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Old 02-13-2011, 08:58 PM   #11
Samuel Dravis
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Note: I'm not a christian but I've put some thought into it the past few years so take from this what you will. My personal reason for leaving the fold is that I intellectualized my beliefs. Interestingly, this is exactly what Kierkegaard warns against in the second quote below.

All the talk about hell as something forced on a person is pretty strange to me. I suppose it must be a protestant thing. The way I think of it is simply that certain actions are incompatible with God and therefore if you do them you separate yourself from him willingly. Hence, the separation of Hell is not a punishment decreed by Judge Jesus but simply the consequence of an action, in the same way that you get wet as a consequence of diving into a pool. Additionally, the idea of "unforgivable sin" is simply the idea that, if you don't get out of the pool you won't get dry. There's nothing stopping anyone from getting out of the pool.

As for whether there actually is anyone in hell or not, well, as far as I can tell it isn't said one way or another. The idea that there some people who are certainly condemned is unsustainable even for egregious examples like Hitler. No one knows who God forgives or who has asked for forgiveness.

On the subject of faith and works, Kierkegaard has some interesting things to say:

Originally Posted by Judge for Yourself! p154
... You cannot worship God with good deeds, even less with misdeeds, and just as little by sinking into a flabby comatose state and doing nothing at all. No, in order to worship God properly and have the proper joy from worshiping, a person must conduct himself in this way: he must strive with all his might, spare himself neither night nor day; he must accummulate, and the more the better, what people of integrity, speaking humanly, would call good deeds. And when he then takes them and deeply humbled before God sees them transformed into something miserable and base--- this is what it is to worship God-- and this is a lifting up.
On genuine belief:

Originally Posted by Judge for Yourself! p188
Imitation, the imitation of Christ, is really the point from which the human race shrinks. The main difficulty lies here; here it is really decided whether or not one accepts Christianity. If there is an emphasis on this point, the stronger the emphasis the fewer the Christians. If there is a scaling down at this point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine) more people enter into Christianity. If it is abolished completely (so that Christianity becomes, existentially, as easy as mythology and poety and imitation an exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that Christendom and the world and almost indistinguishable, or all become Christians; Christianity has completely conquered; that is to say, abolished!
Originally Posted by J7
There is a book called "The Dark night of the Soul" by St John of the Cross (the version I have also has assorted writings of his). It is an excellent book, and I think you may well enjoy it, though the language used is of the older kind (at least in my version), but a great work none the less. You may also find the book of Job a helpful book at this time to!
I did find this book fascinating also, I recommend it as well as Ascent Of Mount Carmel.
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