Hell is for Everyone – Part I

Hell_for_EveryonePeople leave their Christianity for different reasons.  My main reason was simple: it made no sense that good non-Christian folks were going to hell.  After finally realizing that, many more problems became clear too.  Some Christians don’t have hell in their theology — but they are a minority.

My former Christianity offered me so much in the beginning, that its bizarre Hell doctrine did not stand out clearly.  But when I was travelling and living abroad, I ran into hell everywhere. I realized that everyone assigns everyone else to hell.  Hell is for everyone!  Seeing this deluded thinking, many atheist jestingly embrace hell  — and I think this is a great technique to wake up folks from this silly idea.

During my travels, I first ran into Muslim’s who believed in Hell.  Well, that is understandable since they are of the same Abrahamic lineage as Christianity. But then I found out that most Hindus and Buddhist also believe in Hell (albeit not eternal like the Abrahamic versions, but just as horrible).  And just like Christians, these religions instill the fear of hell in their children too.

The threat of Hell is a great way to make sure your kids stay in the faith and do what you tell them — many cultures have discovered this ugly trick.  Abuse a child’s mind when they are young, and even though they later develop an intellect to see through the lie when they are older, their emotions never will fully recover.  One part of them may think there is no hell, but other parts just can’t escape the hellacious feelings, the damning thoughts, the guilt and so on.

So how do Christians deal with the same observation that most religions, just like theirs, threaten their children with hell.  This insight woke me up.  But most Hell-believing Christians see the other hells and think that though the other religions may be right about the reality of hell, they just get everything else wrong.  Only Christians know the way out.  All nonbelievers are wrong about how to avoid hell.  As for me, it is clear that all hell-believers are wrong.  I am fortunate — this bizarre concept was not drilled into my vulnerable young mind. (thanks folks!)

In the next post, I will address possible nuances of Universalist/Pluralist Christian’s view of Heaven and Hell.

Picture credits: Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Christian


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

45 responses to “Hell is for Everyone – Part I

  1. It was never drilled into my head by my parents, but every church we attended growing up believed in an eternal hell, so it was just a given in my house even though we never really talked about it. I can say for certain that it was a very real and present fear within me because I daily asked forgiveness for my sins, scared that I might die before I had been forgiven. That’s probably the main thing that made giving up a belief in a god so difficult: the “what if?” factor. I had torn down mountains of evidence for his existence, and even hell didn’t seem logical, but the psychological pull of the irrational fear was strong.

  2. Abel

    I still find in mindblowing that many Christian missionaries think that people who have never heard of Jesus or the Bible will suffer in hell for eternity for not being saved. Their mission includes “teaching” tribal people about heaven and hell, then telling them they (and their children) are headed for hell. But if they accept Jesus as their one and only savior, they can go to heaven.

  3. Ian

    Interesting stuff. I never had a strong belief in Hell. At best it was a tolerated absurdity. But I think for most of my time as a Christian, I’d have characterised it more as CS Lewis in The Great Divorce does – as self-imposed state of self-importance that, in some kind of vaguely mechanistic way, isolates us from genuine relationship with others and God. So God loses responsibility for Hell in that model it is just the way the supernatural world works. The “Deep Magic” than constrains God’s actions to use another Lewis phrase.

    So the idea that others were going to Hell was never an issue in my faith or loss of it. So it is interesting to read your very different journey. Thanks!

  4. TWF

    In my youth, I wasn’t exposed to contrary views. I thought everyone around was a Christian, and I thought I was already Saved, so Hell wasn’t really a big deal for me either.

    But I’ve heard a cunning Christian excuse for other Hells, and, indeed, other religions in general. (Well, “cunning” may be generous.) You see, Satan has cleverly devised all sorts of mimics and imposter faiths to draw people away form the truth. It’s no surprise, therefore, that there are other Hells, as each one weakens the strength of God’s truth for people like you who do become exposed to them. 😉

  5. @ MichaelB :
    Wow, thanx for confirming, mate. If the parents take you to a place that preaches that without telling your the preacher is full of shit, they are culpable of abuse, in my opinion. By these terms, a huge percent of American parents are guilty of this.

    @ Abel :

    @ Ian :
    Believing that nonbelievers are doomed to separated from God (the only source of joy) but their self-imposed state of importance still makes believers to be self-absorbed and doomed to no joy. Not good.

    But actually, on my way out of Christianity, I ran into Lewis and read all his stuff and liked that he appeared at least to be a pluralist — good Buddhists went to heaven and bad Christians could still go to hell — well, in some of his writings it seems. But not that it mattered — my Christian myth switch had been damaged by then. 😉
    We all break that switch in different ways, hey?

  6. @ TWF :
    Yes, as I said in my last paragraph, they believe the other hells are believed wrong. I see two common reasons. You named the second.
    (1) God made natural theology available to guide people to his door, thus it is not surprising that folks intuit hell — Yahweh/Jesus planted that ability in them.
    But without submission to Jesus and guidance of his Holy Spirit, correct interpretation is impossible.
    (2) Satan made mimics that approximate the true plan so people could be deceived — somehow this pleased Yahweh, I think, didn’t it.

  7. rautakyy

    Very interresting. My atheist parents did not instill the fear of hell into me, but my dad put me into school religion class (as we have a state church here in Finland) and told me that I should know what other people believe, to be able to make up my mind. I was somwhat surpriced when it occurred to me, there were adults who took these fairtytales for real. But it was an eyeopener also, because that is very much how I learned my suspicion of authorities.

    By the way the pictures you used for different hells kinda reveals how much under secular pressure the Christian religion has been of lately. The Christian version of hell imagery is obscure and not at all as explicit as it used to be just a couple of centuries back and as those pictures of the other hells are. It seems to me, the entire rather liberal and non-Biblical “separation from god” notion of hell is also a result of that forced coexistance whith secularized culture and intelligenzia.

  8. Sabio,
    Interesting. Buddhist hell? I had no idea. Is this part of “original” Buddhism or of its evolution? (E.g., celibacy of priests in the Catholic church is not original, it was introduced by a pope.) How about Jewish hell? I guess there is no such thing? I’d also be curious to know about Zoroastrian hell.
    P.S. Christian hell is best depicted, with panache, in Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, such as this one, a detail from his “heaven and hell”.

  9. Westerners have sanitized Buddhism to create it as a go-to for criticizing Christianity.
    In the process — in the West, it looks nothing like it does in the East. Buddhism is as full of sects, political abuse and psychological abuse of children as Christianity can be.

    Just as it is a great chore to find out what “Original Christianity” was, or “who Jesus was”, so in Buddhism it is the same. But in the sanitized Western version, the dominant opinion is that we actually know what the Buddha (Siddhartha) said and did. I leave that to the “scholars” — usually, like Christianity, people with an agenda.

    But as far as Buddhism on the ground — it is as full of superstition, false hopes, marketing and similar traits as found in Christianity.

    The Westernized version of Buddhism often contains romanticized, new-age ideology which won’t allow hell. Buddhism came from Hinduism where Hell is a convenient tool.

  10. PS, Takis: I am not an expert on Hell: Zoroastrian, Jewish, Taoist or many others. But Hell abounds and is for everyone!! 🙂
    It is easy to see how the concept spread or even cropped up independently in human populations. It is a very useful concept.

  11. @rautakyy,
    I try to get my kids to church– as a field trip — but they know it will be boring and don’t want to go. Your story was interesting. Also interesting was the evolution of Christian Hell. There are books on “the Evolution of Hell” and I found an article here.

  12. Sabio, I appreciate your information about Buddhism. For one reason or another I have not been sold on that religion whatsoever. Looking at information throughout your blog has shown me a good number of reasons why. You’re absolutely right, it has been romanticized in Western culture. Many atheists and agnostics believe that it is a MUCH better choice than Judaism. Christianity or Islam. Thanks for clarifying. Personally, I’m not sold on any religion of any kind.

    I hope your daughter has a really good week. I hope she has no complications with her health. I appreciate your honesty in being upfront in how you raise your children to those around you. I’m just not at that point yet.

  13. Thanx, Charity, glad it is helpful.
    But I agree that some religions are better than others — it depends on the person and how they use the religion. So Buddhism, for some is better, and perhaps some new-agers would be better as Christians, than as Buddhists, depending on how they use their Buddhism.

  14. “My main reason was simple: it made no sense that good non-Christian folks were going to hell.”

    It makes perfect sense that people be allowed to choose who they want to serve. It’s all laid out for anyone with half of a brain. God or Satan. Make a choice. The plot is spelled out crystal clear in that bible for anyone to read. If you don’t want God, you get the other guy. (shrug). What’s not to understand?

    Why would those who hate God, who want nothing to do with Him want to go to Heaven anyway? They won’t want to be with the others who love God, who want to be with Him, who want to worship Him.

  15. Let’s see…spend an eternity with people who are happy knowing there are billions of other people suffering for an eternity in hell? You’re right: I’ll pass, thanks. I can’t even manage to be that callous now, much less for time unending.

  16. Michael,
    Why would Christians be “happy” that billions of people are going to hell? Most Christians don’t want to see anyone go to hell..umm..unless they are Westboro types.

  17. @ the warrioress (Adrienne)
    People aren’t “serving” anyone — I understand that this concept is prevalent in your religion. Your world is a simple Black and White: God or Satan. People are complex. You want to make life all about two camps. This is an evil concept and one I fight here.

    Mind you, we probably share more than you imagine concerning what should be encouraged such as: forgiveness, love, patience, kindness, generosity and such — but then not only do religion-free folks value these, but other religions. But in your world, our desires to do good end us all up in hell unless we have the right story behind them (The Jesus Story) and talk to ourselves in our heads using your theology (Jesus Theology). I get your position, I use to be there. Then, in your worldview, the Devil deceived me (or my pride, pain, selfishness, or something else made me make myself vulnerable to Satan) and I gave up precious Jesus and now am bound to burn.

    And of course you are very saddened by that. You are saddened, though I must say, by the horrible doctrine you hold in your head.

    But we disagree on that.

    You see, I don’t judge you as a whole. I think you are doing lots of good things, have lots of fantastic ideas, are very smart and lots of other good things: But I don’t think our fates after death will be any different. This is not how you think about me at all — no matter how you try hide your thoughts is caveats, hell, damnation and satan infect your mind and your real thoughts about non-believers comes out clearly while all along your say stuff like “It is not for me to judge” — we know what you think. Nothing broadcasts these real thoughts more that Christians kids talking to Nonbelievers — they drag the essential content of sermons and dinner conversations to the public arena. We here the whispers you make behind closed doors.

  18. Sabio, the bible makes it simple in terms of black and white, not I. While Jesus does say that if you are for us, you are not against us, He is still very clear about what is required for salvation, for forgiveness of sin, for eternal life. It’s black or white. Period. Believe or don’t. Lukewarm is not accepted and there are no shades of gray found in what is required.

    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;” Joshua 24:15

    You cannot earn your own salvation by doing good works. No matter how good you are or try to be, you’re still not holy before God.

    I’m saddened because I think you’ve been tricked and deceived, but I also recognize that you’ve had more than most attempt to make what is at stake clear to you and you’re still standing firm in your rebellion and rejection of God. You’ve made your choice. You’ve shared that choice with your kids, and thus have unfortunately indoctrinated them into the same unbelief. You’ve made your gamble and it’s going to be costly if you’re theorizing is in error at the end of the day.

    Honestly, I’m not judging you. I have no idea what happens to those who once believed, who then turn away and reject God. You may be better off than one who has never believed at all, or on the other hand, it could be considered worse to have known the Lord and then rejected Him. I can’t say.

    Children can be cruel. They aren’t known for being very discreet. I would think that the ones who have been taught manners by their parents would have learned to keep inappropriate, politically incorrect opinions to themselves by now. There is a time and a place for religious talk and tough truth.

  19. Ok. “Happy” may be too strong a word. Replace it with flippant or cavalier. In other words, “Oh well, it was their choice. (Shrug).”

  20. Michael,
    I don’t mean to come across flippantly or casual about something so deadly serious, but the fact of the matter is that no one can make this choice for you or anybody else. We each have to confront the matter and take responsibility for the choice we make. I prefer not to get overly emotional about all of this, though at one time I was extremely emotional and intense about it all. Years ago, I felt that hours of argument and attempting to convert and convince others was the point of why I’m here on this earth.

    I’ve realized within the last year or so that this isn’t the way to go about sharing my faith or my opinion about what the bible says to all of us. I have to respect every individual’s personal choice about what they decide to believe when it comes to the bible and what it says. Because I understand that we’re all given opportunity for knowledge of God and who He is, I now realize that God is being fair in allowing us to choose.

    I don’t really like the idea of hell, at all. Had I been God I don’t know if I would have done things as He has or planned them as He did. I’m not, though, and I believe He’s a lot wiser than I am; there’s a reason for the way He has laid things out as they are.

    Anyway, I’m not at all cavalier; I’ve just learned to be more accepting of other people’s choices and trust in their intelligence and judgment to choose for themselves whom they are going to serve.

  21. But you *are* judging him based on a book you believe to be the Word of God. Standing behind it and saying, “It’s not me. I’m just following what Bible clearly says,” is still making a judgement. It’s like adding, “no offense” to a statement and then saying you’re not judging because you made the caveat. You give the Bible a pass on teachings you would find abhorrent in any other book, holy or otherwise, simply because you believe it’s from God.

    Look, Iike Sabio, I get your position because I used to be there. I’ll bet you’re an awesome mother who loves her kids dearly. But try to take a moment or two and step outside of the worldview that says people like Sabio and me are somehow deceived, in the same way you would teach your kids to not judge a person who is mentally challenged or of a different race. I mean really step into our shoes for a minute and see what it’s like to be looked down upon because of what someone’s holy book tells them.

  22. rautakyy

    @Sabio, thanks for the interresting link. It confirms my thoughts on the subject, that perhaps hell as known by the Christians (and some other religions) may originally be an Indo-European cultural concept. A bit like flesh and blood sons of gods. Very good marketing tools to people who allready recognize such stuff from their own heritage.

    @the warrioress, who chooses to serve Jesus, or Satan? How is that choise made? If you are deluded to sinserely believe false stuff are you responsible for your beliefs? Do you choose to believe there is a moon in orbit of our planet, or could you choose not to? If the evidence is compelling and you believe, but if one is not compelled to believe, and the evidence does not convince one, then how does one force oneself to believe? By the threat of hell and promise of eternal life perhaps? I think humans are responsible for their actions, not their beliefs and that they are responsible to themselves and others, not any particular god among thousands of alledged divinities.

  23. @the warrioress

    Can’t you see that’s not really a fair choice at all: serve or suffer forever? What crime have I (or anyone else) committed that could possibly warrant such a severe punishment? You can obviously think for yourself and can see that hell isn’t such a grand idea, so why give an all-wise god a pass on not being able to come up with something better?

  24. Mike,
    I really don’t look down on you in the least; I don’t even know you. It’s kind of akin to when you’re watching a horror movie like “Friday the 13th Part Ten” and the stereotypical naive guy is listening to his Ipod while he jogs through the woods. He is about to bite the dust. He’s completely clueless and happy in his state of oblivion while Jason Voorhees is right on his back bumper, but does he realize it? No, not a chance, not until that machete blade is lodged where ever Jase sticks it next — then it’s too late. In this scenario, Satan is Jason, not God, just in case you were about to ask that next. lol.

    By rejecting God, you have made your choice. How did you reject Him? You were uninterested, unbelieving, in denial, refusing to see the forest for the trees. The innate knowledge of God is built into everyone, according to the bible, so yes, God does hold you responsible. I’m not sure why you are unable to believe; perhaps God really does choose us in advance and we destined to believe or not; I don’t know. I think God knows what we’re going to do, but it’s difficult to believe He made it happen that way intentionally; strange if that is the case.

    Apparently the crime is in the rejecting of God and choosing the default by doing so. As a result, God relegates you to not being on the team by you’re own decision and free choice. You’re kind of either on the team or you’re not and you’re told in advance that not being on the team isn’t going to be pleasant. You’ve decided to risk it and run the gamble that it’s all bs, rationalizing and rebelling against the authority of a god that you don’t believe in, right? Or you simply cannot believe, through some inability that is within you that I don’t understand; I’m sure the bible explains it. I’ll have to study it more because I know the answer is there somewhere.

  25. (not being able to edit my typos is a real problemo)

  26. @ the warrioress

    You say don’t look down on me then compare me to the “naive guy” in a horror movie in the very next sentence? Something doesn’t add up here…

    It’s also funny that you think I’m in a “state of oblivion”, as if I didn’t spend over thirty years believing the same story of hell that you do. What’s your explanation as to why I don’t believe it any more?

    Get back to me with an answer once you’ve studied your Bible a little more. Or better yet, ditch the Bible and use a little reasoning as to why someone would leave the faith after being that devoted to it for life. I’ll give you a hint to start: it wasn’t Satan and it wasn’t because I’m angry at God or other Christians.

  27. I’m going to follow your blog, Mike, and get to know you through your writings a little better. I like your writing style, attitude, etc. You appear to be humble to a great degree and not arrogant. You disagree politely and don’t need to stoop to ugly slurs designed to stab and slander. I can get along well with that, even if we’ve little in common spiritually. Looking forward to reading you in the future.


  28. @ the warrioress (Adrienne)

    Sounds good. Just as a fair warning, I don’t have a ton of posts and I don’t write much these days except when I feel I have something to say. I do enjoy good dialogue with believers so long as it remains civil. Yes, I throw in some snark and sarcasm where it’s warranted, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

    Having read a few of your blog posts I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I once believed similarly, at least as far as soteriology goes. However, I wouldn’t have had the guts to visit an atheist site during much of my time as a Christian, so I’ll tip my hat to you there.

  29. @ Warrioress,
    As you know, I have listed the major categories of Christian theology here. Angelology is one of them and it is the study of Angels, Satan (a fallen angel) and Demons. You have helped me to realize how I had not explored the variety of beliefs among Christians on this issue. But as you have alluded, one’s view about Angelology would probably not land that person in Hell. Nonetheless, I am seeing that by in view (perverse as it may be) there are more pernicious versions of Angelology than others and yours is probably one of the most damaging — I think. But I have not studied the varieties.

    So (in all your spare time) I thought of a project for you. Do on-line research and try to find out the top 4 or 5 positions that “Christians” take on Angelology. Here is a fantastic Jewish Encyclopedia article on the issue — though you may distrust all Jewish views since they did reject Jesus and thus also servants of Satan, I think it is excellent (but then I would, wouldn’t I) — so maybe you could read it with Satan filtered glasses. Satan changed throughout Jewish history until it got into the mouth of Jesus and writers about Jesus.

    Now, we know that a “real” Christian only holds your views, of course. But for the sake of academic discussion, maybe we should define “Christian” as anyone who calls themselves a “Christian” or maybe better is to just say “SL Christian(s)” — “Self-Labeling Christians”. So your essay could be titled: “Angelology Stances among SL-Christians”.

    Your own personal flavor/stance, as I mentioned before, is distinctly Zoroastrian — the religion Jews were exposed to during Assyrian occupation/exile. Your view sound dualistic in that sense — considered by some Christians to be heretical.

    If you do tackle this project, PLEASE don’t cut and paste from your favorite go to Evangelical Christian apologist site. And don’t make the post merely you expounding the CORRECT view with tons of Bible quotes. Instead, number those 4 or 5 main views, tell us which churches hold them and how they differ from each other. You could save your defense of the “True Christian View of Satan” for a follow-up post. Just try to start out as objective as you can — that is make it observational and not evaluative.

    Just a thought.

  30. Sabio, I have some questions and comments related to your response to “warrioress”, which I found interesting.

    A. Questions.
    1) What do you mean when you say “Your view sound dualistic in that sense — considered by some Christians to be heretical”? Is “dualism” heretical in Christianity? I thought that dualism was at the core of all Abramic relgions, as well as Zoroastrianism.

    2) Are your comments supposed to be related to warrioress’s remark “the bible makes it simple in terms of black and white, not I. While Jesus does say that if you are for us, you are not against us, He is still very clear about what is required for salvation, for forgiveness of sin, for eternal life. It’s black or white. Period. Believe or don’t.” ?

    B. Remarks
    1) It is quite extraordinary that people like warrioress still insist that their religion is the correct one, despite the overwhelming evidence showing the intimate relations between religions and the borrowing from one another. Christianity, in particular, has borrowed, almost verbatim from previous religions or “religions”, the following: virgin birth, dualism (black or white (!), as warrioress insists), the 3 magi, the concept of trinity, the halo over saints’ icons, the gender of god (male, of course!), the architecture of proto-christian churches, the holy spirit, hell, paradise, women saint figures, and others. The influences to Christianity come from every possible existing religion: Judaism, Zoroastrianism, the main-stream Greco-Roman religion, Orphism, and Pythagoreanism.

    2) Despite that, most Christians are not even aware of the connections (OK, the religious establishment is doing its best to hide them) and think that the Bible tells it all. If, somehow, they could see the connections, would they not start wondering “hang on a minute, I had been told and believed that all these things are hard-core christian, and now I see that they are also Zoroastrian?” It absolutely fascinating that the believing mind, has the power to shut all its logical functions, despite any kind of evidence. In fact, the more the evidence against, the stronger the beliefs of the believing mind.

    3) Zoroastrianism is a fascinating religion. Nowadays, most scholars agree that it is much older than it was supposed to be, that it predates Judaism and that Zoroaster (the hellenized name of Zaradusht) himself was someone who promoted the already existing religion.

    4) Zoroastrianism is supposed to be the first monotheistic religion, and the first religion to introduce the concept of dualism. Polytheistic religions seem to denounce dualism.

    5) Zoroastrianism had relations with (influenced) both Abrahamic religions and Hinduism.

    6) Zoroastrianism had a trinity, consisting of Ahura Mazda, Ahura Voruna (who became the Voruna of the Vedas), and Mithra (who became the revered figure in the Roman Mithraism–Mithraic ruins exist even in Londinium–Londom).

    7) It is funny we refer to Zoroastrianism as “religion” but to the Greco-Roman beliefs as “mythology”, isn’t it? My explanation is that the former is not a dead religion. There are several Zoroastrians (Parsis), some of which are very powerful people in India. The multi-billion Tata Group, for instance, is established by Zoroastrians. But the latter is, indeed, a dead religion (well, it has been resurrected by a bunch of Greek lunies, but I won’t condemn their beliefs, because they are not better or worse than those of the official Greek religion, i.e., Christianity).

    P.S. Maybe I have mentioned some of these things in previous posts here. I apologize if I’m repeating myself.

  31. rautakyy

    @warrioress, I think I can see what you mean, but then again you have rejected lord Khrisna, Allah, Buddha, Odin and a big bunch of other paths to “salvation” from all these other hells and to eternal life, have you not? Why? Perhaps, because your cultural heritage presents Jesus as the foremost candidate, but people whose heritage present Allah as the only god have problems of taking your Jesus as what Christianity claims him to be. Understandably, yes?

    If this life is a method of choosing wether you happen to believe in the right religious claims, it is a rigged game for most people, correct? Most people who “choose” to serve Jesus do it just because that is the way they were raised and not on any actual “choise” of their own and same goes for the adherents of other religions. I find it hard to believe any supreme creator entity would be so very immoral as to divide us to eternal bliss and hellish suffering mainly based on our cultural heritage, and very little on who we are as individuals. But if such an entity exists, then serving that god is just self-serving in face of jealous, narcistic, immoral tyrant and accepting that might makes right.

    We can only estimate any claims of divinity by our human understanding and succumbing to the idea, that because Allah is all knowing one must just trust his revealed stories must be true and that us humans have no right to evaluate Allah the creator of all, is not leading to anywhere, is it? If this applies to Allah, does it not equally aply to your particular god?

    I have never believed in the divinity of Jesus any more than in the divinities of all the other alledged godly characters. The Bible has always been just an old book to me. Why should I take it any more seriously, than the Mahabharata, or the Quran for example? Why do you take it seriously? I have never made any conscious choise on the matter, simply as no religion has ever presented any plausible reasons to take their view of the so called supernatural for real. It seems to me to be a primitive concept, from times when people had no idea what is natural, nor how nature works.

    By the way, if Satan is Jason, is your god then the director, or just a member of the audience? Being able to stop an atrocity, but choosing not to interfere is unethical, is it not? The concept of free will does not serve as an explanation, as that would mean the party able to prevent the atrocity, is evaluating the free will of the purpetrator to act horribly more important and valuable, than the free will of the victim to not be violated.

  32. rautakky: One thing that people like warrioress never question is this: Religion and your place of birth are correlated strongly. A person born in Greece has low chance of being Muslim. If Islam is the true religion, if Allah is the true god, the one who will burn all those who do not follow him, then this means that Allah will burn most Greeks. Isn´t that unfair? Why should a Greek be condemned simply because he or she had the unfortunate luck of been born in Greece?

    There are N countries and M religions. Replace `Greece´ by any of the N countries and `Islam’ with any of the M religions and you have another unfair story.

    Perhaps only one of them is correct. But which one?

    How come that person can call himself or herself a thinking person if he or she has never wondered about this unfairness?

  33. @ Takis
    (A) I won’t be discussing Zoroastrianism here. Please do feel free to post on it on your blog. You may enjoy the link above.

    (B) As you know, I try very carefully to not generalize about religion or Christianity or Buddhism. There are too many varieties of each to make broad generalizations. You know that is a constant theme of mine here. I will always remind readers of that — even if they disagree with me.

    I don’t think Jesus is made to say different things by the different Bible authors — and further, different sort of Christians have different views of how the weight the Bible and thus the sayings attributed to Jesus.

    Concerning “dualism” — it depends on the subject. Here I am referring to something simple: being a servant of God OR Satan (two things – dual). No need to discuss further here.

    Don’t mean to be evasive — no wait, yes I do! 🙂

    @ Takis and Rautakyy,
    Neither of you gentlemen had any strong religious belief or affiliation as adults, did you?

  34. BTW, Warrioress: remember that though your passage from Matt & Luke said those who aren’t for us are against us, we have a Mark 9:40 verse saying “whoever is not against us is for us.” This is a different flavor. So since I support somethings Christians says, what do we make of these verses. See my post here.

  35. Great research and as I said on that post, I reserve the right to think on this and come back later. 😉

  36. @Rautakyy,

    [You asked:]

    “@warrioress, I think I can see what you mean, but then again you have rejected lord Khrisna, Allah, Buddha, Odin and a big bunch of other paths to “salvation” from all these other hells and to eternal life, have you not?”

    Yes, I have.

    [Then you asked:]

    “Why? Perhaps, because your cultural heritage presents Jesus as the foremost candidate, but people whose heritage present Allah as the only god have problems of taking your Jesus as what Christianity claims him to be. Understandably, yes?”

    I think this is why we were told to go into all of the world and share with everyone the truth about Jesus Christ. God wants everyone to be aware of the free gift of salvation. I know it’s probably tough for different cultures to grasp and that presents numerous challenges. God must take that into consideration, don’t you think so?

    [Next you said:]

    “If this life is a method of choosing wether you happen to believe in the right religious claims, it is a rigged game for most people, correct? Most people who “choose” to serve Jesus do it just because that is the way they were raised and not on any actual “choise” of their own and same goes for the adherents of other religions. I find it hard to believe any supreme creator entity would be so very immoral as to divide us to eternal bliss and hellish suffering mainly based on our cultural heritage, and very little on who we are as individuals. But if such an entity exists, then serving that god is just self-serving in face of jealous, narcistic, immoral tyrant and accepting that might makes right.”

    I think, R. that God will definitely take the “unfairness” of not growing up with cultural Jesus into account. The bible talks about an innate knowledge of Him within each person, because of creation/nature. It’s those who reject even that within them that are going to have the problem, I think.

  37. @Rautakyy,

    Missed this question of yours.

    “@warrioress, I think I can see what you mean, but then again you have rejected lord Khrisna, Allah, Buddha, Odin and a big bunch of other paths to “salvation” from all these other hells and to eternal life, have you not?


    I rejected all of those others because they were not believable. The “plot” did not make sense. They have no power. They can do nothing for me. They are impersonal and don’t care about me. Jesus does.

  38. @ warrioress,
    Cutting and Pasting the previous comments of others into your comment and then answering them has several problems:
    (1) Makes your comments huge
    (2) Makes us all re-read stuff we may not wish to re-read
    (3) It is very difficult to separate your comments from theirs — very hard on the mind and the eye.
    You did that on your 11:19 — I just spent 10 minutes fixing up the comment. You accidentally left a huge section at the end which was a quote of “R” that you did not answer — I deleted it. I added BLOCKQUOTE tags to make it easier to read. And I added [You said] type things to help further.
    But still, this technique of huge cut and pasting (called “Fisking“)
    So my suggestions is — don’t do it, or, do it for only short comments and only one or two if you feel compelled to. This is just a suggestion. With lots of cut-pasting, I tend to ignore those sorts of comments — too tedious.
    You do this on your blog too. Again, it is just my aesthetic preference — but your last comment was a mess with all those mistakes — I realize it was late at night, but it is also a common downfall of Fisking.

  39. Okay .. will take more time to reply in an easier to read format.

  40. Sabio,
    Responding to your question: no, I had no strong beliefs. As for affiliation, definitely not! I have never ever been affiliated to any organization which relies on dogmatic acceptance of rules, so I’ve never been a member of any religious establishment or political party. I even reject the concept of nationalism. Certainly, if I *had* to choose, I would choose, for instance, Jainism to Islam, or Democrats to Republicans, but, fortunately, nobody ever forced me to choose. I have always preferred to remain free of beliefs and affiliations.

    There is, however, one thing I am “religious” about. And this is logic. (Which, unfortunately, I sometimes violated owing to my strong sentiments against dogmatic beliefs… Alas, I’m not perfect.)

  41. rautakyy

    @ warrioress, thank you for your insight. Perhaps you can see my position as it is that no religion I have ever encountered is “believable to me”. But you do realize that your religion is “believable” to most of the people who hold it more because of their cultural heritage as the other religions are “believable” to other people because of their cultural heritage, rather than for any other reason? Right?

    The Bible may say, that everyone has some innate information about Jesus, but you would be hard pressed to actually present any evidence for anything such. Correct? Whithout actual evidence for it, it is just a nother wild unsubstantiated claim. Exactly like the one in Quran where it claims everyone has innate knowledge of Allah and those joining Islam are infact only returning to it after being lost from the truth.

    If your god sincerely “wants everyone to be aware of the truth about Jesus Christ” as you assert, that god has done a pretty poor job on that for the last couple of millenia. I’d say this god has botched the effort a bit like when the very same god alledgedly bothced whith the creation of humanity and felt everybody had to be drowned, exept for one family. I know the adherents will blame humans and Satan for the failures of your god, but it is like little children being blamed for the failures of a father, or autonomical robots being blamed for the failures of the programmer. Of course only after we could establish there was a father, or a programmer in the first place.

    @Sabio, no I have had no religious affiliations of any sort. Supernatural is an imaginary concept and has allways been, untill perhaps someone can verify anything like it actually exists. Most of the stuff that has been presented as supernatural has been revealed by science to be part of the natural, observable material universe and at the moment it seems so is the rest of it as it is indistinguishable from folklore. But who knows for sure? Maybe there are fairies. For sure they are a lot less wondrous and far more likely concept, than an intelligence creating everything. The point is, that only actual evidence can warrant a belief, yes?

    However, my father was an atheist, a skeptic and a communist. I did not adopt his political beliefs. As I see it, his were informed by time and place and may even have been necessary in a way, but are no longer relevant in the same way they were to him. Growing up to figuring things for myself caused me to reject some of his beliefs, but he himself taught me to be critical and was proud of me for that. And I am proud of that I would change my opinion on anything, if new evidence would convince me to. Yet, I do affiliate myself to socialism, humanism, feminism and a bunch of less defining political, social, idealistic and philosophical concepts like atheism.

    @ Takis Konstantopoulos, yes I agree. But, when faced whith the question of unfairness of other people being discarded into these many hells, the religious people seem to either assert, that it is perfectly fair, or that there is some sort of escape clause to this in which their respective gods have a nother secret method of selecting people more fairly. I kind of like more of the religious people who often instantly invent this secret other method, than the ones who find it fair, that they are saved by mostly their own particular cultural heritage. Because finding this sort of system fair is so immoral, self serving and arrogant. To invent such a method never ever addressed in any holy scripture, that there is actually a more fairer system of selection is interresting, as it is an obvious lean towards modern social morals from the tribal moralism inherent to allmost all major religions.

  42. rautakyy: I’m a bit lost with your syllogism, in the sense that I find it hard to parse your sentences. But I think that you are saying this:

    Option A: Some religious folk find their system inherently fair and that’s that.
    Option B: Some other religious folk claim that their god or gods will find a way to judge people, a way which is unknown to us.
    You prefer option B to A.

    If I understood correctly, then you are saying that you like religious folk who are willing to revise their scriptures rather than those who claim that the book is the only thing that exists and it is infallible.
    Is that correct?

  43. rautakyy

    @Takis Konstantopoulos, yes. Thank you for clearing that up. I sometimes have trouble in translating my thoughts in English as my native language often has rather different approach. This also makes me write much too long comments. Sorry Sabio.

    The reason I prefer religious people who offer option B is that they at least recognize the obvious moral failures of option A. And hence, have higher moral standards. On the other hand I symphatize whith religious people who choose option A as it is sincere and honest of them to stick to their ideals and not try to run around them. However, because both reactions are most often initial results of people not having ever even given any thought to this obvious dilemma, it is also revealing on wether they are “thinking persons” in the way you mentioned. On the other hand, if people have been presented whith this problem before and even after long contemplation they come up whith either of these silly answers, one may ask what is wrong whith their critical thinking skills.

  44. rautakyy: En puhu Suomea… Puhu Englanti ja Kreikka 🙂

    I agree with you. You therefore find that there is a problem with both options.
    Option A is the more sincere one, but a fundamentalist one, and therefore intolerable. Option B is more sympathetic, we like people who are wiling to question dogmas, but then they are not honest to their “principles”.
    Either way, there is a problem, at a logical or moral level.

    Do you live in Helsinki? If so, I’m opposite you, i Sverige…

  45. rautakyy

    @ Takis, I am impressed of your skill in Finnish language. 🙂 I once participated in a course of ancient Greek language, but I can not even say hello whith that. My languages are Finnish, Swedish, English and a little bit of Russian.

    Yes, we are in full agreement on this subject.

    I live even closer to “Sverige” in the bilingual Åbo/Turku.

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