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Judi's avatar

For fellow Christians. How would your life or behavior change if there were no hell after death?

Asked by Judi (39865points) November 27th, 2011 from iPhone

Yes, I’ve read Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins,” and have been studying it a bit lately. I didn’t come to faith out of fear of hell, I came to faith out of gratitude of Grace. I don’t really think my behavior or worship would change much if there were no hell. How about you?
Just because this is in social it does not mean that mean or rude coments about people of faith are acceptable. It really is a question intended for answers from the perspective of faith.

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15 Answers

Luiveton's avatar

I’d sin like a motherfucker very bad person. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

Facade's avatar

My life and behavior aren’t based upon avoiding hell, so nothing would change.

digitalimpression's avatar

As @Facade said, my behavior has nothing to do with the avoidance of hell.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Judi A point of clarification: you are asking what if there were no Hell, but still a Heaven? That is what I understand Pastor Bell to be suggesting (though not necessarily endorsing) in Love Wins, but I wanted to make sure we are on the same page.

If so, may I answer as a former Christian and a former pastor? Please feel free to say “no.” I promise not to be offended, and I will say no more if you wish to restrict the question only to current Christians.

snowberry's avatar

My life was hell before I became a Christian. I’ve never been able to identify with the idea of “get saved so you won’t go to Hell”, or to get into heaven for that matter. I also never witness to someone in that manner. I need the power of God right now, all the time and every day in my life, and that’s why I became a Christian.

digitalimpression's avatar

The benevolent things taught in the bible are so dramatically positive while we’re still on this earth that it isn’t necessary to achieve or avoid anything beyond that. (even if you’re not a Christian). As a matter of fact, people of non-faith teach biblical things all the time without even knowing it.

everephebe's avatar

I was raised in a Christian religion that didn’t believe in hell. That said I have often imagined that hell would stop being so bad after the first few centuries, and you’d come to enjoy it. After all you have an eternity to get used to all that torture and such. You know after the novelty of endless pain wore off.

Uggg! Where is Mephistopheles? He flays my skin sooo much better than you do Beelzebub! Honestly, do you take no pride in your work!?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Anyone who becomes a christian ( or who stays a christian ) because they’re afraid of hell is, in my opinion, not a Christian at all. Christianity is all about being and doing: being a child of God, and doing those things that we are called to do, such as loving God and loving our neighbors. If we really devote ourselves to doing those things we won’t have time to worry about things like hell and the devil.

TheIntern55's avatar

Nothing would change. Heavan would still exsist and I’m sure we would still be judged for our actions. The only difference would be that it was heavan or nothing.

smilingheart1's avatar

Not much. Christians love because of being born into the Kingdom of Love and we do not have to worry about “fire insurance”

Jude's avatar

I probably wouldn’t be here.

Judi's avatar

@Jude, I’m confused. What does that mean?

Jude's avatar

During a dark time in my past, I thought about doing myself in. Being a practicing Catholic at the time, I was afraid of the idea of purgatory. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t go ahead with it.

submariner's avatar

A universe in which everyone ends up the same, whether the end be oblivion or paradise, is a universe that seems unjust to me. In the face of all the horrible suffering and cruelty in this world, the only ways I’ve been able to avoid despair is (a) believe that there is more to existence than can be observed in this world (a “bigger picture”), or (b) to focus on whether my own life is worth living, and not pass judgements about whether the sufferings that others endure renders their existence worse than nonexistence. The trouble with (b) is that it makes me care less about others, so that leads me to back to (a). An afterlife in which people reap what they sow is consistent with (a); one in which all end up the same is not.

Yes, Christians are supposed to act out of love, not fear of Hell or desire to see sinners punished. So why does it matter to me whether the universe is just or not? Well, I applaud those of you who act solely out of love for God and neighbor, but I often fail to meet this ideal. Still, I think it is an ideal worth striving for. But I’m not sure I would think it was worth striving for if the universe were fundamentally unjust. And a universe in which the one who degrades and exploits others, the one who is the victim of degradation and exploitation, the one who sacrifices his/her life to stop those crimes, and the one who could prevent those crimes but stands idly by all end up enjoying the same paradise (or just feeding the worms) seems unjust to me. I might not be the one who victimized others if I lost my belief in Hell, but I might very well be the one who was content to sit on the couch and let the world burn as long as I had my 3 squares, a roof over my head, and batteries in my remote control. People are starving in Somalia or being gunned down in Syria? Oh well, we’ll all be together in Heaven soon enough, and in the meantime I’ll stop watching those depressing news shows.

Here’s another angle. Some understand Hell to be the permanent separation from God. If we have the power to make that choice, then our freedom has a meaning that it doesn’t have if we all end up united with God no matter what we do.

And what Jude said goes for me, too, except that I thought suicide was a sin that was too grave to be cleansed in purgatory.

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