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Friday, June 10, 2011


Nancy D.

No doubt, one bad of a hell argument.

Nancy D.

Thanks for pointing out there is "a bright side " to the existence of hell.

peter l

Amazing how many people do not believe in the existance of Hell,sorry,do not want to believe in Hell's existence.I call these people the "Loophole" finders.They use the Bible like solicitors trying to get themselves or their clients of with all moral charges by finding these loopholes to comfort or console themselves.

Classic loophole finders will say there is no Hell because the Bible has been misinterprated or the passages that refer to Hell have been forgeries,i have seen a lot of people say these things.What they dont realise is that God will not be asking them to take a lie detector test to prove his case.As for Hell being used for a marketing tool,one does have to admire the ingenuity of the loophole finder to make his or her case, Perry Mason,eat your heart out.The Church does not need marketing tools.

BTW,the last paragraph of your post Carl,is a very interesting view on the concept of Hell,i never thought of it like that before,excellent.

peter l

That was some crushing lol.


I completely agree that the New Testament is every bit as fraught with terror and horror as the Old. Slavery is endorsed in both the Old and New Testament as well. Which always leads me to wonder why anyone would buy any of it.

peter l

@Alex........I think slavery in the Old and New Testaments are very different to the slavery we see a few centuries ago,especially regarding black Africans.Regarding "slavery" in the Bible, it was quite common those days to hire or be hired out to a landowner for specified period of time and to be paid a wage.Most people were willing participants in this transaction,seeing that being hired out was the only means for an income in those days.

By your logic,anyone who is in employment,even today could be considered a slave.

Charles E Flynn

If you would like to read an explanation of why the New Testament does not condemn slavery, try Sarah Ruden's book "Paul Among the People." She makes it clear that merely condemning slavery would have been an exercise in futility. The entire ancient culture of relentless brutality had to go, and that is what Jesus and Paul helped to bring about.


I completely agree that the New Testament is every bit as fraught with terror and horror as the Old. Slavery is endorsed in both the Old and New Testament as well. Which always leads me to wonder why anyone would buy any of it.

Actually Alex, if you want to read about terror and horror, read almost any history about any period, particularly the twentieth century. Leaving aside the Bible entirely the track record of history leads me to wonder if the terror and horror are a human problem.

Indeed, it would seem that if there were a God as the Jews and the Christians claim, he either doesn't care enough to either force humanity to comply and act morally or totally eradicate them; or he would rather allow them the free will to actually be moral of their own volition. Hmmmm...

I know what the Catholics say about that. In fact, they even suggest that God has entered the world expressly for the purpose of letting humanity know what is right and what is wrong, lay out the facts of the case as it were, and not only that, but to point out the ultimate result of either course. Pretty generous of him wouldn't you say? Letting us decide like that.

But it wouldn't have been really truthful and fair if he didn't give us the whole truth, as in both heaven and hell, now would it?

James Kirk Wall

This is an interesting article to debate. An argument that the god of the New Testament is just as bad and awful as the god in the Old Testament doesn’t do Catholicism any favors. After all, in the Book of Numbers Chapter 31, the god of the Old Testament orders Moses to go to war against the Midianites in which Moses orders the killing of every man, women and child, except the young girls who are still virgins, they are given to the soldiers. And after the slaughter of this people (so much for thou shall not kill) god starts to micromanage where all the stolen booty should go. And the god of the New Testament is no better than this? Oh, and if I’m miss-representing anything in the Book of Numbers, please correct me. It’ll be interesting to see how this is somehow justified as the acts of a loving god, the kind we want in charge of “cosmic justice.”
As for Jesus preaching tolerance, I will provide some quotes to backup my statement.
“Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.”
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law of the prophets.”
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured of you.”
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Scott Hendrickson

No comment but a question. I would like to buy a Catholic catechism, and would like your recommendation. I saw several on amazon and am confused as to which would be best for me. I am an evangelical. I read your background and am curious if you were a Church of Christ evangelical.

By the way, Wall's analysis of Numbers is way off. God choosing the means and methods of his punishment of a morally bankrupt people and culture is of course horrifying to atheists, as it implies that God might put the atheist in the same boat as the Canaannites. Also, the support for tolerance is lacking in the quotes provided. Example letting prostitutes in but not pharisees is not tolerant. Not forgiving those who dont forgive is not tolerant. The implication that the unmerciful will not receive mercy is not tolerant. Judging people by their own standards is not tolerant. Tolerance would be applying no judgement. Finally, if treating people they way you want to be treated summarizes the law and prophets, then it is a command, not a suggestion (also not tolerant), and I assume there is probably some punishment associated with not treating people in that way, and punishing people is not tolerant.

Sorry, I guess there was a comment after all.

Thanks again about the catechism.

Scott H

Carl E. Olson

Thanks, Scott, for the note and question. The Catechism is The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which is the first "universal" catechism issued (if I'm not mistaken) since the Catechism of the Council of Trent. There is also an U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is solid, but the CCC is the best, in my opinion. If you have other questions, please let me know ([email protected]).

M. Jordan Lichens

I love that people always insist that there is no such thing as Hell in Eastern Religions. Such insistence usually reveals ignorance and an idealization of exotic faiths, which might also explain why such people cannot accept that the Dalai Lama has controversial beliefs about gay marriage and abortion.

The one example I can think of from an Eastern religion is from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, occurring on the second day in part II. "The aggregate of thy principle of consciousness, being in it's pure form -- which is the Mirror-like Wisdom -- will shine as a bright, radiant white light, from the heart of Vajra-Sattva, the Father-Mother, with such dazzling brilliancy and transparency that thou wilt scarcely be able to look at it, [and] will strike against thee. And a dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell will shine alongside the light of the Mirror-like Wisdom and will [also] strike against thee."

From the same text: "Be not fond of the dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell. That is the path which openeth out to receive thee because of the power of accumulated evil karma from violent anger. If thou be attracted by it, thou wilt fall into the Hell-Worlds; and, falling therein, thou wilt have to endure unbearable misery, whence there is not certain time of getting out."

The Hell of Tibetan thought would have been a perfect image for Dante. Granted, however, Hell (Naraka) in this context is not necessarily a permanent place. Also, see Chinese mythology.

I'm not saying that Hell is validated just because it is in Eastern faiths. However, I get tired of people taking beautiful and complex religious traditions that are among the oldest faith traditions in the world and turning them into some sort of pop psychology. Maybe Americans just can't do religion and philosophy.


peter I you are referring to bondservants or indentured servitude. The bible endorses both indentured servitude and slavery. And biblical indentured servitude differed in really only one way and that was that the bondservant could hope to see freedom when his contract was up. But he still lived and died at the pleasure of his lord while he was in service to him and could be beaten for a very large range of infractions. So let's not be silly and pretend there was no difference between indentured servitude and modern employment.

James Kirk Wall

"God choosing the means and methods of his punishment of a morally bankrupt people and culture is of course horrifying to atheists."

I would think slaughtering children would be horrifying to anyone, not just atheists.


Old Testament written by illiterate Cowherds of Middle East which does not suit European way of life. Hence Roman Emperor Constantino & his associates created New Testament, also copying some Eastern Religion. If educated present generation follow this thrash is ignorance at helm.


Yash, speaking of ignorance, I just don't know where to start except to say that I think you're a troll that is only out to get a reaction. Hmm, based off what I just typed, that's me!

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