Talk:Mystery:Where is Hell?

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An archive of all comments made on the page itself, for the record. For the benefit of all readers, only comments directly relating to the question will be kept on the actual page.

The answer to this question is quite simple and not a mystery at all. Hell simply doesn’t exist, either physically or in any other form, such as alternate universes. Hell is merely a concept, a figment of the imagination. You are very right when you say hell is not a physical place on earth, just like heaven isn’t a physical place in the sky. These are just ideas that exist in the minds of people. We need something to either look forward to or fear, and churches around the world recognized that and this also serves as a way to keep people in check, to establish moral values. You can either live a good life and be rewarded in heaven, or a sinful life and be punished in hell. But the reality of it is, this is the only world we exist in and we must make the most of it now. We can’t be bogged down our entire life trying to make it to heaven. We need to just enjoy life. Because we might be very disappointed when there are no white gates greeting us after we die. But, if there is a hell, just keep the old saying in mind: Hell for company, heaven for climate. – Conservativedude.

Hell is a very real place where selfish people go after they die. You won't like the company there any more than the climate. People who care about each other will go to Heaven. There are stages of heaven and hell, and the deepest reaches of hell are reserved for the worst sinners. But no one is assigned to heaven or hell: each simply goes where he feels most comfortable. - Ed Poor Talk

Ed, your argument is a little confusing. If no one is assigned to heaven or hell, what is the purpose of either? Wouldn’t everyone claim they feel ‘more comfortable’ in heaven, no matter how bad a sinner they are? You also say people who care about each other will go to heaven. Does this include atheists or homosexuals who care about other people? And if hell is a very real place, perhaps you could tell us where it is. I offered up my explanation of where hell is, that being the mind. Does it exist somewhere else? – conservativedude.

Jesus emphasized Hell more than Heaven. Those who complain about a lack of justice on Earth are in denial about the final chapter of each person's life.
Hell exists and no one escapes it by pretending it isn't there. Some get a glimpse of it at times in their life, but the full horror is far worse.--Andy Schlafly 20:20, 20 February 2009 (EST)
Perhaps no one escapes it by pretending it isn’t there. But what about the people who genuinely believe it does not exist, or those who have no concept of it at all, for example remote tribes or ancient peoples? How can they go to a place they have no concept of? – Conservativedude.
Jesus said the worst punishment awaits those who misled others. So people who teach there is no Hell will likely feel it the worst. It's perfectly logical, and it's illogical to deny it. Don't worry about how God will deal with the person who was misled beyond his control, or kept in complete darkness. No one who visits this site, or who can use the internet, is such a person.--Andy Schlafly 20:59, 20 February 2009 (EST)
First, bear in mind that Andy and I have different conceptions of the afterlife. Second, hell is in the spirit world, the place where your spiritual self or 'soul' lives eternally. If you're a materialist, this won't make sense to you, but if you believe in life after death then it will.
Being a "sinner" is not merely a matter of violating the rules in some book. It's about selfishness. A good atheist is more likely to feel comfortable (if a bit astonished) in heaven. But homosexuals and adulterers will probably find the atmosphere of heaven unbearable: see Rev. 22:15. While Obama might feel that "tolerance" requires him to be "humble" about asserting what God's will is, I'm here to tell you that any sexual intercourse outside of (heterosexual) marriage will only hurt your ability to love properly.
Don't imagine that you'd like hell. There might not be flames and pitchforks, but you're better off searching for the truth and living by it. --Ed Poor Talk 21:02, 20 February 2009 (EST)
Every day there are people who felt they could escape judgment but are standing before a judge at sentencing. "Conservativedude", I encourage you to attend a sentencing hearing. It's public. Ted Bundy had lots of fun with his deceit and selfishness, and then was petrified worse than a little baby when he was eventually sentenced to death for it and executed.
Atheism is often selfishness and deceit in disguise. Polls confirm atheists give less than others, and they certainly demand censorship of Christian insights. I'm not fooled by the label. I doubt God is either.--Andy Schlafly 21:29, 20 February 2009 (EST)
I believe the question was "where is Hell", not "Who goes there". The answer is probably the similar to "where is Heaven?", which is most likely somewhere not physical. As for the nature, I don't think it's as much fire and brimstone or physical punishment as it would be psychological and emotional. Knowing you blew your one chance, you are segregated from God would be far greater punishment than flaming whips. ENorman 21:54, 20 February 2009 (EST)
(interposed) I don't know anyone who sincerely denies the existence of the unseen, the spiritual, etc. Sure, there are materialists who will play the fool and claim nothing unseen exists, but I doubt they even believe that.
As to the rest of your statement, people obviously get more than "one chance", but it's not infinity. Justice necessarily entails harsh punishment for harsh crimes, and even the death penalty here on Earth. Perhaps Hell is being ruled by the devil, and yes he does enjoy whipping and burning people to to an unimaginable extent. In fact, he delights in it. Suit yourself in trying to downplay it. Logic and evidence say you're wrong.--Andy Schlafly 22:26, 20 February 2009 (EST)
By "one chance" I meant your life. I apologize for any confusion. Obviously you have multiple chances to be saved, but after you are dead not as much. And my statement about the physical punishment comes from the fact people eventually acclimate to harsh conditions, but not as much to the psychological. Of course, it could easily be a combination of the two. If you are there for all eternity, and nobody can (or will) help or even comfort you, that would be despair beyond anything.
(breaking in later) My response will differ from Andy's because I'm a Unificationist, but I agree about the psychological aspect. People genuinely suffer in hell, and the worst part is probably regret. But unlike most Christians, I believe that it is possible to get a second chance after death. In the Unification Church, we call this "returning resurrection". Don't confuse it with reincarnation (a doctrine we regard as heretical at best, and probably pernicious as well).
If there is a way for spirit men to influence earthly humans, then might they not "come down" in some way and help us attain spiritual growth "since God had planned something better for us, so that they would not be perfected without us." (Hebrews 11:40) I know this is not mainstream Christianity, but it's what Reverend Moon teaches. --Ed Poor Talk 09:09, 21 February 2009 (EST)
Also, to CD's question about those who never had the chance to know God, there's a few ideas about that. Though not canon, Dante described the "virtuous pagans" and unbaptized as going to Limbo, the outermost ring of Hell where there is no punishment, but no chance of salvation either. There's also the idea of Purgatory, where they atone their sins before entering Heaven (as far as I know this is mostly a Catholic belief). ENorman 22:50, 20 February 2009 (EST)
There wasn't any confusion. I was objecting to your characterization of an entire life as "one chance." People get multiple chances every day, 365 days a year, and decades of years. It takes determination to be hostile to every chance. And that determination ends up in depression, crime, misleading and harming others, and ultimately Hell. The logic is pretty obvious and undeniable. Notice how you didn't reply to my observation that the devil delights in harming people.--Andy Schlafly 23:53, 20 February 2009 (EST)
I didn't reply because I'm sure that he does in fact enjoy doing so. However, there are many ways to harm a person. And yes, there are multiple chances in life, I'll admit it was a faulty characterization. I'm sure that neither of us have any wish to see or know exactly what the Devil does in Hell to punish the damned. Perhaps it is something too terrible to imagine that makes whips and fire seem pleasant in comparison. ENorman 00:10, 21 February 2009 (EST)
I don’t think people are teaching others that hell does not exist, it is just a belief they carry and they shouldn’t be punished for it (I’ll return to this idea in a moment). And I think we should worry about how ‘God’ will deal with those who are ‘in complete darkness’ because it raises an interesting point. Christianity is relatively new when looking at the scope of Human existence, so what is to say its doctrines are right and all others are wrong? Do all ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptian’s, and so on go to hell because they did not accept the Christian teachings? And why is it relevant if they use the internet or visit this site? It’s not in my opinion. Furthermore, to reply to Ed, homosexuals are just as loving and caring as any heterosexual person is, so why do they deserve to be punished? And Andy, I am from Canada and we do not have the death penalty, which is very beneficial I believe. The state should not have the right to put someone to death (but that is another debate). And I completely disagree that atheism is selfishness and deceit in disguise. Returning to my point at the beginning of my post, I believe in this: Atheists are simply questioning their existence, they are seeking another truth that is not god. Therefore, IF god does exist, an atheist should not be punished by god for simply utilizing their cognitive ability to question their existence and creation, assuming god is ‘all loving.’ And if the atheist is right, well, we all know how that story ends. – Conservativedude.
CD, atheism in Canada has led to far less charity than in the U.S., both in average dollars and percentages. Atheists as a group censor Christianity, as in classroom prayer and preaching from the Bible. Let's tell the truth here: atheism is hostile to Christianity. Don't expect Christ, a real person, to be pleased about that. Our criminal justice system punishes people who selfishly cause harm. God can be expected to do likewise.--Andy Schlafly 23:50, 20 February 2009 (EST)

(unindent) homosexuals are just as loving and caring as any heterosexual person is - I disagree. Research shows they are not. Where did you get that notion?

And there is no "punishment": the consequences of leading a life of homosexuality are natural (compare logical consequences in child discipline, regrettably a red link at this writing - but this debate might become famous later on).

Reparative therapy

The problem with homosexual acts, as with any other sin, is that it retards our spiritual growth or oven undoes it. People who steal, for example, necessarily lose their respect for other people's property and well-being. People who fornicate (i.e., engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage) are largely using each other. The only way to express conjugal love properly is in the husband-wife relationship, as God ordained (Genesis 2:24). As to why this is so, you'll have to read Richard Cohen's book, Coming Out Straight. There are summaries and excerpts available at http://www.gaytostraight.org/ if you want to read more about this. --Ed Poor Talk 09:33, 21 February 2009 (EST)

Thanks to all who've responded so far, and particularly to ConservativeDude for starting things off. It takes some courage to share personal thoughts on issues like this, so I appreciate you all contributing.--CPalmer 13:04, 21 February 2009 (EST)
Ed, by pushing the idea that homosexuality can be "cured" or somehow altered, you're foisting a deliberate and damaging falsehood. The only scientific studies ever to look into conversion/reparative therapy found that any "success" was offset by the nearly doubled rates of depression and suicide in the victims of this treatment (see?). Any belief that reparative therapy works is only wishful thinking.
You may not like homosexuality, and even think that it's a sin or an abomination. But by trying to change it - or suggesting that it CAN or SHOULD be changed - you're encouraging the negligent homicide of thousands of gay Americans. Please, please read the facts on this dangerous "treatment" and consider its results objectively before arguing for it here.-LuciusF 15:29, 21 February 2009 (EST)
Lucius, could you possibly discuss this with Mr Poor on his talk page? I'd like to try and keep this page on-topic. Thanks--CPalmer 16:30, 21 February 2009 (EST)

More responses

An interesting discussion, and so one that I'll put my two bob's worth into.

I don't have any real issues with CPalmer's opening paragraphs, but will quibble about one minor point. He says that "we of course know that Hell is not a physical place of the kind that people used to believe in.". Well, no, we don't know that, for certain. Just because we've mapped most of the Earth (there's some parts that are not well explored, especially including to ocean bottoms), doesn't mean that it couldn't possibly exist on Earth, and neither does it mean that it's not a physical place somewhere else in the universe. I'm not claiming that either of those are the case, however.

Conservativedude's response is little more than unsubstantiated opinion masquerading as argument. His only attempt at support (that hell was invented to control people) is itself unsubstantiated polemic. I have quite different views to Ed Poor, so I won't comment on Conservativedude's reply to him, and I think some of Andy's comments are not ones that I would make, so I also won't respond to most of Conservativedude's reply to him, except that I will point out that his question, "How can they go to a place they have no concept of?" is nonsense. If you discover a native in the jungles of the New Guinea, for example, who has no concept of Australia, does that mean that he can't go there? Of course not. All it needs is for someone to take him.

I'll also reply to Conservativedude's claims about Christianity and God. Christianity itself may be relatively new, but it is the natural continuation of the belief in the true God which is traceable back through the Israelites, Abraham, Noah, and etc. to Adam. As for ancient Greeks, Romans, etc., everyone has had the opportunity to acknowledge God: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 8:20). Many Christians are unsure just how God is going to handle this situation, but they have faith that the perfect, loving, and just God will handle the situation fairly.

Now to my views...

Is hell a physical place? We are told that when we go to Heaven, we will receive new bodies. From a science fiction point of view, "body" usually indicates something physical, as opposed to a non-material being. And the same seems to apply in the Bible. God is a bodiless spirit, but when He came to Earth as Jesus, He did so with a physical body. So likely that new body will also be physical. This is further supported by a reference (I'm sure, but I don't recall where) about Jesus' wounds (from the cross) still being visible in Heaven. Nevertheless, I believe that there remains the possibility that the new body will not be a physical one. But if it's physical, then this implies (requires?) that Heaven itself be a physical place. And I believe that this is how most Christians understand it. Although some references to it in the Bible may be symbolic (streets paved with gold, for example), many references do imply something physical about it.

That therefore suggests (but doesn't prove) that hell is also a physical place. However, there is also the possibility that that will be one of the horrors of hell—no bodies!

I don't think this discussion on the location of hell can avoid the question of the nature of hell, so I'll address that.

Just like the story of the blind men who describe an elephant in quite different ways because they are feeling different parts of it, I believe that there are a number of characteristics of hell that appear to be quite different yet really are talking about the same place.

One way of looking at hell is that it is nothing more or less than the place where God isn't. That is, there may be no actual punishments, tortures, or the like there at all. The torment will be nothing more than the absence of God. However, as God is the creator of everything, and the Bible tells us that God "... is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17). So what happens when everything that God has provided—our bodies, our friends, our ability to love, our curiosity, etc.—are no longer held together by God? Simply being somewhere that God is no longer "holding together" would have to be the worst torment of all—without God actually doing any tormenting! That is, those people who have rejected God have simply gotten what they wanted—existence without God.

But of course this doesn't mean that all those "horror stories" about how bad hell is are nonsense. Hell is a horrible place, but only because God isn't there. So does that mean that it's a place of eternal punishment, or not? I guess that depends on how you define "punishment". If "punishment" is defined as the consequences of your actions (rejecting God, in this case), then yes it is.

Philip J. Rayment 06:05, 21 February 2009 (EST)

I would agree with you there PJR, in my opinion Hell isn't the stereotypical brimstones and fire, it is your soul's absence from God for eternity which is surley the greatest "punishment". Another interesting point is, once a soul is in hell, is redemption ever possible if you accept God and seek forgiveness? On the topic of where Hell actually is, I don't think its anywhere that is physically accesible to us while we are alive, however that is merely speculation, one can't rule out the possibility of it being located somewhere physically in this universe since we have not and most probably will not ever be able to explore it all. GFasten 07:41, 21 February 2009 (EST)
Again I object to the attempts to downplay or dilute the suffering in Hell. It's illogical to pretend that Hell is a "not so bad" place. Very harsh punishment is a basic attribute of any system of justice, and just visit a courtroom one day if you don't believe me. Note also that the devil, to the extent he (or evil) rules over Hell, delights in harming people as much as possible.
There is real suffering on Earth. There is no reason to expect there is not even worse suffering for those, like atheists, who engage in selfishness (e.g., less charitable giving), deceit, and harming people by censoring Christianity (e.g., censoring classroom prayer or criticism of evolution).--Andy Schlafly 08:26, 21 February 2009 (EST)
I'm not sure which one of us you were replying to. Neither of us is "downplaying" the suffering of hell. If anything, we're doing the opposite. Eternal separation from God is the worst possible torment/suffering that one could experience. Yes, far worse than anything on Earth, where God is still present, and holding all together.
What makes you think that Satan will be ruling over hell, given that he is also subject to eternal punishment?
Philip J. Rayment 09:06, 21 February 2009 (EST)
I think the fact that when a soul is in hell it is not in a physical form, like you would be on Earth, means what we would concieve as torture would not work on a non-physical being. Instead the emotional torment and quite frankly terrifying emptyness is by far the worst punishment possible. I agree with you Andy that Satan orcestrates and presides over this, and even though he himself is subject to eternal punishment, part of this punishment is "being in charge" as it were. GFasten 10:06, 21 February 2009 (EST)

Thanks to those above also for their full and thought-provoking responses.--CPalmer 13:09, 21 February 2009 (EST)

Both you seem to want to deny that the devil (evil) exists as an affirmative force. Hell is not a day-care for atheists. Maybe they'd like to believe that. Maybe we'd all like to believe that. But it's illogical to deny how bad evil is, and it's contrary to the evidence we see. Hell is the depository for evil, and you can be sure it is worse than you can even imagine.
Luke 16:24–26 (NKJV): "Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things ...."
The denial of Hell as described by Jesus, and as dictated by logic and experience, is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make.--Andy Schlafly 18:15, 21 February 2009 (EST)
  • A man told Bishop Fulton Sheen he did not believe in hell. The Bishop replied, "You will when you get there." --₮K/Admin/Talk 18:58, 21 February 2009 (EST)
I suspect that CPalmer will be cutting more from this page, but this is where the comment is for now, so this is where I will respond.
Andy, I don't know what you mean by the devil existing as an "affirmative" force. But beyond that, it appears that you are criticising not what we have said, but what you think we believe. I have no idea how you can read into our comments that "Hell is a day-care for atheists". And neither are we denying "how bad evil is". Nor are we denying "[h]ell as described by Jesus".
Philip J. Rayment 21:31, 21 February 2009 (EST)
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