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Thread: Hell does not exist, according to the bible!

  1. #1
    The field its covered in blood skaught's Avatar
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    Hell does not exist, according to the bible!

    Yep its true. A few years ago, I got into a discussion with a distant cousin of mine who went to school to be a minister. He claimed that, according to the bible, hell existed! I told him that the Bible mentions nothing of Hell at all. He scoffed and laughed and asked me what do I know? He was the one who went to school and studied the bible intensely for years.
    I remembered a time when I had a discussion with someone who made the same claim, and encouraged me to study the bible in depth and seek out evidence for Hell. Upon a strong investigation, I came to conclude that indeed, there is no mention of the word Hell in the bible. Some modern bibles have replaced the words "Sheol", "Tartarus," "Hades", and "Gehenna" with the word "Hell". But the bible, in its original language only used the former four words to describe a place that people go when they die, (aside from heaven).
    Determined to prove my overly religious cousin wrong, I engaged in an intense study of the bible and wrote up the following essay. I often now quote it to religious nuts when the conversation turns to hell. My cousin was angered and annoyed by it and couldn't come up with a reasonable argument other than "All that really matters is if we believe in the Christ." He seriously couldn't even approach contradicting anything in my essay.

    My alternative to the theory of Hell, is that the options god gave us are to either go to heaven, or be destroyed forever and cease to exist. Heaven is more of an option that god is offering us, not forcing it upon us saying "believe or be tortured for eternity". No, god is saying "If you do not believe, you will not be punished, you will simply cease to exist. You will 'return to dust'" Heaven is more a gift that he offers us, however, we are not punished for not taking it.

    This is really the first time I have engaged some topic in the religion thread, because I usually tend to avoid religious discussions. But I have seen a lot of threads about "Hell" lately. And, biblically speaking, there is no such thing. Early Christians did not have a concept of Hell. The idea of hell came from northern Europeans who got The Word but wanted to retain some of their own mythical beliefs which included a belief that a deity named Hel consumed the dead in a fiery underworld. European proselytizers started to incorporate this belief into their teachings as a means to "scare" people into believing.

    Without further ado, here is the essay I originally sent to my cousin:

    There appear to be many passages which would make hell appear to be a place of non-existence. For many years, Christians held the belief that hell is a place of fiery torment. A place where the dead receive their just punishment. Luke 16:23-31 speaks of a rich man who went into hell and looked up to heaven and spoke with Abraham, asking him to ease his suffering. Another passage; Matthew 13:42 states “And throw them into the furnace and burn them.” Certainly these passages are frightening and noteworthy. Instilling in us a fear of eternal torture and punishment for our wrong doings in life.

    Often ignored and overlooked are two things: the history and deeper meanings of these passages, and the passages which clearly refer to hell as a place of non-existence and bodily decay. To examine further some of the passages referring to hell as a place of torment, let us consider the following passages.

    A word often used in scripture in reference to hell is Gehenna. Gehennas' true meaning has been forgotten by the passage of time. Gehenna was a well-known location in the time of Christ. Contrary to popular belief, Gehenna was not a place of other worldly fiery torment. Gehenna was a location just outside of Jerusalem.

    Gehenna was a garbage dump. Used by Jews of the time to get rid of, or destroy things. Gehenna was a place to cast ones garbage, dead and diseased bodies, the bodies of criminals, and other refuse. In order to ensure complete and utter destruction, the Jews kept the fires of Gehenna always burning. Often fueling the fires with sulfur. Gehenna was a large valley often resembling, because of its size, a “burning lake of fire”. Many things aside from garbage were thrown into Gehenna. Often, the bodies of diseased dead people were thrown into Gehenna to ensure the diseases utter destruction and removal from populated areas. Also commonly thrown into the fires were the bodies of criminals, seen as a somewhat cleansing of society by utterly destroying the offenders. The fires of Gehenna were kept perpetually burning to utterly consume the corrupt things which were thrown into it.

    When Christ was referring to Gehenna, He was therefore not referring to a place one goes after death. Gehenna would have been an inappropriate word to use to describe such a place. As those who would have heard him use this reference would not have associated it with an afterwordly place of punishment. They certainly would have associated it with the burning garbage dump.

    See Matthew 10:28 28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”

    See James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by Gehenna.”

    See Luke 12:5 "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

    See Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into Gehenna.”

    All or many of these passages refer to Gehenna as a place that one is “cast into”, and as a place of fire. Matthew 10:28 clearly states that the soul will be destroyed there.

    Still another word frequently used in scripture where the dead go is Sheol. Sheol is the Hebrew word roughly translated as “the abode of the dead”, sometimes translated as “underworld”, “grave”, or “pit”.

    The word Sheol was commonly used to denote not an afterlife of punishment and torment, but the earthly grave. The place where the body, not the soul goes.

    Some of the earliest scriptures mentioning Sheol speak of it as a place where all undoubtedly go. In Genesis 37:35, Jacob does not question whether he will go there when hew says:

    “All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to Sheol to my son." So his father wept for him.”

    Again Jacob says:

    Genesis 42:38; “But Jacob said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow."

    Job 7:9 "When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up.”

    In Job 17:16, "Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?" Job clearly compares it to returning to dust.

    Psalms 9:17 is noteworthy when it says: “The wicked will return to Sheol, Even all the nations who forget God.”

    What is noteworthy about this passage is that it says nothing of those people who “forget god” being thrown into a place of fiery torment. They seemingly receive the same treatment as righteous men of the bible like Jacob and Job.

    Very noteworthy is Psalms 49:14-15 “As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation. 15But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me.”

    Many passages refer to both the righteous and unrighteous going to Sheol. Job speaks almost positively of it when he says in: Job 14:13 "Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, That You would set a limit for me and remember me!”

    Certainly Job would not prefer the torments of a fiery hell to his unfortunate circumstances on earth.

    Most passages in the Old Testament use the word Sheol. Likewise, most passages in the New Testament use the word Gehenna, sometimes “Hades“, which will be examined later. Still up for observation are the scriptures that clearly state hell as a place of inactivity, or a place where nothing happens other than bodily decay.

    Psalms 16:10 is one of these many passages when it says: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will you allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

    Perhaps one of the most convincing passages may be found in psalms 104:29: “You hide your face, they are dismayed; you take away their spirit, they expire and return to their dust.”

    A commonly held belief is that God is the embodiment of life. Many passages refer to heaven as eternal life with god.
    Ezekiel 18:4-20 is noteworthy here. V 5-9 speaks of a man who is very righteous. V9 states: “He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

    V 10-13 speaks of a man, who is very unrighteous and sinful, V 13 states: “He lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.”

    Psalms 164:4 clearly states: “His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

    Acts 2:31 states “Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.”

    Origins of the idea of hell being a place of fiery torment

    Among the many words used in scripture to refer to hell, there are Gehenna, Sheol, Tartarus, and Hades. Our “Hell” is nothing but a mistranslation of these words.

    The word “hell” appears nowhere in ancient biblical texts and is a mistranslation provided for us by non other than Martin Luther who translated scripture into German in the early sixteenth century. Martin Luther translated the word “Hades” into hell (German Hölle). The underworld in Norse mythology was ruled by the goddess Hel. The place was also called Hel.

    We have already covered the meanings behind the words “Gehenna”, and “Sheol”. But what of “Tartarus”, and “Hades“?

    Like “Hel” in Norse mythology, “Hades” is the ancient Greek abode of the dead and the god of that underworld.

    The word “Hades” is used exclusively in the New Testament, and is obviously of Greek influence. Certainly Hades did not come to exist as soon as the Jews made contact with the Greeks. Certainly the Jews of the time did not ascribe to the Greek ideas of hell. To do so would be counter productive to their ideal. Neither would Jesus allow paganism to influence or be a part of his teachings.

    The word Hades in Greek translates into “Hidden”, or “unseen”. And was probably used by Christ in place of Sheol. Also noteworthy is that the gospels were written in Greek. So naturally, the word Hades would have been used in place of “Sheol”. It may have been that while speaking Aramaic, Christ did use the word “Sheol” which was then translated into “Hades” in the Greek scriptures.

    The word Tartarus is used only once in 2 peter 2:4 to describe a place where sinning angels go. It may be noted that Tartarus appears to be a place that is temporary.
    2 peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to Tartarus, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.”

    Despite this essay and its biblical references, It should be noted that scripture can be interpreted in many ways. Consider the numerous denominations involved in Christianity. Who is to say what Christ ultimately meant when he used such words as Sheol, Gehenna and Hades or what ancient Jews understood these places to represent? Despite the fact that Gehenna was a fiery garbage dump, who can say 2000 years later what was meant by such phrases as “the will be cast into Gehenna.” Only one man who lived 2000 years ago knows the ultimate truth, which we shall all become aware of at our moment of passing.
    Thoughts:

  2. #2
    MY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYY Betrayer0fHope's Avatar
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    By being turned to dust God meant nailing all the hot chicks you never got to hit.

  3. #3
    The field its covered in blood skaught's Avatar
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    Thats it???

  4. #4
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    hell does not exist

    As much as I vowed to dissassociate myself from this site, I'm compelled by my desire for true knowledge. I confess making reference to hell in a previous response but was in error of the word. In my near death experience what I referred to as seeing hell, was in truth merely the utter blackness of death and likewise my reference to seeing heaven was in truth the brilliance of the light of redemption. While I meant no deception and it was an erroneous use of words, I recognize the truth of your essay from my own biblical research that I had forgotten. I stand corrected, however since I would never claim to be the authority of God's word, I am curious to the passage (and forgive me for not recalling book, chapter, and verse) regarding the mark of the beast (and I quote) whoever receives the mark of the beast, the same shall drink the wine of the wrath of God. The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night, whoever receives the mark.

    It's difficult to discover truth in a world of sanctimoneous hypocrites, over zealous know it alls, blatant blasphemers and wicked people, which may be one reason that you tend to avoid religious discussion. My only desire is to discover all aspects of God and while I've discovered the blasphemy of christianity, that in no way diminishes the truth of God or his word. Thank-you for taking the time to reveal your discoveries about Hades, Hel, sheol and the rest of it, I appreciate the enlightenment and while I like to think that I know more than the average person, a seeker of truth never assumes that they know it all, that's the position of the idiot. Even the smallest morsal of truth suppliments the feast.

    Thank-you again

  5. #5
    The field its covered in blood skaught's Avatar
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    Read Revelations 13:17. The whole chapter of 13 talks about the beast.

    Thanks for the praise. I put a lot of work into this essay. I don't even know for sure where I stand on the whole god issue. (this will have to be my coming out as a theist thread) I do believe that a power greater than myself exists beyond my or other humans comprehension. Whether or not the bible is the word and wish of this power I do not yet know. I do know however, that the power that I believe in would never ever take part in any form of punishment upon anyone or anything. Coming up with this essay helped me to see some truth in the bible, and makes me wonder if perhaps my higher power did indeed have something to do with its authorship.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by azriel View Post
    I confess making reference to hell in a previous response but was in error of the word. In my near death experience what I referred to as seeing hell, was in truth merely the utter blackness of death and likewise my reference to seeing heaven was in truth the brilliance of the light of redemption. I stand corrected, however since I would never claim to be the authority of God's word,

    My only desire is to discover all aspects of God and while I've discovered the blasphemy of christianity, that in no way diminishes the truth of God or his word.
    If there is no soul or consciousness living on after death, there is nothing. No thing. Not only no light but no dark. 1 wouldn't feel anything or see anything. 1 wouldn't be. No utter darkness. People have said "I wonder what nothing feels like." Nothing doesn't involve any feeling because the person isn't there to feel or see or whatever.
    "I wonder what nothing feels like." "You won't be there to feel." "Where will I be." "You won't be."
    What god's word are you talking about? If it can't ensure proper translation, it isn't much of a god.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by StrangerInAStrangeLa View Post
    What god's word are you talking about? If it can't ensure proper translation, it isn't much of a god.
    I love this line. I will add it to my list of succint quotes and re-use it often.

    ~String

  8. #8
    Moderating your thoughts.. Enmos's Avatar
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    I like this one: “His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

  9. #9
    All aboard, me Hearties! Captain Kremmen's Avatar
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    I like the old Scottish Joke about the Scotsman who went to hell.
    A good old Calvinist hell with flames and pitchforks.

    The Scotsman said to the Devil:
    "Mister, no-one told me about this. I didnee noo" (I didn't know)

    The devil replies:
    "Weel, tha' noos the noo" (You know now)
    Last edited by Captain Kremmen; 10-02-08 at 02:16 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaught View Post
    Read Revelations 13:17. The whole chapter of 13 talks about the beast.

    Thanks for the praise. I put a lot of work into this essay. I don't even know for sure where I stand on the whole god issue. (this will have to be my coming out as a theist thread) I do believe that a power greater than myself exists beyond my or other humans comprehension. Whether or not the bible is the word and wish of this power I do not yet know. I do know however, that the power that I believe in would never ever take part in any form of punishment upon anyone or anything. Coming up with this essay helped me to see some truth in the bible, and makes me wonder if perhaps my higher power did indeed have something to do with its authorship.
    Your belief in a higher power (12 step program) as opposed to God, further sustains the fallacy and blasphemy of religion. Christianity was born in Babylon after sun worship, hence christmas and easter, Islam is a religion created by the sons of Esau and all the rest is just bullshit.

    Have a good life buddy

  11. #11
    I do not think Hell is all that important in the theology. That is why references to it are few and far between. It is more important to the religion than it is the the core theology...in my humble opinion. Hell has been and is still frequently used to bring in and control followers. From a theology perspective, it is just a seperation from God which by definition is not pleasant.

    I think the link below defines Gehenna/Hell/Hades fairly well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by skaught View Post
    Thoughts:
    Quite well argued and well supported. I had a similar discussion about Hell not being eternal here at Sciforums, and found supporting evidence to show that God did not abandon people for ever, ah, here it is;

    Lamentations 3:31-32 (NIV):

    31 For men are not cast off, by the Lord forever.
    32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love

    But of course the definition of 'Hell' as you point out is still not certain. I agree with your points, that 'Hel' has been brought into the mythos, and the whole thing re-interpreted.

  13. #13
    We're all dead & this is hell.

  14. #14
    It was only the devil (satan/the dragon/ lucifer) and his antichrist that are condemned on "the lake of fire" to burn eternally.

  15. #15

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