Why is there a Hell?

The following is a quote from Grace Stories:

“So Hell is not a first resort. Hell is a last resort. Hell is for people who do not turn from their wickedness. Hell is for people who pay their debt on their own.”

I smoked marijuana with my cousin once. My brothers and I went through about a month long shoplifting phase when we were teenagers. I have sexual thoughts. I lie occasionally — not to cover up anything but to avoid telling someone their fat, rude, etc. I tried hard to come up with something else, but I honestly don’t know.

The wage of sin is death...even for stickmen.

I received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. I served in Iraq. I take very good care of my children. I am a teacher. I am a tutor. I work hard. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I believe in equality for all human beings. Overall, I’d say my good qualities far outweigh my bad, however, I will one day be subjected to an eternity of torture and burning in the Lake of Fire.

The post on Grace Stories is packed full of ridiculousness nougat — such as the comparison of an eternity in hell to an eternity of doing dishes at a restaurant where you were “unable to pay your debt.” The quote above is the main idea of the post, so I intend to break it down and…uh…yeah, I’ll be making fun if the entire idea.

“So Hell is not a first resort. Hell is a last resort.”

I want to cough and mutter, “bullshit” under my breath, but alas, I only have text to rely on. Check out these verses from the Bible.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, you MUST achieve salvation. The only way to achieve salvation is to believe that HeyZeus died on the cross for your sins, and was resurrected three days later. But we aren’t born believing this. This has to be learned. It seems that Hell is, in fact, a first resort. Before you “know” HeyZeus, you are hell bound. It may be the last thing that happens to you, but it is not a last resort. It is the last resort for Christians to rope you in — fear is a great way to force people into religion. It is not the last resort for god.

“Hell is for people who do not turn away from their wickedness.”

Go directly to Hell!!! Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

The implication here is that non-belief or rejection is equivalent to wickedness. According to the Bible, we are born evil. We never had a choice in the matter. Adam and Eve screwed up, we inherited it. This is the reason people claim that Christians try to put a “monopoly on morality.” Islam is the same.

morality=salvation=no god but mine

Imagine you are a giant, stinky heap of societal crap. You steal, cheat, rob, and abuse other people. You go to jail a few times. Though you never find god, you do begin to understand that your life is going nowhere. Through this realization, you begin to understand what you have done to other people. So, you become a community activist. You teach kids to stay off the street. You get government grants to start after school programs in urban neighborhoods to keep kids safe and improve their quality of life and education. You stop drinking, smoking, and cursing. Through it all, you never accept god or HeyZeus as any more than fairy tales. According to Christianity, you have NOT turned away from your wickedness. You’re a lost soul, destined to burn.

Hell is for people who pay their debt on their own.”

The most evil and hateful thing that Christianity teaches is that god doesn’t send people to hell. People send themselves there — not through actions, because those can all be forgiven. One thing gets you to hell — non-belief. paying a debt implies an end of payment. Hell is an eternity of payment for a small offense. A logical offense.

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22 Responses to Why is there a Hell?

  1. Evan says:

    Shamelessly Atheist – I couldn’t click reply to your comment :-/

    Synn is when you miss the target – as in hitting the ground so I am not sure what your confusion is. To answer your question take David for example. He, in his sin, commits adultery with Bathsheba, and in his desperation murders her husband Uriah. The guilt consumes him. It eats away at his very core to where he is absolutely disgusted with himself. His burdens are not lightened until he repents, and the bible says David asks God to cleanse him with hyssop (a plant that was made into a cleaning agent powerful enough to remove skin from carcasses) and to make him whiter than snow – whiter than white. God punishes him for his sins later on, but he also forgives him.

    I don’t agree with the phrase “merely believe”. If i truly believe that there is a heaven, then I will go all in with that belief. Also, I think if you were REALLY honest with yourself. I mean REALLY honest you could admit that the average “moral” Joe is not all that moral. I mean do you think most of the people in prison woke up one day and said, “By the end of today I plan on being in prison.” Stuff happens that we cannot prepare for. We can say “this is what I would do if that happened to me” but the truth is we will never know what we are truly capable of until we are backed into a corner with emotions and tempers flaring.

    I have really enjoyed this forum!

  2. jimbarke says:

    To start out I am a Christian.

    I continue to question all the time as this is the way that I grow. I am wondering if it is by chance that I came across this blog or not (you posted on mine first so you brought me here). The last few days I have been thinking about the exact verse that you quoted
    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
    I am not sure that this is as literal as we take it as. I was not ready to post about this yet but since you brought it up I need to. I am starting to see this like a security guard outside a sold out show and I know the band. I get to the door and I am not going to get in without going through the security guard, but I know the band. I have no clue who the security guard is but after explaining myself for awhile, pleading my case and a little work he let me in since I know the band. Now I know the band and the security guard, it is that much easier to get in. I think you get the point. Either way I am going through the security guard to get to the band, either way I am going through Jesus to get to Heaven one way is easier than the other but I still get in.
    This goes against a lot of what us Christians believe and I am not done doing my research on this but this would mean that others could go to Heaven.
    I started thinking about and wondering why God would take away a route to Heaven instead of just improving it. So now we can live a good life – this is yet to be defined – and know of God and go to Heaven or we can have a relationship with Jesus and go to Heaven. The key is to believe in the God and/or believe in Jesus and have a desire to live more like Jesus, even though we can’t. It is about the heart or desire rather than the action.

    • Anthony L. says:

      Thank you for your reply. Very well thought out. Very interesting. I guess the legitimacy of the claim will always be under debate, but I really appreciate your comment.

      • jbar says:

        Anthony,

        I know you probably don’t understand this but my comments came from studying David and originally having this grand picture of him in my head but finding out that he was…well you see Evan’s post which directly followed mine. So do you think it is just coincidence that within days of me reading this blog I study David, have this revaluation, you post on my blog, I check out your blog, post my comments, Evan posts his directly after mine about David, etc. Not to mention my son’s name is Evan. You can call me some crazy Christian but I don’t believe things like this happen by chance.

  3. Mattimaticus says:

    Great post; it reminds me of some folks I met once who believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind; but only those prior to his death. Basically, all pre-crucifixion people went to heaven by default because they were forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, all post-crucifixion people face a potential afterlife in hell because Jesus’ forgiveness didn’t carry on after his death. Needless to say, I just smiled and nodded.

  4. Rimjob Bob says:

    Rimmy sez:

    Good post. Glad to see your blog is creating a discussion.

    ~Old Rimmy

  5. Cayman Thorn says:

    I want a bumper sticker which reads “I love Jesus- He’s the best mechanic in town!” but I fear the joke would be lost on the Co-Pilot crowd.

  6. Hensatri says:

    The clear and obvious wickedness of the doctrine of Hell is the quickest way to get a Christian spinning little circles of ad hoc reasoning. It is an impossible square to circle and they will stretch reason far beyond the breaking point, and then stretch it’s disjointed remains to bridge the cognitive divide.

  7. Mike says:

    Another common religious suggestion is that “Hell is a place for people who say no to God, a place where God grants you your wish.”

    The problem, of course, is that there is all the difference in the world between someone who actively wants and wishes to go to Hell and someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of that Hell (or of any of the supernatural claims) in the first place. Apparently, this difference doesn’t matter for Christians.

    By the way, thanks for the comment on my blog. I’ll definitely be reading this one regularly.

  8. justmeangie says:

    “Hell is an eternity of payment for a small offense. A logical offense.”

    So true! Was this post inspired by all the controversy surrounding Rob Bell in Christian circles?

    And thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. Thank you for the same.

      • By the way, this post does not have anything to do with Rob Bell. I’d love to read his book, but I don’t see exactly how he is following the Bible when he doesn’t believe in hell.

      • justmeangie says:

        I thought maybe it was just because there has been a lot of discussion of “hell” lately. Either way, I enjoyed the post! This is definitely an aspect of religion that needs to be discussed more, as it really makes no sense for a loving and forgiving God to send HIS OWN CREATIONS to endure eternal pain and torture, especially for something so trivial as whether or not you follow the “right” religion.

        (This was in response to your second comment, but there wasn’t a reply button there…)

  9. Evan says:

    Penn Gillette or Jillette idk how he spells it said the bit about the bus/truck. I probably wasn’t as nice to you as the man Penn talks about in this video, but its hard to connect with people via comments. But I like to have discussions about this sort of thing, and I hope I didn’t offend you or seem like a tool.

    • Thanks for posting that video. Penn is right. I don’t like lazy Christians either. I hate the idea of hell, not Christians for believing in it. I believed it for a long time. What I don’t understand anymore is how anyone can see that kind of god as compassionate or loving.

      You didn’t come off rude at all. Please, keep reading. I love to talk about religion.

  10. Evan says:

    “The most evil and hateful thing that Christianity teaches is that god doesn’t send people to hell. People send themselves there — not through actions, because those can all be forgiven. One thing gets you to hell — non-belief. paying a debt implies an end of payment. Hell is an eternity of payment for a small offense. A logical offense.”

    If you were about to get hit by a bus and I yelled out to you “Watch out, you are going to get hit by a bus!” and you reply, “I don’t see any bus therefore there is no bus!” And you get hit, how is it anyone’s fault but your own?

    At what point is evil or wickedness stop being wicked? The murder level, the lying level, or the thinking level? At what point does someone go from being a “good person” to a complete douche? When you think about it all of our sins are equal, and I am just as deserving of hell as any murderer, thief, or rapist. Besides, if a works salvation existed – at what point would the works be enough?

    • I can see, touch, hear, smell, and even taste a bus. So, when someone says get out of the way, my ass is diving. I hear these metaphors constantly, but they’re just poor attempts at some sort of comparison. You’re comparing an accident to judgement. No one judges me and decides that I’m worthy of being hit by a bus.

      Faith? Faith without works? Work to prove faith? All are inconsistent with the reality of the world. We cannot detect god with any of our senses, yet we are supposed to believe or burn. That’s enough for me to RATIONALLY decide that even if he were real, he is not worthy of my belief.

    • Is god unable to abolish hell? Seems to me an omnibenevolent and omniscienct being could just simply abolish hell, thus preventing suffering. That the Abrahamic god refuses to do something that should be easy for it to do makes that god a patently evil god. If I thought for one moment that that god existed I would still find it unworthy of my worship.

      For that matter, any god worth worshipping would not want to be worshipped in the first place. How insecure could such a being possibly be that it needed to be believed in without any evidence for its existence and constantly worshipped?

      When you think about it all of our sins are equal, and I am just as deserving of hell as any murderer, thief, or rapist.

      Are you serious? Theft and rape are equivalent? Now THAT’S what I call “evil”. I don’t think for one moment that the two can be equated on their consequences or any other measure you care to use. Besides, someone who has led a moral life is relegated to hell yet a serial rapist/killer who repents goes to heaven is rather inequitable (understatement made with sarcasm). This is not justice. It is the suspension of justice. Anyone that thinks such a doctrine to be a good one really needs to re-examine their value system.

      • Evan says:

        The word sin comes from the archery term synn. It means to miss the mark or miss the target. The point I was making by saying our sins are equal is that it doesn’t really matter how far off you missed the target what matters is that you missed.

        The biggest lie regular old “moral” people by into is that they are hitting the target because they haven’t raped or murdered. The truth is they are missing the mark on several other areas of their lives.

        You say it’s evil that a serial killer can be forgiven before they die. I say it’s poetic. A terrible archer doesn’t hit the target for his entire life, but manages to get a bulls eye right before he dies. How is that anything but inspirational?

        • I get what you’re saying. I really do. In a sense, it is poetic, until one considers that the guy standing next to him is going to hell for nothing more than a belief. You can say we all fall short, but I don’t buy it. Fall short of what? Being like god? If the goal is to be like god, then the serial killer would definitely end up in heaven — though he falls short of reaching god’s body count.

      • The biggest lie regular old “moral” people by into is that they are hitting the target because they haven’t raped or murdered. The truth is they are missing the mark on several other areas of their lives.

        Last I looked, targets have rings. Nor does this address my question – what kind of god would relegate someone who lived a moral life to hell, yet forgive a violent offender for merely believing in it? Rhetorical question- that is the very definition petty, vindictive and evil god. I just don’t understand why anyone would even want to believe in such a god. As I said, if even I thought such a god existed, it would be unworthy of my worship. Sounds to me like you are acting on the basis of expectation of reward/fear of punishment when there are already good reasons to be good that don’t even involve the existence of a god.

        You say it’s evil that a serial killer can be forgiven before they die. I say it’s poetic. A terrible archer doesn’t hit the target for his entire life, but manages to get a bulls eye right before he dies. How is that anything but inspirational?

        So, what you are saying is that someone can commit the most heinous of crimes all their life, but do one thing right and makes up for all the misery he/she caused? You can dance around it all you like, but not only is this uninspiring, it’s patently immoral.

  11. beingzhenya says:

    Interesting post. This is definitely something that has been on my mind a lot. “Who really goes to hell” is a great book on that subject too!

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