain, anguish, guilt, but not physical pain. Lazarus is with Abraham and therefore in peace.

I agree hell is not a pleasant state but it certainly isnt a torture chamber.

You keep bringing this back to your assumption. I agree with you that there is a debate to be had about what kind of “pain” a spirit or a soul can feel. I disagree with you that it cannot be unpleasant enough to equate with torture. (And context in Greek is key that’s why I am confident in my translation. I do this quite frequently. Again your assumption is that we can’t use a Greek definition.)

Think about how isolation on earth affects our souls. How betrayal and heartbreak “hurt” on more than just an emotional or physical level. Think about how healthy babies can die in the hospital when they are not held or shown love. Our souls have senses. I believe they definite experience (for lack of a better word) pain on earth. I think this will be 10 fold in hell.

You’re argument is weak. I understand *you* don’t think or *you* don’t feel or *you* don’t comprehend an end of pain and suffering so great on a soul. Perhaps you haven’t experienced enough? Perhaps you are a finite human and need to understand you can’t comprehend everything. I hear a lot of conjecture and no evidence in this debate.

The bottom line is that the Bible describes Hell using the strongest possible analogies of pain, torture, and suffering. Whatever we have as a soul in the way of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch it will eternally unpleasant in Hell and eternally and infinitely wonderful in Heaven.

It is very dangerous to say otherwise. The agnostics, the atheists, and the lost of the world do not feel the sense of urgency to change. Christians have minimized hell, sin, and the devil for far too long. People think it will be a party. They think it will filled with only their fellow party people. They think it won’t be so bad to be “burning.” They claim it’s temporary like a time out. I sit in here and pay for my sins for a few years and then God will let me into heaven. My new favorite is that their relatives will Baptize them out of hell postmortem.

None of these ideas that people “feel in their heart” are supported anywhere in scripture. Hell is eternal. Hell is incomprehensibly unpleasant. To say otherwise is foolish, and could aid someone all the way into hell.

Sorry I don’t see what you see. You are reading into the text WHAT IS NOT THERE.

“Our souls have senses”
Prove it.

” I believe they definite experience (for lack of a better word) pain on earth”
How do you know its your soul, what is soul? Do you have concrete definition?

” I think this will be 10 fold in hell.”
does it really matter what you think besides what the scriptures say.

“I hear a lot of conjecture and no evidence in this debate.”
Its staright logic and exegesis. Unlike you I am not reading into the text.

“The bottom line is that the Bible describes Hell using the strongest possible analogies of pain, torture, and suffering.”
No, it doesn’t.

“Whatever we have as a soul in the way of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch it will eternally unpleasant in Hell and eternally and infinitely wonderful in Heaven.”
How do you know that again, specifically?

“It is very dangerous to say otherwise. The agnostics, the atheists, and the lost of the world do not feel the sense of urgency to change. ”

Ah! there is your fear. you want people to change because Hell will be torturing and terrfying, I find that the most sorry of all reasons to turn to Christ.

“Christians have minimized hell, sin, and the devil for far too long. ”
May be its time we look at Christ.

“People think it will be a party. They think it will filled with only their fellow party people.”
Does it matter what they think about hell? If a person thinks hell is a party, he probably does not beleive in it either. which means he doesn’t beleive in God either. And if that is the case, I suggest you don’t give him the “Hell is torture” thing.

“None of these ideas that people “feel in their heart” are supported anywhere in scripture. Hell is eternal. Hell is incomprehensibly unpleasant. To say otherwise is foolish, and could aid someone all the way into hell.”
Except hell is eternal, we disagree flat out here. None of what you are saying is backed up by scripture either. I am only joining the logical points. I am adding nothing to it. You are on the other hand trying to scare people into beleiveing hell and to be honest I know some athiests who actually fear hell and hate God for the baseless descriptions you are preaching about.

I am sure, hell is unpleasnt, I am sure its eternal but god is going to torture you is wholly unscriptutral, all the way.

I apologize for the length of time it has taken to me to respond to this. I don’t normally like arguments that consist of contradictions. You tried to pigeonhole my reply to your original post and that’s fine.

Part of what I said is conjecture similar to your conjecture of the lack of senses in Hell. I gave a pathos example of betrayal & heartbreak which apparently you could not relate to. I am assuming forever now that you have not been betrayed by a close friend and that you have never been dumped by someone you love. If you had experienced these things in life you would be able to recall that feeling deeper than emotions and deeper than physical pain. This is what I am describing as “hurt” by the souls standards. The antithesis is that feeling you have after you accept Christ or discover a new aspect to your relationship with God. These things here on earth we can experience with the soul. I have no proof of this because it is subjective, but there is a supernatural aspect to our current lives that we often ignore.

My second piece of evidence is scripture. I gave you quotes from Luke 16:22-23a & Luke 13:28. I can add all the references if you like. My favorite is the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18:23-35). Verse 34 (ESV) says “And in anger his master delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all his debt.” Jesus clearly doesn’t kid around with this. I can pull as many verses as you would like. Hell is not described as a normal place. It is described as intense pain, a lake of fire, painfully lonely, and forever separated from God.

How is that not torture?

I’m sure glad you put I don’t think in this comment because your vanity is showing thick. No one knows what happens after you die and if you think you do then your kidding yourself. People need to stop thinking of god and start living a life that will preserve humanity. I don’t think god intended for people to out breed the world in his name. I do think the way people are living god’s name and not using protection will lead us to a hell on earth.

You give interesting information about the development of comic hell imagery, but I don’t think you need to labour the point about your god not supplying instruments of physical torture, that’s surely obvious to most people – atheist or Christian. However, the fact remains that the majority of humanity throughout history has not believed in the Christian god, and, as such, you must believe they will be ‘condemned’ (I think that’s the appropriate verb) to an eternity of emotional and spiritual agony. I expect that’s a worse scenario than a branding iron up the bum from a horned devil with a pitchfork.

I went into some detail as some of my atheist audience indeed thinks the exact opposite, they believe that hell is a physical torture chamber. And I meant to set the record straight on that one.

Emotional and spiritual agony, does not mean a God induced pain. It simply means that those who want to be without God, can be without him. They may feel sorry in the end that they chose the wrong side but other then that, agony means nothing else than separation from God and being sorry for your choices (or not in some cases).

It is certainly a horrible scenario, but then I think as C.S. Lewis put it, “all those who are in hell choose it.”

I mean if you don’t want to stay with God, then separation from God is the only way, isn’t it? And if afterwards you feel bad, well…

Its kind of unfair to think that if you don’t want to be with God, you still would want to stay with him forever. It is contradictory.

By the way, the problem about people who do not believe in Christ, falls into two groups:

1. The group that actively rejects him.
2. Those who do not know him at all, never heard of him either.

The second group I believe can not be blamed for anything. I don’t see God blaming them either

for instance see 1 peter 3:18-20
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive,[a] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water”

So you can see that those who didn’t have had a chance were given a second chance. I am sure such will be the case again for fallen humanity for those who didn’t have a chance. But those who reject Christ, will be granted their wishes. They will be separated. There will be no screaming people in heaven who would be made to stay with God, forcibly if they detest God to begin with.

God is not unfair.

This raises a really interesting point. A deity I can’t see, hear, smell, touch or taste wants me to guess it exists using an identified sixth sense, with the aid of a big book full of jumbled, often discriminatory and violent, nonsense. And this deity is using fear tactics, threatening eternal suffering, if I don’t *worship* it before I depart from my earthly life. Does this sounds like a scenario created by an intelligent and benevolent being? I’m sure you feel safer plumping for the worship option just in case, but logic and a basic sense of morality are guiding me elsewhere.

I don’t worship the God you are describing. I would hate this tyrant too.

And despite the sarcasm in your post, let me be clear that I don’t imagine my self on any higher plane than you or anybody for that matter, nor because of fear or reward or anything else.

Sending his son to die for the world is a fear tactic for you? I can only say logically that is the farthest thing you can say about this.

Has God ever threatened you personally? I don’t think so. You want to go away from him, you are allowed to, that is the best one can do lovingly. I suppose you are married or have children, but regardless. If your spouse or your child wanted to leave you real bad, for reasons good or bad, what can you do, except to let them go in the end?
The same is with God.

There is such a thing called free will and we have it, you exercise it as you see fit.
If you got better answer for this, let me know.

No one’s threatening you of anything and if I or you ended up in hell, the only eternal suffering would be that we will regret for not choosing differently.

Please do elaborate on one more thing; you don’t’ want to worship God but you still think you deserve his favor when you die? may I ask why is that so?

The point is you chose to stay away, you get to stay away, unless you want to reject God and still want to end up with him, but that makes no sense now, does it?

The basic sense of morality, I wonder who gave you that?
You really think that people who in faith have twisted morality all the way? And people without faith can only see the light, so to say?

God is logically tough, I admit but its easier for those who want to search for him.

Let me put one more interesting thing here.
The reason God does not show himself, is plain obvious if you look.
If he did, man would not be free to reject him. It would be exactly like a king or a tyrant would do, because once the doubt is gone and you know he is there, then by law and reason itself, one would have to bow down, even if one does not want to.

Now, that is much more of a horrible scenario. You don’t want to do something but you are forced to do it. That would have been a much worse case and I am glad it isn’t that way.

So many questions!
1. “sending his son to die” makes no sense. We no longer live in a time when we murder animals to appease imaginary gods, so the idea of encouraging the death of a person as a means of ultimate appeasement is ridiculous. Sure, the notion that I-love-you-so-much-I’ll-kill-my-child-for-you has a nice ring to it … oh no, actually, it doesn’t.
2. The god of the Bible threatens everyone, personally, all over the place. Off the top of my head (or Google’s head): Romans 12 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” The language I read in the Bible never actually reflects the more gentle interpretation nicer Christians like you go for.
3. My spouse or children are free to leave me, but I’m not physically hiding from them and expecting unquestioning obedience, so the comparison is null and void.
4. Why on earth does a deity want to be worshiped? The very idea that something so amazingly great wants little dull-minded minions telling it all day how wonderful it is, is utterly bizarre.
5. I never said I deserve any deity’s favour when I die. I just don’t believe eternal torment is a reasonable gift to bestow on anything one chooses to create, regardless of how disobedient they are.
6. My naturally evolved basic sense of morality I expect comes from the urge to nurture and provide a nice environment for any offspring I have. My dog has a less evolved sense of morality, but still is socialised well enough through contact with other naturally evolved dogs (she’s from the streets) to not commit any random acts of violence, and to show love, affection and consideration to the animals she co-habits with.
7. I am certain that if your god did exist and chose to reveal itself in all its glorious spendour, there would still be people who would choose the no-worship option. Your god would only be a dictator if it chose to be a dictator.

1. Ah! well, I guess we can speculate around that alright. You like vanilla, I like chocolate. No big deal. To some it makes sense, to others it doesn’t.

2. This is simply because you read out of context and with little to no clue of Hermenuetics. Sure the language is hard at places, but then why wouldn’t it be. Do you think that justice is cruel? or do you not believe that justice done, even in our own judicairy system is just?

3. Your uncompromising view on the ignorance of those of faith, amuses me because similar to you, I can’t figure out at all that what is obvious to me, is not obvious to you.

4. The idea is not be worshipped, that is only what kids do. The idea is to be in companionship.

5. Well lets just say that we disagree with your difnition of eternal torment, which is really a fancy term in my humble opinion, since I explained to you earleir what it meant. But I dont think you have fair sense of cause and effect. Do you think a person should be thrown in jail for not making his bed? let me know what you think because this is not a rhetorical question.

6. Your naturally evolved basic sense of morality is simply what you have picked out from your immediate environment by you or your mentors, it would have been very different had you been in the aztec culture. I am sure they thought their morality was fine too. There is nothing inherent in the idea of subjective morality at all. You are here now, in the present so you chose what you like. In an other culture you may have a different moral system and values and feel perfectly fine and moral with it too. It is nothing different from say, children being born in various countries and all have different religions. Yet all beleive they are right in their faith while also being contradictory at the same time to each other, thus breaking the rules of logic.

7. I am certain there are always people who would chose to say no, just like there are always children who refuse to acknowledge their parents no matter what they do. That is simply a truth about human free will and nature and I find it exceedingly merciful on God’s part, if he exists that is, that he spared us the dictatorship because some of us would have had a hard time around.

(Sorry if I’m posting this twice. The first time I tried I got an error message and, as you moderate comments, I can’t tell if it went through.)

1. I understand that our logic leads us to differing conclusions but why does it sound good to you that a being loves you so much they would kill themselves or their child for you? I’m sure there are nicer, non-violent ways to demonstrate love and commitment.

2 & 5: I believe in justice in terms of treating people fairly. I don’t believe in punishment or vengeance – I can’t think of any purpose they serve. I think the justice system should exist to determine if someone committed a crime, and then to determine how best to protect society from future crimes, be that by taking them away from places they can do harm (to jail) for attempted rehabilitation, sending them on things like anger management courses, or giving meaningful community service orders. I don’t believe there in such things as ‘sin’ and ‘disobedience’. There are traceable, rational motives for every action, and they should be investigated, recognised and learned from. Therefore, (number 5) I don’t think someone should be thrown into jail for not making their bed (no idea why you asked this or what you thought it demonstrated). All in all, I am not particularly impressed with this declaration:
“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
There’s some nice cause and effect for you!

3. Whatever your views on this, it’s impossible to think the comparison you presented me with is relevant. My husband and children can see me and talk to me, and I didn’t create them.

4. That’s a nice thought. I thought I saw ‘worship’ splashed all over the Bible, but I’m no expert.

6: I don’t know what you’re getting at here. I said my morality system has naturally evolved. Of course it would be different in a different setting. You seemed to be implying that a deity had bestowed morality on humans and I was pointing out that humans (and dogs) develop ways of living to make their lives easier.

7. Free will is great. But coupling it with comparatively puny minds and a ‘sinful’ nature would seem a bit like a cruel experiment. To my mind at least.

No trouble I understand it happens some times, I didn’t get a double post so no worries. 🙂

1. No, in world full of sin, there may be nice ways to show love, but there is no ultimate way other than what Christ came to do. There simply isn’t, if you have one in your mind, please share.

2. As I said, the standard for defining justice differs from person to person, you may think what you may, another person may think differently and might have good reasons to do it too.
Do you realize that in the army, the punishment for not making your bed, for a soldier is to be thrown in jail for a day?
Now, I am all impressed with your kind solution, but I bet that if you gave it along the same lines to the army the will probably be not impressed with your justification and definition of fairness. And do they think they are unfair? not at all. They have good reasons for it. So you may ask why that is before we go forward on this one.

“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”

And do you realize, which I am afraid you don’t, that this was given specifically to Israel, for a specific time and place? That this is not an eternal truth, that this was a specific warning to not worship idols of stone, in front of whom cananites offered human sacrifices and burnt their children. The word jealous, means rage and this was a clear line drawn for people who lived 4000 years ago to not bow before such idols.

How about we go to Ezekiel a book that most people never bother to read,
“The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son”

how about,
Romans 2:6, God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

Jeremiah 31:30, Instead, everyone will die for his own sin;

You are in error because you are cherry picking and without context it looks horrible. That is because you don’t know how to divide the scriptures, you are not alone in there, many people Christians as well, have a very poor way to read the bible. You have to know what is what and why it is so.

And to be candid unless you are open to correct your error, you won’t see it the right way. This is not an intellectual error on your part. I am sure you are observant and intelligent, but like all studies, there are disciplines and tools to study the Bible, you can’t form scholarly opinions on an English translation. Just because half of the Christians are ignorant to do so, does not mean you do it as well.

3. My point was simply that some people may have blind faith, but faith is unseen yet faith is not without evidence. There are many evidences but there is no proof for God, there is none, don;t expect one. Yet there are always those who choose to believe do it on reason and logic not superstition.
That is why I said, what seems obvious to me is not to you, the same way you think its obvious there being no God but I can’t see it.

The original point was simple enough, being that it is in love and mercy that God even allows people to go away from him if they want to. The same way a spouse or a child might leave.

4. Indeed, rhetorical it might be on your part, but you are no expert in this area. And where worship was an integral part of prayer, there is way way more to it companionship than just singing and clapping hands.

6. Exactly, have you seen it evolved?

subjective morality, which I pointed out is severely contradictory, since if someone has a different set of rules then your morality and his morality are simply choices whats best for you. Yet this is problematic for the second rule of logic. which says:

“that two opposite statements can not both be true at the same times”

If I say burning a widow is alright, like the Hindu culture does and you say it is wrong, then we both may be wrong, but we both can not be right at the same time. And yet, the evolved subjective morality is now shared by two different groups with an opposite moral system. Both can not be right, and if its subjective indeed than who are you to judge the other?

7. Well, yours and mine “puny” minds are not as puny as it sounds. But nevertheless, I think you are making one hell of a straw man argument here. Sinful nature is not made, its by choice, the very essence of free will, makes sin a consequence if mankind chooses to do so.

So, you want to be an automaton with no free will, or have free will and your choices?

So if God forced you to obey him treating you like a robot, he is a tyrant and on the other hand if he gives you free will to choose what you may, then he is cruel. That is one poor double standard you have.

But I don’t think you have thought this through, may be you should.

I am not trying to convince you to agree with me but I will show you why you can not accuse faith on false ideas and misplaced arguments.

Well, I don’t know how this is going for you, but I feel like we’re speaking in different languages. I tell you I’m not impressed with a TRUE declaration that your deity is supposed to have made and you tell me I took it out of context. I didn’t. I made no reference to the context. It’s an immoral declaration by almost anyone’s standards (I won’t claim yours) to threaten harm on unborn people for the behaviour of their ancestors. If it’s said to me personally, it’s horrible, if it’s said to humanity in general, it’s horrible, if it’s said to a whoever you believe it was said to, yes, it’s still horrible.

And it’s lovely of you to be patronising about how I don’t understand the Bible, but ‘jealous’ is the word used in most translations. I guess now it’s out of fashion to be jealous, rightly concerned people like you are scrabbling round for more palatable similes. Your omniscient deity ‘allowed’ the English translations using ‘jealousy’ to knock about for more than a few hundred years. He’s an incredibly misrepresented timeless being, but it’s just as well there are people willing to put the hours in to find new, culturally acceptable versions every few years or so.

Apologies I’m not responding directly to any other points you think you made, but while your argument rests on the fact that I don’t understand *your* interpretation of a rambling, inconsistent tome that is subject to thousands (and probably millions) of interpretations, there’s not much to comment on.

(I am trying to convince you to agree with me because I like being right.)

No offense taken, I understand.

The only problem is, as I said earlier, yes that you do indeed are isolating verses out of context. How do you know if its immoral for that statement to be. You of all people beleive that there is an evolved set of mentality, yet subjectively you are blaming others for a moral code different than yours. You will run into severe problems down that road and I can see why you avioded it.

I just told you the fact, that you are reading the bible like a layman, you can extract meaning but not scholarship on that. And before you toss accusation around, you should actually look into what the established scholarship says about it, Since you do not, it only means you want to accuse but won’t accept any explanation.

Read hamlet, then march into a class of classical english and try to establish your opinion as something authentic, you will see without credentials, your analysis will be lacking a lot and you won’t get anywhere. You can not study a book simply, muchless to say a text which is ancient and comeout and think I know because I read some verses from here and there. This is silly.

“And it’s lovely of you to be patronising about how I don’t understand the Bible, but ‘jealous’ is the word used in most translations. I guess now it’s out of fashion to be jealous, rightly concerned people like you are scrabbling round for more palatable similes. Your omniscient deity ‘allowed’ the English translations using ‘jealousy’ to knock about for more than a few hundred years. He’s an incredibly misrepresented timeless being, but it’s just as well there are people willing to put the hours in to find new, culturally acceptable versions every few years or so.”

Translations, translations,! Do you think God controls everything there is? Like every action that is done? wow! That is severe hard determinism you are assuming here. Without anything to back it up till the end. You forget, man’s free will.

You really beleive the Bible is all there is to it? Well, you should read my post

And while I didn’t meant any disrespect, I still hold that people who don’t have a clue about theology just have wrong ideas about God.

If you tried commenting on what I wrote, you won’t like where the answers lead, some of which are really straight forward. But since you left it, I guess this terminates our discourse on this.

In the end you just have one line to say “its horrible”,
I had expected better.

I found the preceding conversation fascinating! I lean towards violetwisp’s outlook, but do have a couple of comments to make of my own.

You wrote: “Nowadays, atheists and Christians alike have a very strange version of hell, a hell which burns with fire, sulfur brimstone,” Could this be because the Bible states as much in the very popular King James version? Particularly in the book of Revelation there are numerous references to these descriptive terms (see chapters 19-21), and this is where “Satan” is said to be cast (20:10). In fact, throughout the Bible, brimstone is often associated with the wrath of God.

You also seem to indicate that hell is not a place of torture because the deceased do not have physical bodies. (This may or may not be true but is a subject for another time.) I would like to advocate that the idea of physical torture derives from the various pseudepigrapha of the early days. Most believers don’t know about these writings, but they were very popular among the early Christians, In particular, The Revelation of Moses where Moses visits “hell.” There he sees sinners hanging by their eyelids, ears, tongues, and hands; women are hanging from their hair and breasts; men are hanging from their sexual organs; others are hanging from their feet and their bodies are covered by black worms. Some have scorpions swarming over them. There are several other writings that reinforce similar ideas. Could it be that these versions influenced the writers of the early scriptures and thus play a role in modern society’s view of hell as a place of torture?

You are totally correct that Dante’s Inferno helped move things along.

Personally, I don’t believe in the existence of hell, in any form. Having done considerable research on the subject for a book I recently published (“Things I Never Learned in Sunday School”), I found that its origin and the beliefs surrounding it were established by apocalyptic writers that arose during the “silent years” (between the testaments). However, with the help of Hollywood and other sources, as you mentioned, the concept has been refined to the point that most Christians are certain of not only its existence, but what happens when a person arrives.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

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