Probably irrational, but I’m worried about hell

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\[T]/'s picture
Probably irrational, but I’m worried about hell

Hello!

I’m new to this place, so I apologize if similar topics have already been posted. Anyway, there’s something that’s been on my mind that I’d like to discuss...

I’ve been doubting my faith for a while now (about a month, more or less), and it has essentially reached to the point in which I find returning to religion impossible. You see, I understand the inconsistencies and logical errors that religions teach, but one teaching in particular, the fiery and spooky HELL, have stuck with me; perhaps to an irrational degree.

Chances are that hell is just a scare tactic to get you to keep believing, but the Abrahamic (well, Christian and Muslim) hell in particular have me in constant contemplation about the hereafter. I mean, can you even name any other religion that teaches ETERNAL torture? I sure can’t.

Anyway, sorry if this post is out of place or dumb, but I just want to hear what you great people have to say about my residual fears from the days of faith. Surely I’m not the only one who’s fearful of this, right?

Well, thanks in advance for answers, and peace!

Edit: fixed spellin’ errors

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David Killens's picture
Welcome to this forum \[T]/

Welcome to this forum \[T]/

The next time you watch a TV ad, play a little game. Advertising uses one of four methods to convince you to buy your products. They use comedy, sex, ego, or fear. Identify which of those three is being used. Somewhere in that ad they play with one of those three elements. We have all seen the beer ad where if you drink their beer, sexy women start chasing you and want you to be the father of their babies. Sex. Matthew McConaughey is driving down the road in his Lincoln car. Ego. Or the diligent mother who sprays disinfectant over everything on order to protect her children from those nasty germs. Fear.

And fear is an incredibly powerful tool you use against others. I am stating this so you understand exactly what is being used against you. If you identify and understand the enemy, then you can begin the process of defeating that enemy.

The major religions use fear as their baseline bargaining chip. And it is/was used to gain and control everyone. From the medieval peasants to myself, it has been applied. The problem is that organized religions have no limitations on their cruelty or desire for control. Throughout history certain religions occasionally wage a holy war for control, from the crusades to jihad.

And let's face it, fear of an eternity of suffering is as bad as it gets. Religions really hit the jackpot on that one, a huge lever to make everyone toe the line. But even in the history of "Hell", it took a few hundred years for religion to revise it into this terrible weapon. Originally Hell was a sort of grey and dull place. But the religious advertising agency slowly revised this place into the terrible weapon it is today.

There is absolutely no proof this exists. It is just an invention used by religion to make us obedient.

Sapporo's picture
You should recognize that it

You should recognize that it would be wholly disproportionate and unjust for god to send you to hell, and that such an act would be the action of an unreasonable being. If god truly is an unreasonable (i.e. irrational) being, then how can anyone say that god will not send you to hell no matter what you do?

In my opinion, you can do no better than to act reasonably and not worry about any punishment for acting reasonably.

\[T]/'s picture
Thank you both taking the

Thank you both taking the time to respond; it means a lot! I suppose that worrying about hell probably isn’t the right way to go about living life. After all, life is too short and precious to be stressed out over ancient marketing tactics. Stress is bad for your health!

If God created me just to go to hell, then is there anything I could really do about that? Sure, I could give up reason and follow blindly just to earn a “get out of hell free” card (surely God would see through this trick), but I’m at the point where believing and dedicating my one and only life to unproven claims will not happen anymore. Also, worshiping an evil god would give me moral qualms.

Again, thanks for the help! It means a lot!

Edit: spelling errors and additional words

Sapporo's picture
Those who had a religion

Those who had a religion thousands of years ago have no more clue about god than you do. A ten year old today by contrast has far more knowledge of the world than those who lived thousands of years ago.

It is absurd to base your beliefs on what those living thousands of years ago claim god told them.

arakish's picture
Peace unto you brother.

Peace unto you brother. Welcome to this small corner of true reality.

\[T]/: Chances are that hell is just a scare tactic to get you to keep believing

And that is exactly all it is. The very first Sunday Sermon I was forced to attend by me mom, and I can still remember the preachers words more than a half century later due to the insidiously haunting nature of those words:

“All of you who are unsaved. All who are unbelievers. You were born of sin. You were born into sin. You were born sinful. And the only way you can be saved is to do as I say. If you don’t come to Jesus, if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, you are condemned to Hell forever, unless you do as we tell you.”

Not even quite six years old and I was instantly estranged, psychological terrorized. Thankfully, at the same time, Star Trek: The Original Series, amongst other science and science-fiction shows, was playing on TV. Thus, I had at least one show that undid the damage caused by the Sunday tortures.

Basically, the only message of Christianity is: "You are condemned to Hell forever, unless you believe as we believe and do as we say." The same message can be applied to Islam. However, the ultimate TRUE message of both Christianity AND Islam is: "You shall live in peace, love, and brotherhood, but only with those of like mind (believers). All others are to be put to the sword (killed).

I always felt why should I believe in anything that requires hate and fear to force me to believe it? Even at that young age, I much preferred to have facts. And because I asked for those facts and evidence, and they could not provide such, they did as normal Christians do. They resorted to the torturous violence of corporal punishment, humiliation, shame, disgrace, even rape and molestation.

\[T]/: I mean, can you even name any other religion that teaches ETERNAL torture?

To be wholy honest, I cannot think of any other religion either. However, I can tell you this much. The reason why Christianity and Islam teaches eternal torture as punishment for not believing as they command is because both of those religions are FOUNDED upon torture and death.

\[T]/: Anyway, sorry if this post is out of place or dumb

Never apologize. It is like the unasked question. It is only stupid if unasked.

\[T]/: Surely I’m not the only one who’s fearful of this, right?

No you are not. I never had this fear, and still do not, because I have never believed in anything religious anyway. However, I know there are many out there who do. Else, this website would never have been founded:

http://journeyfree.org/: It does cost money to use the personnel. However, there are some resources available.

https://ffrf.org/: Costs money to join, but does have some resources.

There are others, but all cost money to use their services. Most also have some free resources. Just do a google for recovering from religion.

And if all else fails, try thinking of Hell as being the oven in the faerie tale of Hansel and Gretel. It is a faerie tale. I know, it has been ingrained so deeply, but it may help. Also remember that the entire Bible is nothing but plagiarized faerie tales from myths and legends, many far older than the Bible itself. For example, the Noahacian Flood Story is plagiarized from a real, true life event (circa 2900-3000 BCE) more than 2000 years before the Bible was even thought of (the oldest "complete" Old Testament copy is the Dead Sea Scrolls dated circa 4th century BCE).

rmfr

Edit: fixed a couple of nasty typos

\[T]/'s picture
Thanks for the websites you

Thanks for the websites you linked, arakish! It really does mean a lot.

You also bring up an important idea about Christianity’s message about being born in sin. What a deplorable teaching! Such an idea is bound to make people feel sad and worthless. I know it did for me.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey there, T. Welcome to our

Hey there, T. Welcome to our little island of (in)sanity, where we the merry heathens frolic and play, and the terms heaven and hell are most often used as punchlines to the bad joke of religion that has been played on humanity.

I have some good news for you, by the way. That nagging and lingering feeling of doubt you are having will gradually fade over time. I can tell you this from personal experience. That initial period of transition is always the toughest. And it is not "irrational" for you to have those doubts. Totally normal, as a matter of fact. Recovering from religious brainwashing is rarely an easy task. At least you are on the right track by coming here to the AR. I can assure you it did wonders for helping me break away from those final chains of doubt. Hang around awhile and it can do the same for you.

Okay, now to go see what everybody else wrote.

\[T]/'s picture
Thanks for the warm welcome!

Thanks for the warm welcome!

It's nice to hear that others have felt the same way as I have. It's said that time heals all wounds, so I guess I should just let time run its course and hopefully my worries will disappear, like Tin-Man said.

Again, I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this thread. It's comforting to know that there's a kind, intelligent community out there that can provide insight and assistance to those breaking out of the chains of religion.

RagnarLothbrok's picture
I've been having the opposite

I've been having the opposite problem, actually. I fear deep inside me there may be some residual belief in a deity, that there may be some salvation for my suffering. It's something I'm working on too, in trying to get rid of it!

Perhaps if you'd like we could try talking through things?

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Tin-Man's picture
Ragnar! Holy shit! Just want

Ragnar! Holy shit! Just want to let you know I am a huge fan! Great having you around! For what it is worth, though, I'm not too pleased with your brother. *chuckle*

watchman's picture
Greetings \[T]/ …..

Greetings \[T]/ …..

….and welcome...…..

Re "Hell" ……. There is no Hell...….. the Bible introduces "Hell" only when translated into "The Gothic" bible in the 4th century..... the original (source texts) refer to either "Gehenna" or "Sheol" ….. these were the original destinations for the dead... but they were NOT Hell...…

Gehenna..... was an actual geographic place ….. " ...… a small valley in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was initially where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire." …… latterly considered to be a place of punishment ,but not originaly…..

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

Sheol …… was a concept …… akin to a Jewish version of the classical Greek "Hades".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol

"...… the King James Version of the Bible usually translates both with the Anglo-Saxon word Hell. "

Hell...…

" Early Judaism had no concept of Hell, although the concept of an afterlife was introduced during the Hellenistic period, apparently from neighboring Hellenistic religions. It occurs for example in Book of Daniel. Daniel 12:2 proclaims "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Judaism does not have a specific doctrine about the afterlife, but it does have a mystical/Orthodox tradition of describing Gehinnom. Gehinnom is not Hell, but originally a grave and in later times a sort of Purgatory where one is judged based on one's life's deeds, or rather, where one becomes fully aware of one's own shortcomings and negative actions during one's life. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell

If you choose to follow up on the links given you will see that the "modern " construct of Hell is a late addition to the mythology of the Abrahamic faiths.... based on a corruption of the original concept.

Hope this helps....

\[T]/'s picture
RagnarLothbrok, I know what

RagnarLothbrok, I know what you mean (unless I misunderstand you). I've felt similarly to you at times and I occasionally wonder if what I feel is God's final warning call to me, in a way. However, I think the sensation is caused by psychological factors (what I mean by that is maybe our brains have to grow accustomed to resisting the indoctrination, but don't quote me on that; I'm not a psychologist!).

watchman, thanks for the articles you linked! I will certainly look into those resources; they can't hurt. Also, thanks for the welcome!

Tin-Man's picture
@T Re: Ragnar

@T Re: Ragnar

Just to make sure we are on the same page, "Vikings" was a fantastic show/series. Oh, and Bjorn was a real badass too. *chuckle*

RagnarLothbrok's picture
The show is awesome! I agree.

The show is awesome! I agree. I've actually went as far as trying to learn old norse because of it.

As for my brother, he has been causing many issues, joining the side of the franks! Bjorn has been a huge help but I prefer Ivar

David Killens's picture
Many of us were born into a

Many of us were born into a religious family, and during our childhood and formative years, this religious dogma was pounded into our heads. And for us atheists who suffered religion, it took a critical mind and hard thought to finally reach the intellectual conclusion that a god WAS NON-existANT.

But just because the intellectual part of the brain has reached a conclusion, the emotional, memory,and other parts of the brain are still clinging to the past. And for many, this is the difficult part, knowing one thing,but having this nagging emotion running amuck in our heads. For me, it was a very long process, I desperately hung on and sought any form of spiritualism. I am talking about forty years. But eventually I finally "got it", and all doubts and anxieties died.

I have my own personal critical mind to thank, but also the many YouTube videos I watched, they really clarified things and put my mind into a more rational examination of religion, hell, morality,and many other things. My suggestion (because it worked for me) is to watch those YouTube videos where atheism is discussed, and religion is exposed for being the sham it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoUCHtGyoFg

edited: correct where the caps are

Dan Morris's picture
I'm another sucker who fell

I'm another sucker who fell for the fire and brimstone lie! I finally realized how fantastic the whole idea was! If I told you a story of a talking snake and donkey, and then threatened if you didn't believe my storybook, you would be tortured forever in a lake of fire, you would consider me ready for the looney bin. Can you imagine how incredibly unfair and cruel the idea of hell is? Can anyone comprehend how long forever is? The teaching of hell is a major proof that god doesn't exist. It's no gamble at all as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, this was an excellent question for this forum. Probably all of us that have been there, for me several years in religion, have occasional flashbacks to charismatic preaching that left us too frightened to jay walk for fear of being zapped.
As always, reading all the comments being made in these forums are incredibly encouraging to me. Thanks.
And

qwert1234's picture
Rich countries equip their

Rich countries equip their slaughterhouses with "stun guns" to instantly kill animals, instead of the previous cheap but brutal killing. If humans have the capacity to avoid brutal stuff like that, I'm sure God, if he exists, doesn't need to cause such unimaginable brutality.

Anyway, torture my mind with different possibilities of invisible, magical afterlife realms seems completely useless.

SeniorCitizen007's picture
A sudden change in one's life

A sudden change in one's life situation brought on, perhaps, by what one is doing now (or has done in the past) could be the "Hell" you fear. There is no afterlife ... but sometimes life can become hellish as a consequence of one's own actions.

xenoview's picture
Welcome \(T)/

Welcome \(T)/

Has anyone outside of the bible saying Hell is real, proven it? I have yet to read of any evidence of Hell existing. Do you still believe in sin?

Hell is part of the carrot and stick approach that Christianity uses to control people and keep them in the church.

Diotrephes's picture
xenoview,

xenoview,

"Has anyone outside of the bible saying Hell is real, proven it?"

Hell didn't exist until around the 12th century = 1a(1) "a nether world in which the dead continue to exist : hades"

First Known Use: before 12th century in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hell

SeniorCitizen007's picture
One branch of Christian

One branch of Christian thought has it that when one dies one goes into a non-conscious limbo ... until God has created a perfect world ... then one is resurrected. There is some debate about whether "sinners" are judged when they come alive again. As time does not exist in this limbo what actually happens is that one dies ... and immediately finds oneself in this "perfect world". Cute, eh?

LogicFTW's picture
A bit late to the discussion

A bit late to the discussion here.

Hell: when the concept is examined it is ludicrous on many levels. It has all the markings of a man made idea used to scare and control people written 1000+ years ago.

I am going to try to keep this short, feel free to ask me to go into greater detail on one of these if you are curious or do not fully understand:

1. As punishment. Most abrahamic versions of hell revolve around if you are not "saved" you go to hell. That means 99% + of all people that ever lived end up in hell, with a huge bulk of them simply because their parents/peers never heard of or believed in the the exact correct religion. (All of the religions make baseless, evidence free claims of their religion, god and afterlife.) Even if you were lucky enough to be born of a religious denomination group that was "close enough" to the correct, the rules of heaven and hell are very vague full of contradictions. Probably only a small percentage of the people that so happen to win the "correct religious denomination" lottery, a large portion of them will still end up in hell. Since you are 99+ percent chance likely to end up in hell as punishment anyways, with no real way to better your odds (even good behavior as the rules are so vague) you are going to end up in this hell idea. Might as well enjoy your life, that you are apart of and have lots of evidence for, right now.

2. What is hell, what is punishment? Most abrahamic religions state you will spend an eternity in hell or heaven. You are already dead, you cannot die. You already have an eternity, without the core fear of death or loss or death/loss of others you care about, hell is limited to pain. Pain loses a lot of its "sting" when there is no loss associated with it. You do not have a mortal body to lose, you are already in hell and already lost everything, the pain simply becomes electronic signals in the brain telling something is wrong, except you have no mortal body or time or anything else to lose. No place for the pain signals to go to your brain, unless your physical (but immortal) body is rebuilt. If you have an eternity and can not suffer loss, you could reprogram those pain receptors to pleasure with practice. The eternal torture when you have nothing to lose concept simply does not work.

3. Hell is a human created idea edited in later, that uses fear, and then your own imagination of what hell is to scare you. Fear, the ultimate control tactic. As others have said, here is this concept that has no proof of existing, offered up by people that want you to believe them, accept all ultimate knowledge and direction from them, handing over your money, your life, your resources to them. The wealth of many abrahamic religions (or the monarchies that rely on them) was, and to this day is obscene. The largest property owners in the world? The various major religions and they are but a shadow of their former power for the most part. In their hayday the various religions could literally go to a map and draw where the country borders were, which one would exist and which would not.

Realize even heaven is a fear tactic, because you have to be "accepted." Fear of rejection, except the ultimate rejection, eternity.

I could go on and on with all the major major issues with the concept of hell, be happy to share more if requested, but will stop here for now.

thelargerbowl's picture
As other have said, Fear is

As other have said, Fear is the reason and I believe Fear is the greatest motivator to use if you want to control someone or a group of people. It is scientific and unlike god, it does not rely on faith. It is something that all of us have and being conditioned the way many of us have been, it is no wonder it is something that is the hardest thing to overcome. I have grown since joining this group, but have a long way to go myself. If we taught people about science and facts more then mythical beings and fear about a place there is no evidence for, we would all be better off.

A quote by a favorite musician of mine: Frank Zappa, "If you want to keep your kids happy and in good mental health, keep them as far away from churches as you can!" And his kids turned out just fine and mentally stable.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself!

Diotrephes's picture
\[T]/

\[T]/

"Chances are that hell is just a scare tactic to get you to keep believing, but the Abrahamic (well, Christian and Muslim) hell in particular have me in constant contemplation about the hereafter. I mean, can you even name any other religion that teaches ETERNAL torture? I sure can’t."

It seems that you have your hells mixed up.

The biblical hell is one of three possible places a soul can end up in when the person dies. The options are: hell; death; and the sea.

Revelation 20:13 (KJV) = "13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

So in the biblical fairy tale hell is temporary, everyone will make bail on Judgment Day. And just because a soul has been in hell it doesn't prevent him from gaining eternal life in the golden cube called New Jerusalem. The good news is that you won't go back to hell. The bad news is that you could get tossed into the lake of fire, which is not hell.

Revelation 20:14-15 (KJV) = "14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

So if your favorite ethnocentric Middle Eastern religious fairy tale is the biblical one remember that you won't spend eternity in hell. You could get into the golden cube or end up in the lake of fire. Hell is temporary.

Now in the Islamic fairy tale a person dies and stays dead until Judgment Day. Then he's resurrected and judged according to his works, just like in Revelation 20:13. However, if he doesn't pass then he gets sent to hell for eternal torment. Most of the people in the Islamic hell will be women. The men get to go to a paradise, usually consisting of a 60 mile wide pearl shell with gardens, rivers of wine, and other goodies. The guys get a herd of cute boys, a couple of very tall translucent women creatures, and some regular woman. They also have eternal erections.

It's been my observation that most people believe in the eternal Islamic hell rather than the temporary biblical hell. You don't want to end up in the Islamic hell but the biblical hell might not be that bad. It's temporary and you will get out of it.

Remember, even Jesus went to hell.

Cognostic's picture
I don't get it. Hell was not

I don't get it. Hell was not even invented until the New Testament. This is not an idea that has been around for very long and many Christian as well as Jewish faiths do not have it. Information is the bane of all silly religious thinking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V8D5mOLC0o

Anna's picture
Another new member here. The

Another new member here. The hell idea bugs me too sometimes. Other times I think, "So you're saying that a powerful invisible being is waiting until I die to beat the stuffing out of me for eternity for not believing in invisible beings?" That doesn't seem very likely.
Not wanting to hijack your thread... Is there a place for new member introductions?

arakish's picture
Just click "Start New Thread"

Just click "Start New Thread" give it a name and add some info in the text box answer the "Math Question" then click Save.

Welcome to our corner of reality.

rmfr

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