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hell on earth ???

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:22 pm
by ubermensch
When i was young (12 yo) I was baffled by the lack of logic in my families interpretation of the bible . People going to heaven for eternity despite living a life of "sin" , only because they asked for forgiveness in their final hours or minutes. Hell was equally baffling. A person who lived a life without any religious aspirations was doomed to hell for eternity? Even though he was a good person all his life. The whole thing seemed like an unreasonable explanation by a God that is described as being perfect. Either way these were the explanations given to me by parents , community members , and what society urged as a correct way to live ones life. Discovering Buddhism was a great relief for me , to find that there were other paths to living a spiritual life . The fact that it annoyed my parents was kind of fulfilling as well ;0) . The Buddha taught that life is suffering. Which led me to eventually think . How perfect would this place be if it was designated as hell . A place to be sent to suffer for past life misdeeds. We seem to have every available way of suffering , billions in fact . Everyone creating their own degree to which to suffer and while some are outside our control i.e. environment , birth defects. This also made sense with a reincarnation aspect , a person would serve a kind of "prison" sentence here on earth , trapping the soul in the body that would be given on the basis of a past life . His objective would be to overcome the physical aspect of ones life and find a spiritual outlet that would allow for contact with the soul ... i.e. a kind of "prison" escape .
I know reading this that it sounds like I am terribly pessimistic or have an extremely bleak view on life, but thats just not the case. I know life can be very rewarding and filled with happiness but its safe to say that the pain of this existence in this world definitely outweighs the good on a whole. With that said I have been toying with this thought for a few months and wanted to throw it out there and see what kind of feedback I would get . I respect your guys opinion very much and while i feel very out of place intellectually on this site, you guys have been very gracious and patient with me, and for that i thank you. ( still working on conveying my ideas in a more intelligible manner). =0/

Re: hell on earth ???

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:35 am
by Ryan
I would like to start off by saying I am enjoying your posts tremendously. And I would also like to try and reassure you that intellectually... it seems you are not out of place... It is all about asking questions, giving your opinion, listening to/reading the opinions of others. That's all that any of us can do... we all will simply take what we like / makes sense to us based upon our logic in connection with our experiences and assimilate them into our beliefs and approach to things...

As for the "Hell on Earth" thing... I think most of us have tossed that one around in our heads at least one time or another... and there was probably a point in most of our lives where we couldn't see how it could possibly be any other way... However, I have lived a near perfect life for the last 11 years... and so I can't see it... My life is more "Heaven on Earth" than "Hell"...

Re: hell on earth ???

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:24 pm
by ChristusDeusEst
You seem to think that hell is a form of punishment inflicted by God upon "bad" humans. Naturally, if you think hell is that, your reaction to the idea of grace and forgiveness is revulsion. The idea of an axe-murderer going to heaven while pious people who follow another religion besides Christianity go to hell does not seem to make sense.

Allow me to clarify what Christians mean by hell. Hell is not a place where you go if you get poor "grades." Heaven is not a place where you get rewards either. Understand it this way: where we end up at the end of this life matters little; it's where we're going that makes a difference. If a person puts even one foot on the path of sin, they set their course for an eternity of sin. A person who sets even one foot on the path of life sets themselves up for an eternity in heaven.

Imagine it as if a person were a point on an x-y plane. Imagine the point is moving downward. Although the point may not move very quickly, over an eternity the point will eventually go quite far. It's the trajectory, not the location, that matters. Sin grows like a parasite over time, consuming more and more of its host.

One fundamental doctrine of Christianity is that no one--even the more pious--actually gets good "grades." Everybody makes mistakes, and these little mistakes get us in trouble over the long run. God reverses our trajectory, however, when we embrace forgiveness through Christ.

Strictly speaking, therefore, hell is not a place of punishment. If a person willingly chooses punishment, is it really punishment at all?

Hell is simply a place created by God for people to go to if they decide they don't want his forgiveness. The existence of hell shows God's mercy and forbearance rather than cruelty. As Dante wrote in the Divine Comedy, love fashioned the gates of hell.

If any of this doesn't make sense, I would be glad to answer questions.

About suffering: I recognize that there is a great deal of suffering in the world, but I do not think this means one ought to try to escape it. I think one should rather overcome it: first, by enjoying the good in the world; second, by hoping for a brighter future. Dostoevsky wrote something really beautiful in The Brothers Karamozov: "I believe. . . that suffering will be healed and made up for, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood they've shed; that it will be able to justify all that has happened."