Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 63 (9072 total)
61 online now:
AZPaul3, dwise1, PaulK, Tanypteryx (4 members, 57 visitors)
Newest Member: FossilDiscovery
Post Volume: Total: 893,178 Year: 4,290/6,534 Month: 504/900 Week: 28/182 Day: 0/16 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   The evolution of hell: how rhetoric changes religion
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 39 of 66 (601161)
01-18-2011 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Otto Tellick
01-18-2011 3:10 AM


Otto Tellick writes:

Still, the topic seems to be centered on the concept of hell, and I don't see any relevant relation between that and Darwin's theory.

As for the describing these different notions of hell as simply being different "rhetoric", I suspect that some theists would view that as a misstatement, because for them, it's a matter of foundational dogma, such that you can't be a "true Christian" (or "true Muslim") if you don't accept the "correct" notion. I even suspect there are some who call themselves Christian and don't actually believe or accept any notion of hell. Go figure...

I personally agree that it's ultimately a matter of rhetoric, since all assertions about the Christian notion of "life after death" are based on nothing more than speculations about various dreams and made-up stories. But apart from acknowledging the fact that religion is ultimately just an artifact of human language and cognitive patterns, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by talking about "how rhetoric changes religion."

Allow me to summarize the point: There are some people who think that anti-religious rhetoric makes no change at all. I say, yes it does, and here is how: the moral objections about hell have weakened the Christian religion among those who propose that hell is a place of fiery punishment, and it has caused a morally agreeable religion to emerge of Christians who propose that hell really isn't all that bad.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Otto Tellick, posted 01-18-2011 3:10 AM Otto Tellick has taken no action

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 44 of 66 (601176)
01-19-2011 1:02 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by Rrhain
01-19-2011 12:43 AM


If anyone thinks that Rrhain makes any serious points, then I will respond. I would otherwise like to refrain from arguing with him.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by Rrhain, posted 01-19-2011 12:43 AM Rrhain has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Rrhain, posted 01-19-2011 1:46 AM ApostateAbe has taken no action

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 48 of 66 (601221)
01-19-2011 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by ICANT
01-19-2011 2:14 AM


Re: Damned
ICANT, how do you take the modern shifts in the definition of hell away from what was believed classically? Do you take such shifts to be a good thing? A bad thing?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by ICANT, posted 01-19-2011 2:14 AM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by ICANT, posted 01-19-2011 11:05 AM ApostateAbe has replied

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 51 of 66 (601249)
01-19-2011 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by ICANT
01-19-2011 11:05 AM


Re: Damned
ICANT writes:

Hi Abe,

What do modern definitions of hell have to do with anything?

There are those who say it is the grave.

There are those who say it does not exist.

There are those who say God is such a loving God He would not put anyone in hell.

There are those who say God does not exist.

I will let you in on a little secret. It does not matter what anyone believes or says about the existence of hell or God. The only thing that matters is what is recorded in the Biblical Text.

Hell is not the final destination of those who do not accept the free full pardon offered by God.

The lake of fire is the final destination of the devil and his angels and all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life.

Now if God does not exist then it is all a lie and those who do not believe in God does not have anything to worry about.

God Bless,


I believe that hell does not objectively exist, but it's subjective existence has a very powerful effect on our lives. Do you think the doctrine of hell helped to motivate adherence to Christianity and Islam in the past centuries to help those religions predominate and that the doctrine has less of an effect in modern times?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by ICANT, posted 01-19-2011 11:05 AM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by ICANT, posted 01-19-2011 4:02 PM ApostateAbe has replied

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 54 of 66 (601602)
01-21-2011 10:09 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by ICANT
01-19-2011 4:02 PM


Re: Damned
ICANT, thank you for your intelligent answers. I am 100% sure that God does exist, and I make sense of the existence of God as a very popular and powerful idea. It is essentially the same thing that an atheist believes, but I make an important distinction between objective existence and subjective existence. I am certain that God exists subjectively (in the mind), and I am almost as much certain that God does not exist objectively (in the external universe).

You said, "If God does not exist you have no problem." The implication is that, if God does exist objectively, then I do have a problem. No doubt about it. That is essentially the reason why I regard hell as so important to explaining the popularity of Christianity and Islam--they make people believe that they are taking a big risk if they do not adhere. Even if the odds are very small that there is a heaven and a hell, who would be stupid enough to take the risk in believing that they do not actually exist? You would risk a very a big punishment and losing a very big reward. Am I right?

Edited by ApostateAbe, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by ICANT, posted 01-19-2011 4:02 PM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Phage0070, posted 01-22-2011 6:37 AM ApostateAbe has taken no action
 Message 58 by ICANT, posted 01-22-2011 11:59 AM ApostateAbe has replied

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 59 of 66 (601632)
01-22-2011 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by ICANT
01-22-2011 11:59 AM


Re: Damned
ICANT writes:

Hi Abe,

ApostateAbe writes:

ICANT, thank you for your intelligent answers. I am 100% sure that God does exist, and I make sense of the existence of God as a very popular and powerful idea. It is essentially the same thing that an atheist believes, but I make an important distinction between objective existence and subjective existence. I am certain that God exists subjectively (in the mind), and I am almost as much certain that God does not exist objectively (in the external universe).

So you are 100% sure that people make up God and believe in their mind that He does exist.

You are a little less than 100% sure that God does not exist in reality.

ApostateAbe writes:

You said, "If God does not exist you have no problem." The implication is that, if God does exist objectively, then I do have a problem. No doubt about it. That is essentially the reason why I regard hell as so important to explaining the popularity of Christianity and Islam--they make people believe that they are taking a big risk if they do not adhere. Even if the odds are very small that there is a heaven and a hell, who would be stupid enough to take the risk in believing that they do not actually exist?

You are 100% sure you have a problem if God does exist in reality.

You base that on the stories of a place that is called hell.

You are correct in the belief that many have used the scare tactic of using the fear of hell to control people and get them to join their religion.

I was even guilty of that some 45 years ago as that is what was being taught and is still taught by many.

But I learned very quickly that a man convinced of something against his will is unconvinced still.

So if I could scare you into saying a prayer asking for salvation when you were not really convinced that God exists I would be doing more harm than good.

This has been done for the past 100 years or more and the actions and lives of those people is the reason for the attitude today towards christianity.

What do you base the odds of heaven and hell being small on?

Either God exists or God does not exist.

If God exists then heaven and hell exist.

If God does not exist then heaven and hell do not exist.

I make that out to be a 50% chance heaven and hell exist.

I am sure the choir will tell me how wrong I am.

Just as they brought up Pascal's Wager.

I was convinced by God that He does exist and because of that I accepted His offer of a free full pardon. Because of that I have live 62 years since then without a worry about anything. God has provided everything I have ever needed.

There is no way I can convince you or anyone else that God does exist. Neither is there any way I can scare you into believing in God. If you do not believe in God you can not be scared by a story about hell.

If God can not convince you He exists there is no way I can.

ApostateAbe writes:

You would risk a very a big punishment and losing a very big reward. Am I right

Let me take a stab at correcting your version of Pascal's Wager.

First of all if God exist you are doomed to spend eternity in the lake of fire. That is a fact.

Second if God exist He offers you a free full pardon.

Since you do not believe God exists in reality there is no choice for you to make. Thus no wager to make.

Now if you did believe God exists as some here do and then refuse to accept His offer of a free full pardon then you would be making a wager.

God Bless,


I think that is a very good point. It is my opinion that the fear of hell and the appeal of heaven do not really have much of a direct effect on people who do not already believe it. The greatest effect is on the people who are already believe the religion. Heaven and hell have two very serious effects:

1) Christians are strongly motivated to discourage doubt and any movement toward disbelief in themselves and in other people.
2) Christians are strongly motivated to evangelize.

I grew up in a conservative Christian environment, and it made sense for many people to direct one's entire life to maximize the number of Christians in the world. After all, this life is only temporary, but the choice of adherence made in this life has an eternal and profoundly important effect in the life to come. Nobody wants to stand by as more people go to an eternity of punishment in the lake of fire, if they can do anything to lessen that number of the damned. I think a Christian would actually be very nearly psychopathic if they chose to do nothing about it. You and other Christians are good people, and so the doctrines of heaven and hell help very much to explain a primary motivation behind evangelism. You want to save the people of the world from damnation. The targets of evangelism do not actually need to hear about heaven and hell in order for the doctrines of heaven and hell to be important forces of evangelism.

There really is a tendency of those outside the religions to think that heaven and hell exist to scare non-believers, and that is misleading, though it may be true for children and the especially gullible. The greatest effect is on those who already fully believe, and that is how heaven and hell help a religion become popular. Christianity was the religion that first used that method to maximum effect, becoming the most popular religion in the world, and Islam copied many elements of Christianity including heaven and hell to become the second most popular religion in the world.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by ICANT, posted 01-22-2011 11:59 AM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Iblis, posted 01-22-2011 1:48 PM ApostateAbe has taken no action
 Message 61 by ICANT, posted 01-22-2011 3:47 PM ApostateAbe has replied
 Message 63 by Aurora, posted 01-30-2011 2:23 PM ApostateAbe has replied

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 62 of 66 (601644)
01-22-2011 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by ICANT
01-22-2011 3:47 PM


Re: Damned
ICANT writes:

Hi Abe,

I used to think it was my job to convince people they needed to be saved.

Eventually after much study I realized it was not my job to get people saved as that is the Holy Spirits job.

It is my job to tell them what the Word says and then it is up to them to make their own decision.

When I sit down and talk with someone about their relationship with God and I present God's plan I do not repeat it until they ask for help.

A lost person is just like a drug addict or alcoholic no one can help either until they come to the conclusion they have a problem, and decide they want help.

God Bless,


OK, it sounds like we are in agreement.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by ICANT, posted 01-22-2011 3:47 PM ICANT has taken no action

  
ApostateAbe
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 175
From: Klamath Falls, OR
Joined: 02-02-2005


Message 64 of 66 (602754)
01-31-2011 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Aurora
01-30-2011 2:23 PM


Re: Damned
Aurora writes:

It is my opinion that the fear of hell and the appeal of heaven do not really have much of a direct effect on people who do not already believe it. The greatest effect is on the people who are already believe the religion.

Good point. But isn't it true that the very concept of heaven and hell forms the basis of christian evangelism - preaching the original sin that all mankind is doomed to suffer in hell because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit but since God love mankind he sent his son Jesus to save them from this eternal damnation. Many people buy this story and they converted. To that extent I think it had direct effect on people who do not already believe in the religion.

In my opinion the effect on people who already believe the religion is another thing. Here it is used to reinforced their faith, to persuade them to get reborn (even the same person could get reborn many times). For this some evangelist preacher even used the recording of 'cries from hell in Siberia' by playing the audio loudly to the listeners.

No doubt. I certainly wouldn't want to claim that nobody who doesn't believe is unswayed by the evangelistic claims of heaven and hell. At the very least, children and the gullible can be fully convinced. Maybe even normal people can be budged when someone they trust plays the reputed recording of the screams from that hole in the ground in Siberia. The greatest effect, of course, would be on people who already believe and therefore find such claims entirely plausible.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Aurora, posted 01-30-2011 2:23 PM Aurora has taken no action

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.1
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2022