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Wednesday, March 28, 2007 

Hell 'Exists And Is Eternal,' Pope Warns

ROME - As the the season of Lent draws to a close, Pope Benedict XVI has been reminding the faithful of some key beliefs of their faith, including the fact hell is a place where sinners burn in an everlasting fire.

Primitive, very very primitive.

I imagine that many many thousands of years ago, unsophisticated and uneducated people wondered at volcanic activity and lava that came from below the ground. 'Down there' must have been very mysterious and quite scary for our ancestors.

Somehow, this wonder and fear grew into the concept of a place called 'HELL' where all of the 'bad people' go.

In the year 2007, I continue to be amazed that such ancient and primitive beliefs hold sway with anyone. Yet here we have one of the largest religious denominations in the world, who continue to hold and advocate the belief that a place exists, filled with fire, 'where all the bad people go and burn forever'.


-National Post

Actually the idea of hell came from a place outside Jerusalem where they used to burn garbage from the city...the fires burned continuously.

Same basic idea. Idiotic superstition and myth.

It is stuff like this that gave me the final push away from any form of supernatural belief. The best cure for Religion is to study it, when you see what they want you to swallow it makes it very hard to believe.

With burnings can't be far behind.

Why should you be amazed? There are plenty of us (even on the left) who are Christians, and most of us believe that your actions during this lifetime have consequences - be they good or bad. What form "hell" takes can be subject to debate... and I certainly dont agree with everything the Catholic Church stands for.. but I dont see the point of you mocking a basic tenet of the faith.

Scott ... I am a recovering Catholic and have spent years undoing the idiocy and fear they infused in my life when I was a child.

If the Pope wants to talk about a 'state of separation' from God, a state he refers to as 'hell', fine - BUT they keep this mythology alive about a place with eternal fire burning tormenting you forever.

Every young Catholic teenager out there who lives with this irrational fear during the onset of puberty where ANY type of sexual expression LANDS YOU IN A PLACE FIRE AND PAIN AND DAMNATION ... I call that child abuse.

You are selectively condemning parts of the beliefs of Christians. The other half of the story states that Jesus came and saved people from hell.

Except under your 'belief's' - if an adolescent practices even one occassion of masturbation, and then passes away without making Jesus his
'lord and saviour' then he goes to a place of fire and eternal damnation.

So much for a loving god and messiah.

Mythology - total nonsense!!

leftdog, I'm not going to comment on the masturbating teen part, but it can be left out of the story. I will respond to this (slightly altered) statement.

"If an adolescent ... passes away without making Jesus his 'lord and saviour' then he goes to a place of fire and eternal damnation."

God alone is the judge of who gets into heaven and who goes to hell. If the adolescent, or anyone for that matter, made a conscious choice not to follow Jesus, then the Bible says that the individual must account for that choice when they face God.

Keep in mind that sin is not the main tenet of the Christian faith, rather the salvation and eternal life that is found in Jesus Christ.

"For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The "loving god and messiah," that you so fondly referred to, paid the price on the cross so that we don't have to endure hell. That is the point of the Gospel. The Pope actually mentioned this in the news article you linked to as well.

When you focus on the sin and death and hellfire part, well yeah, it's a pretty depressing story. Fortunately, there's more to it than that.

Also, just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean it's "mythology."

I don't know about eternal, but it does exist. It's located here in the US in Washington, DC, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Adam ... when I look at the Universe as seen through Hubble, there is NO doubt in my mind that there is likely a higher reality occuring then our puny human minds can comprehend.

To believe that ALL of that cosmic reality occurs to see if I will 'accept Jesus' is utterly preposterous.

In biblical mythology, is not the sin of the 'angel Lucifer' that he wanted to be equal with and know the mind of god? Is that not what most christian denominations do (especially the fundamentalist version) - claiming that they KNOW the mind of god and his purpose.

There is a deep psychological need in humans to have knowledge of what this is all about.

I continue to reject the notion that my whole reason for existence is to see if I will embrace Jesus. I continue to call that nonsense!

What does this have to do with accepting Jesus as 'lord and saviour'? Or this or this?????

TomCat .... wow ... you HAVE identified the location of hell!! (good one) lol

Hi BD - I'm very careful about interpreting anything literally that I read in the Bible. I am reminded that the Romans rewrote and rewrote the Bible to their liking.

I guess my other comment is that hell exists on earth, and we create and uncreate it ourselves.

"Also, just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean it's "mythology."

True enough, but I suspect that when a story is not based in reality or history, then its a myth. I suspect you would consider Zeus a myth, but there was once an extensive religion surrounding him. Well the same applies to Christianity (or Judaism or any of them).

Hell is a myth. The Pope can bellow til he is blue in the face about hell, that does not change the fact that no such place exists - except as gehenna, also called the Valley of Hinnom outside Jeruselem, where garbage and the bodies of dead criminals were burned. From this historic, actual place, the myth of the eternal fire where the damned were sent grew. Myth.

The Pope can talk about Jesus all he wants, but he is still a myth. Ask yourself why you do not believe that Loki or Osiris and you will have the answer as to why people such as myself do not believe in your myth.

Now, if believing in your myth gives you comfort inspiration and allows you to live a better life, go for it. But don't expect others to believe it or take you seriously and don't expect us to take it lying down when you try to use your beliefs as an excuse to interfere in the lives of others.

Leftdog, I would suggest that the pictures that you link to are the signature of a mighty God, showing his power, and beauty. To think that that same God came to earth and died on the cross so that we may have eternal life is simply amazing.

Mike: Only a very small minority of scholars think that Jesus was purely a mythological figure. (see the article for Jesus in Wikipedia, better yet, see the "Historical Jesus" article)

Gehenna was used to represent symbolically what hell was and is. Hell was, and is, a powerful image, and if there was a garbage dump that burned continually, why wouldn't a person use that image to illustrate further what hell is?

Your disdain for me and my fellow believers is nearly palpable Mike. I am a little curious, what have you got against me/us?

Well Leftdog, you've forced me to revisit an old memory from Catholic boarding school days.

In the process of looking them up I was appalled to discover that this same bunch now run a federally funded Head Start program for pre-schoolers.

Color me disgusted.

Adam said, "To think that that same God came to earth and died on the cross so that we may have eternal life is simply amazing."

Do you know how insane that sounds to someone who is not completely brain washed by your religiousity?

'Died on the cross so that we may have eternal life ... nonsense ... you are mouthing the biggest fraud in human history.

Your belief that I need to be saved is based on what? That Adam and Eve ate an apple? First of all we know that there was no Adam and Eve ... and even in your biblical mythology what was their sin? They ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In other words, in your fraudulent utterings, knowledge is BAD!! Why is knowledge bad? Because if someone has knowledge, they can see through the nonsense of your religious ideology.

It is fraud.

I'm also a Christian, and for the record, the religious right is not the sole voice for faith. The religious right was alive and well in Jesus' time on earth. They were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the corrupt priests, the money changers in the temple, etc. The thing about them that stood out were their hypocrisy and their insistence that everyone follow their strict piety codes. As such, they were indistinguishable from the Robertsons, Dobsons, and Falwells of today.

There is a kind of faith that talks of God's love, accepts those who are different with tolerance and understanding, and does not try to cram their beliefs down others' throat. We aren't associated with any particular denomination, but there are very few of us, if any in the religious right.

TomCat .. sorry I am so harsh in my criticism. I have great respect for those who follow a 'social gospel faith, and who understand the wisdom of the parables.

Where I struggle is with the hard evangelicals who have perverted a faith that was intended to be one of love, understanding and compassion.

I was damaged by attending Catholic school where I witnessed a nun break a yardstick over one of my classmates back - a priest punched and broke the nose of a student (with NO repurcussions to the priest - it was a different era in the 60's).

Again, I mean no ill will to any practicing christian, I only ask that they recognize that much evil has been done in the name of the Christian religion.

(And as I said, I am 'recovering' - hence my lashing out).

"Your disdain for me and my fellow believers is nearly palpable Mike. I am a little curious, what have you got against me/us?"

I have no disdain whatsoever for you or other believers Adam. Seriously, I'm married to one (yeah, that makes for some interesting conversations).

What I do have disdain for is when believers use what should be their deeply held personal beliefs as a reason to enforce their will upon others, to interfere in the personal lives of others and to gain special status because of it.

I'm sorry if pointing out the illogic and silliness of those beliefs is insulting to you, but you have no right not to feel insulted. What I have pointed out is also the truth.

I can certainly understand and appreciate these metaphors and lessons that these myths represent. I even agree with many of them. But to believe the metaphors and myths are literally true is the sign of an idiot, and I don't care who gets insulted by that fact.

As for Jesus, there is no extra-biblical evidence for the actual existence of a historical Jesus. None. Add to that the fact that most of the stories of his birth, life and death are directly cribbed from contemporaneous myths and legends like Osiris, Mithras, Dionysus and others, the reality of a historical Jesus becomes more and more unlikely. Those scholars your refer to (but never enumerate) can believe anything they want, but there is no proof.

Of course, that there never was a real Jesus does nothing to diminish the power of ideas such as "Turn the other cheek" "Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you".

For all I care, you can worship the Tooth Fairy and perform naked ceremonies in your back yard every fortnight with a giant ball of floss. As long as it does no harm to me or my property, knock your self out. But when you decided to use your mythology to force your personal morality on me, through force of law or any other means, then we have a problem.

The question is, since I do not share your belief in your myth, what have you got against me?

"Again, I mean no ill will to any practicing christian, I only ask that they recognize that much evil has been done in the name of the Christian religion."

I guess the problem with God is that He is followed by humans, who sometimes make grave, grave errors. Sorry you had to go through that.

The fruit came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That's about as far as I will go explaining my beliefs to someone who has repeatedly referred to them as fraud.


When and where has a Christian infringed on your freedom? When have I used my personal beliefs to enforce my will upon yours? I would like for you to further elaborate on that paragraph.

The fact that you have called my beliefs idiotic and silly is probably the biggest problem that I have with you. It is one thing to not believe in my "myth," it is quite another to use ad hominem to show your non-belief.

Dawg, I took no offense from what you said. I understand where you are and how you got there. My intent was not to argue with you at all. Rather it was to counter Adam's preaching with what I consider a more Christian view.

On Gehenna, it is literally the name of a garbage dump outside Jerusalem. It is symbolically used to describe the lake of fire in Revelation, a book that should probably not have been included in the cannon as it was written much to late to have been apostolic in origin. Gehenna has also been used to describe my Chile. :-)

Mike, there is an extra-biblical reference for a historical Jesus. He is discussed in Josephus, a Jewish historian of that time.

Adam, how old is planet Earth?
Do you believe that Adam and Eve were historical figures, created as defined in the book of genesis? Is Noah's Ark an historical account of how 2 of all creatures including kangaroos and wallabees from Australia, as well as gorillas from Africa and Komodo dragons from Indonesia, were on the Ark.

Do you believe that the bible is unerrently true, word for word?

If not, what is the nature of the 'sin' that you need to have had your messiah die for?

"Mike, there is an extra-biblical reference for a historical Jesus. He is discussed in Josephus, a Jewish historian of that time."

TomCat, the Josephus reference, in both The Antiquities and The Jewish War were determined to be "pious forgeries" by 2nd century church father Origen. The passages in question is written in a different tone and meter and is out of place in the flow of the rest of the text. Earlier version of the text do not contain the passages.

Also, Philo of Alexandria was a Jewish historian with close connections to the Greek and Roman world who was born, in Nazareth in 30 AD. Despite the volume of his writings and his life contemporaneous in time and in location, he makes no mention of Jesus or Nazareth. Odd for a Nazarene Jewish historian, don't you think?

Just saying. So far all extra-biblical mentions of Jesus have been shown to be fakes.

Mike the opinion of origin does not prove that passage Josephus to be a forgery any more that the opinion of Pat Robertson proves Bush to be compassionate. There is plenty in Origin's writings with which I disagree. As for Philo, although he was born in Nazareth, he spent most of his life in Alexandria, if memory serves. While unusual, his omission is not definitive. I've read the works of Philo, and what was most interesting to me was how heavily Paul borrowed from him in some of the Pauline epistles.

For myself, I have no need to prove the existence of Jesus as a historical figure. Why are you so heavily invested in disproving it?

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