Whether or not this pastor's beliefs are theologically correct or not hold little value to me. What he expresses--a seemingly genuine love and hope that ALL should come to Christ is both vital and convicting. For your consideration--an article by Peter Hitchens, the once atheist but now believing brother of the late Christopher Hitchens. In this article, he tells of how a 500 year old painting of hell brought him back to faith and faith in Jesus once and for all. He writes, "I had a sudden strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time. My large catalogue of misdeeds replayed themselves rapidly in my head. I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255983/How-I-God-peace-atheist-brother-PETER-HITCHENS-traces-journey-Christianity.html#ixzz2i2pvOHNQ
It's been my belief that most people don't truly-in their gut-believe in the kind of hell this guy is talking about. Most minister's I've seen, that even get emotional like this guy, dry off the tears and complain to the waiter on Sunday afternoon about the food not being right. If hell is as real to you as the town you live in, and you believe that most everyone you see daily will be tortured forever there, you are going to need some serious therapy as you will be tortured mentally. And if not, then you are likely an Axis 2 sociopath who can eat a meal among burning corpses and sleep like a baby. I think even the idea of it is enough to get us emotional, especially on the off-chance that it is real. But I just have a hard time that level-headed people who go about there day normally also have a gut-deep conviction about a medieval hell.
The concept of hell was also what started me down the path of leaving Christianity. I finally realized one day that I didn't love God, I was just afraid of him. You can't really love someone if you have no other option. Also, "if you ever leave me, you'll suffer" sounds like an abusive husband.
I'm a little confused by the comment thread here, Matthew. You're not intending to make fun of the man, OK. I'll take your word for that. Then what exactly are you trying to say with this post? Not trying to "flame" you here, just asking straight out. It seems from your response to a later comment that you agree that this preacher's picture of Hell is a "crazy" idea. I'm not judging either way what you choose to believe about the biblical picture of Hell, just trying to figure out what point you're trying to make with this post.
I have no idea what you're even referring to, Michael. Seems like you're making some big assumptions.
Why can't a man show emotion? If there is a hell, an eternity of torment and seperation from God and all goodness, and we know people who will and have ended up there, why shouldn't that bring sorrow? I'm not one of big emotion like that, but certainly doesn't make his invalid. Seems like an excuse for you, the guy pointing at the church for not being tolerant, to pick on a preacher. In that, you're being a bully.
It does sound horrifying. I do wonder, though, if there's a connection made between the horror of burning for eternity and the fact that it was God's idea in the first place. That is the kind of reasoning that led me to my current state of unbelief. I rarely comment, but I very much enjoy your blog! Thank you!
there is something to be said for passion. finally, a person acknowledges 'the reality' of their belief in hell; instead of just saying, smirking, "you'll go to hell!"
Rich, the title simply points out exactly what happens in the video. I think it's pretty straightforward. That said, I don't know if there's a Hell or not, though I find the concept inconsistent with a God of mercy and a Jesus who promoted love, kindness, forgiveness, etc...
Assumptions based on your blogs tone, yes. Where you trying to edify this man, if so I apologize. It appears you were poking fun at him, again, as your writing often does towards Christians. I'm all for pointing to and trying to better the church. It's what I spendy my days trying to do. But I tire of people bullying Christians. But again, if you're saying that wasn't the intent, I apologize.
It does sound horrifying. I do wonder, though, if there’s a connection made between the horror of burning for eternity and the fact that it was God’s idea in the first place. exactly
And do you find the concepts of "pain" and "death" inconsistent with the existence of a God of mercy, love and kindness? The same Jesus and apostles who you rely upon to tell you about the God that you believe in, spoke or wrote words like "the wages of sin is death" (somehow indicating that the notion of death is not inconsistent with the existence of God) and also wrote about hell as a place for those reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2). So I guess the question is, do you still believe in God and do you still trust the Bible? (Because right now your logic follows the exact same line as those who argue for atheism.)
Agreed kris. Also, many Christian fundamentalists today are neo-Calvinists who believe that people are predestined to either go to Heaven or Hell. In other words, they believe that God created billions of people who were, before they were even born, condemned to eternal torture in Hell, and that there is nothing they could do to prevent that. The fact that such a (lower case) god would make Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot seem downright pleasant in comparison is why I cannot accept their version of Christianity.
I should clarify that my progression from Christian to non was very gradual over the course of a decade or so. I did at first believe that hell doesn't exist while maintaining a belief in God and Jesus.