(04-14-2012 11:29 PM)TurningIntoDavid Wrote: exOBCstudent: Fantastic question! ...And I apologize in advance for a super-long post in reply haha
I've been wrestling with this off and on for about a year now, ever since I picked up "Love Wins" by Rob Bell in Barnes and Noble and read it. Bell is an inclusivist like C.S. Lewis seems to be, and he writes beautifully, with a TON of verses, and a lot of Greek and Hebrew and history.
C.S. Lewis's hero, George MacDonald, was a universalist (and a proponent of the Christus Victor theory of atonement rather than the Penal Substitutionary atonement theory. Frequently, when I have argued with Hellists that a loving God wouldn't send people to Hell for a literally unending period of time. MacDonald burns dozens of holes in that notion in his sermon "Justice." (And speaking of penal substitutionary atonement, Derek Flood has a fantastic critique on it over at TheRebelGod)
One of my favorite Christian Universalist websites is tentmaker.org for all their very well-researched content. Gary Amirault is a Universalist, and though his arguments haven't completely convinced me, I'm at least a hopeful Christian Universalist.
Your bullet points were quite nice, by the way.
Quote:If Hell was actually a created idea of religious powers it could've easily been added to the Bible during translation
Or, the idea of Hell as we fundies were raised on it may not be in the Bible at all, as Rob Bell and Gary Amirault argue.
Quote:It would be EXTREMELY convenient for religious powers to threaten non-members with
Quote:God would essentially have created some of us for Satan's company for all eternity
There are a lot of fancy ways around that notion, but I haven't found any that really satisfy me.
Quote:God wouldn't be powerful engouh to ever redeem those who didn't "pray the prayer"
And practically no Christians deny God's omnipotence.
Quote:Why would God create us for eternal destruction? Wouldn't it be better to not exist rather than exist in torments?
That's a fantastic philosophical debate. Some have argued that no, it wouldn't. It's nice reasoning they use, but I have a hard time buying it.
Quote:Would God truly set us up for failure of the worst kind by creating a Hell for us and allowing some to ignorantly go there for eternity?
Hellists would say that God doesn't really set us up for failure; we are "without excuse" in the words of Romans 1. Quite frankly, this doesn't float.
Quote:If God's love is so great, why wouldn't He make a way to keep EVERYONE He created from destruction?
Not everyone is saying that God hasn't made a way to keep EVERYONE He created from destruction; in fact, many of the early church fathers said quite the opposite! Origen, one of the early church fathers, believed that all would be saved. So did Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, St. Jerome (the guy who translated your Bible into Latin), Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose (Bishop of Milan), and other leaders of the early church of the first 5 centuries. Even Augustine acknowledged that "There are very many in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments." (Quotes and names from Tentmaker)
If Christian Universalism isn't your style (though I think there are many good reasons to believe it is true), there are many who are inclusivists (with even stronger reasons than the Universalists), and some who, like the Anglican theologian John R.W. Stott, believe that the wicked will not suffer eternally, but will rather be destroyed at the end of time (also with good reason). As I see it, the fundamentalist view of "hell" is the one that is least supported by scripture and scripture's presentation of the character of God!
I read Francis Chan's book "Erasing Hell" where he went through all the verses he could find about hell and came to a terrifying conclusion: Hell is like the fundies say it is. The reasons you go there may be different, but it's the same, if not worse, than they say it is. It's horrible. And I almost lost all faith, because if the Bible teaches that God is like that, and the Bible is infallible (a fundy teaching I'm still trying to figure out where I fall on), then God is like that. And I don't think I can worship a god without grace enough for everyone. (Please, no "sufficiency versus effectuality" arguments. I've heard too many of them.)
Lastly. I wrote a paper on Hell for my Philosophy of Religion class. Got an A- on it. If you want it, PM me your email address and it's yours. I'd love to help out, and I'd also love to read any critiques anyone has of it.
Wow...just reading both of your replies so far have been incredible and encouraging insight! You've made some VERY good points and helped to resolve some internal arguments I've had going for years. I always knew that everything Christ has done for us was because of LOVE, not any other reason.
What I was taught my whole life in the IFB was usually the antithesis of love and centered on everything else. My mother has been studying this same subject for a while now and has raised lots of questioning in my mind which has had me pondering for a while now.
Each time I hear someone talk about Hell and eternity I just cringe at the things they describe as the love/justice of the God I serve. The closer I get to know Him, the more I realize that God is not judging me but we still judge each other in light of what we might think God thinks.
You've listed some books that I'm going to have to make time to browse in the future. Thanks for citing everything so I can check it out! I know the posts took some work and effort on your part so I really appreciate how well you organized it all.