What are the denominations of Christianity that teach that hell absolutely does not exist in any way

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Fry, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Fry

    Fry New Member

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    What are the denominations of Christianity that teach that hell (eternal fire and brimstone) absolutely does not exist in any way, shape, or form and back this up with scripture and can give meaningful answers to explain the scriptures that seem to support hell?

    I'd also be interested in denominations that teach at least that hell is not eternal horrors but is a temporary punishment or rehabilitation of some kind.

    Please and thank you :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Unity teaches that hell is a state of mind. 20 kids in the classroom....some hate the class, hate school, hate the teachers...others love it...it is a heaven or hell of our own creation.

    I picture a mom three or four millenia ago taking the garbage to the edge of Jerusalem to the dump. With the kids she walks with their household trash and throws it in the ravine the town uses, so it doesn't clutter the streets and stink and find rats. In the dump are itinerants, and unemployed searching thru for scraps of food or something they can sell. Also it is where the indigents get tossed after they die, with no one to bury or entomb them.

    As mom throws away her trash and the folks sort thru it...and push what isn't wanted into the fire...burning the waste and the dead bodies of animals and humans along with the scrap...

    She tells her children...if you don't obey your parents...if you don't do your studies...if you don't become a good citizen..(aka if they "sin" (an archery term for 'missing the mark')..you will end up digging thru the dump for scraps, and you will be thrown there to die... ie you will work there forever and burn in Hell....

    the words used which we translate into hell are gehenna (the valley at the edge of jerusalem also meaning dump) or sheol ( a grave, indiating the end of life)

    I am positive that others have other takes on it, other interpretations and beliefs....
     
  3. Fry

    Fry New Member

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    Thank you! What is Unity? I liked your story/ theory on Gehenna.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    We are a minority in Christian belief...although the new thought movement that Unity is part of...originated with transcendentalist...Emerson....Thoraeu..Quinby...
    Similar thought coming from Spong and the Episcopalian split in the US.

    https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/5940/
     
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  5. Fry

    Fry New Member

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    Thanks! I'm reading up on it now.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    This is in smaller chunks...talks from my minister..

    https://unitycenteroflight.org/medi...qYM8NgDZGkAWl8yFcLilueNfVAcverfeAnEgM3IjFdHIk


    In addition we don't believe in any horned critter called the devil....picture more cartoons with an angel on one shoulder and the little horned critter on the other whispering in your ear saying do this, don't do that...it is your mind making decisions, weighing options, both good and bad come from within.

    You can look up any biblical name, place, word in the Metaphysical Bible dictionary to see the story behind the story...from Unity perspective. Or read any of the public domain Unity Books..Charles Filmore insisted on publishing without copyright so they would all be available....

    https://www.truthunity.net/mbd
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Of all the things I had to give up to become a Unitic...I miss blame the most.
     
  8. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    I know what you mean, but what is "the mind"? What is "within"?
    You don't believe that it is all about the brain as do atheists, surely?

    Failing to control our desires, knowing that we are sinning is one thing..
    ..but kidding ourselves that we are righteous when we are not is another.

    Devils surely do exist. I see them constantly here on the internet :(
     
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  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That is just it isnt it
    No little critter causing evil...

    It is all just us.
    I am pretty much agnostic...
     
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    One day even the skin in which we are born must be relinquished. What is the wisdom man can hope to know?
     
  11. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    Sure .. but there is that which we can physically see, such as ourselves, and that which we canNOT see.
    Why should we assume that what we see is all that there is?
    ..again, that is the atheist viewpoint.

    We can't see angels or God, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist.
    In fact, a lot of people think it is intuitive that G-d DOES exist, me included.

    The devil is the serpent in the genesis narrative. He is an unseen being, and has more
    religious knowledge than we do. He was once very pious, until he became envious of humans and vowed to
    destroy them.
    There are many devils amongst G-d's creation, and yes, including amongst mankind.
     
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  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Lol, after 60 years I am fully aware of conventional biblical thought...but that is not what the ordinal poster had asked for.

    We all know where to go for fire.a.d brimstone.
    Doesn't mean they do either.

    I live in the United States where people believe in G!d but not covid or masks or washing hands...because they can't see it!
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure any religious denomination teaches hell 'absolutely does not exist in any way, shape or form'. Buddhism is replete with hells, whereas Christianity has only one :D.

    If you do away with a negative eschatological possibility, it's hard to promote a positive one.

    Also it's worth realising that most religions which do preach of hell have moved on some way from the medieval images of popular dialogue. I'd say there are probably more people who believe Christians believe in a hell of fire and brimstone, than there are Christians who believe in fire and brimstone!

    Roman Catholicism, which I feel certain the whole world will tell you believes in a hell of fire and brimstone, has a very nuanced view of the position. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of a kind of eye-to-eye meeting with Christ which evokes the kind of feelings you get when 'caught out' doing something wrong, the burning sensation is that self-realisation that "I am better than this" and that yes, "You've let yourself down", if I can say that without the normal baggage attached to it.

    So the RCC actually supports the idea that 'hell is not eternal horrors but ... a ... rehabilitation' ... complicated by the idea that 'time' does not apply in the non-material realms.

    Wil mentioned Gehenna (Hebrew), and this term is used in the Bible — 11 times by Christ in the New Testament — as is Hades (Greek) and Sheol (Hebrew), and the Christian world adopted it from the Greco-Hebrew.

    While the idea of Fire is used by Christ, the popular image — demons, etc., — owes much to the fevered imagination of the Medieval mind, and was immortalised in the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet of the 14th century, and owes more to that than Scripture.
     
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  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    This is where we have fun Thomas.

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/yes-hell-is-real-and-eternal

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/what-is-hell

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/signs-times/pope-francis-and-hell

    https://www.catholicaction.org/can_people_really_go_to_hell

    Thomas I believe if you asked most Catholic parishioners about this topic or these articles if the church purports an actual hell of eternal damnation...they would.

    My experience is not the depth of study you have gone thru...but the listening to priests and congregants for a lifetime. My experience includes 8 years of being a scout leader with the troop my son joined...a Catholic troop which won the archdiocese award year after year which a local cardinal gave them the award. Again I haven't had the extensive education that you have...just the same that these boys learned....which included despite the fact that we were in the woods for the weekend, they better get up early and make it to mass on Sunday or they were going to hell. Now that wasn't all the time...if we were able to show on the map where we were camping was not within some specific distance from a Catholic Church then we could obtain special dispensation so the scouts and leaders could avoid going to help for their indiscretions.

    Now this wasn't a little thing, this was part of our planning for a campout every month for 8 years...for 8 years we had three choices...make it home early enough to get to church, the Catholic boys and leaders got up drove to mass and came back to camp...or special dispensation.

    Now beyond that this layperson heard from those who studied masters and doctorate level theology courses at Loyola, teaching from Jesuit Priests, similar to what you have offered. Except they had a further explanation....that the church itself...the learned members believed one thing...but they did not believe the masses that goto mass were ready for this knowledge...so it isn't taught in catechism, it isn't taught to us as we are not ready. Evidently not ready until after we have had a bachelor's degree and want to learn more.

    The simple way to keep the flock in line is provide them with two clear choices...heaven or hell...as physical eternal locations for their soul. And this isn't a choice you make once... But every single moment, with every decision, action and thought in your life.
     
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  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Caveat to the above I forgot to mention...I live in the US and have zero idea of what is taught in Catholic Churches anywhere else in the world. I just know what was related to me from my grade school friends who went to Catholic school or Catechism and were constantly trying to save me from the evil protestant church...that would be while I was in 10 different schools in 4 different states both western and eastern US AS well as those 8 years with my son in scouts.
     
  16. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls Staff Member

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    I think you are only assuming that heaven & hell are physical places..
    Nevertheless, it boils down to the same thing really .. a good or bad outcome.
    ..so yes .. the carrot & the stick .. parents often raise their children with the same principle.
    Parents & G-d want good for us. It is not a con.
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Tis exactly what the OP and I and many were taught.

    I came overtime to disbelieve that teaching. The OP it appears was also seeking an alternative variation.

    Your words indicate you do not believe they are physical places...mayhaps your description of heaven and he'll may help the OP as well.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's do it! :D

    But I did say 'fire and brimstone' ... sorry, that was a bit trick.

    My point is, I think a lot of non-Christians are more certain about what Christians believe than Christians!

    But there is another point: If it's that important, why didn't the archdiocese get a priest out there on a Sunday to say Mass in the woods? Or be really clever, get a military priest out there and do a full-on battlefield service ...

    I was a cub and a scout, and I went camping, and so I missed mass on those Sundays. Sort it out in the Confessional. Or get the priest to give a dispensation beforehand. We didn't get to go monthly, mind. Monthly, if it was a Catholic troop, should have organised an attending priest.

    So the more I think on this, the more I side with you. Your diocese was being lazy ...

    Well, that's the way Jesus did it. And the truth is, it is quite simple. As ET says: "Be good."

    When you say it starkly, it sounds cold and uncompromising. But then I think every religion would say, 'yes, that's the way of it' — Buddhism is replete with examples of how little, inconsequential actions compound ...

    This is not quite correct. The Greek term is harmatia means 'to miss the mark or 'err', but its use is far more complex than the mundane idea of missing a target in archery.

    Hamartia was used by Aristotle in his Poetics. It refers to an error or a flaw that leads to disaster. The error can result from ignorance, an error of judgement, a flaw in character, or wrongdoing. But in the philosophical and theological sense, it does not mean a blameless 'missing the mark' as it might in archery.

    Yes, but then if you want the actual answers, the general population is not the place to look. That's the populist answer.

    I don't know what you're talking about, so I can't comment.

    From the Catechism:
    1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs. (emphasis mine)

    Note that "eternal fire" is in quotes. The 'chief punishment' is separation.

    1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offence, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

    Here's a view:

    According to the Catechism, "hell" defines a state of separation. Gehenna gives us a workable image — not simply because it's a place of desolation, pf rubbish tips and fires, but because it was a place 'apart' — the bodies of the unclaimed dead were dumped there. If you're in Gehenna, you're off-grid, you're no longer in the world of man, as it were. Physically, it's a vally outside Jerusalem. Metaphysically, I'd say, it's nowhere. It's nothingness. It's out of sight, out of mind ...

    From the Catechism and the Fathers, I could argue that Hell describes a state of non-existence. If 'in Him we live and move and have our being', then separation from Him means we no longer live, we no longer move, we no longer have being. 'I', as an existential mode of being, has ceased to be.
     
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  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope. That's not the Catechism nor the Doctrine.

    Yep, obviously. It's never too late to change! :D
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    From that Pope Francis link:

    "He wanted God's place," said Francis. "And God wanted to forgive him, but he said, 'I don't need your forgiveness. I am good enough!'"

    "This is hell," explained the pope. "It is telling God, 'You take care of yourself because I'll take care of myself.' They don't send you to hell, you go there because you choose to be there. Hell is wanting to be distant from God because I do not want God's love. This is hell."

    Most contemporary theologians would agree with the pope. Hell is not about fire and brimstone; it is about our freedom to say no to God, our freedom to reject love and choose loneliness. If you believe in freedom, you have to believe in hell.

    When we close our hearts and tell the world to go to hell, we are in fact choosing hell for ourselves. Hell is the absence of love, companionship, communion. We are not sent there; we choose it.

    God did not create hell; we did."
    Agreed. Only the commentary does not go far enough. We can choose to be, or not to be ... it's ours to make.
     
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