The Hell of Religion’s Hell is Hellish, But Is The Religious Hell Real?
By now some of my denominated friends have got their defenses up and their gospel guns loaded with scripture verse bullets that (as far as they are concerned) will blast me into the fiery hell that I say Jesus did not teach on.
The meaning of the word "hell" as it is referred to today was not taught in the Old Testament...this fact begs the question...why do denominations teach about hell the way they do? In fact, the word Jesus uses for "hell" is not religion’s "hell", as in "a place of everlasting torment" at all, but "Gehenna", In the New Testament, Jesus referred to Gehenna as the valley of Hinnom, where garbage burned continually, corpses were sometimes deposited, and in earlier times, people had been sacrificed. He only referred to it to illustrate his lessons about spiritual growth in the earthly realm...that the earthly body was meaningless and would be thrown on the garbage dump. Some suggest he was warning the entire Jewish nation that it must turn away from its earthly focus and reform by being more concerned with spiritual growth and the inner person, and if it didn't, the Jews would be destroyed in fire. He was right, of course. Jerusalem and the temple were torched in 70 CE. which actually was a well-known dumping ground outside Jerusalem. People kept the dump burning with brimstone to keep the stink down, and the bodies of criminals were also thrown there. Jesus seems well to be saying, "Keep it up, pharisees, with this kind of self-righteous, violent, religiously-sanctioned and antagonistic way of thinking, don't be surprised if you end up in hell...Gehenna.
However, Jesus didn't refer to hell as everlasting torment for people who didn't accept salvation or swear allegiance to him. By the time of the first English translations of the New Testament, the hell myth had been so well rooted in church tradition that where the translators saw "Gehenna," they simply inserted "hell" as the translation. That led to the misconception about hell being in the New Testament and in Jesus' teaching.
I know many religionists think I am deluded...well, even in my deluded delusion I am persuaded there is NO such place as a Hell of everlasting torture as taught in most religious denominations. This hell theory though inspired by Satan, was invented, ordained and popularized by man ...NOT God...has caused a great rift in the nature and character of our compassionate, forgiving, merciful and loving Father God and has rendered the the finished work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection as incomplete. It has turned men and women into "tyrannical religious bigots" and caused them to see the loving Creator as a monster worse that Hitler. No wonder people don’t accept the “good news of the gospel”, they don't hear it...they hear a bad news gospel.
After searching and comparing Bible translations, looking into the Greek and Hebrew text to understand the historical context more fully when reading the English versions, reading the writings of the early Church Fathers, and viewing God through the lens of Jesus, who “by the way” is the express image of His loving Father, I am convinced there is NO such thing as a Hell of everlasting tortures as taught in most religious denominations today.
I don't think anyone would call the Jewish holocaust a triumph, because a few people managed to escape alive. You may go on and on about God’s fantastic plan to save a handful of His creation, use the most extravagant and thankful language possible, weep aloud with gratitude from the pulpit: "what a compassionate and loving Savior, to save the elect"! If the doctrine of hell is right, then God looses the battle with the devil because the vast majority of people (His crowning glory) He created, He will loose because they will be in hell suffering for eternity.
No amount of praising God for the saved remnant can silence the screams of billions of people in the everlasting torture chamber of hell, God is not going to loose to Satan! If you think that Satan will defeat God...you got another think coming!
Just rationalize it for a minute.
If you believe in a literal hell of eternal conscious torment, that means you believe that nearly everyone you see today will be screaming in blood-curdling agony for trillions of years. And the first trillion years won’t be .000000000000000001% of their total stay in hell’s torture chamber of everlasting punishment.
And if you believe you have the answer to this unspeakable travesty, and that you have the answer to prevent such a travesty...but you just put your 60 inch TV into the Wallmart cart, walk past all the hell bound people without saying a word to warn them, check out at the checkout line without speaking to the hell bound cashier, pleading with her to accept Christ...if rather, you just return to your car, tune to the gospel radio station on the ride home, set up your new TV set, turn on the christian broadcast station to listen to your favorite TV evangelist and send him some money in response to his pleading to save the world or to receive your spiritual blessing, and feel you have done your part...what kind of a Christian are you?
If hell means the eternal torture of the vast majority of people who have ever lived...including most people you've ever met or will meet...and Christians are whistling and smiling happy on their way to heaven, without a care in the world because they and a few of their family and friends have repeated the magic “sinners" prayer. Yet, to those that had a chance to accept Christ but didn’t; its "to hell with them" as far as they are concerned...if that is the Christian’s belief then, are they not compassion-less, love-less and grace-less nincompoops, who portray God as being worse than Hitler?