Americans’ belief in heaven remains about the same as always. But new data shows that the belief in hell has dropped considerably.. 70ish percent down to the 50s and falling.. this to coincide with other research showing millennials have stopped going to church.
Why? National GEOGRAPHIC has a story running about the ‘campaign to eliminate hell’ .. Among the notable parts of the article, this section worth re-reading:
“What if the muting of hell is due neither to emotional weakness nor loss of Gospel commitment?” writes Edward Fudge, whose 1982 book, The Fire That Consumes, is widely regarded as the scholarly work that jump-started the current debate. “What if the biblical foundations thought to endorse unending conscious torment are less secure than has been widely supposed?”
Fudge is among those who endorse an alternative doctrine, known as “annihilationism” or “conditional immortality,” which holds that, after death, sinners simply cease to exist, while those who are saved enjoy eternal life under God’s grace. Although it’s not a positive outcome for the wicked—in fact, it amounts to spiritual capital punishment—it’s deemed a far more merciful and just fate than an eternity of torture.
HELL.. That merciless place where sinners burn.
I went through Catholic school. My initial upbringing with harsh Ukrainian nuns who held nothing back when it came to hell. Hell! I was afraid I’d burn forever if I had one impure thought or forgot to dot an I on homework. As time went on, I switched schools and eventually had more humane sisters. And finally in high school mostly lay teachers since nuns and priests got busy with other things.
But even now in life I know several people with varied religions predilections. Often, the ‘non denominational’ I know argue with the Jehovah Witnesses I know.. who argue with the Protestants I know. And all whom seem to look down on my for being a member of the Roman Empire Catholic Church–though I remind them I am technically born into a Ukrainian Catholic church and was confirmed and baptized in one fell swoop in my first month of employment with life.
“We need a fresh wave of great awakeners—those who will unapologetically preach hell fire in today’s dire end times,” writes John Burton, a pastor and speaker. “To the shame of much of today’s church there has been a firm and steadfast rejection of any truth that doesn’t result in people feeling happy affection for God.” The narcissistic belief that God loves us so much that he couldn’t bear inflicting eternal punishment, Burton argues, encourages evil to expand unchecked.
A traditionalist view of hell, however, does not necessarily mean fire and brimstone. “I certainly wouldn’t agree that hell is a place of literal fire or torment,” says Galli. “I tend to be more favorable toward the metaphors that talk about hell as the absence of a love of God and that would be a miserable existence.”
Not necessarily hell or heaven, but this topic fascinates me the most: Is there life after death.
I have been searching for an answer since I figured out I could have independent thoughts and meditate. I have yet to find an answer, or come across someone who could give me proof. I read MOODY and his near death experiences.. I paged through MY DESCENT about a supposed trip to the fires of hell.. I have constantly been informing myself of the many theories of what we are and where we go. Nothing has satisfied my thirst.. nothing quenched my hunger. I need more information. I want more theory. And I want to find that magical cave or hidden document that houses the information I need: Does an afterlife exist? Do my trips to graveyards amount to an actual conversation or am I just looking a little ‘off’ talking to headstones?
While I am at it, I’d sure like to know more about heaven and hell too if they exist. I wouldn’t want to rock any boats so much on earth that I burn in eternal fire.