Hell, and Why We Don’t Like It Either

Many people outside of organized religion can at least understand and even like the idea of a god and a heaven.  They may not agree on the details, but the general idea is fairly universal.

I’m not sure why the idea of an opposing bad force (devil/hell) is so radical then.  

Look at any movie, book, even song- there’s almost always some conflict.  It’s a natural way of life. But people outside of religion (and quite a bit within it, come to think of it), do not like talking about hell.

There is a really basic answer to this- it sucks.  No one wants to think of an evil force that could randomly be at work within their life.  No one wants to imagine a miserable eternity- life itself can hurt so damn bad that the idea of anything worse, lasting even longer, is just a shitty shitty thing to ponder.

Well, I want to let out a big secret here- Christians don’t like hell either.

I think when people hear the words Christianity+hell they automatically think of Westboro Baptist Church style hatred being spewed.  This is really, really not the case the majority of the time.

Yes, some (so-called) Christians use “You’re going to hell!” like it’s going out of style.  They seem so self-righteous and judgmental and downright hateful- like they get pleasure from the idea of your suffering.  And that’s absolutely not okay.  But those people are the minority in my opinion- it’s just unfortunately a case where the squeaky wheel gets the grease (or in this case, the attention).
Today, I ask you to please, please put those people out of your mind.  Instead, think about it from this side:

As a Christian, I believe in God.  I believe that people are inherently sinful, and can never measure up to that God.  The wonderful, amazing thing about Christianity is that this has been taken care of by Christ sacrificing himself.  These are the basic foundations of my Christianity.  Unfortunately, with the belief that Christ is the only way to heaven…it follows that people who don’t believe in Christ don’t go to heaven.

And let me tell you, that frickin’ blows.  It is not a good, pleasing feeling (for most of us) to know that people you love are going to miss on what you truly believe is the best thing in life, both this physical one and an eternal spiritual one.  It blows so much that it’s been enough to shake the faith of believers- because faith is hard at times.  My life would be so much easier if I really didn’t feel this way and could just say “Sure, do whatever you want, nothing really matters except your opinion!”

I mean, it would also be much more lonely and less fulfilling, but it would certainly be much easier at times.

So when most Christians say “That isn’t right,” “that’s sinful behavior,” or “you’re going to hell,” it’s not easy for us to say.  We aren’t saying it because it makes us happy.  We’re saying it because we care.  We are saying it because we truly, from the bottom of our hearts, hurt to see you doing something that we believe is detrimental to your life.  We typically know that we are risking you going off on us, and we are doing it anyway because we are hoping with all we have that you might turn towards something that is better for you.  We are saying it because it’s heartbreaking to see you suffer and we believe that there is a Savior who can help soothe that pain better than anyone or anything on earth.

I do not believe in scaring people into Christianity.  I don’t think that trying to do that produces authentic or truly saved believers.  But I do think it’s unfair, both to believers and nonbelievers who may be interested in an open, well-rounded conversation, that the mention of this part of faith automatically puts so many walls up.  I just hope that if this comes up in the future, you would
think about it from the other side and understand how hard of a topic it is on this side of the fence too.

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