Evangelical minister stops believing in hell and gets fired

The notion of hell can be quite political. But what do we define as hell? It is, obviously "a horrible place." I think asserting that "hell" exists can be just as misleading as saying "hell" doesn't exist, especially if we give people a definition of hell. Hell may "exist" in terms of one definition, but may be non-existent according to another definition.

Jesus in the New Testament seems to have resorted to giving depictions of "hell" rather than actually defining what it was, as that would have set limits and boundaries on the meaning of hell -- causing people to be "manipulated" with regards to different definitions of hell. He preferred to say things like, "the kingdom of heaven is like ........"

Hell is a label. Take a string of concepts of "horrible places" from the New Testament that we do not want as a destination. These "horrible places" could be called anything from "notorious fast-food McDonalds" to "Jimmy Barne's naughty playground." We could just as well call them "hell" by tradition.:D

Jesus' message seems to have been intended as something simple, but rather hard to do: hold fast to the things that are important, don't be manipulated by rules, by propaganda, popular culture and popular ideas. God wants a relationship with you, but at the same time we have to figure out what's important in our lives.

If I was going to talk about "hell," I would prefer not to use the word "hell" (I'm just using it now to make a point). Jesus didn't, at least not that much. In one sense there is such thing as a "hell" and in another sense there isn't. It's like saying there is a root to all evil in the world but you can't quite put your finger on where all this evil is coming from. According to one definition, that source of evil may be George W. Bush and according to another it may be obesity and heart disease and bad diets.

If we say, "there is a hell," people are likely to then ask, "ok, so what is hell? What happens to people in hell? How long do we stay there?" Whatever answer we give them, we'd be misleading and manipulating them. They'd be confined to whatever thinking we drill into their minds. If we say, "there isn't a hell," they'd be manipulated by the idea of hell not existing. If we say we can't answer the question, they'll find someone else to answer it. Sooner or later they'll find who someone does answer the question and they'd be brainwashed and manipulated by what they're told.

Jesus' response was not to say hell is this big or this small, this long or this short, this wide or this deep, but to use metaphors and similes -- that heaven is like this, hell is like that -- and if we understand what he was saying then we're hunky dory.

Jesus affirms that there is a so-called "hell," but doesn't define it lest we're manipulated by the definition.

I guess we do eventually need to answer the question, but we need to do what Jesus did -- answer in metaphors and similes, or just share your personal experiences -- and make it something meaningful. The reason is because if we don't, they'll find someone else and the answer will probably manipulate or brainwash them -- so we save them and ourselves from that happening -- because by explaining it to others we explain it to ourselves. We help ourselves by helping others. Mutual assistance through sharing of personal beliefs and experiences. Mutual guidance.

In which case I hope this view of mine was a constructive contribution.

The article listed didn't give the whole story about Pearson's dramatic transformation, so here's what happened next. Read the ending (page 2), I don't think it's as bad as it seems. His previous stardom and celebrity status gone, he now sees a new purpose. Much like the conversion of Paul.

To hell and back - Dateline NBC - MSNBC.com

Yes, Jesus affirms there is a "hell," but methinks our common perception of hell may be a bit misguided.
 

Well, God commands us to stand on the authority of his word. And his word does talk about hell. So this guy is not standing of the authority of his word, so it is a good idea to get him out.

Jesus said: "If you break my commandments and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the kingdom of Heaven."
 
The notion of hell can be quite political. But what do we define as hell? It is, obviously "a horrible place." I think asserting that "hell" exists can be just as misleading as saying "hell" doesn't exist, especially if we give people a definition of hell. Hell may "exist" in terms of one definition, but may be non-existent according to another definition.

Jesus in the New Testament seems to have resorted to giving depictions of "hell" rather than actually defining what it was, as that would have set limits and boundaries on the meaning of hell -- causing people to be "manipulated" with regards to different definitions of hell. He preferred to say things like, "the kingdom of heaven is like ........"

Hell is a label. Take a string of concepts of "horrible places" from the New Testament that we do not want as a destination. These "horrible places" could be called anything from "notorious fast-food McDonalds" to "Jimmy Barne's naughty playground." We could just as well call them "hell" by tradition.:D

Jesus' message seems to have been intended as something simple, but rather hard to do: hold fast to the things that are important, don't be manipulated by rules, by propaganda, popular culture and popular ideas. God wants a relationship with you, but at the same time we have to figure out what's important in our lives.

If I was going to talk about "hell," I would prefer not to use the word "hell" (I'm just using it now to make a point). Jesus didn't, at least not that much. In one sense there is such thing as a "hell" and in another sense there isn't. It's like saying there is a root to all evil in the world but you can't quite put your finger on where all this evil is coming from. According to one definition, that source of evil may be George W. Bush and according to another it may be obesity and heart disease and bad diets.

If we say, "there is a hell," people are likely to then ask, "ok, so what is hell? What happens to people in hell? How long do we stay there?" Whatever answer we give them, we'd be misleading and manipulating them. They'd be confined to whatever thinking we drill into their minds. If we say, "there isn't a hell," they'd be manipulated by the idea of hell not existing. If we say we can't answer the question, they'll find someone else to answer it. Sooner or later they'll find who someone does answer the question and they'd be brainwashed and manipulated by what they're told.

Jesus' response was not to say hell is this big or this small, this long or this short, this wide or this deep, but to use metaphors and similes -- that heaven is like this, hell is like that -- and if we understand what he was saying then we're hunky dory.

Jesus affirms that there is a so-called "hell," but doesn't define it lest we're manipulated by the definition.

I guess we do eventually need to answer the question, but we need to do what Jesus did -- answer in metaphors and similes, or just share your personal experiences -- and make it something meaningful. The reason is because if we don't, they'll find someone else and the answer will probably manipulate or brainwash them -- so we save them and ourselves from that happening -- because by explaining it to others we explain it to ourselves. We help ourselves by helping others. Mutual assistance through sharing of personal beliefs and experiences. Mutual guidance.

In which case I hope this view of mine was a constructive contribution.

The article listed didn't give the whole story about Pearson's dramatic transformation, so here's what happened next. Read the ending (page 2), I don't think it's as bad as it seems. His previous stardom and celebrity status gone, he now sees a new purpose. Much like the conversion of Paul.

To hell and back - Dateline NBC - MSNBC.com

Yes, Jesus affirms there is a "hell," but methinks our common perception of hell may be a bit misguided.
A gospel of inclusion, (what is known as Christian universalism)-yes I think he's got it right now. And if you can judge by the "fruits of the spirit" by the rest of the story you shared, his happiness and service to the dispossessed as well as being served by the dispossessed (Jesus' life I'm told), could be an outward sign of the Truth of his new conviction. Yes I do believe in "hellish" states, but like you, I don't think they're quite what many evangelicals/fundamentalists make them out to be. I think they are as has so often been described in near death experiences such as:
Earthbound - near-death experiences

Interestingly, elsewhere on this guy's fascinating website he compiled a summary of reported near death experiences as to content and discovered it seemed to be that only self-described Christians ever had "hellish" experiences as oppsed to non-Christians whatever that means.;) earl
 
tenant...n...1.One who temporarily holds or occupies property owned by another. 2.An inhabitant...from the Latin ... tenere..to hold.

tenet...n...1. a fundamental principle of dogma...from the Latin tenere...to hold

source..The American Heritage Dictionary, 1983

There appears to be no word "tennant". It is curious that both of the words "tenet" and "tenant" etmiologically descend from the same Latin root, and that both seem to imply temporariy conditions and not a state of permanent ownership. To hold anything implies that this state or condition is temporary and that it need be eventually "let go of" so that it may revert to its original state of being and possession.

Thus we see that precision of language and its meanings is critical to the viability of any ideological argument regarding the "truth" of the term under consideration.

I would also suggest that the terms "heaven" and "hell" are relative abstractions, and as such only relate to a person's state of being to the extent of that person's beliefs in the concepts. Although I seem to remember being imbedded within both abstract conditions at differing times in the past.

flow....;)
 
Well Flow I had been tempted in my original response to Q to tease him a tad re his use of tennant (tenant) by indicating that perhaps I could agree partially with the notion of hell being a tenant of Christianity-a temporary place-holder given the link I gave to near death research suggesting that the insights some NDE'rs have had into hellish states implies they are not "eternal" states, (nor based on some sort of external judgment).:D earl
 
Tao...Up the Queen me bucko !
Aye to the lager thingy !
Heaven and hell are only a few swigs away...eh ?

Earl...Here's to temporariness (I'm quite sure that's not a word) !

Q...welcome back...we all missed you !

flow....:p
 
Indeed Earl. Jesus talks more about hell, then He does about heaven...and what He says is "Don't go there"...



this isnt true, he talks mostly about having a relationship with his father, and the kingdom of heaven.....
 
The notion of hell can be quite political. But what do we define as hell? It is, obviously "a horrible place." I think asserting that "hell" exists can be just as misleading as saying "hell" doesn't exist, especially if we give people a definition of hell. Hell may "exist" in terms of one definition, but may be non-existent according to another definition.

Jesus in the New Testament seems to have resorted to giving depictions of "hell" rather than actually defining what it was, as that would have set limits and boundaries on the meaning of hell -- causing people to be "manipulated" with regards to different definitions of hell. He preferred to say things like, "the kingdom of heaven is like ........"

Hell is a label. Take a string of concepts of "horrible places" from the New Testament that we do not want as a destination. These "horrible places" could be called anything from "notorious fast-food McDonalds" to "Jimmy Barne's naughty playground." We could just as well call them "hell" by tradition.:D

Jesus' message seems to have been intended as something simple, but rather hard to do: hold fast to the things that are important, don't be manipulated by rules, by propaganda, popular culture and popular ideas. God wants a relationship with you, but at the same time we have to figure out what's important in our lives.

If I was going to talk about "hell," I would prefer not to use the word "hell" (I'm just using it now to make a point). Jesus didn't, at least not that much. In one sense there is such thing as a "hell" and in another sense there isn't. It's like saying there is a root to all evil in the world but you can't quite put your finger on where all this evil is coming from. According to one definition, that source of evil may be George W. Bush and according to another it may be obesity and heart disease and bad diets.

If we say, "there is a hell," people are likely to then ask, "ok, so what is hell? What happens to people in hell? How long do we stay there?" Whatever answer we give them, we'd be misleading and manipulating them. They'd be confined to whatever thinking we drill into their minds. If we say, "there isn't a hell," they'd be manipulated by the idea of hell not existing. If we say we can't answer the question, they'll find someone else to answer it. Sooner or later they'll find who someone does answer the question and they'd be brainwashed and manipulated by what they're told.

Jesus' response was not to say hell is this big or this small, this long or this short, this wide or this deep, but to use metaphors and similes -- that heaven is like this, hell is like that -- and if we understand what he was saying then we're hunky dory.

Jesus affirms that there is a so-called "hell," but doesn't define it lest we're manipulated by the definition.

I guess we do eventually need to answer the question, but we need to do what Jesus did -- answer in metaphors and similes, or just share your personal experiences -- and make it something meaningful. The reason is because if we don't, they'll find someone else and the answer will probably manipulate or brainwash them -- so we save them and ourselves from that happening -- because by explaining it to others we explain it to ourselves. We help ourselves by helping others. Mutual assistance through sharing of personal beliefs and experiences. Mutual guidance.

In which case I hope this view of mine was a constructive contribution.

The article listed didn't give the whole story about Pearson's dramatic transformation, so here's what happened next. Read the ending (page 2), I don't think it's as bad as it seems. His previous stardom and celebrity status gone, he now sees a new purpose. Much like the conversion of Paul.

To hell and back - Dateline NBC - MSNBC.com

Yes, Jesus affirms there is a "hell," but methinks our common perception of hell may be a bit misguided.
Just saw this interivew/story replayed on MSNBC last night. Hearing him telling his story for which this is the transcript was even more affecting, particularly when they also had interviews with his former evangelical brethren speaking of "loving him yet he's going to hell.":rolleyes: His story of what he went through, including how all of his "Christian", close friends, turned their backs on him after he stopped preaching the gospel of judgment/condemnation was both a sad testiment to that evangelical view and a sad commentary on what behavior is truly "spiritual/religous." Discovered the new church he has in Tulsa that they mentioned in their piece has a website that also accesses his audio "preaching" for those that might want to hear him for themselves:

New Dimensions - The Friendliest, Trendiest, Most Radically Inclusive Worship Experience!

take care all in the true name of Christ.;) earl
 
Namaste Earl, yeah he lost that flock and will surely gain another. Some folks grow over time, appears he is one of them.
Indeed Earl. Jesus talks more about hell, then He does about heaven...and what He says is "Don't go there"...
this isnt true, he talks mostly about having a relationship with his father, and the kingdom of heaven.....
I think the actual stat for Jesus is closer to six times as much heaven talk as hell talk! Love and forgiveness are higher then condemnation as well... Peace more than violence or retribution, someday we may consider following this guys path, he had some good ideas! The wonder of the computer... we no longer have to rely on someone elses stats or have our clerks and scribes sit and count for hours on end...simple word searches will do. However even the word search can be distorted as sometimes the essence of the subject is brought up without the actual word. Despite this, the old fire and brimstone thought has been put to bed.

Hell is used 54 times in the KJV Bible , 15 times in the gospels.
Heaven is used 582 in the KJV Bible, 143 times in the gospels.

Always interesting to me how the Jews have not the hell afterlife we Christians hold so dear, yet it is their writings, their books we use to prove it so...
 
earl said:
Yes I do believe in "hellish" states, but like you, I don't think they're quite what many evangelicals/fundamentalists make them out to be. I think they are as has so often been described in near death experiences such as:
Earthbound - near-death experiences

Interesting quote on that website:

Near-death accounts show that the hell realms in the spirit world are actually the spiritual/mental manifestations of spiritual conditions that humans create within themselves while on earth.

It sorta give new light to the story of the rich man and Lazarus. However, I still think that these "hellish" experiences are indicative of the spiritual condition person in relationship (or lack thereof) with God, or at least the spiritual principles of love that God has set forth. Regardless of whether hell exists on a physical level, the implication is that there is something wrong with the spiritual state of that person which somehow or another needs to be rectified. What you sow is what you are going to reap.
 
Loads of questions in my mind here from a Christian told
if you do/dont do that your going to hell
--- Aww but your saved and no-one shall pluck you out of His hand its called grace my friend
--- wait a minute buddy you live like that your name could be blotted out of the lambs book of life
--- which wont matter anyway Christ will establish his kingdom here on earth and heaven will decend because the wicked will never inherit the earth
--- But we will be caught up in the clouds to meet him and so we shall ever be with the Lord amen.

*pffts in Disgust*

Life and the eternity of it are not like a Jigsaw puzzle where you look at t picture and know what the outcome is before you even start. If the Lord really wanted us to know exactly how it will all work in the future after death it would not be all shrouded in the mystery.

Despite how you believe Christ is the answer to salvation.

This guy studied and found what to him is a truth. Cheers for him for not standing behind a pulpit teaching something he doesnt believe with all his heart... The Bible is for no mans pirvate interpertaion and yet so many have done just that and then lead a million people to believe what they have wrong.
I dont wanna believe my dad is watching down over me like a little angel I dont wanna believe that his dad who drank beat his wife and kids and said there was no God till his dieing day is being toasted like a marshmellow over a campfire.
What I choose to believe is this God has it worked out and when I Die I trust Him to be fair and merciful and longsuffering and full of grace.

SO I work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. :)
 
Namaste Basstian,

I'd like to stand in the back of the room and do my BB impersonation banging my staff on the floor in applause while participating in the general murmur.

"Here...here"
 
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