Why I Refuse to Fear Hell

I was forced into a conversation I didn’t want with a Christian friend last night, so I am going to share some thoughts. I am not out to upset my religious friends who may visit this site. But, I cannot and I will not share your fear of Hell. And here’s why…

Hell is… NOT REAL. As is the case for, well, all religious claims. There isn’t even the tiniest shred of evidence to back up the claim that Hell is real, and that holds true for all other religious claims, whether they are pleasant or scary.

Back in my very religious days, I once believed in Hell. I thought it was real because, like most religious people, I engaged in circular reasoning. Hell was real because the Bible said so and the Bible was the Word of God because it said so and I was assured that that was the case by people I trusted at the time. But they too engaged in the same circular reasoning for the same reasons I did. It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s one of the reasons religion continues to survive despite the fact that the Bible has been thoroughly debunked online now for many years.

I no longer believe in or waste a moment of my life worrying about or fearing Hell, for the following reasons.

1) Hell is a morally reprehensible concept
2) There is exactly ZERO evidence that Hell actually exists
3) I cannot and would not worship a God who would create such a place or who would burn anyone for any reason for even one second, because such a God, by definition, would be EVIL. Such a God would, by definition, be a MONSTER!

According to the Bible, Hell is a flaming torture chamber where human beings are barbecued forever with no hope of reprieve and where human beings are tormented by demons non-stop, forever, with no hope of reprieve.

Does such a terrible place actually exist? NO, of course not.

If a human parent burned their child for even one second for ANY reason, we would quite rightly consider that parent to be a monster, and we would remove that child from their care immediately. But… millions of people enthusiastically worship a God who not only burns his children for seconds, but for all eternity! And this monster of a God gets a free pass, and we are assured that this God is Love and that he has good reasons for barbecuing his children for all of eternity with no hope of reprieve. We are told that this God is holy and that he cannot tolerate sin, and that if we don’t accept Jesus as our savior so God can wash away our sin and see us through the blood of Jesus, we are filthy sinners who deserve to be punished infinitely for finite sins.

But… THINK ABOUT IT. Can a God who burns his children for ANY reason be considered holy or righteous or even good? NO, OF COURSE NOT. Even if we are not his children but children of the devil if we don’t accept Jesus, is it right to burn us? Is it ever acceptable to burn anyone for ANY reason? OF COURSE NOT! When Christians had the political power to do so, was it ever right or acceptable for them to burn people at the stake? NO, OF COURSE NOT!

And, of course, it is not right or acceptable for a God to burn anyone for even one second for ANY reason… such an idea is monstrously evil, and such a God would be monstrously evil…

I reject belief in God primarily because there is not a shred of credible evidence that the Christian God or any other god actually exists. But if the Christian God did exist and Hell was real, I would reject that God on moral grounds and I would quite rightly consider him to be monstrously evil…

If you would not burn your child for any reason, no matter what they did, then why are you worshiping a God who supposedly burns human beings forever with no hope of reprieve?

And I’ll say this too… some Christians recognize the morally reprehensible nature of the doctrine of Hell, and they try to soften the concept by saying that it just means separation from God… as if that was something awful. But I will say this. I have had more peace, more joy, more happiness, and more contentment since I walked away from belief in God than I ever did when I was religious. And, I value myself and my life far more now than I ever did when I was religious. If separation from God is Hell, then I have to say that I am not suffering for it at all. Not one bit…

My 2 cents… which I hope will break the cycle of circular reasoning in my religious friends and get them to THINK about what they profess to believe… Carry on… 🙂

When Your God Dies

Posted this to Facebook and thought I would share it here too. Glory! 🙂

Those of you who have been friends with me on Facebook for a while know that I used to bash religion – a lot, and usually I wasn’t nice about it at all. But back then I was still stuck in the “anger” phase of de-conversion. Walking away from 15 years of devout religious belief was not just a matter of me shrugging my shoulders and thinking, “Oh, well, that sounded nice but it’s not actually true” and moving on unscathed by the experience.

There are phases to religious de-conversion that closely correspond to the stages of grief. They are essentially the same. The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most of the time now I find myself in the acceptance stage of grief, but for a long time I was stuck in anger and also in depression.

God

When your God dies, that is an event of major importance! We all grieve when a human or animal loved one dies. But when your God dies? That’s far worse, and it’s just as painful as a human death is, if not more so. Because when your God dies, so does the hopes you had for an awesome and eternal afterlife and your hopes of being reunited with lost loved ones at some future date. And what also dies is your hope that at some future date your God will dispense righteous judgment, right all wrongs and wipe away all of the suffering associated with this life.

When your God dies, so does everything supernatural associated with that belief. What dies too is belief in angels, demons, heaven, hell, and activities such as prayer that require a supernatural component to actually work. When your God dies, what you are left with is what is actually real and that we know actually exists — the natural world in all of its grandeur and beauty — the vast cosmos consisting of billions of galaxies, of which our solar system and our beautiful planet are but a very small part.

When your God dies, what dies too is the belief that you were specially created to serve and worship this God. What dies too is your belief that you are special to this God and that He loves you and cares about what happens to you. When your God dies, you realize that you are not the special creation of a God, but rather the product of millions of years of biological evolution, and you realize how amazing it is that you are here at this moment in time and you realize how precious and incredible and amazing this life is.

My God died almost 17 years ago, in early 2000. It was a death brought about by doubts and questions that had plagued me for years that I never found satisfactory Christian answers for. It was a death brought about by a great deal of thinking, reading, and research. It was a death brought about by seeing just how easily people on the skeptical side of the fence dismantled my cherished Christian beliefs not with ridicule and derision, but with solid, credible evidence and verifiable facts.

My God died a long time ago, and I have lived quite happily free from the fear, guilt, shame, and ignorance that so defined and drove the fundamentalist religion that I was once so deeply involved in.

So… when your God dies, that is a life-changing, life-defining event of major importance. When your God dies and everything that you believed was real dies along with him, it takes a long time to process and to come to terms with. It takes a long time to rebuild the framework that defines your reality. But it is possible to come out on the other side of the grief and all of the processing of it through its various phases complete and whole and happy and grateful to be alive.

If you want to know more, I wrote an article describing what it’s like to make the journey from Christianity to Atheism a few years ago. You can read it here:

http://smokeyinthebox.com/journey-christianity-atheism/

I can only speak for myself and my experience, but I hope this gives you a better understanding of me and what it was like for me to experience the death of my God all of those years ago.