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Unorthodox Doctrinal Discussion orthodox and unorthodox Christians only - A forum to discuss/debate theological doctrines not accepted by mainstream evangelical Christianity (eg. full preterism, unitarianism).

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  #1  
Unread 27th April 2009, 02:49 AM
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Universalism

Just wanting to kickstart another discussion of universalism, as controversial as it is.

I'm sympathetic to the movement myself, but not enough to count myself among their number (yet, perhaps). I do find it practically impossible to be joyful if I include the doctrine of hell in my theology. I find it equally impossible to be melancholy if I remove the doctrine of hell in my theology.

I'm currently digging around some of the early (pre-Augustine) church fathers who did not support a doctrine of hell; I'm also looking in to Carlton Pearson's book 'The Gospel of Inclusion'.

Let's talk.
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  #2  
Unread 27th April 2009, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tissue View Post
I do find it practically impossible to be joyful if I include the doctrine of hell in my theology.
That's a hell of a statement.

Let's see - because I have to die life is therefore one long trudge to the grave. If life is nothing more than a slow and painful decent into yet more pain and suffering - what the hell am I living for? Therefore life is hell.

But wait - there's more. If there is no hell life is apparently worth living - it's fun. Huh! What suddenly changed? Oh, life becomes a party once you remove hell from the equation.

I look around me and I see it isn't so. Quite frankly if I did not believe in God I would be living in a stupefying mist of drugs and alcohol - permanently anesthetized against the horrors of what this world offers.

The theology of a hell sounds a whole lot better choice.

When you have finished talking you will still have to make some decisions. You might not like the theology of hell but it sure beats any other alternative.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 04:22 AM
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I do not share the same reaction that you do, it seems. This life sucks; that much is certainly true. Yet, while I can be assured of my own salvation, I wonder about the people who will not be saved, who will be eternally tormented. How can I be happy if, caring for these people, they burn while I am in heaven? Forever, there will be pain and suffering. Forever, there will be a burning abyss containing some of my dear friends.

A denial of the existence of hell doesn't necessarily lead to a hippie drug-fest.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tissue View Post
How can I be happy if, caring for these people, they burn while I am in heaven?
You don't have to go to hell to live in hell. I see lots of people living in hell but they believe its a party.

What I'm hearing you saying is that you can't cop the idea of hell if lots of people are going to end up there, particularly people you knew and cared for. Reasonable sentiments indeed. But all this achieves is to bring you back to the age old question - why does God allow suffering anyway? Constructing a theology to get around this question is cleaver but hardly deals with the issue as you so plainly make clear.

There is a difference been universalism and universalist. Universalism refers to the concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is applicable to all people. A universalist is someone who believes that God will eventually save everyone I'm guessing you fall into the later category - sorry to box you in like that.

Now the slippery slope begins because in the not too distant future you will have to come to terms with the idea that because there is no hell, there is therefore no judgement day, therefore we are all going to the big party in the sky regardless of our faith and beliefs and therefore - ready for it? - Jesus' death means nothing. Stupid man! Didn't he know we were all saved anyway! Obvious he was no son of God.

That's where new age thinking wrapped up in a nice sounding theology leads us - Jesus and the cross mean nothing - it was all a tragic mistake.

Good luck with the talkfest. When its over please come back to the Church.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wayseer View Post
Now the slippery slope begins because in the not too distant future you will have to come to terms with the idea that because there is no hell, there is therefore no judgement day, therefore we are all going to the big party in the sky regardless of our faith and beliefs and therefore - ready for it? - Jesus' death means nothing. Stupid man! Didn't he know we were all saved anyway! Obvious he was no son of God.
Universal Reconciliation, as I understand it, still requires the sacrifice of Jesus for all to be saved.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tissue View Post
Just wanting to kickstart another discussion of universalism, as controversial as it is.

I'm sympathetic to the movement myself, but not enough to count myself among their number (yet, perhaps). I do find it practically impossible to be joyful if I include the doctrine of hell in my theology. I find it equally impossible to be melancholy if I remove the doctrine of hell in my theology.

I'm currently digging around some of the early (pre-Augustine) church fathers who did not support a doctrine of hell; I'm also looking in to Carlton Pearson's book 'The Gospel of Inclusion'.

Let's talk.
Is your objection to 'hell' an objection to a supposed eternity of torment, or to their being any alternative to being part of God's Kingdom?

One can have a view that accepts that not all will allow themselves to be transformed and reconcilled and thereby become part of the Kingdom of God, without those people necessarly being eternal torment.

One tentative suggestion I've read is that we tend to become like that which we worship. Those who continue in idolatory in any form and refuse to turn ultimately to God become more and more like that which they idolise, and less and less like God, until they are no longer in any sense "in the image of God". At that point they are, quite literally, no longer human.
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  #7  
Unread 27th April 2009, 08:26 AM
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I cannot conceive of any sin, any crime, that warrants an eternity of unrelieved suffering as a just and proportionate punishment. What I can conceive of, and seems more appropriate, is an eternity of regret on being confronted with the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. Regret for misdeeds done, and opportunities missed, and love withheld. But all that relieved by the riches of heaven; all the virtues we own, and others own, and God owns, all the above swept up into an ecstasy of appreciation, part pleasure, part sorrow, completely intense, totally absorbing. And, I think, we need deny no-one this picture of the afterlife, not on any grounds, for it is sufficiently inclusive to allow a place for all within its hierarchies of joy and pain.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind.
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Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 27th April 2009 at 11:06 AM.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 09:00 AM
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I see hell as completely necessary, but not out of some desire to see those I disagree with suffer for eternity. No, hell is necessary for the existence of free will. What kind of god would force a soul that wanted nothing to do with him to exist in his presence for all eternity? That would most certainly be wrong.
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Unread 27th April 2009, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post
What kind of god would force a soul that wanted nothing to do with him to exist in his presence for all eternity?
A just God. A redeeming God. His presence is reward for those that love Him (of whatever faith), and punishment for those that hate Him, and the ideals of goodness, truth, righteousness, kindness and justice He represents. None, however, can be beyond salvation, in this life, or the next, or else God would have no power, there.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind.
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Philosophy is questions that may never be answered: Religion is answers that may never be questioned.
Anon, quoted in 'Breaking the Spell', by Daniel Dennet.

Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 27th April 2009 at 09:25 AM.
  #10  
Unread 27th April 2009, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
A just God. A redeeming God. His presence is reward for those that love Him (of whatever faith), and punishment for those that hate Him, and the ideals of goodness, truth, righteousness, kindness and justice He represents. None, however, can be beyond salvation, in this life, or the next, or else God would have no power, there.

Best wishes, 2ndRateMind.
I do not mean to suggest that some are beyond salvation, for you are right, that would be a limit on God's power. But the fact remains one would need to desire to be in God's presence.
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