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Featured David Bentley Hart on Hell

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by PuerAzaelis, Mar 10, 2021.

  1. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    For a good number of Christians, hell isn’t just a tragic shadow cast across one of an otherwise ravishing vista’s remoter corners; rather, it’s one of the landscape’s most conspicuous and delectable details.

    I know whereof I speak. I’ve published many books, often willfully provocative, and have vexed my share of critics. But only recently, in releasing a book challenging the historical validity, biblical origins, philosophical cogency and moral sanity of the standard Christian teaching on the matter of eternal damnation, have I ever inspired reactions so truculent, uninhibited and (frankly) demented.


    Opinion | Why Do People Believe in Hell? (Published 2020)

    What do we think about this?
     
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  2. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    "We think" he disagrees with Jesus regarding Gehenna in Matthew 5:22, 18:8, 9, 25:41; Mark 9:43, 48; Luke 12:5, where the fire is not quenched and never goes out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  3. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    Yes how does he deal with those hard sayings passages? I have not yet read his universalism book.
     
  4. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    For me, the scriptures are more ambiguous on this subject than has traditionally been claimed. However, there are historical exceptions, particularly among early Greek speaking Christians.

    What is alarming is that some Christians seem to take delight in the future prospect that some will endure unending torment. One would expect that any mention of hell would be coupled with great sadness and a constant prayer that all would be saved. I'm sure some meet that condition, but surprisingly some don't. At any rate, may God's wish that all be saved be fulfilled.
     
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  5. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    I think DBH makes this same point in teh NYT article.

    Did Karl Barth say something like: hell is eternal but it is valid to hope that it is empty?
     
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  6. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    And I won't be. . .not interested in anything attempting to show why the Word of God written is not true. . .Holy Spirit wrought faith is too precious to treat that way. . .and the mind of man is no match for clever presentation and deception of "Hath God said?"
     
  7. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    Something that occurred to me recently was that for a human soul a trillion years is so close to infinity as makes no difference.

    In other words even though "aionos" may not mean literal infinite duration, a punishment of a trillion years is still a very, very, very, verrrrry long time.
     
  8. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    I've heard that Barth quote many times. I'm in a long term project of reading his set on dogmatics, and have an eye out for it.
     
  9. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    I interpret that to mean an expression of agreement with (rather than the usual objection to) God's decrees, because
    everything God does is all-wise and just (Isaiah 40:23-14; Psalm 89:14), as well as
    what is best and right (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 119:68; Daniel 4:37).

    Trust him and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
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  10. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Uh-huh. . .
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
  11. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    My opinion, but I think the misinterpretation of that word is why some Greek speaking Christians understood hell to be remedial and an undetermined period of time (age) instead of eternal as the Latin speaking church seems to have taken it.
     
  12. Lazarus Short

    Lazarus Short Well-Known Member

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    Having been exposed to the doctrines of eternal damnation, annihilation and universalism, I decided some years ago to find an answer. I cracked an ordinary KJV at Genesis 1:1 and studied every book, chapter and verse...to the end. I chased down the origin of the word "hell" and also of the concept/history of it. It took about two years.

    My answer? That "Hell" is a 404 (not found). I could find but little to support annihilation, and none at all for eternal damnation. A full explanation would require a reading of my notes which have grown into a 240+ page book.

    I did (sort of) find hell - in Norse mythology. The pagan Norse believed in a goddess/ogress named Hel, who ruled over her afterlife realm of "Helheim" or House of Hel. They supposed that if you did not rate Valhalla, you spent eternity there. So then, "Hel" is pagan...and "Hell" is Christian orthodoxy. Strange, indeed.
     
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  13. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    We're still left with Jesus' own use of Gehenna (the perpetually burning city dump south of Jerusalem) in Matthew 5:22, 18:8, 9, 25:41; Mark 9:43, 48; Luke 12:5, where the fire is not quenched and never goes out.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  14. a-lily-in-the-valley

    a-lily-in-the-valley Active Member

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    This stood out to me - An old monk on Mount Athos in Greece once told me that people rejoice in the thought of hell to the precise degree that they harbor hell within themselves. By which he meant, I believe, that heaven and hell alike are both within us all, in varying degrees, and that, for some, the idea of hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes — the hope of being proved right when so many were wrong, of being admired when so many are despised, of being envied when so many have been scorned.

    It reminded me of hearing someone preach about Noah, saying that before the flood, people were mocking Noah and saying that the Ark was “ugly” before they all got swept away. I don’t think there’s anything in either scripture or even the general traditional telling of the story to say that people were calling the Ark “ugly” but she said it with such zeal that it couldn’t have come out of nowhere, and I wonder if it was based on her own personal experiences with people mocking her faith. And in that, if there would be some general identification between those people and the ones Noah knew.

    For myself, I also have to stop myself when I get upset with people, to remember that I don’t actually really want them to be punished, that I really just want things to get better. But what comes up in me, the anger and latent traumatic response, is that hell in my own heart that needs healing, and that’s the part that wants punishment rather than forgiveness and consequences for the bad rather than reparation into good.

    I can’t theologically argue about hell because that isn’t what God called me to do but as a reflective piece where we have to search out those “hellish” and unforgiving parts of our own hearts we should be vigilant not to fall into that condemnation.

    God’s justice is perfect but we, humans, all fall short of His glory.
     
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  15. Lazarus Short

    Lazarus Short Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that Jesus was speaking of the city dump, not the Hell of Dante, Milton and Mary K Baxter. He was simply telling His listeners that it was better to be born (enter life) blind or missing a limb than to live such a life that you ended up executed for some crime and be denied a decent burial, to have your dead body tossed into the dump instead. None of the four words rendered as "hell" in the KJV mean anything like the common idea of Hell, and two of those words come to us from pagan Greek mythology: hades and tartarus.
     
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  16. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    Or alternatively is the "fire of the Age".
     
  17. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    Looks interesting but need more time to review it.
     
  18. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Yes, and I feel with reasonable certainty that he was not warning his listeners of the city dump outside Jerusalem.

    Instead, he would be using its perpetually burning state (for the purpose of site sanitation) as a figure in warning of that "fire which is not quenched and worm that does not die" in the consequences of sin (Mark 9:43-48).
    That is seriously lame. . .absurd. . .uninformed. . .not to mention adding what is nowhere stated or indicated.

    Causing a little one (Mark 9:36-37) to sin (Mark 9:42) does not equate to a crime subject to capital punishment.
    The Greek in Matthew 5:22, 18:8, 9, 25:41; Mark 9:43, 48; Luke 12:5 is Gehenna.

    Let's not wrestle the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).
    Irrelevant. . .like capital punishment for causing a little one to sin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
  19. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    However, that is not in the Greek text of Mark 9:43-4,

    or Matthew 5:22, 18:8, 9, 25:41; Luke 12:5.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
  20. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    Plenty of fires are "inextinguishable" and "not quenched" yet are not of infinite duration. After all the garbage dump in the Vale of Hinnom was not of infinite duration either, since it no longer exists.
     
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