Do you believe in Hell?

When I was on an Instant Messenger with a few of my friends the other night, the topic somehow came to spirituality. One of my friends, the instigator of the conversations is a Christian by belief but not practice, the other is a friend who is a proud Pagan, and the final was one who can best be described as a spiritual intelligentsia, he has no direct faith in any one religion but believes a piecemail almost pluralist approach.

The instigator wanted to know what my church’s opinion was on Hell and the damned. I took quite some time to think about it but soon realized that my church doesn’t really refer to much about Hell, they aren’t telling you how if you drink an alcoholic beverage you will burn in Hell or anything of the sort. Rather, my church concentrates on living a surrendered life here on Earth to serving Christ and showing his love to others.

This was not an acceptable answer to my friend with questions so he finally asked what my belief was on Hell. I was raised in my early years in a strict Free Will Baptist home which does preach of fire and brimstone but later resolved to a more liberal Baptist church. In my mid-teens I gave up on religion almost completely but never lost faith in God as a whole. I simply thought their must be other gods too and that all Christians were judgmental bigots. At one time, I went to a Unitarian church with my brother but never really found much of interest there. It wasn’t until I finally had to look at losing everything in this world in a single sweep that I began to really believe in God’s power and the love of Christ. Now, I serve in a wonderful church that is not judgmental nor overbearing.

That aside, I basically explained to this friend that I felt that one must truly believe in God, acknowledge Him, and believe in Christ. Humans, as a whole, could never live up to the impossible standards that God has set for those to be like him so therefore, he sent his only son, Jesus, to earth to die for our sins. Now, we can have made every mistake in the books but because of Jesus, God does not see our sin as black and white, rather, he sees  his son between us who mediates for us. Why is this and what does it mean really? I can’t answer that, but if God is small enough to be understood, he is not powerful enough to be worshiped.

So then, what is my belief in Hell? I never got to tell my friend but as I was gently dealing with loss of my grandmother who passed only an hour to the time this was written, I thought about the fact that she is in Heaven simply because she believed in Christ. Is there a lake of fire where sinners are cast? I do not know this and no human should try to prove this. Rather, one who either has never heard the word of God and thus can’t be seen as flawless through Jesus or one who once believed in God but then denied him or denied Christ, they will be separated from God. Hell, is the separation from God. Hell is knowing that when you die, that’s it…there is nothing else for you…you will never know true life because you didn’t put your faith in God. To be damned is to be cursed to not have eternal life. Whereas, one who believes and worships Christ and God, they will be seen as flawless in God’s eyes and when the Lord takes them, they will go to live with him forever. More than this…I can never say I know for sure.

What about the Devil then? Isn’t he here on earth trying to take you away with his army of demons. Yes. Is he someone you can see who looks like a red horned man, I certainly hope you can’t ever know the face of the Devil. I believe that it is his power to try to draw us away from God, to make us turn our backs and lose that chance at a life. Does he have a place he takes you that is full of fire and brimstone? I don’t know that. I can’t know that. I just know that if I don’t believe in God and I don’t have faith, I might find out.

I can’t tell you if there’s Heaven or Hell, but I can tell you that one who believes in God and has surrendered their life to his will through belief in Christ and following as directed will know a life more blessed than otherwise. Since I gave up always trying to please myself and have learned to listen for God’s will in my life (albeit not as often as I should), I really feel like my life is just blessed. I have been given so many blessings for someone my age and I do try my best to use those blessings for good. I have a wonderful job that I gain income to allow me to give the best life I can to my wife, I offer things to my friends (pizza, rides, a place to sleep and many other things) that come at expense to me but I wouldn’t see doing otherwise since God has blessed me with more funds than others through nothing more than me following his will (He really did lead me to my job). I have a heart of compassion for children but have none of my own. I could be bitter with God for not giving me some children but instead, I have embraced the idea when he has called me to do foster work, giving love to children who have the hardest lives at such a tender age. He has blessed me with the ability to understand others moreso than myself sometimes and I have offered many a good advice to those who asked.

With all these things, my life has been truly enriched. Not to mention the laughter, the love, the peace and soundness that knowing I have a friend so much more powerful than I could ever imagine who will do as I asked if it is his will…allowing me to do more than I ever thought possible. That is a blessing. I could see how one who does not have that peace and who has never opened their hearts to the power of God could feel like their life is a living Hell. I certainly view what I used to have as Hell.

So, that’s my belief. It may not say anything backed up by scientific facts and may seem rooted in old time religion, but that’s what I believe. If you want to ask me about this, I will tell you how you get this kind of relationship. If you don’t, I hope you at least understand where I come from. And if this touched you, TELL ME ABOUT IT! I like knowing that my words are read.

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7 Comments »

  1. Annette Said:

    Is there a lake of fire where sinners are cast? I do not know this and no human should try to prove this. Rather, one who either has never heard the word of God and thus can’t be seen as flawless through Jesus or one who once believed in God but then denied him or denied Christ, they will be separated from God. Hell, is the separation from God. Hell is knowing that when you die, that’s it…there is nothing else for you…you will never know true life because you didn’t put your faith in God. To be damned is to be cursed to not have eternal life. Whereas, one who believes and worships Christ and God, they will be seen as flawless in God’s eyes and when the Lord takes them, they will go to live with him forever.

    I agree completely with this.

  2. It’s pretty simple: if heaven exists then logically hell can’t.

  3. Starnum Said:

    Oh, so just because I don’t go to church every Sunday like you, then I’m not a Christian by practice? *Frowns*

    On another note, I don’t think your description of any of our faiths was actually accurate. Also, Hell is described as an abyss, a prison in which Satan is kept in for 1000 years while Christ reigns on Earth. That’s what the bible says. Hell is not separation from God, that is the punishment due. Hell is a void, unrelation to damnation. You know, Amion and I were saying damnation was separation from God long before you got religious again, back when you were still loosing faith, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you got that from us. 😉

  4. Big T Said:

    1. I’m not a pagan. Haven’t been for almost a decade.

    2. I agree with your feeling, more or less.

  5. argentsoul Said:

    Starnum, what I said about not by practice is not insulting it is simply a statement of condition, you are not any less of a Christian really, you just don’t go to church which is a religious practice. I wouldn’t say it makes you any less, just not plugged in to other Christians is all.

    I did not gather my belief about there being a separation from God from you guys, I have always felt this way but didn’t really understand it until I became more spiritual, besides, I don’t really think I talked to you much about religion in those days because I didn’t want to start that convo.

    As far as the bible stating Hell is a prison where Satan is kept, please show me the book and verse so I can read this. What I do know is that in Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the story of the rich man who was separated from God and ended up in a place of fire. It recounts the most clear biblical discussion about Hell that I have seen in recent years.

    Bengal, as for your not being pagan, I apologize. The last time we talked about these topics, that is what I knew you as and you hadn’t spoken about it so therefore I assumed it as such. Perhaps I should get an update on your faith in the future.

  6. biggtea Said:

    I expanded a little bit on this topic in my brand new wordpress Blog, by the way.

    Also, it’s not as though I’m offended by your remembering that I had, at one point, been a Pagan and studied those beliefs. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been as brief as I was, but I really wanted to do a numbered list. In the end I only found two points anyway, >_<

    -Big T

  7. Starnum Said:

    Well you wouldn’t have had to talk to us about it back then, we’ve been saying it openly for years. I know I’ve talked to you about it before. As for Hell being Satan’s prison, read Revelation chapter 20 and beyond. Now I might be off about one thing, the abyss that Satan is imprisoned in my be separate from Hell, but my point was that Hell is not damnation or separation from God, as you said. It is said that Hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire, so Hell can neither be the Lake of Fire, or the separation. Separation from God is annihilation in the Lake of Fire, or the second death. As for the story you referred to about the Rich man who was shown the fiery hell, you have to keep in mind, that was parable. It’s not meant to be taken literally. Anyway, there may not even be a place or proper noun such as Hell. *shrugs* It is, however, not “the second death” or “The Lake of Fire”. 😉


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