I am trying to write a little on hell this week and reflect on some of the things I have been thinking about and reading about lately, and by “lately,” I mean the past few years.
For right now, it is not my intention to state a definite position that I take on hell, but rather to provoke thought and raise questions about the traditional and popular understandings of hell.
As I briefly stated in yesterdays post, I find that belief in hell is central to many people’s faith. I have heard people say, “well if there is no hell then why follow Jesus?” (I think this is sad) Or maybe even a more popular response has something to do with the “bad” people not getting what they deserve (This may be worse). For of course Justice has to be served, right? I find that we are usually ok with this idea of Justice as long as we are always on the “right” side of it. It’s funny how we are always the “sheep” and never the “goats”.
But there are also those people who are bothered by the idea of hell. The thought of the majority of the human race spending an eternity in torment and agony just doesn’t sit well with some. They can’t seem to connect the dots, so to speak, between the God we speak about being all loving, peaceful, forgiving, merciful, compassionate God… the same God who loved us while we were yet sinners, and the same God who, through Jesus, spoke of his kingdom not working like the kingdoms (empires) of this world, (The empire Jesus opposed used violence in order to coerce people in worshipping Caesar) and yet, in the next breath the same God is said to send/allow people to be damned for ever because they didn’t believe the right things about Him or worship Him while on this earth.
I find that these people who have questions about the traditional view of hell and eternity are also afraid to express their concern for fear of what the reaction from their “spiritual” peers will be. I know people who have lost their ministry jobs, lost financial support for their ministries, and even lost (so called) friends simply by questioning their faith.
I think many people, if they are honest and whether they have the courage to admit it or not, do have concerns and questions about the traditional view of hell which is probably why “hits” on my blog go way up when the title has the word hell in it.
Again, the point here is to ask questions and provoke thought… So how do the doctrine of hell and the God who is defined in the Bible as simply “Love” go hand in hand? And what, if any, are your concerns/questions you have dealing with eternal damnation? Or do you even think it is ok/necessary to question things such as this?