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Religion's Real Child Abuse - Comments

LWS's Avatar Comment 1 by LWS

Anecdote: My Italian grandmother was illiterate and superstitious. Peasant women had little opportunity for education or intellectual freedom. At six I was sent to RC school and my first impression was to wonder why they were so mean to kids. Later on at fourteen I had to leave an RC girls school for challenging the monsignor on the issue of virgin birth. My comments to the man suggested that if anything at all happened it was just another unplanned teen pregnancy. Failing the religion course led to me achieving freedom from the fear of hell (eventually) and atheism. In all honesty I never did believe any of the stuff of indoctrination but did enjoy the bleeding statues, men in fancy dress, candles and incense.

Those with a social conscience and a strong moral code should see imposing religion on the developing minds of children as cruel and inhumane. Filling infants’ heads with superstitious nonsense that is never recanted in the same way that fairy stories are is quite absurd yet even educated parents do this. Enchantment is a useful narrative tool for teaching children morality however when culture and governments sanctify imaginary friends it leads to social disaster. The result is a terrified population that is emotionally castrated. I also wonder why it is so hard to stop ritual genital mutilation (circumcision) of defenseless children. How curious that people agree to be outraged by stories of other forms of child abuse while quietly perpetrating it themselves.

Consenting adults can be free to practice religion but like sex should do in privacy. They should never interfere in government.

Sun, 24 Sep 2006 15:15:00 UTC | #5577

G. Tingey's Avatar Comment 2 by G. Tingey

An apparently US-type Christian group have set up shop in the UK, determined to peddle lies to schoolchildren.

See ….

http://www.truthinscience.org.uk

http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/content/category/18/52/65/

Their stuff on the lower, biology section is truly dangerous, and full of lies.

I hardly need add, they are all the usual lies, referring to the Peppered Moth survey (someone please inform Michael Majerus), claiming there are “alternatives” to evolution, horse evolution, with a particularly egregious diagram at fig. 2. , Haeckel’s drawings (under “embryology”), the tendentious and misleading short section on hominid fossils, and (I suspect) a quote-mine and selective use of text in the section on homology in vertebrate limbs.

Etcetera.

Their title, should, of course, be “Lies in Christianity”, but I’ll let someone else call them that – then I can be a non-expert witness at the libel trial.

These lying conmen (and I suspect con-women) need to be stopped, RIGHT NOW.

G. Tingey.

Thu, 28 Sep 2006 07:02:00 UTC | #5605

Rachael's Avatar Comment 3 by Rachael

Here are several fragments from my experiences, to add to the discussion, in hopes that some reader may find them useful:

I spent many nights anxiety ridden, sometimes crying myself to sleep. In my sleep I would dream of the apocalypse, being left behind in the rapture, agonised friends screaming from hell "Why didn't you tell me?", and demonic attacks on my person. (I was told that Satan or his minions might apparate at any moment, should my faith - not even the size of a mustard seed - falter.)

For a period, I felt certain God was calling me to be a missionary. In my limited understanding of the world, I believed being a missionary meant going to China in order to face excruciating torture for believing in Jesus, and then eventually dying. I cried and prayed to God that he allow me to serve him another way, and then struggled with the guilt cause by my own lack of enthusiasm to preform God's will. (I had been trained to be willing to die, enthusiastically, for Jesus, by age six.)

Because even thoughts are sins, I adopted the OCD-like behavior of trying to neutralize sinful thoughts with 'pure' ones. An irony of these thoughts, of course, is that my fervour to avoid ever having them gave them rise to more!

...

I was raised as an Evangelical/Pentecostal type. As a sufferer of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as the mental abuse of my religious upbringing - I can vouch that in my own experience (and I am sure it different for others) the latter has been immeasurably the most damaging.

As fellow victims may know, what I have described is not even the iceberg's tip.

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 20:26:00 UTC | #6018

Rachael's Avatar Comment 4 by Rachael

Here are several fragments from my experiences, to add to the discussion, in hopes that some reader may find them useful:

I spent many nights anxiety ridden, sometimes crying myself to sleep. In my sleep I would dream of the apocalypse, being left behind in the rapture, agonised friends screaming from hell "Why didn't you tell me?", and demonic attacks on my person. (I was told that Satan or his minions might apparate at any moment, should my faith - not even the size of a mustard seed - falter.)

For a period, I felt certain God was calling me to be a missionary. In my limited understanding of the world, I believed being a missionary meant going to China in order to face excruciating torture for believing in Jesus, and then eventually dying. I cried and prayed to God that he allow me to serve him another way, and then struggled with the guilt cause by my own lack of enthusiasm to preform God's will. (I had been trained to be willing to die, enthusiastically, for Jesus, by age six.)

Because even thoughts are sins, I adopted the OCD-like behavior of trying to neutralize sinful thoughts with 'pure' ones. An irony of these thoughts, of course, is that my fervour to avoid ever having them gave them rise to more!

...

I was raised as an Evangelical/Pentecostal type. As a sufferer of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as the mental abuse of my religious upbringing - I can vouch that in my own experience (and I am sure it different for others) the latter has been immeasurably the most damaging.

As fellow victims may know, what I have described is not even the iceberg's tip.

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 20:27:00 UTC | #6019

Anat's Avatar Comment 5 by Anat

And what evidence is there that hell is a real place rather than a product of the imaginations of people attempting to control others?

Sun, 26 Nov 2006 22:21:00 UTC | #9284

caraujo's Avatar Comment 6 by caraujo

This discussion of Hell and Jesus is very contradictory! Obvious to some. One way I like to think of a belief in Jesus is that he gave the people in society 2000 years ago away to break from the traditions of religions requiring sacrafice and the focus on hell. Whether Jesus is actually Gods son or not, I think the beief in Jesus made some significant changes for the world. I don't think the New Testament has the focus of Hell as the Old Testament does. But sounds like religions are not letting go of the power of the threat of hell. I think this sight is great - liberating.

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 04:40:00 UTC | #11175

Logicel's Avatar Comment 7 by Logicel

Kwirth said, "If you knew the Black Plague was killing people just 10 miles down the road, would you take the time to explain to everyone you met what this disease does, no matter how awful it was, if doing so would cause many to flee and thus save their lives? In fact, wouldn't you make SURE everyone understood what the consequences of staying put would be before you told them about the quickest and surest road to safety?"
_______

The important word here is 'surest'. Many of the above testimonials on this thread emphasized that their mental and emotional torture was because they could never be SURE what they had to do to escape Hell.

I remember my mother saying to me when I was around 12, that her parish prient advised her to read the Bible to help her deal with a serious problem she was having with my father. She told me that the biblical passages that he recommended made no sense, and was not applicable to her particular problem, and that they actually appeared immoral to her. And she had no intention of following the suggestion. So of course she had to worry that she would wind up in hell.


This insightful and generous post by NoLongerHaveBelief on another discussion thread here echos my point very well:

"I remember as a kid, reading that Gideon Bible claptrap I was given from school. At the front, it had passages to turn to, when in times of trouble/ anger/ loneliness etc., Try and understand it! PURE contradictory and confusing text. The Bible makes as much sense to myself as does a chocolate teapot! Infact, a chocolate teapot would be MORE use than the Bible. Certainly would be entertaining... :-)"

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 06:25:00 UTC | #11195

Linda's Avatar Comment 8 by Linda

Stockholm Syndrome & the spread or reinforcement of religion

Watching that news report last week of the boy from Missouri found after missing for 5 years thanks to luck and police work and not a miracle (US news reports) made me wonder about why he didn't simply go home. It seemed that he had a cell phone and mobility and surely there isn't a parent out there who has not taught their children to memorize name, address and phone number. Some of the psychoanalysis of the mindset of the captive suggests that the captor uses terror to spook the mind of the child implanting in them the belief that their parents aren't looking for them and don't care that they are gone.

This then seems to be the effect of imposing religion on young minds through the use of terror. Stories of hell fire, damnation and threats of a violent, monstrous invisible man loosing his temper and condemning children to eternal misery after death are extremely mean and cruel yet illustrate why it is so hard for kids to quit religious early childhood brain washing. The fact that the parents are ignorant and have only thought through eliminating tales of enchantment like Cinderella etc. but can't realize and let go of the religious ones is the primary cause of generational religious manipulation.

Religion offers dangerous ideologies and superstitions and like sex and alcohol should be off limits to children. I do not support banning anything when it comes to consenting adults though.

There is no reason to either respect religion or to allow superstition peddlers to continue manipulation of the emotionally immature or influence governments.
The Stockholm Syndrome by definition describes the behaviour of kidnap victims who, over time, become sympathetic to their captors.

Wed, 17 Jan 2007 07:07:00 UTC | #15898

kwirth's Avatar Comment 9 by kwirth

Last summer I enjoyed a pleasant visit to the Seattle zoo with my wife. At one point we stopped to get a bite to eat, and were standing in line at an ice cream counter. Ahead of us were 3 young boys of about the age of 8 or 9. They were all leaning up at the counter, with their backs to us, trying to decide which ice cream they should choose. Being the outgoing person that I am, I spoke up and recommended a flavor to one of them. Immediately, they all turned around with a wide-eyed look of absolute terror on their faces, and literally began to shrink away from us in dread fear of this stranger speaking to them. I assured them that I was just being friendly and making conversation with them, but nothing I said reassured them. They refused to talk with me (they spoke native English, so, they understood me). Now, they had no reason to fear me - I was, after all, standing in line with my wife in a crowded public place. No matter – they remained in such a state of terror that they could hardly continue making their purchase.

Upon later reflection of this incident, it occurred to me that the parents of these boys had perhaps deeply ingrained in them the notion that there is an acute danger in talking to strangers in ANY situation (or at least, this is how they probably processed that conversation). I can hear a lot of parents murmuring something like "yeah, well, being scared of ALL strangers is a small price to pay if it prevents a child from getting abducted and killed." I understand this, but I also somewhat disagree. Parents need to teach their children how to discriminate between situations where it's probably OK and not OK to talk to a stranger, or they could be terrified of everyone in every situation.

One other quick example…

I vividly recall, as part of my public school driver education while a young teenager, watching movies of people who had been gruesomely maimed and disfigured in automobile accidents. The purpose of those movies was to give us all something to think about so we'd turn out to be careful drivers. Based on the drivers I see on the road today, I don't think those movies were were either widely viewed or else had little impact. The idea behind showing them to us was clearly "let's SCARE our kids into confronting the ugly reality of what could happen to them if they don't drive carefully".

Now to the point about Hell...

First off, talking to children about Hell (or Heaven, for that matter) isn't akin to talking about a Cinderella fairy tale, and it isn't about "abusing children" as Dawkins insists (unless the discussion with children on the subject of Hell is conducted without any regard for their sensibilities), nor is it about "implanting beliefs", "imposing religion", using "threats" or "terror" to manipulate the minds of children. Yes, those types of behaviors DO unfortunately occur when some parents talk to their kids about Hell, and I certainly do not condone that. But just because someone MIS-uses a baseball bat to club others over the head does not mean we should all stop playing baseball.

The need to warn others about Hell still remains, regardless of how ineptly some people may communicate that warning. But I don't know if there is a particularly pleasant way to discuss the topic of Hell - which is probably why so many poeple avoid such conversations in the first place.

Secondly, the real point of all this is: Hell IS a real destination, just like going to any travel destination on this planet, though it's not like we have a bunch of handy travel brochures available describing all the scenic 'hot spots' of Hell.

And… we do have an eyewitness who claims to have been there, who says it IS a real place, and tells us something about the awfulness of it. Would we believe a report about Hell based on the credibility of someone with an impeccable reputation?

Jesus Christ has been to Hell and back, and here is what HE had to say about it:

"fire" Matt 7:19, 13:40, 25:41
"everlasting fire" Matt 18:8, 25:41
"eternal damnation" Mark 3:29
"hell fire" Matt 5:22, 18:9, Mark 9:47
"damnation" Matt 23:14, Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47
"damnation of hell" Matt 23:33
"resurrection of damnation" John 5:29
"furnace of fire" Matt 13:42, 50
"the fire that never shall be quenched" Mark 9:43, 45
"the fire is not quenched" Mark 9:44, 46, 48
"Where their worm dieth not" Mark 9:44, 46, 48
"wailing and gnashing of teeth" Matt 13:42, 50
"weeping and gnashing of teeth" Matt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30
"torments" Luke 16:23
"tormented in this flame" Luke 16:24
"place of torment" Luke 16:28
"outer darkness" Matt 8:12, 22:13
"everlasting punishment" Matt 25:46

The question you need to be asking yourself is, WHAT IF JESUS WAS TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT HELL?

If Hell IS a place like what Jesus described, then warning someone about the danger of going there, and how to avoid it, is a SERVICE to them.

Like any good scientist, I'd make sure I did a VERY good job of investigating this issue before I came to any quick (or dismissive) conclusions that Hell is just a form of religious brain-washing.

Dawkins cries out that "the threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse", but his remarks assume that this is because there really is no such place as Hell.

But WHAT IF he is wrong about this?

I say he is.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 15:17:00 UTC | #16405

Logicel's Avatar Comment 10 by Logicel

Kwirth, all your objections have been covered by Dawkins and many posters at this site. If you seriously want to follow your line of 'reasoning' then research this site and read The God Delusion.

If not, then continue to believe in your superstitions. But non-thesists will continue to challenge your nonsense at every available chance and work as hard as they can to keep religious superstitions out of the public sphere.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 15:33:00 UTC | #16407

NJS's Avatar Comment 11 by NJS

Kwirth:

The kids were absolutely right to avoid talking to someone as irrational and dangerous as you.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 16:25:00 UTC | #16415

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 12 by Russell Blackford

Once again, it's salutary to see examples of the mindset we are up against.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 16:49:00 UTC | #16420

Logicel's Avatar Comment 13 by Logicel

"They were all leaning up at the counter, with their backs to us, trying to decide which ice cream they should choose. Being the outgoing person that I am, I spoke up and recommended a flavor to one of them."
________

Christians must have a meddling gene albeit a very friendly one of course. They not only apparently know what is the best ice cream flavor for anyone to savour but also the best god among the many on offer with which to blindly stuff yourself.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 17:16:00 UTC | #16423

kwirth's Avatar Comment 14 by kwirth

Meddling? LOL.

Frankly, I was just hoping to help them make a decision that they were clearly having difficulty with.

As for my objections being "covered" by Dawkins, I have no doubt that he has done so. But it certainly does no harm to contest his point of view.

My challenge remains - if Dawkins is wrong, then you lose your life. Dismissing my comments means you're willing to bet your LIFE that Dawkins is right and I am wrong. This is what it all boils down to.

I reiterate my comment made in this thread on 26 November 2005

"The shame is not in presenting the awfulness of Hell to our children, rather the shame lies in failing to help them understand how to escape from it, and thereby allowing them to continue wallowing in the fear of Hell and an eternity spent in it."

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 19:57:00 UTC | #16441

Ben Jennings's Avatar Comment 15 by Ben Jennings

kwirth: "My challenge remains - if Dawkins is wrong, then you lose your life. Dismissing my comments means you're willing to bet your LIFE that Dawkins is right and I am wrong. This is what it all boils down to."

Yes, indeed, when you grill a theist for long enough, Pascal's Wager is PRECISELY what their supposedly solemn and noble devotion boils down to. You could not have expressed it better!

Atheists, on the other hand, have the moral and intellectual fortitude to recognise Pascal's Wager for the load of tripe that it is.

kwirth, until you can actually provide a shred of proof that hell exists then I'm afraid you don't have a leg to stand on. Do you understand this?

Threatening children with hell and telling them how they can avoid it is no different to saying they'll be murdered by a vampire if they go outside without wearing garlic. Each scenario is equally likely to be true.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 20:31:00 UTC | #16444

roach's Avatar Comment 16 by roach

I wish I could claim I came up with this argument myself but I can't. I also can't remember the name of the guy who said it (he appears in The God Who Wasn't There). Anyway, it went something like this...

When you think about it, there really is no difference between Heaven and Hell. Let's assume that what the Bible says about Heaven and Hell is true. And let's say I was no different than I am right now but I believed in God and Jesus so when I die I go to Heaven. Great. But knowing that millions (billions?) of people are being punished and tortured for eternity in the fires of hell and knowing that there is absolutely nothing I could do to help them wouldn't be Heaven. To me, that would be Hell.

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 23:56:00 UTC | #16450

Logicel's Avatar Comment 17 by Logicel

Since Kwirth is regaling us with re-iterated comments, I shall do so also regarding that 'informing' people is ok if you got a 'good' reason as long as you GIVE THEM A CLEAR WAY to avoid the terrible event you BELIEVE is waiting for them:

19. Comment #13039 by Logicel on December 15, 2006 at 6:25 am
Kwirth said, "If you knew the Black Plague was killing people just 10 miles down the road, would you take the time to explain to everyone you met what this disease does, no matter how awful it was, if doing so would cause many to flee and thus save their lives? In fact, wouldn't you make SURE everyone understood what the consequences of staying put would be before you told them about the quickest and surest road to safety?"
_______

The important word here is 'surest'. Many of the above testimonials on this thread emphasized that their mental and emotional torture was because they could never be SURE what they had to do to escape Hell.

I remember my mother saying to me when I was around 12, that her parish prient advised her to read the Bible to help her deal with a serious problem she was having with my father. She told me that the biblical passages that he recommended made no sense, and was not applicable to her particular problem, and that they actually appeared immoral to her. And she had no intention of following the suggestion. So of course she had to worry that she would wind up in hell.


This insightful and generous post by NoLongerHaveBelief on another discussion thread here echos my point very well:

"I remember as a kid, reading that Gideon Bible claptrap I was given from school. At the front, it had passages to turn to, when in times of trouble/ anger/ loneliness etc., Try and understand it! PURE contradictory and confusing text. The Bible makes as much sense to myself as does a chocolate teapot! Infact, a chocolate teapot would be MORE use than the Bible. Certainly would be entertaining... :-)"

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 01:45:00 UTC | #16455

Logicel's Avatar Comment 18 by Logicel

Xnity not only tortures people as they did with my wonderful mother with drumming in eternal damnation every chance those supporters of religious superstitions have, Xnity gives no clear way to avoid the damnation because there are so many interpretations from the various Xian sects and so many interpretations of the interpretations that clarity is non-existent in Xnity.

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 01:59:00 UTC | #16456

Logicel's Avatar Comment 19 by Logicel

As I said, Xians seem to carry a 'meddling' gene--they are so interested in what people sexually do in privacy, so interested in your welfare according to their belief system which is not grounded whatsoever on evidential proof that they will come to your door and be a complete nuisance, in their helping way of course, and they will feed and clothe you if needed as long as you admit to something that does not exist, a soul, so they in their meddling way can 'save' this non-existent thing--a soul.

What a shame that these helpful people are doing the opposite of what they think they are doing--they are hindering the advancement of humanity by clinging to superstitions.

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 02:05:00 UTC | #16457

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 20 by BaronOchs

I think the more grown up of us have realised if there is a hell we'll go there anyway rather than make smalltalk to Abraham for eternity

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 03:12:00 UTC | #16461

Logicel's Avatar Comment 21 by Logicel

BaronOchs wrote, "I think the more grown up of us have realised if there is a hell we'll go there anyway rather than make smalltalk to Abraham for eternity"

_____

Not only are Christians tortured by the constant fear that their grappling with the contorted and contradictory tenets of their superstitious belief system may not succeed, they will for all their bother and pain--if they managed to do what they are supposed to do--will get for eternity the very thing they tried so hard to avoid, and that is torture, the torture of being with their god for all eternity--a contrary and viciously whimsical creature.

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 04:35:00 UTC | #16466

Logicel's Avatar Comment 22 by Logicel

roach paraphased, "...but I believed in God and Jesus so when I die I go to Heaven. Great. But knowing that millions (billions?) of people are being punished and tortured for eternity in the fires of hell and knowing that there is absolutely nothing I could do to help them wouldn't be Heaven. To me, that would be Hell."
_____

Xians 'think' they got that aspect covered. They have tried in their friendly, concerned, and helpingly meddling way to ensure that each and every one of god's subjects had an equal chance to escape hell. Since the loyal followers of religious superstitions are just human, that is an impossible task, so they are bound to fail. So not only will they have to endure the torture during their earthly lives trying to grapple with the contrary tenets of their religious superstitions and have to endure being intimately close with a vicious god for all eternity if they managed to succeed to satisfy this atrocious god, they will also have to endure knowing that fellow humans are roasting in hell for all eternity at the same time. Certainly not an enviable position to be in.

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 04:47:00 UTC | #16468

Lizzy's Avatar Comment 23 by Lizzy

Hi, I am an athiest now but was brought up Catholic and went to Roman Catholic schools.
I felt I had to write about how I was educated on the exisistence of Hell.

Basically during 16 years of RE I was informed that God is all forgiving, that Jesus died so all the sins of mankind would be forgiven, past, present and future.
So it stands to reason that there would be no one in hell, not even the heretics! This is because the God in the New Testament, which by the way should be what Christians follow and not the Old Testament (besause christianity could not exist before the new testament and came about because of it and Jesus), has forgiven everyone for all their sins.

Guess this theory would not sit well with many Christians as it kind of makes the whole point of being a 'good God fearing person' rather pointless.

Fri, 02 Feb 2007 17:06:00 UTC | #18396

RichardPrins's Avatar Comment 24 by RichardPrins

The indoctrination obviously worked wonders on kwirth, since he's very committed to continue the fear-mongering.

Yet, others of similar beliefs have put these basic tactics behind them, like, as an article I read here earlier mentions, for instance the Anglicans who abolished hell in the twenties of the last century. They figured it was wrong, like so many other things reconsidered before, with the mind virus.

It's rather sad and wrong having to live one's life in fear, especially when brought on at an early age. Enough with the bogeymen.

Fri, 02 Mar 2007 05:30:00 UTC | #21494

TedGrant's Avatar Comment 25 by TedGrant

Dear God,
Given that the human species has been around for at least a million years but Christianity is only 2000 years old which is 0.2% or less and many millions alive now are brought up to believe other sets of beliefs and given that the vast majority of sperms and eggs are wasted or lost early in pregnancy, then the vast majority of "souls" (actual and potential) must be doomed to eternal Hell fire with a good dose of wailing and a gnashing of teeth (actual and potential). I think the way You set up the World has got to be the main reason for this state of affairs. The main idea in Christianty is that You wanted to send us to Hell because Adam eat the apple and this sin must be punished, but You had the brilliant idea of sending Your Son (i.e. Yourself in One of Your manifestations) to earth to die and go to Hell (and back) instead and thereby satisfy Your lust for punishment, so that we don't have to, but then, oddly, we are told we WILL go to Hell if we don't believe this (and go to Church regularly giving generous donations). Why did You not foresee that things would turn out badly and make the necessary adjustements to Your design in the first place? Then You and We would be happy! For example, don't put the tree there, or don't put the snake there or at least not a talking snake (that speaks perfect English). It was an accident waiting to happen. If you can read this God, please tell my why you blame us for your mistakes? We are so small and stupid compared to You so give us some help here.

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 16:18:00 UTC | #25485

ronhende's Avatar Comment 26 by ronhende

Poor Dawikins! I heartily agree that the teaching of hell fire, an eternally burning hell, would traumatize any worm, let alone humans! Years ago I had the opportunity of resolving a 15 year old quarrel between two elders. The one thought the other had made an offensive remark against him. For 15 years he bore a grudge against the other chap; always attacking him intellectually-until the victim reported the matter to me.

I asked him to go talk with his colleague about the issue. He did. And it was realized that for 15 years the other chap had nursed a belief which was false. He had wrongly heard a report and erroneously impugned the elder of malicious doing against him. They made up after 15 years! So with Mr. Dawkins. He has been nursing a belief which is totally unbiblical! If Mr. Dawkins would use that 'great' mind of his to take the Bible and simply research the teaching of hell and death he would find that there is no such teaching in God's lovely message to us humans. I would like to challenge him to do so. Never mind what others say and write about it. Study it yourself.

There are millions and millions of Christians who do not accept that teaching; who know that it is not biblical. Just for starters, the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, Romans 6:23. The opposite of life is death. How could an eternally burning hell be true while the Word states that the gift of God is eternal life! You are either living or dead. The two are opposites. 'Living dead' is gramatically, and everything else, incorrect; and would lead to confusion of language if the two were to mean the same!

Revelation 21:1-5 gives a beautiful picture of how one is opposite the other. You are either dead eternally, meaning forever; or you are alive eternally, meaning living forever. Trash all other interpretations of 'spiritual death' meaning separation from God's presence, etc. These are not biblical concepts. Take care and God bless you my friend.

Wed, 23 May 2007 05:08:00 UTC | #41204

Gene Chase's Avatar Comment 27 by Gene Chase

I've read Dawkins' The God Delusion. Although I agree with Alister McGrath's extended critique of the book (The Dawkins Delusion?), my objection to Dawkins' argument can be boiled down to one sentence: You have not made the case that there are any grounds to care, to be moral, to be rational, or to press "forward" (whatever that is) in the absence of the God Who speaks to your conscience and Who displays God's glorious handiwork in all of the universe's magnificent 11-dimensional beauty. Or to put it more briefly, for you, why does matter matter if that's all there is? Why does anything matter?

Thu, 24 May 2007 08:11:00 UTC | #41512

epeeist's Avatar Comment 28 by epeeist

Comment #44310 by Gene Chase


You have not made the case that there are any grounds to care, to be moral, to be rational, or to press "forward" (whatever that is) in the absence of the God Who speaks to your conscience and Who displays God's glorious handiwork in all of the universe's magnificent 11-dimensional beauty. Or to put it more briefly, for you, why does matter matter if that's all there is? Why does anything matter?

This has been answered so many times. For a start off go back to the 19th century existentialists. Read some Spinoza. Read some William Blake even.

There is a biological basis to moral behaviour which we have extended with the development of civilisation. We are moral because we have one life and want to make the best of it. We are moral because we are "political animals" to quote Aristotle.

Theists seem to believe that man is corrupt and irredemable without an external influence, that without the promise of a "heaven" or the threat of an "hell" we would all go about raping, pillaging and burning. Personally, if I thought this was the case then I would probably top myself out of depression.

Thu, 24 May 2007 08:57:00 UTC | #41518

gazzalw1's Avatar Comment 29 by gazzalw1

Notice that all these references to 'Hell' (translated actually as Hades) are from the NEW Testament and not the OLD Testament. Now bearing in mind who the new testament was written for, and it wasn't the Jews, this is no suprise. The Greeks and Romans were already familiar with the concept of Hades the ruler of the underworld but Jews were not so would have either difficulty in accepting the concept or would expect punishment from Yahweh anyway not roasting for all eternity with some bearded bloke with a pitchfork for company. Throw in a few more concepts the Graeco-Romans are familiar with namely Virgin birth (Mithras and various Greek gods), miracles (Mithras again) and the resurrection (Greek and Egyptian mythology) and you have what is in effect a great set of recruitment pamphlets for citizens of the empire and a new trendy mystery cult that they just lapped up. Well done 'Saint' Paul, a great cut and paste job done. Of course nowadays we can all see through this can't we.

Bear also in mind that the Greeks already expected their 'souls' to end up with Hades, remember they used to place coins (obols) on the dead persons eyes to pay the ferryman who takes them over the river Styx so a new concept that if they behave themselves they could end up somewhere nice instead would have been a great alternative now wouldn't it. Particularly as they would all be familiar with the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice as well as Persephone in that no matter how hard you try you cannot escape the realm of Hades.

I think that effectively takes care of the Hell/Hades argument that fundamentalists are so keen to scare our children with.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 04:36:00 UTC | #47999

chinabound's Avatar Comment 30 by chinabound

I think Richard Dawkins is a Saviour of modern times.

Why can't human beings be proud of what we have achieved? In the face of absolutely nothing, we created art, language, music and built buildings! Invented cuisine! Where was God? If I bought a DOG I would make sure it had somewhere safe to live and food to eat and entertainment. I ask again, where was God?

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 01:13:00 UTC | #66602