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ChristianInvestigator

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Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« on: October 02, 2020, 10:42:47 am »
Recently I was watching this video by Cosmic Skeptic where he admitted that, even after leaving Christianity, he was still afraid of hell. He explained that this speaks to the insidious nature of Christianity, and that Fear is the reason why more people aren't leaving the church.

"Fear of Hell" is a big reason why I want to study Christianity carefully before deciding whether to follow it (along with a similar fear, "Fear of missing out on Heaven"). I'm sure I can't be the only one who is worried that by rejecting Christianity, they've made the worst decision of their life; something they will regret forever in eternity.

The fact is I can't dismiss Christianity out of hand as just "One religion out of many" (like the Many Gods objection to Pascal's Wager). It's too unique compared to the others, on a completely different category compared to Mormonism and Islam (for example) when it comes to evidential support.
The Resurrection Argument is hard to dismiss out of hand once you know the historical fact that the people who claimed to see Jesus resurrected died for what they believed in.
Although most of the prophecies in the Bible are easy to explain away as coincidences, I continue to be amazed by Isaiah's "suffering servant" prophecies, many of which clearly seem to point to Jesus as the Messiah.
Fine tuning and consciousness, among other things, take away credibility from the Atheist understanding of the world.
Christian teaching on salvation by faith, not works and its emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ are startling claims, unique among other religions and, because of that, more likely than the others to be the One True religion.

Over the past few months, I've found many reasons to doubt the truth of Christianity and it's no longer the unquestionable Truth I thought it was. If it's not true, I don't want to devote my life to it -- especially if my devotion causes me to act hurtfully towards people of other beliefs and lifestyles.

On the other hand, there's so much at stake. The argument for Christianity isn't weak enough to dismiss out of hand; it has a good chance of being true, and I'm wandering away from it by asking questions and not treating it as the absolute Truth.

That's why I'm afraid of Hell.

Has anyone else experienced fear that they are wrong about what they believe to be true?
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These faces facing me,
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Harvey

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 11:12:29 am »
If it's not true, I don't want to devote my life to it -- especially if my devotion causes me to act hurtfully towards people of other beliefs and lifestyles.

I don't think this is the only Christian approach. I think we can see other religions as beneficial like Paul described:

Quote
Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) [Rom 2:14-15]

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ArtD

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 12:02:39 pm »
To be honest, I think people who believe in hell scare too easily.
It MIGHT be different if God had provided CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS on how to avoid it but he did not.
And don't say "the Bible says" "for God so loved the world . . . " because it's actually ONE PAGE OF THE BIBLE SAYS
Other pages say other things.
So even Christian denominations can't agree on what you need to do or believe to avoid hell.
Sure, any individual believer can with great confidence regurgitate what they've been taught but there will be other believers who with equal confidence disagree.
Hell is a boogeyman for the fearful.
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wonderer

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 12:54:26 pm »
Good video.  I can relate to having been in a similar state a long time ago. 

The one thing I would particularly disagree with is at around 5:40, when he says that this fear is something he cannot get away from.   

Having a lot more life experience than he does, I can say he most likely will get to a point of not having such fear anymore.  It is simply unrealistic to expect consciously going over his reasoning to be able to immediately and totally uproot views that have been deeply programmed into his subconscious over years while he was a child.  It takes time/repetition to overwrite the effects of the abusive programming.

Study the holy book of Dune and remember the mantra:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

;-)
"The world needed that of us, to maintain—by our example, by our very existence—a world that would keep learning and questioning, that would remain free in thought, inquiry, and word." - Alice Dreger

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Harvey

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 01:45:56 pm »
I would never live in fear, but neither should one live in a state of rebellion either.

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lancia

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2020, 01:52:34 pm »

“Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”

"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once."

--from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 04:53:58 pm by lancia »

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Mammal

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2020, 02:46:15 pm »
One of the first things I got rid of in my life was the fear of the devil and of hell. I was still a teenager when I figured out that it (and evil spirits and such) made no sense. It never entered my headspace again. The rest followed in various stages from there.
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Harvey

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2020, 03:10:38 pm »
One of the first things I got rid of in my life was the fear of the devil and of hell. I was still a teenager when I figured out that it (and evil spirits and such) made no sense. It never entered my headspace again. The rest followed in various stages from there.

Are you a white male from an affluent or semi-affluent home?

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Fred

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2020, 07:26:46 pm »
One of the first things I got rid of in my life was the fear of the devil and of hell. I was still a teenager when I figured out that it (and evil spirits and such) made no sense. It never entered my headspace again. The rest followed in various stages from there.

Are you a white male from an affluent or semi-affluent home?
I'm same as Mammal: my childhood fear of hell disappeared when I realised it was nonsense

FWIW, I grew up in a poor., white, Catholic family. 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 07:28:24 pm by Fred »
Fred

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kurros

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2020, 07:28:45 pm »
I do think it is sad that people live with such feelings. I have never been religious in my entire life so I don't really "get it", but it sounds awful. Especially for kids. What a terrible thing to make a child deal with (for absolutely no reason imo).

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Fred

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2020, 07:51:07 pm »
I do think it is sad that people live with such feelings. I have never been religious in my entire life so I don't really "get it", but it sounds awful. Especially for kids. What a terrible thing to make a child deal with (for absolutely no reason imo).
I still remember a childhood nightmare of burning in hell, when I was 5 (1 year younger than my avatar picture). This was after committing the egregious sin of "you show me, I'll show you" with the next door 6-year old girl. 
Fred

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wonderer

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2020, 07:56:51 pm »
One of the first things I got rid of in my life was the fear of the devil and of hell. I was still a teenager when I figured out that it (and evil spirits and such) made no sense. It never entered my headspace again. The rest followed in various stages from there.

Are you a white male from an affluent or semi-affluent home?
I'm same as Mammal: my childhood fear of hell disappeared when I realised it was nonsense

FWIW, I grew up in a poor., white, Catholic family.

FWIW, I grew up in a poor white Protestant family.  For a lot of my childhood, my family didn't even have a TV.
"The world needed that of us, to maintain—by our example, by our very existence—a world that would keep learning and questioning, that would remain free in thought, inquiry, and word." - Alice Dreger

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noncontingent

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2020, 07:57:40 pm »
I started studying the bible as an atheist to defend myself against Christians.

If you know what the bible says about the soul - nephesh, or psyche, you'll see that like nephesh means "a breather" all living things that breathe .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephesh

You don't find immortal souls in the bible.

No immortal soul, zero possibility of eternal torment ala the cartoon hell of orthodoxy.

All the other uses of these symbols, are just that, symbols.

When you die, you're dead. That what science says (for the most part) and that's what the bible says.

The whole concept of eternal torment for a finite life w/a finite number and quality. of sins is beneath any God who's morality even approaches the average person.

Gross murderers and criminals are put to death, and we agree that they aren't any use to themselves and to anyone else for that matter but we don't torture them.

We don't experiment on them or hook the pain centers of their brains to shock those so we can keep them alive and in pain as much and as long as possible.

Yet, this blasphemy is what orthodoxy proposes.

Then, they paper it over w/philosophy and useless and unconvincing language.

Perhaps this is one more reason people choose atheism over theism. The hideous idea of an intelligent mind who would design such a fate is so loathsome that they recoil from theism.

It also makes onlookers wonder what sort of evil lurks in the hearts of people who could embrace this idea.

Are they suffering from some sort of stockholm syndrome? They can't escape their captor, so they side with him?

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wonderer

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2020, 08:01:26 pm »
I do think it is sad that people live with such feelings. I have never been religious in my entire life so I don't really "get it", but it sounds awful. Especially for kids. What a terrible thing to make a child deal with (for absolutely no reason imo).
I still remember a childhood nightmare of burning in hell, when I was 5 (1 year younger than my avatar picture). This was after committing the egregious sin of "you show me, I'll show you" with the next door 6-year old girl.

LOL
"The world needed that of us, to maintain—by our example, by our very existence—a world that would keep learning and questioning, that would remain free in thought, inquiry, and word." - Alice Dreger

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Harvey

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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2020, 08:20:15 pm »
FWIW, I grew up in a poor., white, Catholic family.

You're white? I'm assuming that you are male?