Sudsy wrote:What I still can't understand is how anyone can maintain a strong conviction on a view of unending torment and live so unconcerned about the destiny of perhaps 80-90 billion people. This is very conflicting with the concept of being born again and receiving a new heart full of compassion and unselfish living. To believe in anything with one's heart must go beyond the intellect to reach the emotions, the will and the conscience. Otherwise, it is only an intellectual reasoning thing. To live out a belief in never ending torment from one's heart would radically change anyone into a hell fire preaching evangelist who laboured non-stop to rescue everyone and anyone from such a state. I have not heard any refutable argument on this thought although people have treated it as an insult. I guess that is one way to quickly dismiss the thought.
I had seen you make this argument several times now and meant to address it so I'm glad you reminded me by posting it again. I am a firm believer of a literal hell for several reasons, the least of which is that I am Catholic and that is what my church teaches (it's just that I am totally convinced of it). At the same time, however, I acknowledge others' right to read into scripture what they perceive to be the truth, I have no problem with that. I disagree with it but I have no issue with it.
My problem with this line of thinking as described above is that it tends to vilify and demonize those who disagree with you while at the same time it absolves you of any responsibility. First off, the church (the universal church that is) has plenty of missionaries proselytizing and spreading the Gospel all over the world so I really don't know what you're talking about. Second, and most importantly, there are many of us of view annihilation as a much more terrible fate than eternal presence in hell so the question is, since you believe in annihilation why aren't YOU practicing what you preach? Aren't you as equally worried about the those 90+ billion souls being annihilated into oblivion while you sit there content in passively watching the process?
It is the same argument that some OCE or YEC folks use against one another. Oh if you don't believe in a literal this or a long day that then you make God a liar. It is a nonsense argument, if not downright insulting.
Thanks Byblos for your response. Let me clarify, I'm not at all absolved from any responsibility to share my faith. And certainly there are many evangelists and missionaries proselytizing. What I'm talking about is that I agree with others who say something quite similar that with a heart belief in never ending torment, any person would automatically also become an evangelist and proselytize. If one thinks clearly about what the implications are with such a belief, how could we ever keep from warning everyone from such a fate ? Would this not just be a natural response ? I take it that you are saying, no it wouldn't.
You take it wrongly, that is not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying, however, is that for you to adopt a position of incredulity that eternal hell believers are not all missionaries, is an incomplete position at best, and at worst is extremely disingenuous when you do not hold the same position for annihilationists. Whether or not you see a big difference between the two positions is quite irrelevant because the end result of BOTH positions is eternal separation from God. It's as if, no it is exactly that, you're saying that it's okay to be separated from God if you're annihilated, as long as one doesn't end up in an eternal hell. Do you not see the absurdity of such a position?
Sudsy wrote:Your argument that Annihilation is a 'far more terrible fate' is something I can't grasp. I don't respond because I don't see a period of adequate punishment being anything close to an endless period of torture.
Your inability to grasp it does not negate the fact that it's a valid argument. I see both punishments equally as terrible. For me eternal separation from God is unfathomable, made even worse when one freely chooses to be separated yet gets robbed of the chance to be conscious of his or her choice,
Sudsy wrote:And although I have certain concerns for these 90+ billion and what punishment they will go through before they are consumed, it would not be anywhere near the same as knowing there is no end to unspeakable torture in a lake of fire. Why is that hard to understand.
And that's where the disingeniousness comes in. As far as I'm concerned one's zealousness for saving souls ought to be equally as fervent, irrespective of the method of punishment or its duration.
Sudsy wrote:I could give you a list of my efforts, even this past week, in soul winning but regardless I still see these as still falling quite short of the compassion that Jesus showed. Interesting you post ' while you sit there content in passively watching the process'. What process ? No one is being annihilated yet ? Do you understand we are talking about a day of judgment at the end of days when the wicked will then be judged and sentenced according to their deeds and this sentence will then be served until it reaches it's final end in destruction/ashes ?
No need to list anything Sudsy. We're not in a contest here. I merely wanted to present to you the other side of your argument. It cuts both ways.
Sudsy wrote:It is not the same argument as the OCE and YEC use against each other. And above all, this argument is not meant to be insulting to anyone. I'm sorry that you and others are taking it this way but I don't know how else to ake this argument.
Well that's the way I see it. Both positions not only question another's interpretation of scripture (which is understandable in the absence of an authoritative interpreter or objective arbitrator) but also question the sincerity of their faith/belief. It's unbecoming.
Sudsy wrote:Regarding my urgency or lack thereof to share the Gospel. This I study about myself and pray that I will have the compassion that Jesus has for the lost. I know I am still too self focused on my own interests. I also believe my motivation to share the good news should be that I so believe it is good news that I can't help but share it. Much like the early church as we read in the first part of Acts. They prayed for boldness but they couldn't help but share their faith. I think this is sometimes called returning to our first love for Christ.
And I am glad to hear that. Just for the record, never once did i question or doubt your zeal for the Lord, so please don't do the same based on our position on hell.
Sudsy wrote:So, I'll give up trying to make this argument as I don't intend to insult anyone. However, I do think there is quite a difference between a head only and a heart belief. I have many head beliefs that have yet not gripped my heart (intellect,emotions,will,conscience) to cause me to live accordingly. Some are, to some degree, affecting all areas of my heart whereas others are just an intellectual agreement to a certain belief.
You see, there you go again; the same veiled implication as the one I objected to above. Correct me if I'm wrong but what I get from the above is that belief in a literal hell is a 'head' belief that hasn't matured yet. I can't really tell but if this is what you're saying then you have not gotten my point at all. Perhaps it is my fault for not articulating it more clearly so I too will give up trying.