Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hell hath no...

...anything, actually, because it doesn't exist. Not according to the christian bible, anyway.

No, really.

Fred Clark has been doing a wonderful series on the doctrine of hell, where it came from, how it slithered its way into christian culture, and why it's a particularly nasty worldview. In order:

  1. Team Hell Gets Loud
  2. The epistemology of Team Hell
  3. Should I not be concerned?
  4. Rob Bell vs. Team Hell (cont'd)
  5. The Paradox of Pitchforks, a devilish problem
  6. That chair doesn’t belong in this play
  7. The Missiological Case for Hell
I'll update this list if he continues to write on the subject. The notion that hoping or believing that bad, awful, torturous things will happen to people is counter to christian principles should not be radical. Sadly, this isn't the case.

If you're a christian and you've been grappling with the fear that people you care about might endure an eternity of suffering at the hands of the god you believe to be the embodiment of love, take heart. Let it go. Live in love.

If you're not christian, but you've got loved ones who've been urging you (whether out of concern or malice) that your wicked ways will mean that you burn forever let them know that it's ok. They can stop worrying. God loved the Ninevites just as much as god loved anyone else. If you love each other, things will be ok.

To anyone who identifies as christian, as I do, you can stop hoping for pain and suffering. You can stop delighting in torment. You can stop fearing separation and loneliness. We can feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe the naked and visit the sick.

We can let go of hell and hold on to love.

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