The HyperTexts

Hell Is Child Abuse!

First, please allow me to tell you the very, very good news ... would it surprise you to know that the God of the Bible and his Hebrew prophets never condemned anyone to a place called "hell," that Saint Paul never once mentioned a place called "hell" in any of his epistles, and that the book of Acts (a history of the early Christian church) also never once mentioned a place called "hell"? If you will grant me  two minutes of your reading time, I will offer you clear, compelling proof that there is absolutely no reason to believe in "hell," according to the Bible itself.

But before we look at the question of whether hell actually exists according to the Bible, please allow me to reveal the very, very bad news ... Hell is child abuse, clear and simple. This is true whether or not hell exists, because if hell does not exist, Christians have no right to torture children with the dogma of hell, and if hell does exist, Christians have no right to bring children into the world in the first place, because they might end up there.

Christians talk about the need for people of faith to have the courage of their convictions. Then why for nearly 2,000 years did Christians who believed in "hell" continue to have babies? Didn't they lack the courage of their convictions? And what about the courage and convictions of Christ himself ? If Jesus believed in an "eternal hell," why didn't he warn Jews and Christians not to have babies because the stakes were far too high?

Hell presents an unsolvable conundrum for Christians, because if hell really exists, and if God is loving, compassionate and wise (as Christianity claims), then obviously God would have warned human beings about the wild injustice of bringing babies into the world. No human being has the right to play God by rolling the dice of birth, if babies can grow up and go to hell. Moreover, would a loving, compassionate, wise God tell human beings to "be fruitful and multiply" if billions of babies were going to end up in hell after they matured and died? But the Bible lacks any such warnings, and the entire Old Testament (which was the only Bible anyone had for thousands of years) is completely silent on the subject of hell. When hell finally appears in the New Testament, it pops up a handful of obscure verses, without any explanation whatsoever. Would a loving, compassionate, wise God forget to mention hell for thousands of years if it existed from the beginning? If it was created later, would he create such a terrible place and start sending human beings there without warning everyone first? And because billions of human beings never had a chance to read the Bible, would they consider God to be "just" if they died and woke up in hell that they never dreamed existed?

I think it impossible to believe in hell and a God who is loving, compassionate, wise and just. So why are "Christian" pastors, priests and parents torturing children emotionally, psychologically and spiritually with the vile dogma of "hell"? Is it "Christian" to abuse innocent children? Should the religious freedom of adults extend to the abuse of children? We all cringe when we hear about priests and pastors preying on children sexually. So shouldn't we also cringe when we hear about children being taught that they and billions of other human beings may burn in hell for all eternity? (Children grow up, a fact that seems to constantly elude Christian theologians.) Parents who abuse their children physically can be deemed unfit and have their children taken away. But what about parents who abuse their children with the dogma of "hell"? Are they fit to be parents?

Here is my simple, logical proof that there is no reason to believe in hell, according to the Bible itself:

There is no mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament (OT).
The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell." This can easily be confirmed because if Sheol is translated as "hell" the Christian dogma of hell as an inescapable place of suffering where God is absent is immediately refuted. This is true because: (1) King David said that if he made his bed in Sheol, God would be there with him; (2) Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol; (3) the sons of Korah said that God would redeem them from Sheol; and (4) the prophet Ezekiel and the apostle Paul agreed that all Israel would be saved, yet Israel himself said that he would be reunited with his son Joseph in Sheol. How can all Israel be saved if Israel himself is in "hell""? In each case Sheol clearly means "the grave" and cannot be interpreted as "hell" unless "hell" is heaven!
This has been confirmed by conservative Bible scholars because there is no mention of the word "hell" in the OTs of the NIV (the best-selling Bible), the NABRE (produced by the Roman Catholic Church), the HCSB (published by the famously literal Southern Baptist Convention), and other modern translations of the Bible.
Furthermore, in biblical chronologies spanning thousands of years, the God of the Bible and his Hebrew prophets never mentioned any possibility of punishment after death. Nothing like "hell" was even remotely suggested to Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, et al.
In fact, "hell" was never mentioned even to the worst people at the worst of times. "Hell" was never mentioned to Cain (the first murderer), nor to the people guilty of the wickedness that led to the Great Flood, nor to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, nor even to the Pharaoh who enslaved the Hebrew tribes and defied God repeatedly.
We can further verify this because there are no OT warnings about the need to repent in order to avoid suffering after death. In the OT, people were being warned about the need to repent in order to avoid suffering here on earth. To condemn people or nations to Sheol was to condemn them to death or destruction here, on this planet, in this life.
But it makes absolutely no sense to constantly warn people about temporal (earthly) punishments if they face eternal suffering after death. Therefore according to the Bible, "hell" clearly did not preexist.
But there is no mention of the creation or purpose of "hell" in the New Testament (NT). Nor is there any verse in the entire Bible that ever announced that the penalty for sin changed from death to "hell."
A loving, wise, just God could not create an "eternal hell" and fail to immediately warn the whole world about it. But obviously the whole world was not warned about the creation of "hell." To this day, no Jew or Christian has ever been informed by any prophet or apostle that "hell" was created, nor has anyone ever been informed that the penalty for sin changed from death to "hell." And of course billions of people have lived and died never having heard anything about hell or Jesus Christ. Would anyone who never read the Bible consider God to be loving, wise or just if he died and woke up in hell? Of course not.
An eternal hell would make God monstrously unjust, but according to the Bible itself, "hell" did not preexist and was never created. From beginning to end, the Bible is absolutely silent about either the preexistence or creation of "hell."
Furthermore, as we shall see, the Greek word "Hades" does not mean "hell." As with Sheol, everyone went to Hades when they died: both words clearly mean "the grave."
Gehenna is not "hell" either, but a physical location in Israel known in Hebrew as Gehinnom, or the Valley of Hinnom. Today Gehenna is a lovely park and tourist attraction. Wonderful archeological discoveries have been made there, such as the healing pool of Siloam and the oldest Bible verses ever discovered, inscribed on small silver amulets. Those verses are the benediction "The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his countenance to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee." Those are wonderfully comforting words to have been discovered in "hell," don't you think?
What does all this mean? If you believe in a loving, compassionate, wise, just God, you might conclude that "hell" has always been either an error of translation or an outright fabrication.

But I maintain that the best reason for Christians not to believe in hell is this: If at any time God, Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, or any of the apostles were aware of the existence of an "eternal hell," they should have immediately warned human beings never to have children, because the risk of giving birth was too terrible to imagine. But of course there are no such warnings in the Bible. Rather, Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel confidently predicted that all Israel would be saved in the end, along with Sodom and other Gentile nations that were historically enemies of Israel, such as Samaria. Samaria is now home to millions of Palestinian Arabs, most of whom are Muslims. Most Jews and Palestinians have never believed in Jesus, so how can all Israel and Samaria be saved, if only Christians are saved?

How did "hell" enter the Bible? Ironically, the only Jews who believed in "hell" at the time of Jesus were the Pharisees! We know this from the Jewish historian Josephus, a contemporary of Paul and a student of the major sects of Judaism. Josephus studied with the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes. The Pharisees "borrowed" the concept of "hell" from the pagan Greeks after Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East during the "silent" period between the writing of the OT and NT. The Greek hell was Tartarus, not Hades. As we will see, there is only one verse in the entire Bible that contains a word that actually means hell, but that hell is not for human beings, nor is it eternal. If you are interested in learning more about the clumsy insertion of "hell" into the Bible, and thus helping to spare innocent children from emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse, please click this link: www.thehypertexts.com/hell.htm

The HyperTexts