Friday, February 28, 2014

Get the Hell Out of My Bible

This is a Facebook post from a wonderful inclusionist, Carlton Pearson. Carlton expresses what many Christians have discovered in recent years. I gave up the belief in hell almost ten years ago and have never looked back. 

 Get the Hell Out of My Bible
The only "literal" hell there is, is the one we create for ourselves and for others. No one goes to hell, but we all go through it.

The belief in hell, as we've been taught and have taught it, is a concrete block tied to the ankles of trapped souls and minds. Until they are released from that single doctrine, it is difficult to progress into the wider experience of your God self, the part of himself that Jesus seems to have accessed within and encouraged us to. He loved to call himself "son of man", not "son of God", but recognized both aspects of himself and encouraged us to.

Gehenna is commonly used by misconceiving Christians to mean Hell, when in reality it was a garbage dump. I now believe that the entire concept of Hell in traditional evangelical Christianity is erroneously based on both superstition and the influence of ancient pre-Christian pagan mythologies. Yet the idea of Hell remains the most pernicious myth of Christianity and one unique to Christianity. Judaism does not have a place called Hell; Islam has one but it is not a central feature of the doctrine. What about our theology — and what about us as people — compels us to perpetuate the idea of a cosmic torture chamber where our brothers and sisters will be tormented in brutal agony forever? What does this say about the kind of people we have become? Just as important, what does this fervent Evangelical belief say about where conservative Christians stand in relation to most Americans, who, according to that previously quoted study, think people can save their souls not by adhering to some outdated doctrine but simply by being good people? As I see it, the evidence is incontestable: Christians risk becoming utterly irrelevant in their own culture if they continue to separate people into “We, the Saved” and “They, the Damned.” Again, I ask, do we need Jesus to protect us from God? Is that what Christianity as we’ve known it is about? Are we saved from God by God?


1 comment:

  1. More and more I believe that one can't appreciate the spiritual outlook without an ability to understand metaphor.