Project Reason is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The foundation draws on the talents of prominent and creative thinkers in a wide range of disciplines to encourage critical thinking and erode the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.

Donate to Project Reason

Join the Mailing List

Sign up to receive email updates from Project Reason.

Log in

 
not a member? Join here.
Forgot your password?

The Scripture Project

Browse the Bible, Qur’an or Book of Mormon for scriptural criticism, insights and careful annotation.

Most Recently Updated Passages

Who’s in hell? Pastor’s book sparks eternal debate

Associated Press
Posted: March 24, 2011.

Print: Forbes

More on the controversial book from a pastor named Rob Bell who questions whether there really is a hell.

excerpts:

> He describes going to a Christian art show where one of the pieces
> featured a quote by Mohandas Gandhi. Someone attached a note
> saying: “Reality check: He’s in hell.”
>
> “Gandhi’s in hell? He is? And someone knows this for sure?” Bell
> asks in the video.

> Holtz spent years trying to reconcile his belief that Jesus
> Christ’s death on the cross redeemed the entire world with the idea
> that millions of people - including millions who had never even
> heard of Jesus - were suffering forever in hell.
>
> “We do these somersaults to justify the monster god we believe in,”
> he said. “But confronting my own sinfulness, that’s when things
> started to topple for me. Am I really going to be saved just
> because I believe something, when all these good people in the
> world aren’t?”

Read the full article | Print this article

Comments (10)

In my evolution from christian to atheist, hell was the first thing I gave up.  It just didn’t make sense that an all loving, all powerful, all knowing god would send a person to hell for eternity when they only committed a finite amount of “sin”.  Even with the concept of “freewill” hell is a ridiculous notion.

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

“Am I really going to be saved just
> because I believe something, when all these good people in the
> world aren’t?”

Billions of his co-religionists believe just that and they call it grace.


“Page Brooks, a professor at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, thinks Bell errs in a conception of a loving God that leaves out the divine attributes of justice and holiness.”

According to this crazy chick eternal torment in hell for a sin you didn’t commit which, come to think of it, isn’t even a sin at all, constitutes justice.

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

The mere circumstance that the christians debate things like this amongst themselves should be an alarm signal for them. Even they must agree that either there is a hell or there isn’t; how can those involved in such debates not get the impression that they’re just making this up as they go along?

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

4. bananapeel

Kenneth, yes, I agree.  It’s ironic that the pastor says sarcastically about someone’s belief that Gandhi is in hell: “And someone knows this for sure?”  This sums up their whole religion

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

Matthew 7:15, 21-23
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves…Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Irregardless of religion, when looking for absolute truth you don’t go to a guy who starts it with “I think.”  You go to someone who says (proof) says this.

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

This guy isn’t even a third rate charlatan. He was on MSNBC and i just felt bad for him..

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

BF: right, so bring on the proof, please. If you don’t mind, I won’t hold my breath until then.

posted on March 24, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

The problem for monotheists, and Christians in particular, is that giving up Hell is gives away half the ball game, and probably the half that counts.

If everyone goes to heaven, obeying God becomes a favor we do him. If only believers go to heaven, and unbelievers are just never resurrected, it may be sad for the unbelievers, but the sadistic impulse to punish finds no outlet. And let’s be clear, monotheism is always more about hatred of the unbelief and disobedience than love of God.

Christianity without Hell doesn’t make a lick of sense. If sin has no consequence, then what were we being redeemed from, and why did it require the torture execution of Jesus to accomplish?

Ah, how about this tripartite Christianity? Jesus died to pay for our sins. Now that they’re paid for, no one goes to Hell. But, only believers go to Heaven. So maybe you could salvage something of the story, but without the sadistic element of Hell, I don’t see it having much appeal, and that’s born out by how poorly real world religions without hell fair against those with hell.

posted on March 27, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.

9. Yabba-dabba-doo

I think what this guy doesn’t realize is that he is not religous.  Someone should let him know.

posted on March 29, 2011
report this as inappropriate

You don't have permission to flag this entry.