A Fundamentalist View of Hell
04-15-2012, 11:20 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell
PresbyGirl, I can't tell you how many times people have asked me that question. I used to defend Hell being eternal as unloving, but now I think I can just as easily defend it as unjust. If you want to worship a God who mediates perfect judgment, then why would you want to worship a God who sentences someone to an infinite sentence for sins committed in a finite lifespan? We see the atrocities performed on the Jews by the Nazis and consider it unjust that even one person should be treated this way, but when someone attributes far worse actions to God, we accept it as perfect justice.
Justice then becomes a travesty, because justice, ceasing to be fair, becomes as follows:
1. Everything God does is perfectly just.
2. God sends some people to Hell for all eternity.
3. It is perfectly just for God to send some people to hell for all eternity.
If your hypothetical neighbor Steve did that to you or someone you know, you would call the police! He would be an absolute sicko. I wrote a short fiction about a human being who eternally torments people who don't pray a prayer or believe like he wants them to...
Quote:“No, you couldn’t, Rusty," Huey said. "My torturers are skilled. They will torment you everywhere until the pain becomes unbearable, but not until you lose consciousness. You will be in horrible agony every instant of every second of every day. Oh, and as for days, there is only one day: This one. Today will start in five minutes, and due to some quantum physics you can’t even begin to imagine, after your torture begins, the hell you are living in will loop. Forever.”
I've attached the whole disgusting thing if you want to read it. The point is that we see it as unjust when (almost) anyone is tortured forever no matter what sins they committed - until God is the one doing the torturing. Then it's all just fine - and perfect justice, in fact, by the 1-2-3 formula above.
And then you will say that God's justice is higher than our justice. And I will agree; I will say that God's justice is strong enough to save everyone. Our justice could never do that. But to say that God's justice requires Him to torment anyone for all eternity for a finite set of sins makes a mockery out of what justice is - in fact, rendering justice itself meaningless. If God's justice forces Him to eternally torment anyone, then God's justice has nothing in common with what we understand as justice and could be of no comfort to us whatsoever.
Quote:If everyone eventually makes it to heaven, why did Jesus have to die?
Ask the Brethren church people that question, or anyone who doesn't trust penal substitutionary atonement. Derek Flood has a great article on that too, which I highly recommend and linked in my earlier post but will do again here. One of the best quotes from that article is this one, part of an answer to "Why did Jesus have to die?"
Quote:Love entered our world and went to the broken and the rejected, the "throwaways", and told them they were loved. Purity touched the untouchable, and made them whole and clean again. In doing this Jesus directly subverted the societal and religious authorities of the time. By associating with those who were considered sinners and unclean he showed that these people did not need to let the authorities define their worth, because God had seen them, and called "worthy" what the world had called "the least". This was extremely threatening to the people in religious and societal power because Jesus, in empowering and loving the small and the least, had directly undermined the Powers' own oppressive authority. So the Powers set out to shut him up. Hatred and Oppression set out to kill Love.
Basically, there are a TON of responses to this question within Christianity, only one of which is Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which many theologians today think is false. Some credit Anselm with Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory (in Cur Deus Homo) not the Bible (true story. Look it up!) Another outcome of the cross, according to Flood, is this:
Quote:Even if we are hostile to God, reacting destructively towards life, violently reacting to the authority images we struggle with - God's response as revealed in Jesus is not to crush us as we might expect, but to break the cycle of estrangement and rivalry with the transforming power of love. We see on the cross, in Richard Rohr's terms, "the naked God". ,God is made small, stripped naked, arms stretched out, so that our false image of a threatening judgmental God is taken away and God's heart of love for us is revealed. The threat is removed; we have nothing to fight against. God surrenders first so we can give up the fight too and come home. The cycle of rivalry and violence is broken through the weakness of God on the cross.
That is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever read.
Full part 3 of the article (from which I grabbed those quotes) is here.
The notion of justice I referenced is elaborated more in part 1, including a demonstration that the idea of Penal Substitutionary Atonement runs contrary to Justice According to God.
Quote:Ironically, as we will see in this section, even in its attempt to champion justice, Satisfaction-Doctrine does not present a biblical picture of what justice is about, but a legalistic medieval one. Biblically to "bring justice" does not mean to bring punishment, but to bring healing and reconciliation. Justice means to make things right. All through the Prophets justice is associated with caring for others, as something that is not in conflict with mercy, but rather an expression of it. Biblically, justice is God's saving action at work for all that are oppressed:
In the age to come, they will not ask me, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’" ~Rabbi Zusya
I think that all of my opinions are right. Thank God nobody else does, or I could become a fundy preacher.
|Messages In This Thread|
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:15 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:42 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:53 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 03:16 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 05:36 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - TurningIntoDavid - 04-15-2012 11:20 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-16-2012, 02:17 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-17-2012, 04:36 PM
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