Discussion of heaven, hell, & immortal soul

Discussion of heaven, hell, & immortal soul

Postby bob » 11 Apr 2012, 19:25

finley wrote: People in those days were keen on celestial fire and brimstone. Jesus was offering people simple a choice: to spend a life doing wrong, or to attempt something better. He didn't say you would be prevented from choosing the former. However, the whole point of any personal choice is that you accept the consequences of your actions. In this case, he was pointing out that he wasn't going to put up with any crap - at least not in the putative afterlife. He didn't mention anything about instant (here on earth) retribution.


The whole sadistic enterprise of Christianity is formulated on the notion that if you can't accept Christ, and as a consequence of having accepted him change the way you think and even feel you will be sent to hell. Talking about freedom in this context is ridiculous.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby finley » 11 Apr 2012, 19:37

The whole sadistic enterprise of Christianity is formulated on the notion that if you can't accept Christ, and as a consequence of having accepted him change the way you think and even feel you will be sent to hell. Talking about freedom in this context is ridiculous.

Why? If you don't believe in a God, then presumably there's no hell to go to either, and no demons with pitchforks. Problem solved. Although it would be a pity if there isn't, because that means Mugabe will get off scot-free.

It's hard to know what to make of the old fire-and-brimstone stuff. The bible is contradictory on the issue. Some passages imply that the afterlife is something accessible to those who want it (those who consider it desirable to spend eternity with Christ), and for everyone else, death is simply what you would expect: the end of life. I get the impression that hell (if there is one) is something specifically reserved for those who explicitly choose to go there - that is, a place for those who oppose Christ or who pervert his message to justify killing and mayhem.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby sulavaca » 11 Apr 2012, 21:52

bob wrote:
finley wrote:
The whole sadistic enterprise of Christianity is formulated on the notion that if you can't accept Christ, and as a consequence of having accepted him change the way you think and even feel you will be sent to hell. Talking about freedom in this context is ridiculous.

Why? If you don't believe in a God, then presumably there's no hell to go to either.


People don't have freedom over what they believe. You could test that by asking yourself to start believing, for example, that the way forward for the world, environmentally, is to increase subsidies to the oil industries. Tax alternatives to pay for the subsidy. Good luck.

Like every other embedded agenda out there what Christianity does is try to create a situation in which it is impossible to not believe in it. They all fail, at least partially, because there are always competing agendas. Christianity is particularly rank about it though because it actively sets about brain washing the young. Many many people have been left struggling with the fact that they can't reconcile their disgust at the insnity of the religion with the fact that on a deep emotional level they think it is true.

Which brings us to the infintesimal possibility that it actually is true that if you hear "the word," and are not so constituted that you can sincerely believe it, you go to hell. Just in terms of the religion's internal logic, the system is blatantly evil. I am assuming here, as you do not, that a plain reading of the actual text claiming to record what he actually said on the issue is anything to go by. In the modern, liberal, moderate, western churches they seem to have made the fortunate decision to downplay the centrality of hell to the Christian belief system. I have actually been reading the text lately and haven't a clue how they came to the conclusion that that makes any sense when you look at what he actually said though. There were problems with the translation of that word "hell" that some churches are trying to hide behind (and they can, partially) but that leaves the issue of why god allowed his inspired language to be translated that way, ie, as eternal damnation, torment and all the rest of it.


Can we change the subject to Goldilocks and the Three Bears please? At least that story has a little bit more going for it, and it doesn't state that we should stone people to death, or offer our children up for sacrifice; and at least talking bears just seem that little bit cuter than talking snakes don't you think?
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby Fortigurn » 11 Apr 2012, 22:00

bob wrote:The whole sadistic enterprise of Christianity is formulated on the notion that if you can't accept Christ, and as a consequence of having accepted him change the way you think and even feel you will be sent to hell.


No it isn't. There's no such thing as 'hell'. There's no immortal soul, no one goes to heaven or hell.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby zender » 11 Apr 2012, 22:23

Fortigurn wrote:... There's no such thing as 'hell'. There's no immortal soul, no one goes to heaven or hell.

I wonder what percentage of Christians are with you on that statement. I'm guessing it's less than 5%. Correct me if I'm wrong.
So, I'd go back to what Bob was saying about the Bible/God being very unclear. Hence, we end up with thousands of denominations of Christianity. Some believe in a literal hell, virgin birth, wine being changed into the blood of Christ; others don't.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby Fortigurn » 11 Apr 2012, 22:53

zender wrote:I wonder what percentage of Christians are with you on that statement. I'm guessing it's less than 5%. Correct me if I'm wrong.


I'll correct you. Even in the US, it would be closer to 40%. Among scholars, it's the academic consensus.

So, I'd go back to what Bob was saying about the Bible/God being very unclear.


No it's not unclear. There's a scholarly consensus on the topic; it's as settled as evolution.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby finley » 11 Apr 2012, 23:01

I must have missed the bit in the history books where religion went from making no sense at all to actually making sense. Or is that not what we're talking about here?

Well ... originally, we were talking about the distinction between religions which require their followers go around causing mayhem, and those that don't. In that long-winded post above, I was simply trying to point out that Christianity is a matter of personal belief. You can believe in it, or not. It's that simple. Nobody is going to throw you in jail if you don't. Sure, there are some evangelical types who might insist that you're going to HELL if you don't beliiiiEEEVE!, but again, that's up to you if you want to believe in hell, or not. No Christian is determined to create hell on earth.

As for religion making sense, or not ... again, it's a matter of belief. If you don't think it makes sense, fine. Nobody's going to strap you down in Room 101 until you do. I was talking about the historical point where organised religion ceased to be a tool of political control in certain countries. Where that didn't happen - primarily but not exclusively in the Islamic world - people are in trouble.

and it doesn't state that we should stone people to death, or offer our children up for sacrifice.

I don't know how many times I have to repeat this, but Christianity is one of the few religions that doesn't incorporate a legal code. I thought even non-Christians were aware that Jesus had a particular thing about NOT stoning people.

People don't have freedom over what they believe. You could test that by asking yourself to start believing, for example, that the way forward for the world, environmentally, is to increase subsidies to the oil industries. Tax alternatives to pay for the subsidy. Good luck.

It's true that people don't have as much control as they think they do over their own ideas, but that's a poor analogy. It can be proven, logically and with reference only to physics and economics, that that would be a stupid thing to do. You can't prove or disprove the existence of God.

Like every other embedded agenda out there what Christianity does is try to create a situation in which it is impossible to not believe in it. They all fail, at least partially, because there are always competing agendas. Christianity is particularly rank about it though because it actively sets about brain washing the young. Many many people have been left struggling with the fact that they can't reconcile their disgust at the insnity of the religion with the fact that on a deep emotional level they think it is true.

You recognise that there IS a big difference between organised religion and religious belief. Religious organisations are, and always will be, problematic; basically, because they are an excellent vehicle for manipulating public opinion, gaining political power, or making money. I personally don't see any logical dissonance involved in rejecting organised, politicised religiosity, while still believing in something bigger than our little human existence.

I'll correct you. Even in the US, it would be closer to 40%. Among scholars, it's the academic consensus.

I find this particular debate - is there a hell or not? - a rather odd one. We have no way of actually knowing, so I find it amusing that Fortigurn (for example) can state quite categorically that there isn't. The idea of a physical place filled with bubbling pits of sulphur and little red demons wielding toasting forks is obviously a human construct. If hell is something that happens to one's non-material soul, then obviously hell doesn't have a physical existence and is impossible to describe in physical terms - even if we knew for sure that it was (in whatever sense) "real".
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby Fortigurn » 11 Apr 2012, 23:09

finley wrote:I find this particular debate - is there a hell or not? - a rather odd one. We have no way of actually knowing, so I find it amusing that Fortigurn (for example) can state quite categorically that there isn't.


I believe it's possible to start categorically that there isn't, not only because the Biblical worlview contradicts it but also because of the overwhelming evidence that there is no such thing as an immortal soul. Apart from the well established science on this point, all you need to demonstrate that the immortal soul doesn't exist is anaesthetic.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby finley » 11 Apr 2012, 23:16

also because of the overwhelming evidence that there is no such thing as an immortal soul. Apart from the well established science on this point, all you need to demonstrate that the immortal soul doesn't exist is anaesthetic.

I think you need to elaborate on that. It's one thing to believe that there is no such thing; but I fail to see how you can use the physical sciences to prove the existence (or otherwise) of something non-physical.
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Re: Christian teen jailed for insulting Islam

Postby zender » 11 Apr 2012, 23:17

Fortigurn,

I'm with you in that I think there's little evidence for an immortal soul.

And thanks for the correction above. I guess I'm really out of touch with Christianity. I 'd have thought that if I'd given a poll to the world's Christians, over 95% would answer the following question with a resounding, "Yes!"

"Do you go to heaven if you believe in Jesus, and you're a good Christian?"

As for evolution by natural selection, I know we both consider that a fact. I didn't know that Biblical scholars were so united in their interpretations. I wonder if they will be able to persuade Christians to come together under something like a "One True Church of Christianity" in the future. I know it's hard to get people to believe things even when you think you have the better evidence on your side.
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