Worthy of Damnation – A Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

November 16, 2007 at 8:39 pm 82 comments

I like to collect Christian clichés. Most clichés that I hear from Christians are harmless, but there is one cliché that I can do without ever hearing again. When considering their own sinfulness, Christians often say, “We deserve Hell.” Or worse yet, “I deserve Hell,” usually followed by, “but by the grace of Jesus…” – fill in the blank.

I deserve Hell”. Do Christians really believe this? Most Fundamentalist Christians hate the science of biological evolution, because they think that evolution lessens the value of human life. Christians believe that if we are not uniquely designed by God, if we are a mere bag of molecules and chemical processes determined by the injudicious whim of natural selection, then our existence must have no value. And they readily accuse atheists of imposing this value system.

Yet these same Christians believe that they themselves are of so little value and self-worth when compared to God, that their lives are good for nothing more than to be objects of God’s wrath. A Christian believes that, by nothing more than the act of being born, by virtue of the doctrine of Total Depravity, every man, woman and child on the planet deserve nothing better than never ending torture.

Or a Christian is just supposed to believe this. But I cannot believe anybody outside of the most self-absorbed, flagellating penitent truly thinks so little of themselves that they deserve eternal torment, despite what they readily declare. I just can’t believe that. I sure hope not, anyway.

“I deserve Hell.”

Christians, please take this as sincere advice: When an unbeliever hears you say things like, “I deserve Hell,” they think you are crazy. Only the most abused and emotionally tortured will want anything to do with a mindset like this. If you use this line during a witnessing discourse, your potential convert will never be a Christian if it means having to develop a similar sense of self-worthlessness.

Trust me on this. I am saying this as someone who has preached the Christian faith many times. There is nothing attractive about declaring yourself worthy of nothing more than eternal damnation.

Dear reader, I don’t care who you are, what religious background you are from, what you have done or not done in this life, or what you believe or do not believe. You do not deserve Hell. Know that I am not out to de-convert Christians or win them to my side. But my one evangelistic plea that I will make is that you do not have to believe this lie anymore. You do not deserve hell. You have intrinsic worth apart from God. You *are* somebody!

I repeat my claim that Hell is perhaps the most cruel and inhuman invention of the mind that mankind has ever concocted. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional anguish and mental torment that this superstition has caused over the centuries. The fear of Hell enslaves the soul and robs us of the ability to question our own beliefs. The fear of Hell fuels unquestioning, unthinking and rigid faith, and drives many of life’s downtrodden to fearfully accept conversion as if by gunpoint.

And nobody deserves that.

to be continued…

- HeIsSailing

Part I: In Fear and Trembling – The Peace from Our Lord

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Humor break anyone? d-C Blog: Heartbreaking, sad, frustrating, but thought-provoking

82 Comments Add your own

  • 1. OneSmallStep  |  November 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    I know I posted this on the other … post (that’s repetition, but I spent three hours trying to figure out why my DVD player didn’t work, so repetition it is), but if hell is an eternal seperation from God, God is defined as everything good such as love/life/light/justice/mercy/compassion/joy and everyone deserves that, then what is being said is that no one deserves to be loved or appreciated or joyful or have justice done to them (in the equality sense). No one deserves to have life. Or truth.

    This is a horrible picture, and it says horrible things about humanity in general, and can almost be a dangerous position to hold. Think back in history, and people who believed that other people didn’t deserve life or dignity, and how they acted. Those people were monsters. An abuser believes that the abusee doesn’t deserve freedom. A murderer believes that someone else no longer deserves life. Someone who tries to ruin the life of another person basically believes that the other person does not deserve love. To go with an extreme example, the Nazis believed that the Jews didn’t deserve anything, either.

    That is what happens with a belief structure that people don’t deserve anything good. They become cold, or distant, or start thinking that since the “other” deserves nothing good, it’s perfectly okay to take it from them. Can anyone even acted like a good person while believing that someone else deserves torment?

  • 2. Yueheng  |  November 16, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    I’ve also always had the problem with the “I deserve hell” doctrine. This is not to say that I think of myself as a noble altruistic person who deserves paradise. Human beings are flawed and we are capable of much evil. But we also have so much potential within us for compassion, love and wisdom. Why do we only look at the darkness within us?

    If one sincerely believes that one deserves hell because of his/her humanity, then self-hatred naturally develops.

    One can be aware of the darkness and evil latent in our humanity and not sink into despair. To borrow an imagery used by Buddhist writer Hiroyuki Itsuki in his book Tariki – Embracing Despair, Discovering Peace, the fact that we can see our long, dark shadow means that we are illuminated by light. The darker and blacker the shadow, the brighter is the light that shines upon us. This light, Buddhists believe, is that of the Buddha’s universal compassion. Of course non-Buddhists may not accept this, but even so the imagery may be relevant. For can the light here in question be seen as our own innate wisdom which illuminates our failings and is ceaselessly reminding us of our potential for Life and Love?

  • 3. Richard  |  November 16, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Ive said, it before here, but since redundancy is the theme today…

    And hell (!), this is one of my favorite lines.

    CS Lewis said Christianity has nothing to say to the person who is not convinced of hi sinfulness.

    Lets take him at his word! He should know. Building intrinsic self-esteem, so that no one finds it natural to believe in hell, will make this obscene piece of sadism go away better than anything.

    Richard

  • 4. LeoPardus  |  November 17, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Atheists are supposed to be saying: if we are a mere bag of molecules and chemical processes determined by the injudicious whim of natural selection, then our existence must have no value.

    Christians are saying: they themselves are of so little value and self-worth …, that their lives are good for nothing more than to be objects of God’s wrath.

    Gotta say that I never put those two in juxtaposition before. What an absurdity.

    EITHER
    Human life has no intrinsic worth because there’s no God. OR
    Human life has no intrinsic worth because there is a God.

    Boy, is this the ultimate “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation?

  • 5. hughstan  |  November 17, 2007 at 6:49 am

    The core of Christian hope is that we, by no effort of our own, are heirs to the promise of eternal life in a state of perfection.

    However many arguments there may be against that hope, once held, any alternative would be hell, if the belief is sincerely held.

    With this in mind, any discussion of this subject might achieve more if it majored on the hope and not the alternative, the alternative only emphasising the magnitude of the hope.

  • 6. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:01 am

    hughstan says:

    With this in mind, any discussion of this subject might achieve more if it majored on the hope and not the alternative, the alternative only emphasising the magnitude of the hope.

    Fair enough hughstan.

    As a person who believes there is no such thing as salvation or damnation, no heaven for the saint and no hell for the sinner, I am encouraged by the hope that the vast bulk of humanity, including most of my friends, and my entire family, will not be spending eternity in Hell. I live each day with the relief of knowing that they will not be tortured forever upon forever, while I am languishing in paradise worshipping the very God who cast them into the Lake of Fire.

    I am not being faceteous, hughstan. The fact that there is no afterlife, heaven, hell or otherwise, is truly a cause of celebration for me. There is tremendous hope in that.

  • 7. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Leopardus says:

    Human life has no intrinsic worth because there’s no God. OR
    Human life has no intrinsic worth because there is a God.
    Boy, is this the ultimate “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation?

    Maybe this juxtoposition will teach us to stop trying to define and attribute our self-worth, our morality, and our meaning, with respect to some transcendent higher power. Maybe these things really do only have meaning when we realize that they are all self-imposed. *We* give ourselves meaning, worth and purpose.

    What good is a God who imposes meaning and worth on us, while at the same time created us to be cast into the Lake of Fire, where the smoke of our torment will rise forever and ever?

    There very well may be a God of some kind, who am I to know? But it is time to remove this belief in damnation and realize that it is all up to *us*, not God.

  • 8. heatlight  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:14 am

    I’ve found a degree of comfort, however, at times with the thought that my value is not wrapped up in myself – my actions, and my life – and is totally derived from God, as that means – though in myself I may be a sinner – my worth is actually what someone was willing to ‘pay’ for me…given that the price was God himself (in a sense), even at my worst I am still invaluable – priceless.

  • 9. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:23 am

    heatlight,
    You know, I used to believe that to. I used to be comforted in that way as well. And any revivalist tent preacher will use those emotional tugs in their preaching: God sent his son to die, to be tortured, to pay the ultimate sacrifice, just for *me*!!

    You bet that gave me comfort.

    The key word there though, is *me*. I knew that it was *me* who was benefiting from this, because let’s face it, the vast bulk of humanity was not benefiting because they had the wrong belief.

    When I placed myself outside of my own salvation, and comtemplated the fate of my family and friends who would not achieve salvation, not because of anything they had done, but because they did not believe in the Trinity, I saw the absurdity in that belief.

    I believed that they were headed to hell be default, simply because they had the wrong orthodoxy. I really had no peace, heatlight. It was anguish.

    In the next exciting episode, I will describe a witnessing discourse I once had with my mother, where I was convinced that she was going to burn forever, and the mental torment that the peace from our Lord gave me. Stay tooooooned!!

  • 10. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Yueheng says:

    This light, Buddhists believe, is that of the Buddha’s universal compassion. Of course non-Buddhists may not accept this, but even so the imagery may be relevant.

    No, non-Buddhists may not accept it, but the imagery and analogies here are what is important. That is, I think, the benefit of religions, mythologies, and other beliefs. I do think such relevant imagery can be very helpful in dealing with the trials and mysteries of life.

    I guess that is something that I am learning as I try to figure out what to do with the pieces of my shattererd faith.

    But some imagery, analogy and myth is worthless and harmful. Thus, this tirade against the belief in eternal damnation.

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Richard says:

    Building intrinsic self-esteem, so that no one finds it natural to believe in hell, will make this obscene piece of sadism go away better than anything.

    Richard, do you know that in a Calvary Chapel I used to attend, developing intrinsic self-worth was seriously frowned upon!! NO! We are currupt sinners from the mother’s womb, was how the teaching went. Nothing good can come from us, except through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit who works through us. Like John the Baptist said, we were to decrease, while Jesus increased. The goal was to completely disappear so that the evident Glory of God can shine through us.

    wow. Typing those words burned into my memory, knowing that I once listened to that and fully believed it for years, is just unreal. wow

  • 12. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 9:45 am

    OneSmallStep says:

    That is what happens with a belief structure that people don’t deserve anything good. They become cold, or distant, or start thinking that since the “other” deserves nothing good, it’s perfectly okay to take it from them. Can anyone even acted like a good person while believing that someone else deserves torment?

    You have given me a lot to think about here. I will be honest, I am not sure I agree with your entire premise about the actions of those who don’t believe in the worth of people, probably because I have never thought of it before. But you very well may have something there – I don’t know – I will have to let my brain gears grind through that one for a while.

  • 13. loopyloo350  |  November 17, 2007 at 10:21 am

    I read your posts with wonder sometimes. I feel as if I am in an alternate universe from yours. As many different churches as I have attended and as many different places as I have lived, they none match with what you seem to have been taught. Are worlds seem so different that it is a wonder we even come near to the same beliefs at times. In my beliefs, no one deserves Hell. It exists as a punishment. The way you seem to be saying is that Christians are warriors in a video game, such as “Halo”. Even “Jehova’s Witness’s” do not limit themselves in this fashion. Instead of seeing ourselves as finished product ons an assembly line in God’s factory, some of us see ourselves as part of God’s garden. We are simply seeds on part of our journey.

  • 14. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 10:26 am

    loopyloo says:

    I read your posts with wonder sometimes. I feel as if I am in an alternate universe from yours….

    Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of Fundamentalist Christianity. My wife, who is a liberal Catholic, felt almost exactly as you describe after a few short lessons in Calvinist theology.

  • 15. Brad  |  November 17, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Hrmmm…..

    In Re: to the discussion of self worth….

    I don’t think that saying “I deserve Helll” is mutually exclusive with self worth. I do not believe that we have any self worth based on our merit/actions/behavior, but we do because we are image-bearers of God. We are the only one of His creations that this is true for, and as such, that makes us very special indeed.

    And that is not a tenant of Fundamentalist Christianity. Fundamentalist Christianity puts more emphasis on Hell, and much less on our image-bearing nature. Theologians like Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, and (especially) Jonathan Edwards were huge advocates and writers of this aspect.

    Yes, we are totally depraved, I do believe that. But we still have great worth because of who we are and who made us (not due to merit).

  • 16. HeIsSailing  |  November 17, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Brad says:

    Yes, we are totally depraved, I do believe that. But we still have great worth because of who we are and who made us (not due to merit).

    That is exactly what I was taught, and what I believed. That we have no worth outside of God. That means we have no self-worth, and whatever worth we have is only due to the Holy Spirit living in us. The only good that you can attribute to yourself is that which God has given you, and that you have no worth or value or goodness or anything worth saving apart from God – and not just any God, but the correct God.

    I also believed whole-heartedly that we deserve hell – each and every one of us. Brad, do you also believe this? Do you believe that without the correct belief of God, you deserve hell? Not are you going to hell, but do you *deserve* hell? Will you tell your wife that? Will you tell your children that? When you become ordained, will you tell your congregation that they deserve damnation simply because they are human?

  • 17. Richard  |  November 17, 2007 at 11:39 am

    HeIsSaling: “That is exactly what I was taught, and what I believed. That we have no worth outside of God. That means we have no self-worth, and whatever worth we have is only due to the Holy Spirit living in us. The only good that you can attribute to yourself is that which God has given you, and that you have no worth or value or goodness or anything worth saving apart from God…. ”

    — Damn straight. Thats is exactly the issue. Thank you for staing it so succinctly. This effectly ties the believers self esteem with being a believer. Which is what makes it so hard to de-convert.

    Brad — It is a mighty fine line between saying we have ultimate worth, as creatures, yet because of our actions, we deserve infinite torment. How bad must one’s actions be for this to be true?

    “Human life has no intrinsic worth because there’s no God. OR
    Human life has no intrinsic worth because there is a God.
    Boy, is this the ultimate “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation?”

    Actually, wouldnt it be “damned if you do, not damned if you dont? ;)

    Richard

  • 18. OneSmallStep  |  November 17, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    HIS,

    I will be honest, I am not sure I agree with your entire premise about the actions of those who don’t believe in the worth of people, probably because I have never thought of it before. But you very well may have something there

    I don’t think you’d see this in the action of every person who doesn’t believe in the worth of people, because of other control factors, such as repercussions for breaking the law. But when I think of tyrannical societies, one of the big drivers I see really does come down to worth. For anti-women, it’s because women have less worth, and don’t deserve what men have, and so it’s okay to treat them as less, or punish them. For kings, the peasants had less worth, and so why bother extending love or kindness? If I just look at myself, and if I start thinking that everyone around me doesn’t deserve love but deserves anti-love, then how long will it be before I stop loving them or acting loving to them?

    But we still have great worth because of who we are and who made us (not due to merit).

    But isn’t that merit? We merit love, because we are the image-bearers of God? The first two definitions of merit are “the state, fact, or quality of deserving well or ill; worth, value, excellence.” I’m not sure that concept of worth and merit can be divorced like that. After all, our children merit our love because they are our children, our creation, and the hope and goodness we see in them. Why can’t humanity merit God’s love because of the goodness in them? We do have worth based on our actions/behavior, because both dictate where our heart truly lies. If our actions show us helping people, then our belief is that it’s a good thing to do. There’s merit in that.

    One thing that might be interesting to explore is to determine how/why God has worth. I’ve seen in a few responses to posts that God is good because it’s His nature and such, and can only do good, or merits worship because of His nature. If taking the Bible as inerrant, then it can be hard to determine the goodness based on actions, because of how God’s actions are across the board. So it’s almost like God has worth because of who He is, and not what He does, because it can’t always be determined by what He does (if taking the Bible inerrantly. Or looking at things that happen in the world). If we compare that to people have no worth based on actions, there starts to be a lot of similarities. People and God aren’t judged based on actions, but simply on a state of nature.

  • 19. ESVA  |  November 17, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    loopyloo350 said:
    In my beliefs, no one deserves Hell. It exists as a punishment.

    I’m sorry, but this idea makes no sense to me. The fact that a place of punishment exists implies that there have been, are, and/or will be, people who deserve to be punished. Otherwise, why bother building a place to punish them?

    Orthodox Christian teachings about who deserves such horrific punishment are terrifying. One need not be a particularly bad specimen of humanity, one merely needs to have the misfortune to hold some mistaken beliefs, to merit eternal, never-ending misery. This is an unspeakably evil doctrine that contradicts the Christian portrayal of itself as a religion of love.

  • 20. karen  |  November 17, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    This one hit home with me also. I’ve come to the conclusion that the doctrine of original sin – that we are worthless, “filthy rags” who can do nothing and be nothing without god’s saving grace and Jesus’ sacrifice – is pure poison for a lot of people.

    It certainly was for me, and it is for my husband and my Christian friends, even as they cling to it. I think the problem comes down to this basic dichotomy:

    As a Christian, one is supposed to be part of god’s family and beloved of him and so precious that he sacrificed his own son to save us. That realization gives us joy.

    BUT, simultaneously we have the underlying, unshakable belief that we’re absolutely worthless in and of ourselves. Our efforts without god are puny. Any accomplishments we eke out have to be attributed to his help and completely denied as being part of our own effort or worth.

    I guess some Christians are able to overcome that negativity or they just don’t take it all that seriously, I don’t know. But it’s very hard for some people not to let that thinking kill their self-esteem!

    For instance, it took me several years after my initial doubting to be able to even THINK things like, “I’m a pretty good person!” or “I’m really proud of the effort I put into that project!” let alone say them out loud. Patting myself on the back, giving myself a modicum of credit for my hard work or good intentions was completely foreign to me. However, criticizing myself, thinking about how sinful I was, or how short of the mark I had fallen – all of that was constantly in my mind.

    Of course, if I forgot any of that for a moment, it was reinforced at church, bible study, etc where there was a heavy emphasis on examining our consciences, confessing all our sin (mostly sins of pride!) and debasing ourselves so we could be even more grateful for the saving grace we’d received so undeservedly and go out and tell others about it.

    I think it’s a recipe for really awful self-worth, and I see Christians who suffer for it all the time. I think Heather may be on to something when she talks about how that attitude is poisonous for society too, though I hadn’t really considered that wider application before.

  • 21. loopyloo350  |  November 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    In the religions I was raised in and studied later in life, Hell is reservered for those God decides deserve it. What would be the point of all who do not believe going to Hell? Rewards are given to those that deserve them, the resurrection is simply the time when all things come to an end except for a chosen few. The rest simply cease to exist. If you don’t believe in ressurection, it does not preclude you from anything. Your ideas of religion sound more like abuse than love and I can understand why you have taken different paths. I truly hope no one deserves Hell, but to be truthful, in my cowardly heart, there are one or two, whom I hope God gives them the punishment they deserve that they never got in life. For those few, I hope there is a hell, and if that is not true, then at least until I die, I have my faith to give me comfort from those monsters. That is my choice and I would not force it on anyone and if you never meet monsters in your life, appreciate how lucky you are. Peace

  • 22. Quester  |  November 17, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    That’s a nice belief, Loopyloo, but I wonder if you have any scriptural support for it, or believe that no such support is necessary. It doesn’t match up with any interpretations of Christianity I’ve ever come across (including Alliance, Baptist, Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and the Salvation Army).

  • 23. loopyloo350  |  November 17, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Yes, I do! It’s is what I was taught as Jehova’s Witness. But there are Churches that preach the same, Assembly of God for one, Church of Christ has some similar beliefs. I personally believe that while the Bible is a very good first step and reference guide, God did not mean for us to stay static and limited in our faiths. We are constantly growing and changing, and God is not limited by what was written. We are always being renewed. The world is renewed every day, could we expect no less in our faith?

  • 24. karen  |  November 17, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    I truly hope no one deserves Hell, but to be truthful, in my cowardly heart, there are one or two, whom I hope God gives them the punishment they deserve that they never got in life. For those few, I hope there is a hell, and if that is not true, then at least until I die, I have my faith to give me comfort from those monsters.

    What could anyone do in this short, finite life that would deserve eternal torment? The worst punishment we can give to the most evil, cruel mass-murderer – death – absolutely pales in comparison to torturing someone hideously for eons and eons and eons and eons and …. you get my drift.

    At some point, isn’t justice served? Doesn’t the torment EVER pay for the crime? In our own society we don’t officially sanction torture – (or at least we didn’t until the present administration) – because that is deemed cruel and unusual punishment.

    What does it say about god that he doesn’t stack up to our own puny human ideals of justice?

  • 25. loopyloo350  |  November 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Karen, I am not someone who believes in execution, but paradoxal as it may be, yes, I believe there are those that were given every chance and managed to get through this life without punishment. These few had many chances to do good but the ones they hurt can never recover what was lost. If it stopped with them, perhaps I could say, let it go. But there are some few, whose deeds are still causing pain and torment for at least three generations. Some pain and damage goes way to deep. Can I, who have faith, forgive when my beliefs ask that I do so?No

  • 26. loopyloo350  |  November 17, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    And who knows if redemption is possible for everyone. Does evil die?

  • 27. Quester  |  November 18, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Is redemption necessary for anyone? Does evil exist?

  • 29. Daquine  |  November 18, 2007 at 2:24 am

    I think that saying, “I deserve Hell” is a valid point. I think any believer would feel that at some point in their life. I do at times.

    Daquine
    http://www.prayerquake.net

  • 30. HeIsSailing  |  November 18, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Daquine, welcome!

    From your blog:

    To be honest, I think the idea of not feeling worthy of anything more than Hell is human nature. There are many times I feel this way too.

    To me, this is truly sad, that you would sometimes think that never ending torture needs to be inflicted on yourself. I don’t think it is human nature to wish that kind of punishment on yourself. It may be human nature to wish Hell on *others* sometimes, but yourself? Especially with all the communion that you do with God through ‘praise, thanksgiving the the Lord’s Prayer’.

    Can you explain why you think this is human nature?

  • 31. HeIsSailing  |  November 18, 2007 at 9:30 am

    loopyloo confesses:

    I believe there are those that were given every chance and managed to get through this life without punishment.

    WoW! To me this is a fascinating statement. I know nothing about you loopyloo, so forgive my presumption – but I think this kind of attitude probably *is* human nature (as opposed to Daquine above), especially from those who have been terribly hurt in life. And I also think this is attitude is the genesis, the root idea that is found in so many religious beliefs – the problem of ultimate justice. If you have been wronged and hurt in life by people that just seem to get off scottfree for their abusive and immoral actions, surely their will be ultimate justice done. If not here, then in the next life, or in the afterlife. Will God punish those people who have wronged us? We sometimes hope so, so maybe there is a Lake of Fire that God will throw them into in the afterlife. Maybe they will come back as a bug in the next life, because they have lived such a crooked life in this one. Thus, these various religions are fueled by the need for ultimate justice.

    I don’t know – It jus seems to me that we see the need for things like hell perpetuated right there in loopyloo’s comment. Very interesting! Of course, that in no way says there is a hell, or punishment, or ultimate justice, but that desire is certainly there for some.

  • 32. びっくり  |  November 18, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I don’t understand your base assumption that “I deserve Hell” equals “no feelings of self-worth”. The mere fact that God desires to spare me from what I have earned sure makes me feel special. But, I suppose if you are a person who believes that you are perfect, you certainly would never care about God. I however, have pondered all the unpleasant things I’ve done to my fellow man and don’t try to pretend that my desire to do good, somehow makes the harm disappear.

    I agree that this phrase by itself, is not the best approach to evangelism.

  • 33. HeIsSailing  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:07 am

    ‘Bikkuri’ wrote:

    …have pondered all the unpleasant things, I’ve done to my fellow man and don’t try to pretend that my desire to do good, somehow makes the harm disappear.

    Neither do I think so. But how does God’s revenge of everlasting hellfire make the harm disappear?

  • 34. OneSmallStep  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:22 am

    But, I suppose if you are a person who believes that you are perfect, you certainly would never care about God.

    But doesn’t evangelical Christianity say that because one is an imperfect sinner, which has translated into breaking God’s laws, one deserves hell? Imperfection now translates into caring about God, who is saying one has to be perfect in the first place or be punished eternally?

  • 35. HeIsSailing  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Heather asks:

    But doesn’t evangelical Christianity say that because one is an imperfect sinner, which has translated into breaking God’s laws, one deserves hell?

    I know you are not asking me this question, but I think you don’t have this quite right. It is even worse than what you make it out. Most Christian teaching that I have heard says that we do not deserve hell because we sin. Rather, we deserve hell because we are sinners. In other words, we sin because we are sinners, and are sinners from the moment of conception. It is not because of any sin that we have committed that inflicts God’s wrath on us, rather it is our very nature which inflicts God’s wrath on us.

    In other words, the Christian believes that a person merits eternal damnation from the moment that they are born, and some push that back further to the moment of conception.

    No wonder later theologians balked and cooked up the ‘age of accountability’!!

  • 36. loopyloo350  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Quester asks: Is redemption necessary? Does evil exist? My answer to both is “yes”. If not, why would we ever be conflicted when and if we caused harm to another person. Or if that principle held then no one could cause harm to another.Have you never regretted you actions and felt to had to do something to make the one you hurt feel better? I’m not even considering the big things here, but just the little, without morals we would need no redemption. And it is those who have no morals that are truly evil. I am not capable of justly juding those, my tendancy is to fear and hate them for what they have done. At the same time I am personally conflicted with my feelings and struggle to seperate them from the rest of my life. Does evil exist? I wish the answer were no, sadly, evil exists, sometimes it hides in plain sight.

  • 37. OneSmallStep  |  November 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    HIS,

    It was more of an “out there” question, so quite all right that you chimed in. :)

    Most Christian teaching that I have heard says that we do not deserve hell because we sin. Rather, we deserve hell because we are sinners. In other words, we sin because we are sinners, and are sinners from the moment of conception.

    To me, this seems to be saying the same thing. If we sin because we are sinners, and thus deserve hell because we are sinners, wouldn’t we also deserve hell because we sin? It just makes no sense to me to say that one sins because one is a sinner, when the very definition of sinner is “one who sins.”

    The way it usually seems to come across is that God’s laws are perfect because God requires perfection — which is lack of sin — in order allow one into heaven. Even breaking one law is enough to condemn one to hell. Since we are imperfect creatures (and are born that way), we are automatically condemned to hell, and it was through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice that anyone can get into heaven. Which really comes down to God requires perfection from imperfect creatures. So it just seems a little off to me to say that if we thought we were perfect, we wouldn’t need God, when God is requiring perfection in the first place. Because what can be twisted from that is a bleak picture of God, in that one was deliberatly created imperfectly, in order that humanity could glorify God by realizing how much one needs God’s help. It’s like when people have mentioned that they used to pray for bad things to happen to the “lost” so the lost would see how much they need God.

  • 38. karen  |  November 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Karen, I am not someone who believes in execution, but paradoxal as it may be, yes, I believe there are those that were given every chance and managed to get through this life without punishment. These few had many chances to do good but the ones they hurt can never recover what was lost. If it stopped with them, perhaps I could say, let it go. But there are some few, whose deeds are still causing pain and torment for at least three generations. Some pain and damage goes way to deep.

    Yes, I understand that this deep sense of unrequited justice and reward is one of the powerful draws of supernatural belief. Those who suffered unjustly in this life go to a paradise where ultimately they’ll be rewarded. Those who acted terribly and got off scot free will eventually be made to pay for their crimes.

    Accepting that there is no big law giver in the sky who will someday balance all the accounts and right all the wrongs is one of the “grieving points” of deconversion. I’ve interacted with some liberal Christians who basically have said they would be agnostics but for their deep-seated need to believe in a future justice event that “makes sense” of humanity’s plight.

    But loopyloo, what I want to ask you is this: I agree, there are monstrous people – powerful dictators typically – whose crimes reverberate for several generations. But even these monsters do not have infinite power to affect humanity. Their hurt fades after perhaps three generations, or 10 generations or certainly 20 or 30 generations.

    And yet hell is ETERNAL. 30 generations isn’t even a blink of an eye in hell. There is nothing that I can imagine that anyone could do – not even Hitler or Pol Pot – that would deserve eternal torment. Think about it.

    And then remember that the fundamentalist hell is not reserved only for murderous despots, it’s a place where ANY nonbeliever in Jesus goes. That includes every child, woman, man raised in a different religious belief system. That includes great humanitarians like Gandhi, who much admired the human teacher Jesus but did not accept his divinity.

    The doctrine of hell is a miserable concept that needs to be purged, period.

  • 39. loopyloo350  |  November 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    I cede your point but must point out that your term “fundamentalist” applies here. Not Christian, and few in my beliefs, are chosen for reward and few are chosen for punishment. I’m sorry, but the “fundamentalist” belief truly baffles me. I realize how hard it is to turn away from the way you were raised and I admire you for looking at it objectively, but hard as it may sound, I am 56 years old and yes, there are people who deserve eternal punishment. My faith tells me that nothing is beyond redemption, and I hope that is true, but my heart tells me, and I have personally seen, that there are those that go to their graves happy in the memories of the pain they have caused. If death did not faze them, and they were not held accountable here, then, yes I hope they are held accountable somewhere and sometime. Whether it is reincarnation, and perhaps living the lives they harmed, or eternal damnation, I truly do not care. If this precludes me from going to Heaven, it is not something I have ever strived for.

  • 40. heatlight  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    He is Sailing said: “The key word there though, is *me*. I knew that it was *me* who was benefiting from this, because let’s face it, the vast bulk of humanity was not benefiting because they had the wrong belief.”

    You see, I don’t believe that – I think that Christ for ALL of humanity, whether or not it is ‘efficacious’ to salvation – think of the other benefits the Christian faith has bestowed on humanity.

  • […] when reading through a post at de-conversion.com, I saw one aspect of my old faith that I was never as a Christian able to reconcile. Dear reader, I […]

  • 42. dean  |  November 19, 2007 at 4:18 am

    HIS…
    i think somewhere up there you said you used to be a calvinist (after 41 comments read, i could be totally off on that, but you did say something that leads me to believe you are at least very familiar with calvinism). so in regards to total depravity, surely you understand that it does not mean that people are as evil as they can possibly be, but rather it means that we as humans are unable to do anything to save ourselves. we were indeed created in God’s image, but because of the fall of man in the garden, we now possess a sin nature that has been passed down from that time forward.

    i believe the proper focus to have on this is that God does still indeed think so much of us that He was willing to sacrifice His perfect, sinless Son on the cross to cover our sin and make a way for us to be reconciled to Him. If God was mainly interested in annihilating us, He would never have bothered with that.

    also, in matthew 25 Jesus was clear that hell was not originally prepared as a destination for people, but rather for the devil and his angels.

    i don’t think i’ve really said anything that is any big news, or anythng that you didnt at one time believe, but i just wanted to share with you why i don’t believe that my life is value-less…it was worth every drop of blood that coursed through Jesus’ veins.

  • 43. HeIsSailing  |  November 19, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Dean, I was not formally a Calvinist, but as I later studied it, I found that many but not all of my beliefs fell in line with Calvinist theology. I believed in total depravity, irresistable grace and eternal security, or perseverance. I had a real hard time with things like limited atonement because the thought of predestination made me a little queezy.

  • 44. bry0000000  |  November 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I wish I had that mentality when I was a Christian. I could have saved so many hurt feelings and friendships.

  • 45. dean  |  November 20, 2007 at 2:11 am

    HIS…

    i too have problems with certain aspects of calvinism, particularly limited atonement and irresistible grace. i believe we were created with free will to accept or reject the salvation offered through Christ’s death on the cross.

    limited atonement simply makes no sense to me at all, and no, i do not buy into the weak-kneed, lovey-dovey kind of God. i believe He is sovereign and can do as He pleases, but even within His sovereignty, it makes no sense to me that he would only offer salvation to some and not to others. i may be rather simple-minded, but i’ve yet to have it explained to me why we are to evangelize and share the gospel when God is only going to save those whom He has already decided to save. 1 timothy 2:3-4 says that God desires that ALL MEN be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, so i do not get how calvinists square this with the offering of salvation only to a select few.

    i do however, also believe in eternal security of the believer. which puts me at this point in the discussion of de-conversion… and i’m sure this has been batted around here more than anyone wishes to re-hash… but in light of eternal security, i would say that either a de-convert was not a Christian to begin with, or else they can de-convert all they want, but nobody can take a Christian out of God’s hand. i know that is a rather irritating statement to many here, but it’s what i believe. so…

    (and not trying to be a wiseguy here at all; this is a totally sincere question)… if in the end there truly is an afterlife (of course, i believe there is) and you find yourself in heaven after you die, are you going to feel mad? disappointed? betrayed? relieved? thankful?

  • 46. Dan Marvin  |  November 20, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    “I deserve Hell”. Do Christians really believe this?

    The truth is even I (me) deserves hell. I am a wretched sinner and deserve hell and that is why we need a savior

    Jesus isn’t hear for peace, but justice!

    I ask you, are you a sinner? Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, coveted, or been angry with someone unjustly? If so, then you have broken the Law of God. God has said “You shall not steal; You shall not lie; You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not murder, etc.,” (Exodus 20). He has given the standard of righteousness and if you have broken any of God’s commandments then you have fallen short of that standard and are under the inevitable judgment of God. When you die, you will face Him and on the Day of Judgment He will punish all sinners.

    This is the message of God’s word — that Jesus came to die for sinners and to save them from the wrath to come.

    Jesus is the One you need. He alone. Not your works (Rom. 3:10-12; Isaiah 64:6). Not your sincerity. Not your goodness. You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness. It is only by the love and grace of God found in Jesus and His sacrifice that you can be delivered from the righteous wrath of God upon all who have broken His law. Jesus saves you from God.

    For the unrepentant sinner:

    The Bible describes hell as unquenchable fire,(Mark 9:43) outer darkness,(Matthew 22:13) a furnace of fire and a place where people wail and gnash their teeth,(Matthew 13:42) and a lake of fire.(Revelation 20:15) where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched,(Mark 9:48) and where people are in agony in flames.(Luke 16:24) Perhaps the most terrifying passage in the Bible describing hell says that men will “drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night.” (Revelation 14:10-11)

    That should make all of us have fear, like a child fears a spanking if they run out in the street after the parent told them not to.(milk) When the child grows up then the child understand the perfect love and doesn’t fear the spankings but honors and respects the parent.(meat).

    1 Corinthians 3:2 “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”

    Hebrews 5:11-13 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

    A proud unrepentant man needs the milk of hell and damnation and lake of fire talk. After you grow up understanding the Lord and you are ‘born again’ you don’t fear the punishment anymore because it isn’t for you, it’s for the sinners. Do you fear going to jail for a DUI when you sit at home drinking a glass of water? Of course not that is absurd, but if you were drinking scotch all day and then get behind the wheel then yes be afraid be very afraid. It is wise to face you heavenly Father in fear when you have broken His law. When you Repent (turn away from sin, turn away from breaking His laws. 1 John 3:4) and Trust and Faith in Jesus that he washed you clean and took your punishment for you, then you are forgiven and no longer need be afraid of Him but you respect and love Him for teaching you and you chose not to live to break His laws out of honor and respect, not fear anymore.

  • 47. Dan Marvin  |  November 20, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    We must not give the gospel until the soil is ready for the seed. Yes Jesus is gentle but only to the saved, right? For the wicked they will meet a very different God, one that is of justice and they will see God’s wrath they stored up in their sinning (transgressing of God’s Laws)

    “A blind sinner is unwittingly headed for the edge of a thousand-foot cliff. A modern evangelist draws alongside him and says, ” Blind man, I am going to give you a wonderful gift that will give you peace.” He then hands him a CD player and adjusts some earphones over his ears. The sightless man hears “Amazing Grace” being sung by a choir of ten thousand voices. His unseeing eyes widen with delight. He smiles and says, “What you said is true. This is truly wonderful. Thank you very much.” He shakes the man’s hand, turns up the volume and his new gift, and continues walking towards the thousand-food cliff.

    What has the modern evangelist done? He has failed to awaken the blind sinner to his true plight. Instead, he has given him false peace. Now not only is the blind man still heading towards a horrible death, but he is deaf towards any further verbal warning. The message of peace has done him an unspeakable disservice.

    Millions of people have been given ‘assurance of salvation,’ yet they are strangers to biblical repentance. The Law has never awakened them. They have never been warned to turn from the cliffs of eternal destruction. Now because of the techniques of contemporary evangelism, their ears are deaf to the true message of salvation.” (wotm)

    If we understand the parable in Mark 4:3-13 then it unlocks the secret to all parables: Foolish virgin=false convert, Wise virgin=Genuine conversions. The good fish, the bad fish. The man who built his house on rock and the man who built his house on sand. The one who built his house on sand is the one who hears the word of Jesus but doesn’t keep them. False Convert.

  • 48. karen  |  November 20, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Dan, coming here and regurgitating materials from Way of the Master isn’t going to get you anywhere. Save your fingers.

    if in the end there truly is an afterlife (of course, i believe there is) and you find yourself in heaven after you die, are you going to feel mad? disappointed? betrayed? relieved? thankful?

    Wouldn’t it be impossible to be mad, disappointed, etc in heaven? I was taught that in heaven everyone feels eternal bliss, just by definition.

    Now, you might ask how we’d feel if we wound up in hell, but that seems to be a foregone conclusion as well – not too good. :-)

    I can’t say I spend any time worrying about it.

  • 49. dean  |  November 20, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    karen…

    you are of course correct in your assessment of heaven… i guess the better way to have worded the question would have been along the lines of somehow finding out you were headed to a place (heaven) that you went to great pains – intellectually, emotionally and spiritually – to try and de-bunk for the better part (or at least the latter part) of your earthly life.

    hopefully the indescribable joy of knowing that you would be spending eternity in heaven would far outweigh the crummy feeling one often gets when one is proven wrong :-)

  • 50. karen  |  November 20, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    hopefully the indescribable joy of knowing that you would be spending eternity in heaven would far outweigh the crummy feeling one often gets when one is proven wrong :-)

    Either that, or the joy of schaudenfreude that the other residents of heaven would have pointing out our error would make us joyful by proxy. :-)

  • 51. Dan Marvin  |  November 21, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Karen,

    Just because you don’t like a particular someone doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. Isn’t that an ad hominem anyways. Look at what Ray said about the Law:

    That is the purpose of the Law. We can see the work of God’s Law illustrated in civil law. Watch what often happens on a freeway when there is no visible sign of the law. See how motorists exceed the speed limit. It would seem that each speeder says to himself that the law has forgotten to patrol this part of the freeway. He is transgressing the law by only fifteen miles and hour- and besides, he isn’t the only one doing it.

    Notice, however, what happens when the law enters the fast lane with red lights flashing. The speeder’s heart misses a beat. He is no longer secure in the fact that other motorists are also speeding. He knows that he is personally guilty, and he could be the one the officer pulls over. Suddenly, his “mere” fifteen-MPH transgression doesn’t seem such a small thing after all. It seems abound.

    Now look at the freeway of sin. The whole world naturally goes with the flow. Who hasn’t had a lustful thought at one time or another? Who in today’s society doesn’t tell the occasional “white” lie? Who hasn’t taken something that belongs to someone else, even if it’s a “white-collar” crime? They know they are doing wrong, but their security lies in the fact that so many others are just as guilty, if not more so. It seems that God has forgotten all about sin and the Ten Commandments. He “has said in his heart,’God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see'”(Psalm 10:11).

    Now watch the Law enter with red lights flashing. The sinner’s heart is stopped. He places his hand on his mouth. He examines the speedometer of his conscience. Suddenly, it shows him the measure of his guilt in a new light-the light of the Law. His sense of security in the fact that there are multitudes doing the same thing becomes irrelevant because every man will give an account of himself to God. Sin not only becomes personal, it seems to “abound.” The law shows him that his mere lust becomes adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:27-28); his white lies become false witness; his own way becomes rebellion and a violation for the First Commandment; his hatred becomes murder in God’s sight (1 John 3:15); his “sticky fingers” make him a thief. “Moreover the Law entered that the offense might abound.” Without introduction of the Law, sin is neither personal, nor is it a threat: “For without the Law sin is dead (the sense of it’s inactive and a lifeless thing)” (Romans 7:8) (wotm)

    “A blind sinner is unwittingly headed for the edge of a thousand-foot cliff. A modern evangelist draws alongside him and says, ” Blind man, I am going to give you a wonderful gift that will give you peace.” He then hands him a CD player and adjusts some earphones over his ears. The sightless man hears “Amazing Grace” being sung by a choir of ten thousand voices. His unseeing eyes widen with delight. He smiles and says, “What you said is true. This is truly wonderful. Thank you very much.” He shakes the man’s hand, turns up the volume and his new gift, and continues walking towards the thousand-food cliff.

    What has the modern evangelist done? He has failed to awaken the blind sinner to his true plight. Instead, he has given him false peace. Now not only is the blind man still heading towards a horrible death, but he is deaf towards any further verbal warning. The message of peace has done him an unspeakable disservice.

    Millions of people have been given ‘assurance of salvation,’ yet they are strangers to biblical repentance. The Law has never awakened them. They have never been warned to turn from the cliffs of eternal destruction. Now because of the techniques of contemporary evangelism, their ears are deaf to the true message of salvation.” (wotm)

    If we understand the parable in Mark 4:3-13 then it unlocks the secret to all parables: Foolish virgin=false convert, Wise virgin=Genuine conversions. The good fish, the bad fish. The man who built his house on rock and the man who built his house on sand. The one who built his house on sand is the one who hears the word of Jesus but doesn’t keep them. False Convert.

    Have you lied ever? (9th Commandment), Stolen anything ever? (8th Commandment). Well then you are wicked and deserve hell, but it is the grace of God that allows us to be saved and not perish. That is how much God loves you. I love you enough to tell you the truth. It takes far more love to confront then to ignore the situation, perfect love is a constant confronter. I hope you all see the power of God’s Grace someday before it is too late. The end times are near and I want to hug all of you in heaven someday and I will pray for that to to come to fruition.

  • 52. Dan Marvin  |  November 21, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    God came as a man here on earth to pay for all your sins. By sins I mean breaking the Ten Commandments which are God’s law. The law was made as a mirror for us. In the same way, we don’t realize what a bad state we are in until we look into the “mirror” of the Ten Commandments.(Romans 7:7) Have you stolen, lied, dishonored your mother and father etc. then you broke his laws, and the penalty is death. Revelation 21:8 says all liars have their part in the lake of fire. But God doesn’t want that to happen to you, nor do I.

    Jesus died on the cross so that he took the punishment for the sins of this world for your sins and my sins; he was being bruised for our iniquities, the Bible says. He was paying our fines in his life’s blood so we can leave the courtroom on the Day of Judgment. He rose from the grave and defeated death. What we have to do is repent, which is turn away from sinning and trust in Jesus, that He died on that Cross for your sins and put your faith in him. Let him lead your life, then you will be forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life. Isn’t that great news!

    God’s word declares that this is God’s plan of salvation; 1. Hear the WORD of God. 2. Believe that Jesus is the Messiah. 3. Repent of your ways that are contrary to God’s will. 4. Be Baptized INTO Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 5. Remain faithful to the Covenant you have made with God.

  • 53. Thinking Ape  |  November 21, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Dan begins his tiresome crusade:

    Just because you don’t like a particular someone doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. Isn’t that an ad hominem anyways.

    Dan, where did Karen ever say she “doesn’t like someone”? Are you referring to yourself or to God (although it is beginning to seem like you are conflating the two – as humble as you both are). If Karen had said that what you were saying wasn’t true because “you suck” or something of that sort, that would be an ad hominem. But since she didn’t and you somehow came to believe that by her telling you to “save your fingers” (perhaps sarcastically compassionate, but no less sincere than someone condemning another to hell only to save them from it), you have found yourself in a non sequiter.

    Dan continues,

    Look at what Ray said about the Law:

    That is the purpose of the Law.

    What? Any paragraph, much less an argument, that starts like that is bound to have some issues. “Ray” starts by saying, matter of factly, that something is the purpose of the law, without telling us the purpose of the law – and then continues on to tell us meaningless anecdotes without telling us what he started with.

    The rest of the drivel in your first post completely disregards any attention to the initial article. Big surprise. You use Biblical sources to tell us that we are sinners, when you are willing just stating the obvious – we aren’t perfect and we are flawed. Instead of accepting that and trying to learn from it to become a better person, you would rather believe in a life philosophy that tells you that the flaws of men equals eternity in hell… unless you grovel to a God that is just as immoral and devious as we are!

    Dan continues to regurgitate material the majority of us learned as babes, children, teenagers, seminary students, etc.:

    God came as a man here on earth to pay for all your sins.

    Quote your source please! The evidence of Jesus being part of some fabricated “Trinity” or of equal divinity to God pales in comparison to opposing evidence, even in your own scriptures! No wonder those of the Jewish and Islamic traditions shake their head at the blasphemy and absurdity of the Herculean god-man!

    Dan gets a little dry in the middle but goes out with a punch!

    God’s word declares that this is God’s plan of salvation; 1. Hear the WORD of God. 2. Believe that Jesus is the Messiah. 3. Repent of your ways that are contrary to God’s will. 4. Be Baptized INTO Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 5. Remain faithful to the Covenant you have made with God.

    Hear what “Word” – a Bible plagued with contradictions? Believe a revisionist prophecy? Repent of sins that are tamer than those of Yahweh himself? What sort of baptism is your flavour? Faithful to God that may ask me to kill my own child or obliterate a nation, raping women and killing children?
    I doubt it.

  • 54. Dan Marvin  |  November 23, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Thinking Ape “Hear what “Word” – a Bible plagued with contradictions?”

    A contradiction occurs when one statement makes another statement impossible, when both statements deal with the same topic at the same time. For example, in my right pocket is a set of car keys. In my right pocket there is no set of car keys. Both statements cannot be true at the same time. Therefore, to state that both are true, is to state a contradiction.

    If one Gospel account says two people went to Jesus’ tomb, and another says that one went, it is not a contradiction because the accounts do not say that only one went, or only two went. If one account said that only one went, then two could not have gone, and that would be a contradiction.

    One of the most common examples of a supposed contradiction is the account relating the death of Judas: How did Judas die; by hanging or falling down?

    By hanging (Matthew 27:3-8): “Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself!’ 5And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.’ 7And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

    By falling(Acts 1:16-19): “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17’For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.’ 18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)”

    There is no contradiction here at all, because both are true. Remember, a contradiction occurs when one statement excludes the possibility of another. What happened here is that Judas hung himself, and then his body later fell down and split open. In other words, the rope or branch of the tree probably broke due to the weight; his body fell down, and his bowels spilled out. Also, notice that Matt. 27:3-8 tells us specifically how Judas died, by hanging. Acts 1:16-19 merely tells us that he fell headlong, and his bowels gushed out. Acts does not tell us that this is the means of his death, but Matthew does.

    Most importantly we must look at things in context. In Matt. 5:48, Jesus says, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Sometimes people will quote a verse like this, and say that because it is impossible to accomplish, the Bible asks you to do impossible things, and therefore, it cannot be from God. The answer, of course, is found in the context, Matt. 5:43-48:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Notice that the context is dealing with loving all people equally. This is what it means to be perfect. It means to be perfect in loving others, and it is a noble thing to strive for. Therefore, this is not speaking about perfection as God is perfect, but it is urging people to love as God loves – equally.

    Please Thinking Ape, point out any contradictions and I would be more then happy to do my best to clear things up for you.

    The fact is, the copies of the Biblical manuscripts are not perfect. These copy errors account for several alleged contradictions. For example, how many charioteers were killed by David – 700 or 7000? In 2 Samuel 10:18 it says, 700, but in 1 Chronicles 19:18, it says 7,000. This is an example of a copyist error. Notice how the number is off by a single zero; that is, by a single notation of a digit. According to Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, by Gleason Archer, page 382, regarding the characters used to designate numbers, “Nun final , was mistaken for dotted Zayin ,” would account for the copyist error in the text. Most probably, the correct number is 7,000 charioteers.” Therefore, we can admit that there are copyist errors, though minor and infrequent. I must also point out that inspiration deals with the autographs (the original writings), not the copies. We have copies of inspired documents.

    Some years ago, a lawyer by the name of Frank Morison wrote a book with the title, “Who Moved The Stone?” He set out with the purpose of disproving the resurrection, of proving that Christ did not really rise from the grave. But the book turned out to be entirely different. It is a searching study of the Scriptural story of Christ’s crucifixion, death and resurrection. He makes the unquestionable point that the resurrection is a historical fact. Lawyer-like, he disposes, one after another, of the dozens of theories invented to account for the removal of the body from the tomb. For example: the gardener took away Christ’s body so the curious would not trample his flowers, Joseph of Arimathea took away Christ’s body because he regretted giving his grave to an acknowledged criminal, and Jesus recovered from a death-like faint on the cross, and pushed the stone away Himself.

  • 55. karen  |  November 23, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Look at what Ray said about the Law

    I have no interest in what Ray Comfort says about the law or anything else.

    I was misguided in encouraging you to save your fingers, however. I just realized that you don’t exercise them typing in any original thoughts that might add to our discussion here. You just cut and paste, typically without attribution.

    That’s not only a waste of your/our time, it’s also unethical. (Sorry for being so cranky folks, but I’ve run into Dan four or five times now around the atheist blogosphere and he really gets tiresome.)

  • 56. LeoPardus  |  November 24, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Sorry for being so cranky folks, but I’ve run into Dan four or five times now around the atheist blogosphere and he really gets tiresome.

    Tiresome is the word for sure. Fortunately I only needed to read a small amount of any of his drivel to recognize it as drivel.
    No thought, No originality. No nothing. Just a parrot squawking what he’s been trained to say.

    I wonder if fundamentalism, in any belief system doesn’t eventually have the effect of bringing its adherents to a sort of state of “mushin”. That translates as “no mind”. It’s a state where one does not react with thought at all. Normally it’s considered as a combat state of mind. Hmmmm….. sort of fits don’t it? Mindless combat.

  • 57. Thinking Ape  |  November 24, 2007 at 2:48 am

    Dan, the reason I did not give a list of contradictions is because you will not see a contradiction. I know this because I have seen things from your perspective. I see that this appears to be the only problem you have with my response to you.

    For those who actually care about Biblical contradictions, whether theologically, historically, or literarily significant or not, please check out http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

  • 58. Thinking Ape  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:19 am

    Oh yea, the above link is not an in-depth look into contradictions. Nothing is challenging for a true theologian and would have never convinced me, but they are still contradictions.

    If someone wants to find the real contradictions, just read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Compare the books. Compare the authors. Compare the differences. See how Paul changes his mind. See how later Christians become less apocolyptic when they realize the world wasn’t going to end in their lifetime like Jesus said and then make up excuses why he was wrong. l. Look at why the chronology of Luke-Acts doesn’t mesh with Paul’s own writings. Try and look at what Jesus preached and then compare it to Paul. And then compare that to the pseudo-Pauline letters. And then compare that James. And then compare that to Hebrews and finally Revelation. Stop cherry picking verses to fit a theological model. Not one theologian has ever made sense of the entirety of the New Testament, much less the whole Bible. Christians even had to rearrange the Jewish scriptures, which ended with 2 Chronicles, to Malachi to support their warped sense of prophetic fulfillment.

  • 59. Yueheng  |  November 24, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Dan wrote thus:

    I must also point out that inspiration deals with the autographs (the original writings), not the copies.

    Ah, the age old iron-clad defence for apologists of Biblical inerrancy: The original manuscripts are inspired and free of errors! But it would be quite obvious to those with a passing knowledge of the Bible’s history that the original manuscripts are lost to history. No one (And surely that includes you, Dan) who has made the claim that the autographs are infallible have actually managed to seen them. Is this not dishonesty? How can one preach Truth with lies?

    According to Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus – The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible And Why, there are more than 5,700 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament at last count (2005) and there is an estimated 200,000-400,000 variants in this manuscript. Some of these variants are due to accidents by scribes and some, Ehrman suggested in his work, are intentional changes by scribes. For example, there are manuscripts in Matthew 24:36 where Jesus predicts that no one, not the angels in heaven “nor even the Son” would know the exact hour of the end of the age. That knowledge is only for the Father to know. But there are also manuscripts where the “nor even the Son” is absent. Ehrman suggests that this was removed by scribes who had a problem with reconciling the idea that the Son of God could be ignorant of something.

    Another example of a theologically-motivated alteration cited by Ehrman is Romans 16:7 where some manuscripts have Paul writing of a woman by the name of Junias and a man named Andronicus (perhaps her husband) as being “foremost among the apostles.” (“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and fellow prisoners, who are foremost among the apostles.”) Ehrman suggests that some scribes, having problems with a woman being named as an apostle, altered the wording of the text, which explains why there are alternate manuscripts that read: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives; and also greet my fellow prisoners who are foremost among the apostles.” With a change of a few words, the woman Junia has become banished from the ranks of the apostles.

    Yet another example given by Ehrman: In Acts 17:4, it is written: “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.” But there are manuscripts where the text is significantly different: “And some of them were persuaded and joined with Paul and Silas,a s did a great many of the pious Greeks, along with a large number of wives of prominent men.” Ehrman suggests that: “The idea of women being prominent – let alone prominent converts – was too much for some of the scribes, and so the text came to be changed in some of the manuscripts.

    The above examples are just a tip of the iceberg in those provided in Ehrman’s fascinating book. There is compelling evidence that a significant portion of the variations in the New Testament were caused by scribes changed the manuscript to fit in with their own theological beliefs. Ehrman also provides detailed analysis of textual variations which, he theorizes, were caused by the early Church’s debate with different sects like the “Adoptionists” (those who believed that Jesus was a human being adopted by God), the “Docetists” (those who believe that Jesus was fully divine and only appeared to be human) and the “Separationists” (those who maintain that Jesus was a fully human person in whom a separate Divine Christ dwelled). Misquoting Jesus is definitely a book worth reading and pondering over.

    The belief that the Bible is the product of an infallible author seems to be negated when one surveys all the variations, errors and inconsistencies of the different manuscripts. The more likely possibility is that the Bible was written by human beings over a few centuries and saw numerous edits and amendments.

  • 60. HeIsSailing  |  November 24, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Yueheng, have you read Ehrman’s Orthodox Corruption of Scripture? It is one of my favorites, and does a scholarly, yet clear job of mapping textual variants to heresies that were prevelant during Christianity’s formative years. Check it out if you haven’t – it sounds like you would enjoy it.

  • 61. Yueheng  |  November 24, 2007 at 11:22 am

    No I have not. Will keep a look out for it. Thanks! :)

  • 62. karen  |  November 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I wonder if fundamentalism, in any belief system doesn’t eventually have the effect of bringing its adherents to a sort of state of “mushin”. That translates as “no mind”. It’s a state where one does not react with thought at all.

    I saw some of that mindlessness this morning when I smelled smoke outside and turned on the TV only to find Malibu burning again. Every time the local TV news covers these fires, they find Christians who’ve been evacuated who start testifying about how they have faith, they know god will get them through this disaster, they believe god is looking out for them and he’ll keep them safe, yadda yadda.

    Of course, as they spout this mantra (it’s almost word for word every time I hear it), the entire hillside is going up in flames right behind them!!

    Yes, yes, I understand that this “faith” is comforting during a disaster and religion is getting them through the nightmare, but honestly, if god cares about them so much why in the heck is their whole frickin’ neighborhood burning every two months!?!

    I think “mush” is a good word for the state of their brains.

  • 63. LeoPardus  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    And at the same time each of those disasters results in some folks getting killed and maimed. And the survivors still insist that God is watching out for them.

    Thank you, no. I’d rather a God who does more than just watch. :(

  • 64. Dan Marvin  |  November 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    thinking ape,

    I can help you with some of these misconceptions, if you truly want to understand God better. Instead of typing everything that counters your website that you offered, I will just add a couple of websites to counter. First there is this 101 cleared up contradictions in the Bible But I like this one also because you can click on your specific contradiction: Countering Bible Contradictions

  • 65. lostgirlfound  |  November 26, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I think Christians say things like this because 1) they think they are out of reach when it comes to that (false modesty or whatever) and 2) they believe they are somehow “superior” to whomever they are talking to, and are thinking, “If I say this thing, and the person I’m talking to knows how wonderful I am, they will surely turn from their wicked ways because they are no where near as holy as I am.”

    Maybe not. Those observations are just from person experience.

  • 66. Thinking Ape  |  November 26, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Dan, I am not going to pour over fundamentalist website grasping to keep their view of Biblical inerrancy which is in no way supported by the Bible itself. I have been there. I have engaged in apologetics. I have written the papers I needed to write to convince myself of such fallacies.
    I do not spread my message on Christian blogs or forums. I do not go out of my way to show Christians how their “God” is grossly unethical and as frivolous as the Nordic Loki or the Greek Zeus. But if I did, I would come with rational arguments and specific examples and not expect anyone to visit random “talkorigins” websites or tell them to read atheist propaganda.

    Dan, have you read the answers on those websites? Let us put down the combative labels of Christian versus non-Christian. Would you say those answers given would hold up in a court of law? Would they hold up to elementary rational inquiry? What if you could put yourself in the shoes of your intellectual opponent (which would be us) – would those answers be satisfying to you? It is always easier to find the answer you are looking for than it is to admit you might be wrong, especially if it influences every aspect of your life and ends up tearing you away from all you know and love.

    Again, if you want to engage in a dialogue of truth-seeking, than you will probably do your own research, starting with the canonization of the New Testament. But right now all I see is someone who wants to desperately prove he is right at the expense of whatever the truth may be. I could be wrong, but then again, I suppose that really is my loss, isn’t it Dan?

  • 67. Thinking Ape  |  November 26, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Oh yea, I really encourage everyone to seriously go check out those two websites Dan posted. Although they may “answer” some of the silly contradictions I said were on the Infidels website, they hardly account for the conflicting theological disasters found within both the Old and New Testaments (i.e. compare Matthew to John, Romans to Revelations, Galatians to James).

  • 68. Dan Marvin  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:00 am

    Why we should believe in the Bible?

    Textual reliability of the ancient document
    The New Testament documents are 99.5% textually pure. This is indeed an extraordinary fact since all other ancient documents do not even approach this level of accuracy.

    Retention of crucifixion wounds post event
    This would indeed be an extraordinary evidence of a resurrection to see the actual holes in Jesus’ hands and side after he had died on the crossJohn 20:27, “Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.”

    Post death appearances to many people
    It is indeed extraordinary to have someone who has died in public at an execution to appear to many people afterwards.John 20:26, “And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.” Prophetic fulfillment
    Fulfilling prophecies made hundreds of years earlier about Jesus birth, death, crucifixion, and resurrection is indeed extraordinary.

    Accounts written by eyewitnesses
    It is perfectly ordinary to have people write about what they saw. History is full of such accounts.

    No counter historic information
    There is no contradictory historical information concerning Jesus’ resurrection. This doesn’t prove anything, but when the gospels were written, people contemporary to the described events (Jews, Romans, etc.), could have easily written something refuting or correcting the resurrection account. No such writings exist. This isn’t extraordinary, but it is important.

    Jesus body is gone from the tomb
    We can see that there is sufficient reasons to believe that the Bible does indeed provide extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim; namely, the resurrection of Jesus.

    Why we should believe in Christianity instead of other religions:

    1. There are such things as absolute truths

    2. Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.

    3. Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus

    4. The Claims and Deeds of Christ

    5. Christ’s resurrection

    Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths, because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness documents (gospels) so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life. All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions — all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

    Either Jesus is true and all other religions are false or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord.

  • 69. びっくり  |  November 28, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Dan, Dan, Dan, you have made a grave error. You misunderstood that the writers and readers of this blog actually care about rational argument. If you read through this and related threads, you’ll notice that they only dispute the points they can argue or obfuscate, and ignore that which they can’t.

    Think of it much like the philosophers who argued with Galileo. They insisted they were correct because, he had not yet accounted for drag in his gravitational calculations.

    When a base assumption of an argument is questioned it is just ignored, but rest assured a smokescreen will be tossed up to cover. Of course nobody wants their fundamentals questioned; it might shake their faith.

    My advice is not to get too invested in the threads on this site. Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.

  • 70. Dan Marvin  |  November 28, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    びっくり,

    Law to the proud, grace to the humble. The pearls(gospel) is not for them at the moment they are to get the wrath of the Law. Also, I am not to choose who to try and help save I am only to preach the word in season and out of season to the lost. God will determine who to save. I must say though, I can’t stand and watch these blind people walk off a cliff. I must warn them any way I can. Even if that means tackling them. Thanks for the advice though. God bless

    Philippians 1:15-18 “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

  • 71. Thinking Ape  |  November 29, 2007 at 12:52 am

    びっくり,
    Excellent points. We do like to leave the rational arguments up to the evangelicals – just like Dan, who answered ANY of my question.

    Dan,
    Also some interesting points.

    Textual reliability of the ancient document

    99.5% pure. Could you supply some convincing data for this please. Could you also qualify what you mean by “pure” or even “reliable” for that matter? As for other ancient documents, I must doubt your level of expertise on the matter since you are, for some reason, ascribing the the validity of the ancient texts to their “accuracy.” Accuracy in what? I also must doubt your own expertise on the Bible since you treat it as if it had one author with one purpose (God, Jesus, etc.). If we want to talk about the accuracy of 2 Chronicles, let’s do it. But lets then also treat Acts with the same criticism and not try to explain away the blatant disruptions in historical evidence between Acts and Paul’s letters.

    Retention of crucifixion wounds post event

    May I ask if you are citing straight out of one of Josh McDowell’s “apologetics”? Hey びっくり, does circular reasoning fit into rational argument? Dan says here are reasons to believe the Bible is true, and then he uses a passage in that text to show its true! Dan even uses a specific book that is blatantly proto-gnostic with a highly developed Greek mythology and has little to do with and is possibly confrontational with the theology presented in Matthew’s Gospel.

    Post death appearances to many people

    Once again circular, and once again complete mythology. Dan, why do you not worship Apollonius of Tyana? You can read in Philostratus’ book “The Life of Apollonius” about how people worshipped that “Son of God” because of his flawless character, ethical teachings, healings of the sick, casting out of demons, raising of the dead, his counter-Roman views, his resurrection and bodily ascension into heaven. You can read “eyewitness” accounts of disciples who saw him physically die and rise again. Do you see why maybe it isn’t the best idea to use the Bible as proof for the “truth” of the Bible?

    Accounts written by eyewitnesses

    Are we speaking of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John? Even most Christian scholars aren’t going to take you seriously here. Every canonical gospel is unsigned. Attributions, i.e. names of the Gospels, were much later additions (note the “Early Christian Fathers” will refer to the text of A gospel without actually mentioning which one). There is no evidence to suggest that with the exception of Mark, any of the gospels were written by eyewitness accounts. As for Mark, what is the simplest possible answer: that a man who admitted to limited knowledge (Jesus not knowing the time or hour of the end things to come) predicting the destruction of the temple, OR an author whose theology is so wrapped up in the calamity of the destruction of temple and post-temple Judaism that he attributes said prophecy to a Messianic figure (just one of the many).

    No counter historic information

    First, see discussion on Apollonius. Then, see the works of Origen, a “Church Father” concerning the resurrection of Jesus. Third, don’t be like so many pseudo-church historians and actually read the works of Josephus rather than attempt to use him as evidence.

    Jesus body is gone from the tomb

    Okay, so you like using the Bible as proof for itself, I get it. Philosophically absurd as far as logic goes. Maybe it has an emotional appeal – but I doubt any of that rationally convinced you that it was true. Could you then explain to me why it is that the Bible, or at least the parts you have studied, has more historical validity than, say, the Upanishads, the Holy Teachings of the Vimalakirti, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World, the Instruction of Amen-em-opet, etc. etc. etc?

    The answer you give is baffling:

    Why we should believe in Christianity instead of other religions:
    1. There are such things as absolute truths
    2. Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.
    3. Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus
    4. The Claims and Deeds of Christ
    5. Christ’s resurrection

    1. Ummm… Judaism and Muslim faiths do not have “absolute truths?” Sir, even Mahayana Buddhism, which claims to have only nothingness as its ontological truth, necessitates the moral absolute of compassion. In fact, in all of my studies I have come across very few “religions” that have no absolute truths – the majority that do not are syncretic mishmashes of neo-paganism and postmodernism.

    2. Nor does it mean that ANY are true.

    3. One of my personal favourites and one of the reasons I lost my faith. This is the most anti-semitic reasoning of the bunch and shows a gross misreading and lack of respect for Jewish scriptures. Have you read these fulfillments? You know, there is a reason that Jews do not believe Jesus was not the “Messiah” – and guess what, it isn’t because they were ignorant of the text or they misunderstood the text. They didn’t believe it because they understood the text and knew he didn’t fit the qualifications of the prophecies. The “Christian” faith, more Pauline than “Christian,” was first accepted on a large scale not by Jews, but by Judaizers, God-fearing gentiles, who already attended Jewish synagogues and followed much of the Jewish faith. Now imagine if they didn’t need to follow all of those rules but could still believe in that moral God of the Jews!

    4. Again, claims and deeds that are no different from “holy” men and women over many thousands of years. This does not differentiate Christianity from Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, or Hinduism, much less the cult of Apollonius.

    5. Some Christians say this, others say that. Muslims say this, Gnostics say that. Once again, how does the myth of the resurrection validate Christianity in any way? I mean, Shakespeare was probably one of the greatest playwrights ever to live and his imagination probably challenges the “J” writer of the Torah. Does this mean that what he writes is true? Of course not. The problem I see is that you don’t take much care to expand your literary horizons and so you think the Bible is the be all and end all. Why not get outside of this little box you created for yourself and experience some of the other literature of the ancients – whether those with solid truths or others that are totally bizarre (although probably similar to the bizarro world of books such as Job, John, or Revelation).

    I must say though, I can’t stand and watch these blind people walk off a cliff. I must warn them any way I can. Even if that means tackling them.

    Although my first response is that there is mighty fine plank in your eye, I must also wonder how effective your “tackling” is. Honestly, my evangelical days were not that far back and I can remember that although I cared deeply for people and the eternity of their souls, I figured out, as young as my early teens, enough about human psychology that people aren’t going to listen to you if you make no sense. If reason isn’t your strong point, one should target the heart – that is, after all, where most battles are won. My deepest fear as a Christian was that my love would be as shallow and transparent as what you show towards people you disagree with.

    Dan, both you and びっくり have either debated with or insulted our capacity to reason and some of us, including myself,have done likewise. If this is the case and we are incapable of understanding the truth, then do you think this is the way to do it? I ask this is all sincerity because you say you are trying to attempt one thing but you are, in practice, doing the opposite. Even as an evangelical, it was this sort of attitude towards others that disgusted me about so many so-called “Christ-followers.”

  • […] Part II: Worthy of Damnation – A Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth […]

  • 73. Secure Site That Respects Your  |  February 4, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Getting Your Site Seen By Search Engines

    Is your website listed on search engines? When people search for you, does your site show up on page 1 or page 20 of the search engine results?

  • 74. Jordan  |  March 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I see where you’re comming from. I think you missunderstand what is meant- or what is supposed to be meant. The way I see it, nobody is sin free. But that’s the only way to get into heaven. There isn’t anyone on the planet that is sin free. Therefore, as sinners, we all deserve hell… for our refusal to obey God and falling into sin. I don’t know if what I’m saying is helping any. I just thaught I’d attempt to clearify.

  • 75. Jordan  |  March 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

    PS. We are worth so much to God, though. So much that He chose to die as a sinner without having sinned. Probably the most painful way to die… not to mention being ridiculed and mocked by the very people He came to help.

    Sacrifices were required to “erase” a sin. God’s self sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice to erase all sin from everyone who but calls upon Him.

    I know it is hard to accept these things, as I have struggled in my faith for a long long time and still do today. Having said this, I truely believe something I was told long ago: “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    Therefore, one cannot bring another man to God who refuses to believe He even exists, let alone wants to be saved or feel the peace and love that comes with knowing the God who created them with love and for a great purpose.

  • 76. Quester  |  March 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

    You have no idea what sort of blog you’re posting on, do you Jordan?

  • 77. hypocrite  |  March 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Interesting discussion. Sounds like most of you were Calvinists. Don’t you know you’re going to hell for believing that man’s lies…?
    Just kidding.

    A certain percentage of people will be able to use that pre-ordained belief to live very good lives. What more do you need to feel a sense of self worth then to believe that you are one of the elect and everyone else is going to hell? Others will be tortured by it for their entire lives.

    It is the same with any core belief. People here feel relieved to be free from religion. Others will feel a sense of dispair when they lose their faith. Others will just switch denominations until they find something they can live with.

    Did my faith ever make me do foolish things? Yup. Were those foolish things more foolish than the foolish things other people do? Who knows?

    The doctrine of total depravity was not strongly taught in my denomination. Every man sinned his own sins and was responsible for them. Pretty much still the way I feel now.

  • 78. CheezChoc  |  March 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    The Baptist church I grew up in was really into the whole “You’re wicked and you suck and you deserve to go to hell” thing. It really does a number on you.

    Back to the concept of hell: Eternal torment for temporal crimes makes no sense. You’d think that even Hitler would get the point after a few billion years of torment, but no–that’s not even the start. And what for? Is he supposed to learn from it? How are learning and repentence possible if the penalty is endless?

    And what about someone like Anne Frank or Gandhi? They didn’t have the right belief system, so….they go to hell too?
    Does that make any sense at all?

  • 79. Dale701  |  March 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

    8. heatlight | November 17, 2007 at 9:14 am

    I’ve found a degree of comfort, however, at times with the thought that my value is not wrapped up in myself – my actions, and my life – and is totally derived from God, as that means – though in myself I may be a sinner – my worth is actually what someone was willing to ‘pay’ for me…given that the price was God himself (in a sense), even at my worst I am still invaluable – priceless.

    There are probably billions upon billions upon billions of planets, imagine christ having to sacrifice himself billions and billions of times, his life only seems priceless for endless torture, I would not count on a god of this nature giving you endless bliss under any circumstances, he might grant you the pleasure of taking over for christ on a few worlds.
    Remember god is always right and good.
    good luck!

  • 80. Dale701  |  March 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

    23. loopyloo350 | November 17, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Yes, I do! It’s is what I was taught as Jehova’s Witness. But there are Churches that preach the same, Assembly of God for one, Church of Christ has some similar beliefs.

    I do not know what church of christ you are talking about, but the one I was raised in, thought only a very few of even the church of christ people were going to heaven, the rest were bound for hell.
    The bible says many are called few are chosen.

  • 81. Dale701  |  March 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    dean………
    i believe the proper focus to have on this is that God does still indeed think so much of us that He was willing to sacrifice His perfect, sinless Son on the cross to cover our sin and make a way for us to be reconciled to Him.

    Dean, you do not how utterly stupid that sounds to me.
    If I was this all powerful god you believe in, I would just forgive you if I so chose. No hocus pocus needed.
    What else can my all powerful self, not do?

    I would send you to hell just for believing something so stupid!
    Now tell me why I cannot do that?
    Oh, you read it in an ancient book.

  • 82. Dale701  |  March 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Oh, and while my god self is at it, I would have created a world where life does not feed on life.
    And you would have a lot more free will than you have now.
    (No time spent eating and shiting or sleeping)
    If you think I could not do this, then how do you account for heaven?
    And I would be be a good father and not send my son to be killed by you sinning worthless humans!

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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