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Retired priest: ‘Hell’ was invented by the church to control people with fear

The video is of an interview retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong did with Keith Morrison of Dateline NBC back in August of 2006.

Here’s an interview retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong did with Keith Morrison of Dateline NBC back in August of 2006.

A partial transcript of the interview can be found beneath the video link:

 

Spong: I don’t think Hell exists. I happen to believe in life after death, but I don’t think it’s got a thing to do with reward and punishment. Religion is always in the control business, and that’s something people don’t really understand. It’s in a guilt-producing control business. And if you have Heaven as a place where you’re rewarded for you goodness, and Hell is a place where you’re punished for your evil, then you sort of have control of the population. And so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the Hell out of a lot of people, throughout Christian history. And it’s part of a control tactic.

Morrison: But wait a minute. You’re saying that Hell, the idea of a place under the earth or somewhere you’re tormented for an eternity – is actually an invention of the church?

Spong: I think the church fired its furnaces hotter than anybody else. But I think there’s a sense in most religious life of reward and punishment in some form. The church doesn’t like for people to grow up, because you can’t control grown-ups. That’s why we talk about being born again. When you’re born again, you’re still a child. People don’t need to be born again. They need to grow up. They need to accept their responsibility for themselves and the world.

Morrison: What do you make of the theology which is pretty quite prominent these days in America, which is there is one guaranteed way not to go to hell; And that is to accept Jesus as your personal savior.

Spong: Yeah, I grew up in that tradition. Every church I know claims that ‘we are the true church’ – that they have some ultimate authority, ‘We have the infallible Pope,’ We have the Bible.’… The idea that the truth of God can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any human book, is almost beyond imagination for me.

I mean, God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition. I walk through my tradition. But I don’t think my tradition defines God. It only points me to God.

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177 Comments

177 Comments

  1. Mike Marion

    July 2, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I know from personal experience that when you stop believing in hell a whole new and wonderful world opens up. I remember that day distinctly.

  2. Andy

    July 2, 2015 at 5:14 am

    So, he didn’t actually say the thing the headline says he did. In fact, when asked, he kinda said, “Well, no, but they promoted it.” Can you not just let the content speak for itself without resorting to clickbait?

  3. Joel

    July 2, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Hell was created by God for Satan and his angels. He did not intend for anyone else to go there. Hell is a real place, and whether or not someone does/doesnt believe in it doesnt change the fact that it exists and that you will spend eternity there if you do not as Jesus for salvation.

    I would like to tell you about a free gift that is waiting for each and every one of you.
    That gift is known as eternal life in heaven.
    It is very easy to receive this gift of salvation.
    To accept it, there are only a few things you need to do to receive this gift.

    It goes like this: A, B, C:
    A: Admit you are a sinner.
    B: Believe Jesus died, was buried and rose again.
    C: Call on him (Jesus) to save you from sin.

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6, KJV
    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23, KJV.

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9, 10, 13, KJV.

    By simple faith, receive the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers to each individual.
    Salvation is admitting you are a sinner and receiving the free gift of salvation.
    If you would like to ask Jesus to save you right where you are, repeat this prayer:

    Dear Jesus,
    I admit I am a sinner. I believe you died and rose again for me. I call on you right now and ask you to come into my heart and save me.

    In your name Jesus I pray,
    Amen

  4. Linda Platko

    July 2, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Very well said!! Religion is all about control….God is Pure Love.

  5. Glenda

    July 2, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Well to me God is not a fantasy like someone in YouTube said. Just because someone doesn’t want to believe doesn’t make it a fantasy. Religion is about control and power, not God. The problem lies in the fact that religions make God seem like an adoration hungry, Greek mythology god. One that will punish you at every moment he sees fit or for his amusement. That is not my experience. God IS love. He cares for me, protects me, and delivers me from any problem. He is a BEING I came to know and respect but truly we don’t know that much about Him.
    The Bible glimpses at it, but how can I trust a book compiled by a certain religion with ulterior motives? I can’t, but it is a book like any other and I like reading it. It has some good advice in it. I take what is good and discard what I think is not, or does not apply because God gave me that choice when He made me. I am not a puppet for His amusement. I am His child, his princess. If I want the best for my children… I know, I can feel, how much more He has planned for me.
    Religion is the problem. Control is the problem. We can all coexist, but that doesn’t play well with religions.
    We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not humans having a spiritual experience, I believe this. We are not controlled. We have free will just the way it’s supposed to. We are not slaves. We are not unworthy. We are His children and he wants us to keep him in our lives, like we want our children in ours.
    Is it that hard to understand? Religious people will disagree with me. Non believers might disagree with me as well, and that is quite alright, because we are THINKING beings (well some of us anyway lol) we have a brain to think and a heart to feel. Follow them hand in hand. Feel, live, be nice to others and mind their feelings when you interact with one another. We are all in this world together and it is a shame that we treat each other with disrespect. We all should just live and let live.   Nobody knows anything for certain, that is why it’s called belief. I do admire this priest for speaking his mind. I too don’t believe in hell, I do believe there is more after our bodies are put to rest, but again that is just my opinion and I like sharing it with like-minded people, not forcing anybody to believe what I believe because each one of us has our own life experiences, ideologies, and sentiments about it. Lets just be kind to one another, sometimes is hard, but it’s worth it.

  6. Dean Kent

    July 3, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I like how almost everyone completely missed the point. And it won’t make any difference trying to restate it, because it is a willful act of missing the point.

    But I will say this: No matter how much you believe you know about any afterlife – you don’t know anything. Period.

  7. Jerry N. Wesner

    July 3, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Now tell me something that I hadn’t figured out by the age of ten.

  8. Little Robbonzo

    July 3, 2015 at 6:42 am

    zzZzzzZzzzz

  9. YouGooseTurd

    July 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    No you have no proof at all of the Exist of Hell or Heaven none at all not even alittle. This is your Belief not the truth and dont act like it is And i dont care what you Believe as i do not and just because you believe it does not make it ture

  10. bonnie

    July 3, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    well said glenda

  11. Janice Terona

    July 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I agree with you 100% Mike Marion. They have lied to us just to control and keep us in fear. Well never again for me! I am free !

  12. nick m smith

    July 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    There is no hell. Hell is what you make of how you live while your alive. God lives in and through us. If you let him he will speak through you. Your Karma is what brings you into your next life after you die. That’s why if you live by The Golden Rule your next life will be better than the one you live today. We live to die to live again.

  13. Candice

    July 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    When the day comes and you finially arrive there I hope it is hot as a furnance.

  14. Shawn Lindsayx

    July 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    How exactly do you know for sure hell exist? Have you seen it? You ever seen an actual picture of it? Do you know that their are no less than 10 other people with the same story of jesus? All born hundreds even thousands of years before jesus, All born to a virgin, all visited by three wise men (kings) ,,all healed people and performed other “miracles” , all crucified all rose on the third day. How do you know?

  15. TA

    July 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Good luck with that crap sport.
    All of your beliefs are created by men. Most of whom most likely weren’t very nice people when they were alive.
    Yet you think they wrote this book, as dictated by the mouth of some supreme being?
    Its pretty pathetic that you believe all someone has to do is take these these 3 absurd steps, and they’ll go to some wonderful place for eternity.
    So if Hitler, Richard Ramirez, Manson and those types of murderers, do those 3 things, beforetheydie, they all get to be with you in heaven?
    Great!
    All of it is to ridiculous, and retarded, to even consider.
    In the eyes of actual rational thought, it’s absurd.
    Again, good luck pal.

  16. Mike E.

    July 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    “I would like to tell you about a free gift that is waiting for each and every one of you.”
    Hahahahaha! I had no idea that this tired old con was THAT old!

  17. Susan Mercurio

    July 3, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I agree with “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

  18. Bobo

    July 3, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    You mean other than his first comment that says “I don’t think Hell exists?”

  19. June Motherwolff

    July 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Such a sweet and godly thing to wish upon someone. Don’t char your own wings there sweetie.

  20. john kleine

    July 3, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I’ll be cremated when I die. Is that what hell is like?

  21. June Motherwolff

    July 3, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Lol. My thoughts exactly. Got a good giggle out of it.

  22. Bubb

    July 3, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    What a lovely sentiment, Candice. How very kind and Christian of you. “For they shall know we are Christians by our love, by our love…..” {cough}

  23. Camille garden

    July 3, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Glenda, you stated my sentiments so well, far better than I could have. Thank you for your clarity and faith!

  24. Earl

    July 3, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    He said hell was created by the church, pretty much the same as inventing, isn’t it? And he said it was to scare people, pretty much the same emotion as fear, is it not? So what is the problem with the headline?

  25. June Motherwolff

    July 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I am agnostic and don’t know for sure nor care either way. I do, however respect other people and their right to believe without ridicule or hatred. I do not believe in a fire and brimstone Hell nor a streets of gold Heaven. Respect each others right to agree to disagree. I like the way you put it.

  26. deb sprague

    July 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Enjoy your time there, candy.

  27. Stanley Barnes

    July 3, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Excellent! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  28. Ivan

    July 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Using the bible as evidence of the bible’s truth is hardly sound reasoning.

  29. Crescente Villahermosa

    July 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I love Bishop Spong because we share revulsion and distress at some stories in the bible. But while I only have some Marcionite tendencies, I have read his writings in which he says the Bible is an evil book that should be exposed. Well, I wouldn’t go that far. All I can say is that one should not consider everything in the bible as a sort of manual of operations as how you should lead your life. Discernment and interpretation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is essential in understanding the books of the bible. Some of them are merely historical and not didactic. Indeed there are stories about evil, even about biblical heroes doing despicable things. But that is the history of humankind. I stand with him in saying that heaven, hell and purgatory do not exist at all. But before I am excommunicated, I must explain that St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and its official theologian taught that. Heaven, purgatory and hell are not places but states of being. To better illustrate this, I must tell you that God Himself does not exist because existence is an attribute of created things and creatures. God is Being itself. So I believe when we die, we will enter that state of being that is congruent to our acceptance of life and existence. The evil and the hateful will be in that state. The kind and peaceful will be in a state of beatific vision. Those who die still struggling to be good will still have the opportunity to realign their thoughts and feelings before they can attain heavenly peace. Essential Buddhism such as Hinayana teaches the same about Nirvana, it is not a place but a state of being

  30. MamaDragon

    July 4, 2015 at 12:14 am

    If I remember correctly, Hell is only ever described as being a place that is outside God’s presence. God did not “create” Hell. He cast Lucifer and the other dissenting angels out of Heaven and out of His presence. THAT is Hell. It is not and has never been a physical place.

  31. Joe Ridky

    July 4, 2015 at 12:46 am

    It’s refreshing to hear this Bishop talk about “Hell” and Heaven” as being an invention of the church to control people. I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, the Bishop’s revelation is only half baked as he still gives credibility to the existence of a “god.” Hopefully he will come to the realization some day that, as George Carlin used to say, it’s “the greatest bull shit story ever told.”

  32. Marvin Steiner

    July 4, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Spong is so much more then this interview.He is an eye opener,especially for Christian Evangelicals.One book,Taking the Bible Back From the Rednecks was unique to Christian tgought.

  33. Joe Ridky

    July 4, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Oh grow up Joel. What are you, 10 years old? Watch Neil Degrasse Tyson’s COSMOS and try to grow up.

  34. Mauricio Castellanos

    July 4, 2015 at 12:52 am

    So God created man in order to send him to hell forever for being naughty ? A place he created and can zap out of existence at any time? Nice God you got there, cancel my subscription.

  35. Karen Brown

    July 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

    If you’re not familiar with John Shelby Spong, he is the consummate Bible scholar. His books are excellent. When he talks, I’ll listen.

  36. Pingback: “God is Not a Christian” -Quote | Life and Other Musings

  37. 1life2live

    July 4, 2015 at 1:10 am

    It’s a proven fact that other people with the same story as Jesus is all bull. That’s completely made up! I have carefully studied everyone who has supposedly have the same story according to people that claim what you claim and sir they DO NOT exist.Talk about made up stories LOL

  38. Donna Roberts

    July 4, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Actually it is 26 that has the very same story. And many stories in the Bible were in many other holy books, and the Bible was changed in the 15 century and many books taken out because they did not support the political views of the time. Just saying but all can be proved by history.

  39. Johnson

    July 4, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Thanks GOD I practice voodo.

  40. Shane

    July 4, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Thank you…. Why would a being of LOVE,, create a place of ETERNAL TORMENT. And for people who lived for 80-100 years being punished for ETERNITY??? WHY? What would that accomplish? The teaching of Hell seemed wrong to me even as a kid. I always questioned it.

  41. Mikey

    July 4, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Brainwashed!

  42. Delva Sekour

    July 4, 2015 at 1:40 am

    It’s voodoo, not voodo mr Jhonson. I’ve been practicing voodoo all my life, the way the churches/Christians are trying to make people believe in God, it’s completely a myth they have been trying to use to control the world.

  43. Bob Mielcarek

    July 4, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I don’t put much faith in a book written by people who thought burning bushes could talk.

  44. callmewit

    July 4, 2015 at 2:50 am

    I bet you’re a real hoot at parties.

  45. callmewit

    July 4, 2015 at 2:54 am

    I got an email the other day from a Nigerian Prince but I think it was actually meant for you.

  46. callmewit

    July 4, 2015 at 2:55 am

    By the same token just because you believe it’s true doesn’t make it true, sweetheart.

  47. Pingback: Retired Priest: Hell was invented by the church to control people with fear

  48. Gow Sok Hiong

    July 4, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Is there GOOD n BAD. For good to exist, we must know what is bad.
    Man made hell – the PRISON is where people who do bad things end up.
    Imagine living in a society where there are no rules. The good people are free, the bad people (ISIS) just do whatever they like to the weak/hapless people, the stronger GOOD people starts killing the BAD people. Everyone takes the law into their own hands. This is a chaotic society.
    Mike Marrion n Janice Terona ‘when i stop believing in hell, a whole new and wonderful world open up, I am free.’
    It does not matter what u believe. ISIS will kill u if u happen to be in their path. The bank robber in their shoot out with the police and the stray bullet if it hits u in the heart will kill u and end your new n wonderful world because the bad poeple feels equally free like u because there is no such thing as hell or prison.
    Jerry N Wesner – is life so simple that u managed to figure it all out at age 10? R u living a very happy life and u had all that u want?
    We need man made laws to live in a civil society. The person who is willing to pay the price of death sentence will still comit the murder.
    We need spiritual laws to guide our spirit. The person who don’t believe in hell will also commit the murder. Whereas the person who believes in hell and fears hell , will quite likely not commit murder regardless of the situation.
    U cannot change the society immediately but u can choose to be the person who believes in hell or not.
    I have personally witness people posses by spirits and that led me want to know more about the spirit world which led to the question of GOD. I do not need to be posses by spirit myself in order to believe in spirits.
    Seek God and you shall find. Believing in any God (except the ISIS type) is better than no God (free thinker). Think about this especially ‘free thinkers’.
    Stay well and live life abundantly in a GOOD way.

  49. Andrea

    July 4, 2015 at 3:35 am

    Oh yea, if any of you are right , neither you NOR we lose anything, cuz either we all go to a heaven, are reincarnated or just die like dogs BUT if there is one millionth of a chance that Christianity is true then ALL YOU smart people will be in a pile of trouble ..to put it mildly….

  50. Rick

    July 4, 2015 at 4:25 am

    And You have no proof it doesn’t. I guess I’d like to error on the side God, not hell. Nobody has seen Heaven either, but as a Christian, I believe Jesus is our savior.

    Regardless of your belief, I still respect your lack of belief.

  51. Rick

    July 4, 2015 at 4:27 am

    How do you know it doesn’t exist?

  52. Holiday0

    July 4, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Seek some truth from Richard Feynman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeYIJ5w5e9I

  53. Iansweronlytogod

    July 4, 2015 at 6:06 am

    In turn, just cause you don’t believe doesn’t make it not true either. In the end we will find out. If i was wrong then I haven’t wasted my time at all, if you are, now that is a scary thought. We will see. We will see.

  54. Tom Dulle

    July 4, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Of course you feel that way, Candice. You are proving the point that people are taught to believe out of fear. That’s why churches churn out judgmental people such as yourself. Like you I do not know the people who claim to be free once they came to their own conclusion that hell does not exist. Your assertion is that it does and most likely they are going to hell because they do not believe in it therefore they do not fear it, like apparently you do. So you believe in a God who would send people to suffer eternal damnation who may not have ever done anything major wrong in their lives, who may have done much good to humanity, but because they do not believe in hell they are doomed to be there? Do you realize how asinine that flaw
    ed logic sounds?

  55. Lilmisshappy8484

    July 4, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I am surprised by the fact that for the first time ever a religious leader made sense to me. I feel like I’m being told the truth for once, a religious leader that is in touch with reality. As an agnostic who was leaning more towards atheism in recent times I would have a loved to have been at some of his Sunday church, what a wise man. I’ve felt so undermined by people yet again when gay marriage has been hitting the headlines that I’ve lost patience and respect for the religious folk that use it as a weapon of superiority and tradation. People are so scared to think outside the box, so scared to change, stuck in their ways. So sad.

  56. Ross

    July 4, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Don’t wait to die to find out the hard way. It’s really hot down there. This man is delusional.

    So hitler is in heaven instead of hell?

    The is satanic agenda.

  57. Monica

    July 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Glenda, I could not have said it better my self. Amen.

  58. Pádráig O'Gáirmléadháigh

    July 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

    You must be a pretty hateful bitter sort of kristian. Is that the attitude your gawd espouses or did it say “judge not lest you be judged”?

  59. Pádráig O'Gáirmléadháigh

    July 4, 2015 at 11:36 am

    itter bullshyte. I know there is nothing once I die, but if there was I would hate to have to spend eternity in the same place as either you or your imaginary gawd. He/she/it sounds like a real egotistical asshole who would condemn someone for not bowing and scraping to it/him/her; Sounds like a clone of the asshole who has north Korea as his personal fiefdom. and who would murder someone for nodding off during one of his ten hour speeches… Fortunately neither your gawd or his personal fiefdom exist likewise heaven!!!

  60. Pádráig O'Gáirmléadháigh

    July 4, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Hell does not exist except in the minds of hate filled people. The concept was invented by the Persians about 3500 years ago and stolen 1800 years later by the church of Rome around 340 Common Era.

  61. Carol Green

    July 4, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Spong gets alot closer to what I believe than anything I’ve seen. Here is what I believe: God is not only the builder of all forms, but the dweller in each. There is no place for fear or guilt in my beliefs.

  62. Elizabeth

    July 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Is there an actual reference in the bible that says if you sin you will go to hell?

    The decision to see Jesus as divine was decided by church leaders at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

    I wish that all Christians would take a good look into their hearts and ask themselves if they believe in Jesus because they believe he is divine and he is the only path to salvation or because they actually believe in his teachings and want to be good people. There is a difference.

    In others words do you believe in Jesus just to save your own skin from hell?

  63. sharingbytribbett

    July 4, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Such a Christian thought!

  64. Jeff Hubbard

    July 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Did I not hear recently, that the Catholic church decided that Limbo did not actually exist. Limbo was the place that had been saving babies from going to hell if they died before being baptised. Turns out the Catholic church had made a mistake on that one. The subtext of that message being that the Church had invented the thing in the first place – not God. Now maybe the church invented the rest too. I choose to believe that heaven and hell are only experienced here on earth by the living, and that when we die, we are totally dead and gone. As for the idea that the church might have being trying to exercise control over people………LOL, surely not, REALLY???? 🙂

  65. Jeff Hubbard

    July 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Whereas the Dalai Lama is definatly going to hell, where he will meet Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Einstein, and several million babies who died before they were baptised.

  66. Teri

    July 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Ooooh! Free gift! You sound like a late night infomercial. Hilarious.

  67. Johannes

    July 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    How can you believe in heaven and not believe in hell when they both in the living bible, don’t use the bible to suit your belief system but use your belief system to suit the bible.

  68. Jeff

    July 4, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Hades and the Lake of Fire are not invented by human minds. Their Truth may be used to control people, but that doesn’t prove they don’t exist.

    Remember, Paul had to call Peter out when Peter was treating Jews differently. This isn’t the threat of Hell, but a sharpening of the iron, which may feel like control, but it was out of love.

    If there is no source of truth then there is no truth. If I cannot know truth, then truth doesn’t exist. If I don’t seek, then truth cannot be found.

    Do not be tempted to believe only part of the truth and then conveniently forget the parts you dislike or can’t understand. Human control will always be part of the sinners heart, but you are different.

    For those who have ears, let them hear.

  69. Gen

    July 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Jesus was not a fan of religion, either, remember, he flipped tables because they were getting rich off of it. And he did not like their judgemental, better-than attitudes. Controlling, judgemental, religious folk they, were, AKA Pharisees. They exist today. Jesus was not one of them

  70. george

    July 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Wow. Rather unchristian of you!

  71. John Michael Lynch

    July 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Wow,heaven is going to awful lonely. Only the “true” Christians allowed. No other religions, or different views. Enjoy heaven with your dictator god.I will just accept my life as the end. No gods,no masters.

  72. Linda

    July 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Reading for comprehension is essential…here’s the direct quote: “And so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the Hell out of a lot of people, throughout Christian history. And it’s part of a control tactic.”

  73. jj

    July 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Lmao. Spoken like an idiot sheep following blindly. Lmao!!

  74. jj

    July 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Joel, have you been there personally!??? So how can you say without a shadow of a doubt, that HELL exists?? Sounds to me like your just another idiot sheep following all the other blind sheep. It’s one thing to believe in God, its another to believe word for word, everything written in the bible by mere men, not written by God, but by men, who in theory could have made up whatever they wanted the bible to say.

  75. living.lightly

    July 4, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Why, Candace? Why do you care whether someone else believes the same way you do?

  76. evie

    July 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    i would rather live as if there is a God, Heaven and Hell, than to not, and die and find out there really is…

  77. Todd

    July 4, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    The difference between the Land of Utmost Bliss and the Land of Suffering is merely a difference in mindset. When we give in to our own selfishness, we create all sorts of negative situations in our lives. With that kind of attitude, no one can be happy. Heaven and hell were created by the chinese to describe human actions. Google chinese history yourself and you will see.

  78. Foster

    July 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    yeah you are right my friend and brother in Christ

  79. Foster

    July 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    well i dont know how hell is nor what heven looks like buh faith and believe is no crap…we are defined by our faith and believe and that i know for sure…

  80. Steve Yo

    July 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    @Mike, that sounds great for this lifetime, but what about the next? You know, the one that is eternal…

  81. Steve Yo

    July 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    So if hell doesn’t exist, what is the point of being good or bad? By your logic, it doesn’t matter what you do in this life because everyone ends up in the same place? So, you’re saying you’re going to end up next to Hitler in the next life? That makes a lot of nonsense. That logic is used by people who don’t want to be held accountable for their behaviors on earth.

  82. Mr. Mikey

    July 4, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    There is no such thing as agnostic, you either believe, with 100% of your being or you do not. And by the way, it’s okay to say I just don’t know but not ‘I might believe’…

  83. Eric Grosshans

    July 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    What a truly christian thing to say. And ye shall know them by their love…

  84. Judith Wood

    July 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Spong: “I don’t think Hell exists. I happen to believe in life after death, but I don’t think it’s got a thing to do with reward and punishment.”

    This is something I knew from the time I was a child and had a sudden illumination and said to myself ‘oh god I am here again’. I was 6. The whole religion thing should be a way in which people take care of their own communities, not some brutal (now contemporary) jihad which it seems all religions go through. Or executing people for disbelief and heresy as in the Inquisitions of the Catholic Church. My 13th great grandmother was hanged on Boston Common by the Puritan governor John Endicott (Mary Barrett Dyer, Quaker Martyr if you are interested). For being a pesky Quaker. Let’s not forget the millions of women here and in Europe who were drowned or burned for being ‘witches’. ( persecution of women is worse now in the world)….Unbelievable….the bullshit people get into. Hell might just be (for some people) just what they are living. And all because people fight over their belief systems.

  85. Sherry

    July 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Why would you wish that on someone? The exception being Charles Manson and his ilk.

  86. Steve

    July 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    You sound like a wonderful person. Cheers

  87. Mary English

    July 4, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    What if you are all wrong and there is a hell? That being said, fear of hell should never be a motivator to become a Christian and have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ! It is too often used as a scare tactic n control….controlling others seems to be something the human race enjoys very much. Nevertheless, the creator of heaven and earth n of mankind gets to call the shots…if God made a heaven and a hell than so be it….the wicket get destroyed n the godly will live forever!! Makes sense to me:-)
    .

  88. Linda

    July 5, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Why would you say something mean?

  89. articulett

    July 5, 2015 at 12:35 am

    You can’t feel anything without a living brain made of cells, so you cannot experience anything after death. Just as you didn’t exist before you had a brain, you won’t exist when that brain is gone either.

  90. Michael Thompson

    July 5, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Well you let us know since your dogmatic judgment and arrogance and fear have you living in the closest thing to hell that there is

  91. Michael Thompson

    July 5, 2015 at 12:47 am

    It was the first thing he said before explaining why its done. Dogmatism is deafaning as it is blinding

  92. Michael Thompson

    July 5, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Prove it

  93. cassie

    July 5, 2015 at 3:04 am

    I’m guessing you are not actually a Christian then. Because no decent person would wish that on anyone.

  94. wajid ali

    July 5, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Religion is just tool to exploit and control the masses by the corporate sector just because of self interest….

  95. Thomas

    July 5, 2015 at 4:14 am

    And I’m sure Candice, you will be there to welcome us.

  96. richard klein

    July 5, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Candice. Do you realize that you have nothing but hate and distain in your heart for the people who do not believe the same way that you do? It say`s so in your comments. We, who believe different than you, are free of the confines of religion. We are spiritual beings, not held back by religious beliefs. There are 40,000 different forms of Christian religions and over 5000 different gods beliefs on this earth, but not to worry, because yours is the right one. Well good luck with that. Have a blesse day.

  97. Larry McCauley

    July 5, 2015 at 6:02 am

    God is love, and God is all encompassing. What is all encompassing can have no opposite. God does not forgive because God, being perfect love, does not condemn. But we cannot conceive of a creator different from ourselves. We award God the condemnation we carry on our hearts in order to justify it.

  98. Larry McCauley

    July 5, 2015 at 6:04 am

    God is love, and God is all encompassing. What is all encompassing can have no opposite. God does not forgive because God, being perfect love, does not condemn. But we cannot conceive of a creator different from ourselves. We award God the condemnation we carry on our hearts in order to justify it.

  99. Paul Jensen

    July 5, 2015 at 6:47 am

    There are people alive today who will not die, due to 3dprinting in tissue, and eventual mind uploading. It has been done in a bee already. We will not acknowledge a god that offers no proof of his existence in today’s world. If he can’t spare a single angel as a permanent visible diplomat with proof, then he either does not exist, or he does not care.
    Your religion is responsible for horrible atrocities like the inquisition. It also is responsible for many wars, and the suppression of scientific advancements.

  100. Aj

    July 5, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Apparently you all know a thing or two about the bible and the word of God. If you are hot be hot and if you are cold be cold but don’t be lukewarm else you will be spat out. You know the point candice tried to make. The road to heaven is straight and narrow very few tarry there and the road to hell is bumper to bumper … Tell me this is made up. Oh happy day when Jesus comes! Please spell God with a capital G. For He is worthy!

  101. Yahweh Is A Douchebag

    July 5, 2015 at 7:27 am

    A god that tortures people for etermity for not believing or accepting him/her/it is the most despicable evil being that could possibly exist. Why would anyone with a sane mind worship such a monstrosity?

  102. Jeff

    July 5, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Remind Christians to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (‭Titus‬ ‭3‬:‭1-5, 7‬ ESV)

  103. Ayah Paul Abine

    July 5, 2015 at 9:13 am

    God is love sublime. He never could allow his children to be thrown into the ” lake of fire”.

  104. Wanda Wilson

    July 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you for your loving opinion and the loving way that it was spoken. You are a true example of God’s love

  105. gabriel

    July 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I’m glad to be more informed on this topic through my Mormonism doctrines.

  106. Mack

    July 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    You HOPE this? What kind of monster are you? I bet you also hope that you and your murder god are watching the suffering in hell while laughing…I bet your kids hate you.

  107. Mack

    July 5, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Any “god” who behaves in such a manner is not worthy of worship. What an egomaniacal spoiled brat he must be.

  108. Mack

    July 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Says the mind controlled puppet. You’ve wasted your one life.

  109. Dean

    July 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Glenda,

    You will always be in the minority because, for lack of truth, people tend to substitute their own beliefs. You seem a kind, gentle person. Not many behave as you do.

    To me, the only ways to control god and religion is by the truth. People’s personal beliefs have to kneel before knowledge. Then it becomes possible to make rational moral decisions unclouded by our flawed feelings.

  110. Gabrielle

    July 5, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Why Would You Ever Hope That For Someone? Why would you wish damnation to someone just because they don’t believe that the Christian hell existe? If you believe in hell, than I would surmise that you are a Christian and if so you are perpetuating the stereostereotype of Christians being extremely hypocritical and judgemental. No one is going to hell for it is a state of mind coming from fear base reality. This is what has unfolded to me in my journey thus far and you are free to disagree with me, but lets not wish our fellow humans damnation for thinking differently.

    Peace and love

  111. K. Elizabeth

    July 5, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    So, please enlighten me, are all those who live in areas that have haven’t heard of Jesus are all going to hell? And how about those nice folks who lived in B.C.?

  112. Jessica

    July 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I for one find it quite honest and refreshing, especially coming from a retired clergyman. I’m an atheist. I don’t really care what people believe or don’t believe. If that works for ya, great go with it.
    But I do have a problem with the holier than thou crowd that seems to think they can get away with talking to the rest of us like we’re garbage just because we don’t believe or believe differently.

  113. Doug

    July 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I think that hell was invented as a way to balance the books, so to speak. Sometimes it is enacted here in life itself, and it is nice the think that if that doesn’t occur, it is waiting on the other side. Perhaps “heck” was invented for lesser transgressions.

  114. Logan

    July 5, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    When I realized that the doctrines of heaven and hell were invented by the church to exert control over people, it was like having a spell broken. I’m grateful to my oldest son for having the initial courage to declare his deconversion. It took me many years, but I eventually joined him. (For those curious, the story is at http://lifeafter40.net under the About menu).

  115. Gig i

    July 6, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Thank you, Joel, for what you wrote! I pray it will change someones life

  116. Peter

    July 6, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Joel, you sound just like those nut bars in the Middle East who behead those who don’t believe as they do. After all, theirs is the one true God, right? Just like yours! Idiot!

  117. H od

    July 6, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Most of you here will definitely end up in hell .If the government of the world could punish there citizens for dis obeying the law,Do you think That Government of God has no law.repent before it’s too late!

  118. Some Guy

    July 6, 2015 at 9:20 am

    There is no god, no heaven, and no hell. There is only this life we live, and our choices of how we treat other people. A decent human being has no desire to force others to obey him.

  119. chichi

    July 6, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten SON that whosoever believes should not perish but have everlasting life. All you need is to believe dears

  120. j smith

    July 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I read a lot of you say God does not forgive so he doesn’t condemn, what about the damn flood? He murdered innocent children. What about the children of the world today who are starving to death, what has God done for them? I saw a picture the other day of an emaciated old man sitting in the dirt with no clothes on, being handed a Bible. He didn’t need a damn Bible, he needed food, clothes and shelter. You don’t hand a starving person a Bible that they’re too illiterate to read. You give them food.

  121. Jamie

    July 6, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Name th email, please. I’d like to research that…

  122. Jamie

    July 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Sorry – name them, please.

  123. Sandra

    July 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    To the believers…..please read the Book of Acts…..2:38 to start with. Read Galatians 1:8( Gabriel….but though we, or an angel from heaven ……). Read some church history to find out when the trinity doctrine was invented. The Apostles knew Jesus is the only living God. How do I know the Book of Acts is true? God has healed me, delivered me instantly from addictions, I’ve been baptized in the name of Jesus for remission of sins and filled with the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues. I have felt the Spirit of God. You can call me a nut or a liar but that won’t change what I know from personal experience. It’s available for whosoever will. You must be born again of the water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven like Jesus told Nicodemus…..Peter stood up with the other Apostles on the Day of Pentecost and told how that was to be done. Note: the mother and brothers of Jesus were in the upper room numbered with the 120….they received the Holy Ghost and were Baptized in the name of Jesus. Jesus told the Apostles that when they received the Holy Ghost It would bring to remembrance everything He had told them and would teach them all things…..so what they said was correct.
    No one can prove the Bible is not right……there are too many prophecies that have been fulfilled….. watch the news for the One World Government, One World Religion and One World Economic System that are forming as we speak. Not watching news won’t stop it from happening. Google info on all the churches that are going back in with the Catholic church, …the UN, EU and the International Court that will be able to control any leaders and governments….including the US and it’s President…..can you see how the Mark of the Beast could be implemented in the near future? Those that are ready and watching will not be deceived. It won’t over take us as a thief in the night.

  124. Dan

    July 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    You might want to check your references rev. I assure you, he’ll exists.

  125. Tim

    July 7, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Life on earth is a school into which Souls are sent to learn how to give and receive love. The law of cause and effects is a constant and it’s role is to either reinforce good behavior, or discourage the bad. We are constantly sowing and reaping. What we reap, if negative is not punishment or if positive reward, the value of life’s lesson are propel us to develop our innate God like qualities. Karma and reincarnation are two sides of the same coin, and travel many life times in this cycle until we come face to face with the realization of ourselves as divine beings, sons and daughters of the Most High.
    God acts, while humans react. As an omnipotent being it is impossible to push God to anger. Anger only arises from unknowing, and since God knows everything before it starts even to the end, nothing can catch the Almighty by surprise. Christ only came to remind the people of his time about who and what they are. That is why he constantly told them that what he did, they too could replicate.
    Today we live in an era of higher consciousness, because unlike the past people are free to express their opinions on beliefs and God. No religion has a monopoly on truth, rather aspects of truth are woven into all faiths. All religions are valid for the mere reason that they suit the consciousness of people that adhere to their tenets. There will never be a time when everyone will believe the same way because everyone has their own unique syllabi uniquely designed to help them unfold at their own pace. The love of God is all encompassing. In it there can be no Hell for which Souls are condemned in eternity. However there is a heaven, in which Souls still strive to learn the lessons tailor made for it. God is not vain as to need the praises of its creation telling him how great IT is, and people do not just enjoy the view and listen to beautiful music throughout eternity. Heaven is another school in another dimension beyond time and space in which Souls are exposed to other aspects of themselves and the work they need to do in creation. There are many heavens and each of us will go to the heaven that is established by our level of acceptance. Know thyself and the universe will open itself to you. Love God, love yourself and others for that is the key that opens the doors to heaven.

  126. Alicia Clark

    July 7, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I’m hitting the Like button for your comment.

  127. Ross B Tilton

    July 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Sin, a Greek archery term meaning missing the mark, was also used by the early Roman Catholic church along with confession as a means of control. Read “Gnostic Gospels ” ny Elaine Pagels for the full story.

  128. Jessica

    July 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Not only did the bushes talk while on fire, snakes could talk and a virgin gave birth.

  129. Lanny

    July 7, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    What a wonderful, loving christian you are.

  130. Sandra

    July 8, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Gabriel….Galatians 1:8 said but though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than that which we’ve taught , let him be accursed. Where did the Morman Doctrine come from? Think about it. Read the Book of Acts for what the Apostles taught.

  131. Sandra

    July 8, 2015 at 3:44 am

    Chichi…they “should not” perish but a lot of them will. There is more to the Bible than John 3:16. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again of the water and the Spirit or he couldn’t enter into the Kingdom of Heaven …..read Acts 2:38 to see what the people were told they had to do to be saved….please notice the mother and brothers were there….they received the Holy Ghost and were Baptized in the name of Jesus. There is one God Deuteronomy 6:4 Isaiah 9:6 says Jesus is the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. All the fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus. He was God reconciling the world unto Himself. He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not…….many many more Scriptures. Ask, knock and seek.
    Jesus gave us a way of escape….no one has to go to hell.

  132. Sandra

    July 8, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Ross….it really is satanic agenda….do you know about the One World Religion the Pope=false prophet (see all the churches that are going back in with the Catholic church..google it) One World Government forming now the antichrist will head it and implement the Mark of the Beast. We know Bible prophesies are true because they are coming to pass as we speak. Read the whole Book of Acts (2:38 see the true plan of salvation). Those that aren’t sealed will find out hell is real.

  133. Sandra

    July 8, 2015 at 4:06 am

    One thing for sure….people can believe or not believe but no one will be able to tell God that some Priest said it was all made up and there wasn’t a hell. God gave us His word to go by. It’s called the Bible and so many prophecies have been fulfilled that people that say it’s not true look mighty silly…..including that Priest.

  134. Damned Fine Human

    July 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    You know what else is in the “living bible”? Prohibitions against eating shellfish, prohibitions against wearing two kinds of material, a claim that 2 of every species of animal could fit in a boat, people magically getting turned into sodium chloride…

    Oh, and don’t forget punishment by stoning for divorce (but only for women), a stamp of approval for owning slaves, permission to murder witches, ringing endorsements for rape, and a supernatural “thumbs up” for dozens of other atrocities that humans have grown to realize aren’t compatible with being a decent human being.

    I shudder to think how much worse this world would be if we all based our belief systems on the BuyBull.

  135. franklin

    July 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    It must hurt to be so stupid.

  136. Keezee

    July 9, 2015 at 4:33 am

    The world has been deceived. Books were written by man, and told to the masses that these books(bible, torah, etc…) represent the word of God. They implemented fear as a means to force the masses into accepting these books as truth. There isn’t any God-related truth in any of these books. You want to know God? Look deep into your own heart, HE is there. Pray only to God. Do not pray to anyone else, especially to another human being. God was never a man, and to suggest that HE was, is blasphemy. Men humanized God, and therefore created their own human-like false god. This false god created a place called hell. The jealous god, the angry god, the judgmental god, the insecure god. A god that destroys, instead of a God that forgives and utilizes divine grace. Once you search deep in your heart and find our Creator, you will know then, that hell doesn’t exist. God loves you unconditionally….and that says it all.

  137. Kenner Single

    July 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    You hope your fellow humans suffer for eternity? That’s sick.

  138. Helen

    July 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    The men who wrote the books of the Bible were directed by God as what to write, not what humans wanted to write. If what they wanted to write in the Bible wasn’t God’s word then it doesn’t appear. That is up to you to believe. It is up to Christians to try and tell you about God and that He loves you. There is no hate in true Christians, only love for each other, to spread the news of God’s love for each and everyone.

  139. Helen

    July 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    To articulett – You say that after you die you won’t exist when the brain is gone…..The brain is part of the body, not the spirit. The body is the house that enables us to live on this earth and walk, talk and be seen. When we die it is our body that dies – our spirit will then either go to heaven or hell and that depends on what you choose. God doesn’t send you to either place, because He does not force Himself on anyone. He leaves that choice up to you – do you believe and accept Him or do you not believe and don’t care. Everyone is given the ability to see God in everything that He created, the trees, birds, sunsets, sunrises, the stars, everything..

  140. Helen

    July 14, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I don’t have to. God already has.

  141. Johnny

    July 15, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    God gave us the gift of free will. If we freely choose to reject Him then he honours that choice for all eternity. Hell is the absence of God. That’s not monsterous its justice.

  142. Helen

    July 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Jesus Christ was the only one ever born to a virgin because God was His father. They are saying three wise men only because of the three gifts given to Jesus, there could have been more wise men. Jesus healed people and performed miracles only. He was the only one to rise on the third day from the grave. That was to guarantee us life after death. He won the battle over the devil. It is all in God’s word – The Bible.

  143. Helen

    July 16, 2015 at 11:10 am

    In Heaven you will be with God and the ones you loved who went to Heaven. Now if you choose to not accept God then you will go to hell and you will be in total isolation. Now that is scary.

  144. Helen

    July 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

    God does not send you to hell. That choice He leaves up to you. He will not force Himself on you, He lets you make the choice to believe to not believe. So, it is not God who sends you to hell, you send yourself. To prevent that from happening all you have to do is accept God as your savior and repent of your sins. God knows your heart so you need to be truthful. He died on the cross so we can have life forever, to be with Him in Heaven.

  145. Helen

    July 16, 2015 at 11:54 am

    If you don’t believe in hell do me a favor. Read these two books, they are accounts of people who have died and then were resuscitated. They give account of what happened to them while they were dead. The books are ’23 Minutes in Hell and What Happens When I Die?’ I am a christian and after reading ’23 Minutes in Hell’ I wouldn’t want my worse enemy to go to hell. It is a real scary place.

  146. Cee Opelia

    July 26, 2015 at 2:52 am

    Why Candice, how very Christian of you.

  147. Jane

    August 22, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Candice, I don’t even want my worst enemy to go to hell.

  148. Jane

    August 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Joel, your belief means that children and the mentally handicapped who die have no security after death because they’re either too young or mentally unable to make the decision to accept Jesus. Surely God, Jesus loves them and wouldn’t condemn them? What is the age of accountability – the age a child/young person is old enough to choose to accept Jesus? Some are mature at age 10 but others are immature at age 16 so age of accountability isn’t fair.

  149. Cahrles Kennedy

    September 8, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Joel you sound like you need some serious psychological help son.Damn it you are not that smiley preacher on TV are u?

  150. lovewarrior3

    November 13, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Helen you are very afraid of Hell otherwise you would not try to convince others, so you are the one who needs help, I know you think your good actions will save you but this as been invented to control, because as long as you are “good” some very bad people can control you. Gos as created humans whole with both good and evil, but there is no such thing as you are good you go to heaven and you are bad you go to hell, they are state of being here on heart, hate, greed, jealousy, selfishness etc this is Hell, love forgiveness, compassion, peace etc this is heaven. And God wants you to move in that direction for your well being. He knows that no one can be evil love is in his heart. Every one who does bad does it because of ignorance and fear, this is why Jesus said forgive them because they don’t know, the truth is they are innocent and need our love and compassion, so they comeback to peace and love.

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  153. Marlene

    January 9, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Such accounts are biased and based on the perceptions these people have and these perceptions/believes are inbedded in their subconscious. It is these subconscious images they ‘saw’ when they ‘died’. Just my thoughts! But even so, Helen, it is sad to live your life in fear of a Hell that might not exist? I’d rather be free of such fear.

  154. marlene

    January 9, 2016 at 4:01 am

    True…

  155. Pingback: Retired Priest: ‘Religion Is In The Control Business’

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  157. Jenn

    February 13, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Your such a nice person. Have fun being you!

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  159. Bowie

    February 19, 2016 at 11:47 am

    So, how full is Spong’s church if he thinks he has a better message?

  160. Grover Syck

    February 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Finally, an honest member of the clergy.

  161. Jislooking

    March 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Seeing what us Humans do to each other, I would say that Earth is hell and anything after death would be better in comparison to what we deal with here on Earth. Yes Earth is love and happiness for most of us but when you think of the killing, wars, tortures, bullying, abuse and all that shit that is going on for those people they are already in Hell.

  162. Pingback: Retired priest: ‘Hell’ was invented by the church to control people with fear | The Atheist

  163. roger

    May 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Sounds like the new age propaganda..

  164. Richard

    March 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I too think that the idea of eternal damnation is inconsistent with a God of Love. However, since Jesus himself is credited with referring to hell (not Sheol) as the destiny of those who ignore the needs of the poor and oppressed further discussion is needed. Naturally, the scriptures have been written and re-written countless time throughut history. I am sure that too has had it effect.

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