A little background since aside from funny pictures I never really post anything on here.
I have a friend who is religious (Christian) who, whenever we hang out, discusses many things with me. The sort of things that never come up in the idle chit chat and small talk. Some of what we talk about…
I used to be a Christian, until about 22. Now I’m agnostic w/ mystical leanings. But even as a Christian I had issues w/ church teachings that were not actually in the Bible. I’d ask my pastor or teachers and they wouldn’t have great answers. they’d point to vague scriptures or church tradition or the spirit of the Lord speaking to people long after the Bible had been written. Then I’d ask why the Bible had stopped being written? If God was still speaking to people and they had all this knowledge why not add that shit. The gospel according to Dave from Ohio? My pastor actually adored me but some others didn’t appreciate me.
Anyway. I did a lot of reading. And over the years I had a lot of in depth studying of the bible, read the entire thing through several times (Including Numbers and holy crap that is a boring section). And no, there isn’t anything in there that corresponds with the modern vision of hell. What’s more, there really isn’t anything that corresponds with the modern church’s vision of Satan. And I never found anything that detailed Satan originating as Lucifer the highest angel who tried to defeat God and was then cast down into hell. Never found it. There are some allusions to it but in the original language the meaning is different.
If one believes in the Bible then one has to either accept it as every word is literal or it is not literal. Did a donkey talk? Did God appear as a burning bush? Did the earth stop spinning so that someone could win a battle? Modern Christians like to dismiss a lot of the Old Testament because they say Jesus brought a new covenant. But there is just as much in the New Testament that is offputting. Women do not speak in church. Men should not have long hair (sort of puts those portraits of the white Jesus with the flowing brown locks at odds). Women shouldn’t have short hair. etc.
These are letters, sent by a man to churches in different cities. Specific to their needs at the time. Were they meant to be used as God’s word? If I write to a friend and give her advice to stick her thumb up her ass (as you do) and someone finds that letter, will that be part of a new religion (oh please let this be so)
The bible is stories written in different languages, years after events took place. Interpreted into another language, then another, and so on. Jesus spoke in stories so that the people he spoke to could understand what he was saying.
Take one line from a story, base a large portion of your religion on it, and you have the motivation of fear
Matthew 25:31 “When32 the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All33 the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He34 will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him,35 ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When36 did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When37 did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them,38 ‘I tell you the truth,39 just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters40 of mine, you did it for me.’
25:41 “Then he will say41 to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer,42 ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them,43 ‘I tell you the truth,44 just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Thus beget Cake lyrics.
The book of Revelations is all symbolism. Ever part of it. One can’t derive any sense of truth or teaching from that. It makes no sense to me to preach from it.
Is there a hell? My thought as a Christian was that hell was the absence of God’s presence. My thought now is I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a heaven. I would like to believe. I’d like to believe somewhere my grandparents are on a bass boat fishing together. That Elvis is skinny and hot and banging a brunette Marilyn Monroe who likes to be called Norma Jean now.
Honestly though I’m tired of modern churches using hell as a reason to get people to become a Christian. Come to church/christianity for love and acceptance. give them that. give them what it was intended to be. Conversion based on fear of an afterlife of brimstone won’t last long at all.