Am I really a Christian? Fighting my battle with myself Part 4
The trouble with Christianity is… The God who sends people to hell
NB NB NB – I have NO qualification whatsoever to write this piece, it is pure commentary and opinion.
So this was the final talk on the book written by Tim, presented by the chilled out pastor. I have to be open and honest here, I was quite anxious about going to this talk because I knew God would be prompting me to say something. This was not a good feeling as my gut and research and belief in my Awesome and All-Powerful God, the Ultimate Authority and Presence and Being of LOVE, have taken me to a space where I do not believe in ‘eternal’ torture. I do not see this as an option at all. Purely because I believe that God has ‘won’ and that God never leaves anyone behind, so if even ONE soul was going to be ‘sent’ to/ ‘choose’ ‘eternal torment’, then God would have ‘lost’ and nothing in any scripture or any promise or anything I associate with My Lord could be true.
Hence I knew I was walking into a Christian environment where they believe in hell and they believe that there is a devil and an evil who could ‘win’. Ludicrous to me. He cannot ‘win’ anything, the only factor is time and how long it takes a soul to move to love. So maybe ‘evil’ or ‘the devil’ is just trying to give people less time in ‘heaven’. As Neale Donald Walsch puts it: “there is an experience of the soul so unhappy, so incomplete, so less than whole, so ‘separated’ from God’s greatest joy, that to your soul this would ‘be’ hell.” But… God “does not send you there, nor does He cause the experience to be visited upon you. You, yourself, create the experience, whenever and however you separate your Self from you ‘own’ highest thought about you. You, yourself, create the experience, whenever you deny your Self; whenever you reject Who and What You Really Are.
Yet, even this experience is never eternal. It ‘cannot’ be, for it is not God’s plan that you shall be separated from Him forever and ever. Indeed, such a thing is an impossibility – for to achieve such an event, not only would ‘you’ have to deny Who You Are – God would have to as well. This He will never do. As long as God holds the truth about you, the truth about you shall ultimately prevail.”
Now I already know that my opinions on this topic are not in line with Christianity, as I have mentioned in previous blogs on the topic. So, in my state of anxiety at going to the talk I was woken with various strands of thoughts from about 11pm – 3am the night before. The premise for the thoughts (bearing in mind that my mantra is that God provides all I need in His perfect timing in the exact divine right order according to His will each day) was that 1) God is Love and 2) God knows all and is all. The scribbles via my bedside light and groggy state of half-asleep space looked like this (in typed form anyway):
1) God plans ahead by MILLENIA, the crucifix didn’t even exist as a form of execution when how Jesus would die was predicted by prophets decades before.
2) God knows us from before we are conceived in the womb. He formed us. He created us. Therefore anyone ending up in Hell would mean that God planned for it millennia in advance! That thought is stomach-churningly horrific!
3) If even one soul was stuck in ‘Hell’ then God would have ‘lost’ and ‘Satan’ would have ‘won’ and the whole idea of God’s Victory is a lie. ONE LOSS IS A DEVASTATION TO LOVE.
4) Unconditional LOVE! Love would NEVER tolerate ‘Hell’ forever. Pure Love would not allow eternal suffering.
5) An existence of eternal ‘Hell’ would mean that God is not all powerful and/or omnipresent because love cannot exist with knowing &/ allowing ‘eternal torture’.
6) God is EVERYTHING – the Alpha to Omega, created all and is in all, thus nothing would faze Him, because He is it all, He knows it all, and has no need to dictate power or prove anything to anyone or anything. HE IS. Full Stop. When nothing fazes you, you don’t need to punish anyone or prove anything.
7) Hell is pointless because God has NOTHING to prove.
8) God doesn’t want us to ‘choose Him out of fear’, purely because He’s a “better option” than ‘Hell’. God wants us to choose Him purely because He is Love and Love is AWESOME. LOVE drives out fear.
9) As humans we are created by God. As humans we are faulty. The creator wouldn’t punish His creation – that doesn’t make sense! The potter doesn’t see the pot break because of a faulty world and then punish it for breaking! The silversmith doesn’t see the silver tarnish because of the elements and then punish the silver! A mechanic doesn’t create a car and then punish it for breaking down.
10) For humans to say that we humans make the choice of Heaven or Hell means to say that God is not ALL-POWERFUL and we humans have more power than God.
11) God is not an exclusive club where only an elite few can subscribe to/pay subsidies to ‘get in’. God is for EVERYONE. I would never exclude a child access to my classroom, no matter what they have done, and if they realised the worth of the education they will receive in my class, they wouldn’t choose to stay outside. Eventually they would enter.
12) Jesus erased ‘Hell’ when He took on all our sin (as per Biblical teaching), ergo – GOOD HAS WON! God has won! No-one can get to the Father except through the Son, and Jesus prayed His last prayer “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. The last and ultimate prayer, we are forgiven for being morons. We cannot reduce the power, grace or glory of Jesus’s last request to His Father in Heaven.
13) Hell is FEAR and PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT ALL FEAR. Full Stop. So when you love God, when you truly love, hell cannot exist.
Looking at the ‘terrible number’ of ‘13’ points there, it’s quite obvious that I wasn’t in a sit, listen, keep quiet and obey the speaker mindset, should it be that ‘hell’ exists. Such is, doesn’t even type very pleasantly, but that’s the way it was for me.
The talk began with defining Hell as ‘the Ultimate separation from God, by being completely addicted to and/or enslaved by whatever you are addicted to/ enslaved by on earth.’ This followed on with an addiction being something that is based in ‘sin’ and ‘sin’ is when you set your life on a downward trajectory away from Love and God. I thought “YAY!” at this point, maybe I’ll be on the same page as these guys on something afterall… my hope was short-lived… “Souls go on forever”, agreed, and then I fell out from here onwards: Souls go on forever, thus they will be self-obsessed forever if they are in sin and the fire of “Hell” is a metaphor for the disintegration of the self in a personal fire. . . It’s the whole “forever” word/clause/meaning that I vehemently disagree with, because that word disintegrates the concept of ‘Hope’ and God’s victory. How can anyone believe in hope or God if even one soul is due to be lost ‘forever’?
Ok, so the pointers at this session were that people believe:
1) Day of judgment is a bad thing … (but we want justice)
2) Good can’t be angry and loving … (but we can)
Ok, I didn’t ‘get’ these points at all. The whole drive of it was that God must at some point ‘put right’ / ‘punish evil’ as He can’t do “nothing as people suffer”, and humans must be held accountable and receive ‘justice’ for their actions. “Humans desire justice”. Loving people get angry and have to tell people “not to do that”… At this point, it was as clear as Big Ben Bells tolling 12 that I cannot be a Christian!
1) To say that God must ‘put right’ is saying that God ‘got it wrong’ to start with! How can the ALL-PERFECT get it “wrong”? My whole perspective in my writing a couple of blogs ago states that I don’t believe God creates/created suffering, humans do that. So the whole ‘punish evil’ thing is ridiculous to me as God knows the exact what, when, where, how and why that ‘evil’ was done, dating back MILLENIA, how can anyone ‘punish’ someone when they know them and everything about them inside out? Once again, the potter punishing the clay pot for being broken by the world… makes NO sense to me at all.
2) Held ‘accountable’? ‘Justice’? Whose ‘justice’? Whose ‘account’? Whose ‘rules’? What ‘grounds’? Man’s? What a laugh, to bring GOD, My Awesome Father, down to the selfish, righteous, faulty and close-minded character of a human being! Please! I cannot and will not do that. Neale Donald Walsch: “Even if God did hold the extraordinarily unGodly thought that humans do not “deserve” heaven, why would He have to seek some kind of revenge or punishment for human failing? Wouldn’t it be a simple matter for God to just dispose of people? What vengeful part of God would require that He would subject us to eternal suffering of a type beyond description? If you answer, the need for justice, would not a simple denial of communion with God in heaven serve the ends of justice? Is the unending infliction of pain also required?” … “there ‘is’ no such experience after death as you have constructed in your fear-based theologies.”
3) No, loving people do not ‘have’ to get angry, loving people ‘have’ to spread love. Loving people know that ‘their way’ is not the only perspective in the world. They know every single human being is very different. No-one can ever see anything from another’s eyes/life/context, ever. Loving people know that God’s standards are set in Love and that God is taking care of things, and our earthly ‘criteria’ are just that and we do not know God’s purpose for anyone. If God is within us and we get angry because others are causing hurt, pain, devastation, then we are required to productively put that anger and emotion aside and ask God to help us do something loving about it, not just ‘tell others what to do’. You are raping women, why? Let’s get to the root of it, let’s heal it. You are stealing. Why? Let’s get to the root of it, let’s create actions that will help solve the problem. No job? A starving family? Someone controlling you in a gang? Yes, my initial reaction will be anger, but I am human, God is not. I’m required to move towards Godliness and do something to help and serve, as Jesus did.
4) I do not desire ‘justice’. I desire healing, I desire peace, I desire love to flow from everyone towards everyone. Yet I am also fundamentally aware that we, as humans, cannot know one end of the spectrum of relativity unless we know the other. I cannot heal until I have been broken. I cannot know peace until I have known turmoil. I cannot practice love until I have lived through its opposite in separation from love, and I have decided not to choose to live in hate. I was horrified that a human could say that they desire others to live in Hell. Horrified to my core.
The speaker went on to relay more of this Tim’s book by saying that Hell is something we need. Hell “stops us from becoming self-centred”. Hell puts Jesus’s dying on the cross into perspective and makes us realise how wonderful His act was. The speaker truly believes that Hell is about “getting how much God loves us”. There I was believing that nothing I can do or not do can make God love me more or any less! Yet the talk sounded like if I fear Hell, then I will be nearer God, that it is a fear-factor that is needed for me to turn to God. Yet I would think that: Hell stops my love being sincere, Hell stops my heart and mind from being free, Hell creates self-centredness because it is all about me “making sure I’m not going there”. It is SUCH a contradiction to LOVE! Love is what we need, NOT Hell! Jesus’s dying on the Cross for me means that all humans are FORGIVEN. Finished and klaar. The last sacrifice has been made. Jesus took away ‘Hell’ by giving us a living example of how to walk in love. How to be Who We Are and Live out our Purpose in Love. Yip, I was getting angry at what was being said, my human reaction. Yet, this is a speaker ordained in his church, someone preaching the word of God and I thought I was walking with God, so why would I be so discontent in my core at what he was saying? How can I be Christian if I refuse to fear God and I choose God purely because I LOVE HIM with ALL MY BEING and not because “if I don’t I’ll be in trouble”?
I recall a defining moment in high school nearly two decades ago. A guy called Mark stood up and did his English oral on religion and God and I remember the one part of it so clearly: You don’t have to believe in God; and if you don’t and you die and He doesn’t exist, cool, but if you die and He does exist… then what? Thinking back on that, it was such a logical statement, he didn’t say you’ll end up in Hell, or a bad thing will happen, or anything like that, he just said “then what?” Indeed, I thought, I don’t want to ‘not know’, I want to know that I will be able to pass on knowing that I have lived a life worthy of being with My God in Heaven, if heaven does exist that is, and not end up “wherever”. It wasn’t a choice or a thought in fear; it was a choice in what makes sense, where I want to end up and how I can live a life worthy of dying content and happy with what I did here on earth.
The talk then went on with its two fundamental points:
1) Hell is crucial to understanding our hearts. This unfolded as “something growing in us that can potentially become hell, because as we replace God in our hearts we come to live in denial and isolation which is intensified over time and by the greater our distance away from Him.” Apparently there is a famous quote that says: “The Doors of Hell are locked from the inside”… this made me think of a blog I wrote years ago on a guy who wrote a poem that seemed to be a response to one of my comments and said that the subject of the poem would be locked in hell, I had no idea this quote even existed. I get this, yes, separation from God is choice. We do lock the doors to God from within ourselves by rejecting Love / God. The speaker saw sin as “living my life my way” and God grants us our wishes, as we move away from God. . . God becomes irrelevant, God is replaced, someone/thing else becomes more important than our relationship with God.
Now I agree with all of this, but I don’t believe that it is something beyond life. I believe it is something in life. If you base your life on money and its fluctuations, you are going to be unhappy, miserable, living separately from God, living in Hell, soul-less… Base your life on wanting another to love you, equals trouble. Base your life on having power and control, trouble. Bad consequences result from stupid decisions that were not based in love. Bad consequences are the results of your choices and create your ‘hell’. Go to prison, get HIV/AIDS, lose the love of someone you abused, have a head on collision whilst driving drunk, being nasty whilst drunk or high, get over-weight and unhealthy because you can’t control what you eat and you don’t exercise, all your human decisions, all steps away from love, why? Because we don’t love and respect and forgive ourselves. I feel like this is another echo of one of my last blogs. We need to be instruments of peace and love, not hate and fear, but we can only recreate what we know and what we have been taught, and most people rely on faulty human beings to be their teachers and educators, they don’t rely on wise, loving and good people, they rely on T.V., politicians, spouses, parents, academics and people who don’t practice love themselves, for advice &/ ‘wisdom’. Instead, we should be relying on God and loving ourselves enough to trust God in us, love others and uplift them instead of pulling them down so we don’t feel as lonely in our misery and self-hate as we are. Hell is our creation and it is an echo of where our hearts are at. If we are unable to be in our own company, we are in hell and separate from God. If we are unable to turn off the T.V., the radio, the phone, the music and sit in silence with ourselves and be at peace, then we are in hell. Hell is something right here and now for those who don’t love themselves and have not been taught love, have not chosen love and have not realised it’s a journey and a decision they have to make on their own. Hence they cannot accept God, or God’s unconditional love given to them in abundance, without question, because they don’t understand love and don’t believe in their hearts that they are loved. How can you let someone else love you completely when you don’t know why they would love you? You don’t even love you; you just want to change you and your life…
2) The next & last point: Hell is crucial to understanding God’s love. Luke 16 v 19-28 was the selected verse. . . I just didn’t see the piece as the speaker did. I see the “place of torment” as here on earth where people don’t know, practice or live in love and goodness and peace. I don’t believe God takes/gives or expects us to live in poverty/hell. If we all helped each other, there would be no poverty. If we all focused on God and giving away, there would be no need to have 2 houses and 2 cars per person on one side and 10 in one house without a car on the other. There would be no throwing away of food ‘gone off’ or cupboards deep with tins that are never opened. There would be no-one without warmth and food, if we all truly loved. In my translation of this point: We need to know Hell, separation from God, in order to Know the AWESOMENESS of being with Him… and then we need to choose which place we prefer; and then live in that space, and act accordingly.
A final parting thought: Neale Donald Walsch “No one else will judge you ever, for why, and how, could God judge God’s own creation and call it bad? If God wanted you to be and do everything perfectly, He would have left you in the state of total perfection from whence you came. The whole point of the process was for you to discover yourself, create your Self, as you truly are – and as you truly wish to be. Yet, you could not be that unless you also had a choice to ‘be something else’. Should God therefore punish you for making a choice that He Himself has laid before you? If God did not want you to make the second choice, why would He create one other than the first? This is the question you must ask yourselves before you would assign God the role of a condemning God.”
The end of the talk arrived and the panel was opened for discussion and I felt all the nerves and fear on earth mounting up inside of me, yet the questions persisted, ask Shannan, ASK. So I asked: “I don’t understand; Our God who created all things and planned the future millennia in advance, is also the God who knows us before we are created in the womb. Why would he create us if he knows we are destined for eternity in Hell?”
No-one could answer me in any way that satisfied my hassles.
I then asked: “If Jesus said “forgive them for they know not what they do”, then surely we are all forgiven?” The response was that maybe Jesus, the man carrying the sin and weight of the world on His shoulders, was “only asking forgiveness for the men in front of him”.
I stopped asking. I was shocked at the response.
My conclusion from Part 1 – 4: I’m not a Christian. I can only pray that My Father In Heaven in all His Grace, Mercy, Glory and Awesomeness will be the Only one to ever show me what to do, what to believe, what to say, what to type and how to live a life that will make Him proud to call me His daughter, even if I don’t fit into the rules, structures and stipulations of the human cult called “Christianity.” Especially as I stumble and make mistakes along the way. Lord, forgive me if I have all this wrong, but, honestly, I only want Your knowledge and truth and none of man’s human nonsense. Thank-You Lord for walking this journey with me.
Hell is FEAR and PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT ALL FEAR. Full Stop. So when you love God, when you truly love, hell cannot exist.
LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART and SOUL Lord, please keep working with my mind ;-) xxx