Rome -- Christians say that God plans to give up on saving sinners and instead has decided to burn them forever.
When asked "why?" the response was "because, people are too sinful for God to save them"
When asked why an omnipotent God would have trouble saving them the reply was "God is agentleman and doesn't want to force them to be saved"
Millions of Christians embrace this outrageous idea without question, mostly because they would be called heretics if they question the idea.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.
Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 1:28am
UPDATE: Rome -- Way back in 182 A.D.Iraneaus of Lyons said of God's dealings with man, "Wherefore also he drove him out of paradise and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some dare assert, but because He pitied him and desired that he should not be immortal and the evil interminable and irremediable."
Many Christians later decided that God's dealing with man could not possibly be that sensible, and that there is no way that would work.
Some years later, St. Macrina the Blessed said, "The Word seems to me to lay down the doctrine of the perfect obliteration of wickedness, for if God shall be in all things that are, obviously wickedness shall not be in them. For it is necessary that at some time evil should be removed utterly and entirely from the realm of being."
But, in a stunning reversal the Church decided to abandon God's plans and go with it's own plans where God is not nearly so successful, where only a few "elect" end up being saved, while the rest are tormented forever, forsaken and abandoned by God.
When asked why this reversal was decided upon, the response was "God obviously bit off more than He could chew...people don't want salvation. So we believe God will simply not save them."
This reporter asked..."Well, if you are not going to save them, why raise them from the dead to begin with?"
The answer was stunning.
"He raises them so he can burn them forever."
With that..this reporter promptly left the scene...
Monday, July 19, 2010 at 4:20pm
UPDATE: Rome --- Location of God's alleged torture chamber remains ever elusive.
God, apparently, does not wish the location to be known. It is alleged that His desire to keep it's location a mystery is because He doesn't want to appear to be a cruel and vindictive monster who could not save to the uttermost, as promised.
Church leaders remain steadfast in their insistence that the torture chamber exists, so I set about trying to determine where it might be.
Jesus Christ Himself made reference to a possible location as being Gehenna. But Gehenna turned out to be a valley just outside Jerusalem which served as a garbage dump for the city at the time. This valley is where some Jews burned their young children alive as an offering to the false god Molech..an event in which God Himself declared was an unthinkable travesty that was beyond anything He ever thought.
I didn't find any torture chamber there. In fact, today it is quite pleasant...rather like a walk in the park.
Further investigation turned up another possibility for the location of God's alleged torture chamber in the place called Hades.
I couldn't find it. That might have been expected had i realized that the word "hades" means"hidden" and "covered" and was commonly used in reference to "the grave".
Too many graves around...but I'm still looking. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder about the resurrection and how that would empty the grave...perhaps even all of them one day...If God so desired.
The search for this alleged torture chamber is difficult. Church officials laughingly told me that the only way there is by killing yourself.
I don't think I'll go that far...seems a little bit extreme to me.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 10:28am
UPDATE: Rome -- Since the reference to killing oneself in order to discover that God really is building an everlasting Auschwitz were sinners will burn forever in agony, I decided against this course of action if favor of looking at the Near Death Experience (NDE).
A quick reference led me to the writings of Dr. Ken Vincent..who said with great confidence that "Almost no one who has ever studied the near-death experience (NDE) comes away thinking that Hell is eternal."
Hell, as the eternal torture chamber has been called by some, is the same word used in English Bibles as a translation if the words Sheol (sometimes), Hades (sometimes), and Gehenna.
Gehenna, again, is the valley on the outskirts of Jerusalem where Jews misguidedly burned children and babies alive to the false god Molech and where God expressed His opposition to that practice.
Apparently, many Christians think or have been convinced that the idea is an excellent one that God should adopt as His own...and extend to all future time...as a means to an end.
I wonder how an unending torture chamber from which there is no escape and no salvation could ever lead to anything good.
And, as it turns out, I'm not alone in wondering about this.
Sidney Hatch had this to say: "A civilized society looks with horror upon the abuse and torture of children or adults. Even where capital punishment is practiced, the aim is to implement it as mercifully as possible. Are we to believe then that a holy God—our heavenly Father—is less just than the courts of men?
Bishop Newton, a Christian who lived from 1704 to 1782 wrote: "Imagine such a doctrine, you may; but seriously believe in it you never can. The thought is too shocking even to human nature; how much more abhorrent, then, must it be from divine perfection. The Creator must have made all his creatures finally to be happy; and could never form any one whose end he foreknew would be misery everlasting. We can be sure of nothing if we are not sure of this."
Apparently many Christians are not as comfortable with the doctrine of God's everlasting torture chamber as some church leaders think they should be.
Atheists think it is better not to be bothered by such monstrous notions and so have rejected Christianity altogether. Madalyn Murray O'Hare, for example, rejected Christianity outright, saying: "The fear of hell is the basis for the Christian faith"
But this reporter finds that this is not really the case. A lot of Christians refute the doctrine of "Hell".
Dr. Vernon Grounds says "Seldom, I suppose, do we find ourselves brooding over the awesome doctrine of eternal punishment. Only on rarest occasions and then fleetingly is our mood that of Roden's famous statue, The Thinker, who sits in mute amazement watching lost souls enter hell. What William Gladstone wrote about eternal punishment in the late 19th century is equally true today: it 'seems to be relegated at present to the far off corners of the Christian mind, and there to sleep in deep shadow."
John G. Lake says: "Think of Jonathan Edwards who thundered the terrors of God and what Hell was like until men grasped their seats and hung on to them, fearing they were falling into Hell itself. Men were moved by fear to escape damnation. That was believed to be Christianity. Why any coward wanted to keep out of Hell. He might not have had one idea in his soul of what was the real true earmark of Christianity."
Randy Klassen, who wrote a book on the subject called "What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?" says the following in his book,
"Made in the image of God, all humans have a moral sense, a judicial sentiment. Even the unredeemed cringe when the Holocaust is reviewed. Our moral intuition rejects the idea that anyone, human or divine, who endlessly inflicted pain on another could be called "good."
Some scientists also agree.
Albert Einstein said "Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
Richard Dawkins seems to agree "Who will say with confidence that sexual abuse is more permanently damaging to children than threatening them with the eternal and unquenchable fires of hell?"
Thomas Paine, from America's founding, said that "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man."
Even children express unease. Listening to her father preach a hellfire sermon, a pastor’s daughter said, “I wish Jesus was as loving as my father.”
Robert Anton Wilson wrote the following, and I tend to agree with his assessment of the situation:
"An idea, which has terrified millions, claims that some of us will go to a place called Hell, where we will suffer eternal torture. This does not scare me because, when I try to imagine a Mind behind this universe, I cannot conceive that Mind, usually called "God," as totally mad. I mean, guys, compare that "God" with the worst monsters you can think of -- Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, that sort of guy. None of them ever inflicted more than finite pain on their victims. Even de Sade, in his sado-masochistic fantasy novels, never devised an unlimited torture. The idea that the Mind of Creation (if such exists) wants to torture some of its critters for endless infinities of infinities seems too absurd to take seriously. Such a deranged Mind could not create a mud hut, much less the exquisitely mathematical universe around us."
The question still remains, and is as mysterious as we began reporting on this --- Where did the Church get the idea that God is creating an eternal torture chamber?
We may never know the answer.
Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 9:28pm
UPDATE: Home -- A voice in the wilderness, who wishes to remain anonymous, has expressed to this reporter that, "I see the doctrine of hell as being probably the major stumbling block to the return of a de-Christianized world to Christ. The doctrine of eternal damnation, more than any other teaching of the church, produces atheism. If you examine closely all the big name atheists—like Feuerback and Nietzsche—it is this teaching more than any other that offended them and turned them away. Out of these famous atheists came all the movements that have caused so much hell here and now. If God is to practice what He preaches, then it makes it hard to believe in eternal damnation."
This source went on to say that, "Your heart will not accept what your mind rejects."
C.G. Montefiore expresses similar concerns, "How anyone can believe in eternal punishment, or in any soul which God has made being “lost” and also believes in the love, nay, even in the justice of God is a mystery indeed."
Whence, then, did this belief in an un-ending torture chamber originate?
John Persone, a Swedish Lutheran Bishop, could not answer this question, but instead offered his take on the doctrine many say one MUST believe in order to be considered a Christian:
"For me it is inexplainable how a person who holds the orthodox view [of eternal torment] can at any time have a glad moment in this life. He is constantly mingling with people whose final destiny will be to be tormented eternally without end…To me it is even more inexplainable that such an ‘orthodox’ person can expect even a happy moment in eternity, when he knows that contemporaneously with his blessed estate continues the endless torment and agony of innumerable millions of the accursed. Can he, if he loves his neighbors as himself, yes, even if he has just a little bit of human love and is not solely a selfish wretch, have even a single happy moment?"
Lord Byron expressed his own concerns, "I cannot help thinking that the menace of Hell makes as many devils as the severe penal codes of inhuman humanity make villains."
Why then do some church leaders insist that God intends to create a never ending torture chamber when there is so little evidence that infinite Love could ever conceive of such a thing in the first place?
Dan Barker asked further, "Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being."
And with that it dawned on me that is the real question.
Who is God? What is He like?
And it is becoming increasingly evident that these church leaders that insist upon an unending hell are afraid that God is quite insane.
To them, God just might be a psychopath, and not the Loving Father who sends the world a Savior at all.
He certainly can't be trusted to have our best interests in mind after all.
Arthur Silver saw the same thing, "I read in the Gospels that Jesus forgave the men who nailed him to the cross. He even promised "this day you shall be with me in paradise" to a thief crucified next to him -- a thief who addressed Jesus simply as a "man" rather than as "the son of God." Yet, today, this same Jesus cannot forgive my kindly old aunt and allow her to dwell in paradise, simply because her "beliefs" do not match Reverend So-and-So's?"
I seem to now be on the right track. Like the Pharisees of old that Jesus always is found rebuking, the religious leaders today have lost sight of the Father God's heart.
And if the blind lead, the blind who follow them fall into their ditch.
Henry Ward Beecher had this to say, "When I see what the old rocking continents are doing, and have been doing from the creation, from the days of the flood, through all the treacheries and pitfalls wherein the human race has been reeling and staggering down to modern times; when I look at Asia and Africa and Europe and America and both continents of it and see what the actual condition of the neglected, the stripped, the peeled, the despoiled, the downtrodden races of men has been; if I thought that in addition to all this there was a God that was clothed in thunder, and whose business it was to stand at the door where men go out of life and crush them downward into eternal hell—every instinct of charity, of sympathy and of love that is born in me by Christ, would stand crying, “Annihilate him! Annihilate him!” It would be the sorrow of the universe that would raise this cry."
It appears to this reporter that the doctrine of God creating and eternal torture chamber is exactly what it appears to be.