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If Hell Is Real Is It Selfish To Have Children?

Written by Devtome wiki contributor: Bomac

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I was brought up to believe in a literal and eternal hell.

The Basic Ground Rules

I was basically taught that you get sent there if don't ask Jesus, (who you must believe, on faith, is the only Son of God), to forgive you for your wrong doings. In fact, you need to ask for forgiveness for the state of sin you were born into, even though you had nothing to do with it. (How could you have something to do with the sin you are told you were born into, if you did not exist before you were conceived?)

I was told that, unlike those Baptists, most of whom are likely in for a horrendous surprise when they die, you can't just pray the sinner's prayer, one time and expect to be covered for life. You have to pray it each time you sin.

Furthermore, a sin could be a harsh thought toward someone, even if you didn't tell the person what you were thinking. If you had a harsh, or lustful or otherwise sinful thought (or engage in any manner of sinful action), and you died before praying the sinner's prayer again, you would go to hell, straight to hell, without passing go, without collecting $200.1)

People "Choose" Hell?

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I always thought it was God sending you to hell, but many years later, someone I grew up with told me how ridiculous I was. God would never send anyone to hell, he assured me. This man, who was at this point, a preacher, explained that people send themselves to eternal fire torture through either outright conscious rejection of God's gift of eternal bliss, or through sinning after succumbing to human weakness, and not seeking forgiveness, before dying.2)

I was dumbstruck that he actually thought that doing a semantic tap dance could change the fact that in his belief system, God sends people to hell, forever. I realized that the conversation I was having with him would not go on if I didn't accept his distinction, so I accepted it for the sake of communication.

I Wouldn't Allow For This On My Worst Day - How Could God?

I told him that even in my limited ability to love, which is much less than a grain of sand compared to the ocean (with the ocean representing a tiny fraction of God's capacity to love), I would never create a world where people could unknowingly, disbelievingly, send themselves to hell, forever, without ever having a chance of redemption.

I said that I don't care how evil any person has been in their life on earth, including the likes of Hitler, Bush 41, Stalin, Clinton, Mao Tse-tung, Bush 43, Mussolini, or Obama, I might give them some time in hell, but even I, someone prone to feelings of vengeful grudges, could not imagine ever keeping the fire going indefinitely, let alone forever and ever.

Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacey In Heaven - Great Humanitarians In Hell

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It just makes no sense. You could be one of those people who spends a life torturing and killing one victim after another, and then, on your death bed, if you really feel bad about your sins and say the sinner's prayer, the next thing you know, you would find yourself in the presence of God, experiencing an eternity of, 'joy unspeakable, full of glory,” feeling a, “peace that passes understanding.”

On the other hand, you could be a person who spent a lifetime helping others, really making a huge difference in an incredible number of lives. You could be humble, doing random acts of kindness in an anonymous way so that nobody could ever feel indebted to you or speak highly of you or give you awards for your good deeds, Nonetheless, you could end up in eternal hellfire, if you didn't say the prayer, or recognize that Jesus is God.

Empty Prayers

You could spend your life praying for others, but if you don't believe that Jesus is the only Son of God, then those prayers may not simply be for naught. They could be some kind of evil act, praying to a false God.

You might inspire others to know the joy of a life of service to others. Through the ripple effect, your life of love and service to the world could affect millions of people, and consequently animals as well. Yet, if you believe that everything in the Bible isn't literally true, and that God will never send (or “allow” anyone to otherwise go) to hell, you will, sadly, spend eternity in a fire that just won't go out, no matter how much you beg God to stop the pain. It will be too late.

Unfortunately, you will never be able to die from the fire, since your spirit body never dies. The pain will never subside in any way. You will never get used to it or get away from it. Intense, insane, nonstop pain that makes seconds seem like years, will be your eternal experience. Such is the price of not taking the gift that you couldn't believe was real.

Is God A Mobster?

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With friends like that, who needs enemies? It's like God is a mobster who forces you to believe something, but if you just can't believe it since it makes no sense to you, then you'll have to be fire tortured forever… And it won't even be the Lord's doing. He'll say you did it to yourself.

Reconstructing That Conversation With My Pastor Friend

The following is a general paraphrase of that conversation with my old friend who became a pastor.

Pastor: It's really simple. Just take God's gift by admitting He is the one and only God and ask for His forgiveness for the sins against him you make, even if it's on a daily basis. Try not to sin, but since a sin can be merely a thought, we all are going to sin, hopefully less and less and we get better at following Jesus. Be sure to continually ask for forgiveness, but be sure to do it in Jesus' name, recognizing that He is not just the only begotten Son of God, but that He is God, along with the Holy Spirit.

Me: I just can't believe that God, who the bible says, is love (1 John 4:8), would send anyone to hell for not being able to agree with various assertions in the bible.

Pastor: Are you crazy? God would never send anyone to hell. That is sick. Where did you learn that? Hell isn't revenge or even punishment. It's the destination choice people make when they turn down God's gift of the sacrifice he made in human form, when Jesus died for our sins on the cross.

Me: Again. It makes no sense. Why create a world where you need even animals to be sacrificed as ritual of worship to you in the first place? Why then, have a son, who is God in human form, go to earth to be sacrificed, so that animals no longer have to be sacrificed, and so that everyone who believes every word written in a series of ancient scrolls that would go on to be compiled into a book, would not have to experience eternal fire torture? What kind of God creates such a system?

Pastor: It a dangerous road you are headed down, Bomac. Please be careful. Don't make the mistake of trying to figure everything out. You have a limited human mind that can't possibly make sense of the ways of the Lord. What a crying shame it would be to let that stop you from experiencing eternal joy, nonstop peace that passes understanding. Even worse; beyond not getting to experience heaven, you would experience hell, in its stead. That need of yours to make sense of God, could end up being the way you go about choosing hell.

Me: First off, I don't see the evidence that it is God's way. Believers start out with a faith based premise that the bible is the truthful. Not merely a book that has some truth in it, but it's 100% truthful. Then based on that premise, they use circular logic as evidence that it's true. “The bible is true, therefore I believe it. I believe it because otherwise it wouldn't be in the bible, because we all know that the bible is true.” We don't know what God's rules are. There are other religions that say they have the only true understanding of God's rules. Aren't we lucky we got born into the one true religion? Of course, adherents to every religion feel the same way.

Pastor: Clearly, Satan is creating doubt and confusion for you. I feel so bad about that. Please pray with me that Jesus will lift Satan's spirit of confusion from your mind right now. You start, and then I'll follow up. Go ahead.

Me: I think Satan is creating doubt and confusion in your life, and he's done such an amazing job, he's got you believing that people who have lived good lives, in service to others, will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity, but that people who lived lives of raping and torturing children, will end up in eternal bliss if they ask God to forgive them before they die. I'm going to be praying for God to send you clarity, and to quit believing in a book thousands of years old that has been tampered with and is filled with contradictions and inconsistencies, like, “Thou shalt not kill,” but go out and kill this tribe in the name of the Lord.

Pastor: That's the spirit of Satan you are letting speak through you. I banish Satan in you right now in the name of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.

Me: If anything, it's the spirit of God in me, trying to break you free from the hold Satan has on believers who actually think God would create hell in the first place, to send everyone who doesn't believe in Him.

Pastor: Don't talk like that. Hell was made for the rebellious angel, Lucifer, who wants to be God. Anyone who doesn't accept God's gift of eternal bliss made possible through the sacrifice of his Son, is, like Lucifer, rejecting God, trying to be independent of God and is choosing to be with Lucifer in hell. I'm afraid I recognize that rebellious spirit in you. How many times do I have to tell you that God doesn't send anybody to hell? He loves people so much, he gave his only Son to die for your sins.

Me: He loves me so much He set up a system where, if I am, for whatever reason, sincerely unable to recognize his gift of eternal bliss, I don't simply cease to exist when I die, but I get eternal fire? Seriously?

Pastor: I'm going to have to cut this conversation off right now. I think that the way you are talking, your next sentence might be to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. That would keep your name out of the book of life.

Me: See? God would send me to hell if I did that.

Pastor: No! You'd be choosing hell if you did that.

Me: No, I would never choose hell, and I would never create a system that let anybody, especially beings I created, go to hell for eternity.

Pastor: Bomac, I've got to go. I just hope you quit trying to make sense of everything from your limited human perspective, and have faith that God knows what He's doing.

Actually, I Do Have Faith

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What my pastor friend couldn't grasp is that I do have faith in God and that is why I know that hell is not literal. Interestingly, this pastor is from a sect of Christianity that believes everything in the bible is literal.

They believe that humans were created about 6,000 years ago, just after God created the universe. They don't believe that the verse that says, a day is as a thousand years with God, is indicative that God's days are different than human days. If they could accept a symbolic interpretation of that scripture, they could believe that the universe is, indeed, billions of years old, as science indicates. Instead, they believe they God literally made the world in 7 days.

Literal Conundrum

Now, this is kind of sticky situation for them, because the believe everything in the bible is literal. Therefore, they say that the story line of God creating the world in 7 days, mean 7, twenty four hour periods. On the other hand, there is that verse that says, with God, a day is as a thousand years.

You might think they would then accept that literally, and come to the conclusion that God took 7,000 years to create the world, instead of one week, (since each day is 1,000 years in God's time.) I suppose the problem with that, though, is there are so many references in the bible to days, that it all those other references to days would really throw the time line out of whack.

For instance, if there was a verse that say, “The next day Jesus showed his disciples how to fish,” they would have to assume that meant, 1,000 years later, Jesus showed them how to fish. So, it's understandable that that they decided to choose to literally believe the creation days were 24 hours and not 1,000 years, but it presents a problem to their overall philosophy that every word in the bible is literal.

They have to simply pretend that verse does not exist. Every sect of every religion has lots of scriptures that don't fit their interpretations, so they quietly sweep them under the carpet.

Literal Heaven

Of course, they also believe in the literal descriptions of heaven. Remember this point, because we'll be coming back to it: My pastor friend says everything in the bible is literal.

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Streets Of Gold Gates Of Pearl - Meh

The biblical description of heaven is another interesting point for me, personally. I never was impressed with pearls and gold; not as a very young child, and not as an adult not far from senior status, and nowhere in between. If streets of gold and gates of pearl are the best heaven has to offer, I find that extremely depressing.

Clearly, in my opinion of course, these descriptions were the best the writers of that time had to convince people that it's in their best interest to go to heaven as well as to stay out of hell. Moreover, for every verse that alludes to eternal suffering in hell, or eternal punishment – (Despite what my pastor friend says, the bible refers to eternal punishment) – there seem to be other verses that say that the choice is between simply dying, and getting to live forever.

  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  • “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it, (14) but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
  • The one who sows to please the sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)
  • The truly righteous man attains life, but He who pursues evil goes to his death (Proverbs 11:19)

Pick And Choose

Believers in every religion tell non believers that they can't pick and choose which scriptures to believe. If they are going to take any, they have to take them all, they are told. Yet believers in all religions actually pick and choose which scriptures they want to believe. The above verses are cases in point. Despite those verses indicating that the choice is between simply dying and getting to live forever, most believers choose to ignore those and pick the ones that talk about eternal damnation.

We might tell those people that clearly this is a case on contradictory data, so we all are left to decide for ourselves. However, they would be likely to tell us that the words in those verses; destruction, perish and death, really mean eternal punishment, even though they don't say it.

Let's face it. Words have different meanings, interpretations, to different people. That is why every religion has never ending sects, splinter groups. So, not only does every adherent in every religion believe they have found the only true religion, (actually they didn't find it - 95 plus percent were born into it), but they believe they are in the only true sect of that one true religion – (again, overwhelmingly having had the good fortune to have been born into it.)

If we were to scoff at their interpretation of the word, death, and then go so far as to suggest that the verses that suggest eternal damnation were metaphorical scare tactics, they would accuse us of trying to rewrite the bible. Of course, they would remain oblivious to the fact that they are doing the exact same thing by turning the word, death, into, a lake of eternal fire and brimstone.

Biblical Inconsistencies, Contradictions, & Gaps

They can't wrap their heads around the fact that the bible has inconsistencies, contradictions, huge gaps and other mysteries that defy a literal interpretation. What follows is a brief look at just a few examples.

Here's an example of a contradiction. The bible insists upon monotheism, one God, yet the opening line uses the plural form of God, Elohim. The translation should read, “In the beginning, the Gods created the heavens and the earth.” If they meant to make it plural, why wouldn't they use the singular, Eloah?

A little later in Genesis, when it's talking about the creation of humans, it quotes God, “Let US make man in OUR image.” (Not, “Let me make man in my image.”) That's two more instances of using the plural, which only serves to reinforce the idea that it wasn't just a mistake when Elohim was used instead of Eloah.

Storytelling Continuity Issues

Some examples of continuity gaps include the missing years of Jesus and the wives of the sons of Adam and Eve. Jesus was last spotted in a temple at the age of 12 teaching the Rabbis. Next time he pops up, he's 30. It has been suggested that, for some reason or reasons, most of the years of Jesus were edited out of the bible.

The same is said about the Genesis story. One day the only people on earth are Adam, Eve, and their sons Cain and Abel. Then one day, out of the blue, they are said to have taken wives.3)

What wives? Evidently, Adam and Even had lots of children the bible didn't mention. So the had to make due with sisters. If you believe the story is literal, it only makes sense that incest was the only way to keep humanity going, but what seems curious is that the storytelling would have such a gap.

Were the writers or keepers of the scrolls trying to keep us from knowing something, so they cut out large portions of the Genesis story? Surely they didn't think we'd not be able to figure out the incest aspect. It's difficult to have confidence in that kind of record keeping.

Major Disagreements In The Genealogy Of Jesus

Another example of contradiction is the genealogy of Jesus. There are two versions; one in Mathew and one in Luke. In many of the entries they simply don't match. Since the theme of this piece isn't about bible contradictions, I'll stop here.

The point I'm going for – or at least the question I'm asking for the reader's perusal – is the possibility that it is an incredibly selfish act to bring people into this world who otherwise would never have existed. The reason is because if you didn't bring them into the world, they could not possibly go to eternal fire torture.

Why It May Be The Ultimate Act Of Selfishness

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The reason it may be selfish is people have a personal desire to have children. They're thinking of themselves, and they aren't adopting children who are already here, for whom the hell risk is already present.

They want someone to take care of them if they become unable to take care of themselves when they grow old. Perhaps they want kids to work around the house or the family business, or to keep them company or make their lives complete. Whatever the reason is, they don't seem to care about the notion that if they don't accept the religious tenets they will be teaching their children, they will go to hell and burn in a never ending fire.

Even Baptists Can't Say There Is No Risk

If someone really believes in hell, in that sense, I can't fathom what on earth possesses them to take such a chance. It's boggles my mind, actually. Even if you have the Baptist belief system, where all you have to do is pray the sinner's pray once, you are covered for life, there is no guarantee that is going to happen.

First off, Christians tend to believe that young children and infants are temporarily covered, even if they don't pray the prayer. The same is said to apply zygotes, embryos, fetuses & unborn babies. Although there is no agreed upon age, and it differs from one person to another, there is thought to be a point where the protection of innocence no longer applies. The person who is usually still legally a minor is then at risk of eternal damnation if she does not accept that Jesus is God and ask for forgiveness of her sins.

So, even for Baptists, it is possible that a minor, past the point of protection, would reject and rebel against her family's belief system. She may refuse to accept the tenets or say the prayer. Therefore, even if you believe that once saved (from hell), you are always saved, you have no reason to assume your child is going to be saved. The risk to reward ratio just isn't worth it, if you intend to love your child.

Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

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How do parents do it? You see it all the time. People in church are heartbroken because they have grown children who have rejected their teachings. It really revs up to a whole new level of sad for them, when those children die without having taken Jesus as their personal savior. If eternal hellfire were real, that would mean that their kids are going to experience a nonstop horror movie of an afterlife, at least in part, because the parents selfishly decided to bring life into the world.

How do you even enjoy heaven knowing your kid is being burned, constantly, as a direct result of you having brought her into the world to fulfill a personal desire or need? Even if it's an adopted kid, or just anybody you care about, how can you possibly enjoy heaven knowing what they are enduring, even though you didn't play a part in making it happen?

$5 See Your Ex-Spouse In Hell

One of my favorite single frame cartoon drawings I ever saw, was a scene set in heaven. There was a long line of people in white robes behind a guy looking through a telescope. Above them was a sign that said, $5 - See your ex-spouse in hell.

People enjoying the suffering of people they don't like is something I can understand. I don't get how we are supposed to go to heaven and enjoy ourselves, while knowing full well that we have loved ones suffering unimaginably. It just doesn't strike me as Christian or Godly.

We can only presume that God doesn't let us remember. Or we have the ability to make ourselves forget. Either way, don't you find it unsavory? I find the notion of forgetting about others disgusting, to tell you the truth.

Why Not Just Become An Atheist?

Many people “go atheist” when things in religion just don't add up for them. Personally, I'd love to do that, because I never liked the idea of living forever, even if it was supposed to be eternal blissfulness in the place with the pearly gates, the many mansions and the streets of gold.

From an extremely (even, precocious) early age, I found the notion of living forever, depressing. It gave me a sense of dread about dying, which I wished for nothing more from, than the cessation of existence. So the atheist belief system, in that sense, was perfect for me.

The problem is, my paradigm is as evidenced-based as I can make it. The evidence I have seen indicates that the Newtonian, mechanistic world view is incomplete, and hence, incorrect. There seems to be a world of energy from which the physical world is comprised. There is consciousness that is not dependent on our bodies to exist.

Quantum Physics And The World Of Energy

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Before you say that's not scientific, I suggest you get up to speed and get past Newton's era of science. Read some books on quantum physics and then get back to me. It's not exactly some new fangled set of theories.

The foundations of quantum mechanics can be traced back to the 1830s. Modern quantum physics began, in earnest, in 1925. If you are still operating on a strictly mechanistic world view – that is; you're seeing the machine, but not the ghost in the machine, you're only about a century behind the times. After all, Einstein's relativity theory that surpassed Newton's understanding, was published in 1905.

Mystical Literature

Besides all the egghead quantum physicists who tell us the world is comprised of energy, not objects, I have other reasons that make it impossible for me to be an atheist. There is all kinds of mystical literature dating back thousands of years that agrees with the some of the basic prinicples of quantum physics.

That, in itself is interesting. Additionally, the literature comes from cultures in different locations around the world (and different eras) who could not have been communicating with or bouncing ideas off each other – (at least if our notions of human development are correct… which they are virtually certainly not.)

Energy Sensitives

Beyond that, there are gifted psychics who are able to consistently know information they could not know, if the world were run on Newtonian principles, and if consciousness ceased when the body dies. There are too many instances of people leaving their bodies and witnessing events and documenting conversations, that would later be confirmed and verified, for atheism to be correct.

Near Death Experiences And Non Near Death Out Of Body Experiences

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There are too many instances of people having near death experiences, independent of each other, before ever learning that others had gone through such an experiences, all reporting the same phenomena. In some of those experiences, people saw a loved one waiting for them who they did not even know had died, but when they were told it was not their time to go, and they returned to their bodies, they later discovered that the person had indeed recently died.

Once a person has had a classic near death experience, the people in their lives report they become better, more loving people. Even people who were loving before the experience, are said to be even more loving and more kind than they ever were.

These people go through the rest of their lives with absolutely no fear of death. Former atheists are no longer atheists. Many of them recognize that they were obnoxious in their denial of the spiritual realm, and feel embarrassed by their past attitudes with others who had disagree with them. (By the way, many fundamentalist Christians who have been through a near death experience, who were formerly more focused on hell than on God, no longer believe in a literal hell of fire torture with no chance of redemption.)

Children Spontaneously Remembering Past Lives

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There are too many children who have remembered living as another person, who had recently died. They have been able to recall the names of the person they used to be, the names of their family members, and many details that the only person who had such information, was the person they remember being. In many cases, children who are prodigies say they are able to do what they do because they developed their talent in a past life.

In many cases, they grow up to look like the person they remember being. In many of the cases, they have birthmarks that correspond to events that took place in the life of the person, usually leading to their death. For instance, two marks in flesh that correspond to a bullet entry and exit point in the same spots the person was killed by a bullet.

Adults Remembering Past Lives Under Hypnosis

There are too many adults who went to past life therapists, who were able to recall being other people in times gone by. In many cases, there were historical records to prove such people lived. These people have gotten help from various afflictions they were suffering, that were caused by events in the past life.

Most of the time, they recognize that people close to them in this life, have been close to them in other lives. By recognizing patterns of behavior in their various historical relationships, they are able to learn lessons that help them improve their relationships.

Therefore, being intellectually honest, I could no more take the easy way out and become an atheist, than I could except the literally interpretation of eternal hell fire.

Reincarnation In The Bible

In a section of my article on reincarnation I go into more detail about reincarnation in the bible, so I won't discuss it in too much detail here.

It is said that the bible used to have a lot of references to reincarnation, but that in 325, the Council of Nicea took out most of the references. Yet, they didn't pull all of them.

Born Again

To me, the big one is Jesus' insistence that you can not be with the Father until you are, “born again.” The idea of reincarnation is going through lots of life cycles until we get it right, and then can join God in the energetic realm, from which this world is created. Of course, like everything else, the born again reference is a matter of interpretation, but isn't it interesting that people who insist that hell is literal, refuse to consider that Jesus wasn't being literal when he said the simple words, “You must be born again?”

When it is convenient, these people who talk about the literalness of the bible say it's literal. Yet when it goes against their belief, then all of sudden, it's a rare metaphor. How utterly convenient of them.

The Blind Man

There is the instance of the disciples asking Jesus if a man who was blind since birth, was born that way because of things he had done before he was born. Indeed, reincarnation was not a novel concept at that time. Millions of people in the world believed in reincarnation, even then.

So, the question was certainly a reference to past lives. Jesus answered that the blindness was not due to anything the man had done before he was born. One can only speculate that if past lives were a false doctrine, Jesus would have used such a perfect teaching moment to let them (and hence, us) know that.

The Mount Of Transfiguration

Then there is the story of the Mount of Transfiguration. It is told three (or it is 4?) times in the bible, but the part where Jesus says point-blank that reincarnation is a fact, Jack, is only told once. It starts out with Jesus walking up a mountain with some of his disciples.

One of them says, Master, some of the scribes in town are saying that you can't be the Messiah because Elijah has yet to return.

NOTE: Elijah was a prophet whose record you can find in the old testament of the bible. He had last been seen when a UFO, or as the bible put it, a chariot of fire from the sky, came down and took him. Various scriptures in the old testament said that the Messiah would and could only come after Elijah had returned.

John Is Elijah

Jesus told his disciples right then and there that John the Baptist is Elijah. [Matthew 11:14 “14-15 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”] Obviously, that means Elijah had returned via the reincarnation process, as John the Baptist. Moreover, if you don't accept that, you are not only calling Jesus a liar, you are saying he isn't the only begotten Son of God – Or that those scriptures from the old testament simply aren't true, and hence, nobody knows which bible verses are true and which ones are false.4)

With reincarnation, you can, in effect, be continually punished, if you keep not learning the lessons you are supposed to learn, but there is always the chance of getting out of the cycle. You never are left without the chance for redemption.

The ultimate lesson is to love yourself and others. If you live a life of hurting people, you are likely to come back and be hurt, in return.

It's Called Karma

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That's karma, working through the process of reincarnation. You could choose to hurt others even as you are being hurt. That will lead to more and more incarnations of being hurt. If you want to do that forever, then it is a hell of your own creation, but any time you want to learn the lesson, you can. Redemption is always possible.

Remember My Pastor Friend?

So when I discussed this with my pastor friend who doesn't believe in biblical metaphor, despite the fact that Jesus often taught in parable, guess what he told me? Yes, he said that Jesus wasn't being literal when he said that John is Elijah.

So I asked him what about all the verses in the various books of the old testament that agreed that Elijah must return before the Messiah would appear, guess what he told me. Yes, he said that those verses did not mean the Elijah would literally return.

He said, they only meant that someone who shared a lot in common with Elijah would appear first. So I said, Hold on just a second here, Babalooey. Those verses say that ELIJAH would RETURN. They didn't say that SOMEONE LIKE ELIJAH would BE HERE. Why would they all say ELIJAH and RETURN when all they meant was SOMEONE LIKE ELIJAH and BE HERE?

He basically told me I was getting stuck on the literalness of these scriptures. This, the same pastor, ordained in a sect that believes virtually nothing is symbolic or metaphoric in the scriptures, told me that I'm getting bogged down on the bible being literal.

Isn't it interesting that the scholars in his sect have the ability to tell the rest of us which words and verses and meant literally, and which ones aren't meant to be taken at face value? So, all I have to do when I'm confused is call him up and he will tell me how to interpret each and every scripture and what to think and what to do, so that I can avoid eternal fire torture, which he assures me, is literal.

Curiously, he and his wife brought a whole bunch of people into the world, evidently with little regard to the real possibility that a rebel might be among them who could reject their teachings and live eternity in unthinkable pain.

Conclusion

Am I saying that people who believe in hell are bad people for having kids? The answer to that is, no. Some of the best people you will ever meet share that bit of religious programming.

More than anything, I'm just trying to get people to think. The title of this essay asks if hell is real, is it selfish to have kids.

If you really believe it, then I don't see how to get around the selfishness issue. On the other hand, I believe that at a deep level of everyone's being, we all know that the biblical concept of never ending hellfire is not real.

Addendum

If reading that last sentence just pushed major buttons and you find yourself angry at me, then that's a red flag that I may be right, at least, when it comes to you. Why else would you be mad at me for saying that nobody really believes in a literal never ending fire torture?

You could think of me as foolish, but be careful, because the bible says that calling someone a fool can get you sent to hell. I mean, you can think I'm being stupid, or ignorant or willfully blind, whatever. You might feel a profound sense of sadness for me. That's all good, but for you to get worked up about it, that's indicative that you have some deep seated issue that I stirred up.

Here's the bottom line:

  • You know for a fact that a lot of things in the bible are metaphoric and not literal
  • No one can say for sure what in the bible is metaphor and what is literal
  • There is enough in the bible to seem to indicate that reincarnation could be real, that an open minded Christian would have to admit they don't know
  • If you are more concerned with eternal hellfire being literal than you are with the love of God being awesome, there is probably something really wrong with your relationship with God

Philosophy | Religion | Christianity | Relationships

1) OK, the monopoly rules were not included. I just put that in there for the fun of it. Sorry.
2) And of course, if the Jesus comes back, if you haven't asked for forgiveness for that latest sin, you're toast.
3) NOTE: After they married and had kids, one of them killed the other. In case, you forgot who killed who, be sure not to ask Archie Bunker, the main character from the old TV show, All In The Family. He thought that Abel killed his brother by hitting him on the back of his head with his cane. Sorry Archie. It was Cain who killed Abel.
4) Not knowing which bible passages are true or false is actually a pretty honest perspective, It's just one that most believers aren't willing to admit to.

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