My father passed away after a sudden illness when i was 16. In the almost 6 years since, i have struggled to find peace with what was a major catastophe in my life. Christians obviously gather a great deal of peace from the idea that “saved” loved ones are “in a better place”. The problem? They will take peace away from me to get their own. By telling me my father is in hell, they affirm their own sense of supiriority no matter what it costs me. What are your thoughts on this?? Do all non christians go to hell, regardless of thier character? Do any christians out there think about how this hellfire damnation talk will hurt others like it has hurt me? Im interested.
Depends who you ask; certainly there is a segment of Christianity that holds to the belief that nobody gets there except by accepting Jesus as their saviour (Which can often mean a whole lot more than it sounds).
The problem I have with this is as follows:
Assuming that I jump through whatever hoops are necessary in order to attain salvation, how can I be happy and fulfilled in heaven, knowing that even one of my good but non-believing friends is burning eternally?
If the solution is that my memory of the friend will be wiped, then I won’t be me, at least not completely.
Exactly. I know people who have been driven away from Christianity by the actions of Christians. This tends to get me branded a heretic by some Christians, but I am not willing to worship a God who would condemn the former and save the latter. I am a Christian. I am not, however willing to write off the billions of people who lived before Christ was born or died before Christianity came to their part of the world.
Two of my closest, dearest friends, are Wiccan. Last year, when I lost my job, they took me into their home, comforted me, supported me emotionally, and generally made a winter of hell bareable. They have also strengthened my faith by speaking to me in Christian terms (they were Fundamentalist Christians once). I owe them my life and my soul. Meanwhile, while things were at their nadir, I was getting savaged on a Christian message board. If they are not “getting into heaven”, whatever that means, then I am not going. God knows me; I’m a stubborn critter; He’s well aware of that.
So, to add a bit of facts to this maudlin appeal to emotion, there are verses in the Gospels which support the notion Christ died to save all people. John 3:16-21 has verses which can be cherry-picked to read both ways:
There’s also the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. Here’s a link thanks to Bible Gateway. It’s one of the few passage in which Christ specifically condemns people.
torie, there are cruel people in all religious faiths, and there are people who need to believe they are somehow better than others. I’m sorry you’ve encountered some. For what it’s worth, by the standards of the people who’ve condemned your father, mine is also condemned, curmudgeonly agnostic that he is. My relationship with him hasn’t been the best, and at 16, it was pretty bad indeed, but I won’t condemn him. It’s not my job or my place. My faith tells me God will accept him for what he is, for what God made him, and judge him accordingly and mercifully. I’m sorry you lost him.
No, only certain abominable sects that practice a vile perversion of Christian doctrine teach this. Unfortunately, those particular sects are quite loud.
being an atheist i obviously do not believe in hell, nonetheless i am shamefully terrifed of it ( just another feature of my contrary mind). i could console myself with the family and friends approach, my aunt is a Loreto nun and is going to heaven despite it not existing. however, i’m not sure i want to go to heaven if it means that hell exists, i just don’t see the point in eternal damnation, it’s not like you can rectify your mistakes. punishment without the possibility of redemption is just plain vengeance, and that is all to human a failing for me to ascribe it to a higher being. although He did say, ‘i am a vengeful God’, funny using that turn of phrase when He is the one true god, why didn’t He just say, ’ I am vengeful’, or as He is the big I am, maybe it’s a typo, maybe it was sposed to be, ‘I am: vengeful’. i digress.
in dante’s system of hell, the neutrals are the first class of the lost, these are the people that take no strong position, they are a mixed bag of angels ( who took no side in the Fall) and humans who committed to nothing in life, had no spiritual life and therefore cannot die properly and be judged. they hang around at the gates of hell, but are spurned by both God and the Devil. the first circle of hell is limbo, or the hell of the virtuous heathen, this is the place for all those born before Christ or who lived in innocence of God. virgil, dante’s guide is a resident here, and he tells us that the only the big players in the old testament ever got out of limbo ( when Christ came by), and no-one before or since has ascended from this state.
the sixth circle of hell is for the heretics, those that wilfully spurned God. it is classed as much worse ( though not as bad as treachery) than agnosticism and it is situated just inside the city of Dis, Satan’s stronghold, from which there is usually no escape, although once again, new testament celeb Judas did get out when Christ came down.
so, dante’s opinion is that it is looking pretty grim for me. but then he reckoned his girlfriend, who was married to someone else, was going to save him and take him to heaven, hello? adultery? so i’d ignore him if i were you.
god is love, and not the icky kind of love where you end up chained in a cess pit upside down on fire ( unles you dig that kind of thing), so chill out and enjoy your life.
The Bible says “Mercy triumphs over judgment”.
Also when you do something kind to the least of these, you are doing it to (or for) God.
The answer to your op will differ by faith, even within faiths the answers will differ by peoples understanding of the teachings and practices of their own faith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that Jesus Christ died and was the first person to be resurrected. His spirit and His body were reunited, never again to be separated. (Matthew 28:6).
We believe that Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection made it so that everyone who has ever lived on this earth will be resurrected just as Jesus Christ was. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Just as our births were necessary to have this mortal experience, death is a necessary step in our progression as well. We believe death is not the end, it is another step in our progression and part of Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. Our physical bodies die, but our spirit will not die. At death we believe everyone’s spirit will go to the spirit world, where we will continue to progress and learn. The death and resurrection of Christ made it so that sometime after death, our (everyone’s regardless of faith) spirits will be reunited with our bodies (resurrected).
For those who want to return to live with Him eternally, we believe we must keep His commandments, accept Jesus Christ’s Atonement, and follow His example while we are on earth.
However as I mentioned earlier we do not believe that learning and progression end at death. We believe that our spirits continue to grow and progress in the spirit world.
For us being separated from our Father in Heaven would be “Hell”, but my understanding of our spirit world is that it is not at all like the fire and demonic idea of hell.
For us Heaven is where God lives is. We believe that Heavenly Father wants every person on this earth is to return to live with Him. Which is why the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary. It gave us the grace we needed to have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father.
After our resurrection which I mentioned up above, we believe we will be judged and rewarded for the things we have done in this life.
We believe that the “many mansions” reference in John 14:2 means Christ was teaching that Heavenly Father is anxious to reward all of His children according to their obedience.
Those who choose not to follow our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will receive a reward according to what they have done in this life, but they will not enjoy the glory of living in the presence of God.
The beliefs and teachings above are my understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While I have tried to convey doctrine and teaching accurately, it’s possible you will find those who disagree with me or my understanding.
I think your Father is in the same place (spiritual world) my son is and that they are learning and progressing and anxiously awaiting our arrival and the next step in our progression. I don’t believe they are in any torment or state of unhappiness. Rest assured Heavenly Father loves all His children, not just those that love Him back.
“How can people be happy in heaven, knowing that their unsaved loved ones are suffering in hell?”
Those who ask such questions fall into the category of those who asked Jesus a similar question. The Pharisees said that a certain woman had seven consecutive husbands, so whose wife will she be in heaven (Mark 12:23)? Jesus answered by saying that they neither knew the Scriptures nor the power of God. The unregenerate mind has no concept of God’s mind or His infinite power. If God can speak the sun into existence; if He can see every thought of every human heart at the same time; if He can create the human eye with its 137,000,000 light-sensitive cells, then He can handle the minor details of our eternal salvation.
John writes that in heaven “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), so perhaps we will be fully satisfied that God is perfectly just and merciful, and that He gave every individual the opportunity to accept or reject Him. However He works it out, God promises that there will not be sorrow or crying in heaven. Our focus in heaven won’t be on our loss, but on our gain.
Kind of “I’m alright Jack” then?
Among religious sects, there have always been and will always be those who declare themselves alone to be worthy of salvation. It is this arrogance that makes such atrocities as the crusades and the Inquisition possible. Note the logic here.
This man is a heathen unbeliever. Unless he accepts the Truth, there is no possible fate for his soul other than eternal damnation. If I love him, I will do whatever it takes to open his heart to the Truth, even if it be flaying the skin from his body.
By the same token, righteous bigots are able to convince themselves that doing harm to infidels is sanctioned by God because God cares less for them.
Most religious denominations this day and age are somewhat more open to the idea that heaven is not an exclusive club which only admits members of x congregation.
This is precisely why I developed an early distaste for Christianity at the age of 8. Even then, I really felt that there was something fundamentally wrong about eternal hellfire. Though I learned later that Catholicism along with other Christian sects do not espouse this idea of eternal hellfire, I eventually abandoned Christianity for other reasons.
Most religious denominations this day and age are somewhat more open to the idea that heaven is not an exclusive club which only admits members of x congregation. **
unless you are in South Carolina…it gets BAD here.
Well, now you’re bringing Purgatory into the discussion. . .
Hey! Who threw that?
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…you don’t even know…
As far as the Bible goes, it’s pretty clear that no one is worthy of salvation. But the crusades and the inquisition were more about greed then religion. It is true that man has used religion for political gain. Nazi Germany had “God with us” engraved in German on the belts of Nazi soldiers. America said, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” The law may even allow you to start the Christian Nazi Party, if you so desire. You can become a “reverend” for a few dollars through the tabloid classifieds and then further your political agenda with the world’s blessing, no matter how much it smears the name of Christ. Jesus tells us in John 16:2,3 that there will be some who, in their error, commit atrocities and murder in the name of God: “The time is coming that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.” However, He informs us that these are not true believers: “And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (See also 1 John 3:15.) Jesus told His followers to love their enemies. So if a man puts a knife into someone’s back in the name of Christianity, something obviously isn’t right. If we human beings can detect it, how much more will God? He will deal with it on Judgment Day." I know that the Lord is always on the side of right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I—and this nation—should be on the Lord’s side." Abraham Lincoln
I think it is horrible for anyone to tell you that your father is in hell.
Just curious, did your father know the gospel of Jesus, or was he never told about it?
God works in mysterious ways. There are a lot of people who on their death bed turn to Jesus. I was worried about my father when he passed when I was 12.
I found out later, through hospital records, that he requested to see a priest, and wanted him to pray with him. We didn’t even think he was going to die, and I am sure he didn’t think so either. Even before he died, he was talking about how he wanted to turn his life around and make God proud of Him.
This was strange to me because I never new my dad to know God.
Sorry about your loss.
Jersey Diamond, at this point, I’d be highly surprised if there’s anyone in the United States or Western Europe over the age of reason, however one cares to define that, who hasn’t at least heard of Jesus. The thing is, it’s all to easy for some people to be turned against Christianity by the actions of Christians or by finding that what they cannot help but do, whether that’s love someone of the same sex or question their surroundings or their teachings, is condemned as sinful. To assume that merely hearing the name “Jesus” results in conversion or that saying the words, “I accept Christ as my Saviour,” results in automatic salvation is every bit as much magickal thinking as anything the Wiccans do. I wish it were that simple.
Not just hearing the name Jesus, but simply realizing that we are all sinners, and Jesus’ death (and ressurection) paid the penalty for our sins.
Thank God for that!
Well, according to my auntie we (non-christians) do. She’s a devout Calvinist, and she knows what she knows, and will not tolerate dissent from the doctrine as she knows it in her presence. I figured her for a real nutjob at a very young age.
Rather tiresome, really.