Scaring the Hell Out of Somebody, Quite Literally

June 25, 2010

My experience with the church has been, I would think, quite average. I grew up in a Southern Baptist home and attended a specific Southern Baptist church from the time that I was four years old. As a child, I was involved in AWANA, and, as I grew older, I become involved in another activity at my church: the program FAITH.

The premise of FAITH was simple: learn how to share your beliefs and faith with unbelievers using just the fingers on your hand and a memorized speech to “save” as many people as possible. If you would like to know the entire speech, then you may click here, where I found it online.

Now, I have no problem with somebody sharing their faith with a friend, a relative, somebody that they know. However, I feel that, the tactic which our group chose, which was going door-to-door to take a “survey,” was probably not going to result in many changed hearts. After all, we weren’t going door-to-door and saying “my life is vastly improved since I accepted Jesus into my heart! I have peace in my life! It’s amazing!”

Instead, most of what was said was pushing upon these people the implication that, if they didn’t do what we said, they would be subject to eternal punishment.

Hell, as a place, is the obvious second choice to Heaven. After all, we think of Heaven as a place of happiness and peace.

But what makes more sense to me is that Heaven would be a place where you’re reconnected with God, and Hell is a place where you never have the chance again to be connected with God, where you feel lonely and unfulfilled. Hell is Earth, but more final.

Well. I’ll take that into consideration the next time I feel lonely and unfulfilled. Thankfully, I am currently surrounded by dozens of amazing friends, a beautiful boyfriend, and I am doing with my life exactly what I want to be doing.

This video introduces an idea that I believe to be true- the church plays off of the infantility of many of its members. If somebody grows up, it means they are responsible for themselves, their family, their actions and their thoughts. If they believe in God, it may mean then that any consequences they face are really a “test” or “punishment” from God. If, then, a person changes their behaviors, it is more likely out of fear of punishment than for the sake of being an adult.

And so, I ask an open question- how would you live if you didn’t believe in Hell?

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  • Reply harleyq2 June 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    HOw would I live if there wasn’t a hell? Interesting question. I think a whole lot more adventurous and unburdened. Being in the church since birth, there is always that weight we carry that every we do and think has a judgment attach to it (this can be psychological torture). So, I believe I would be emotionally freer (if that makes any sense)

  • Reply spsukaton June 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    The same way; while I may not believe in hell, I do believe in history and humanity.

  • Reply that_fangled_jew June 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Exactly the way I do.

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