Scare the Hell Out of ‘Em

Some interesting stuff around the blogosphere around these themes…

Molly at Adventures in Mercy posted about her experience of praying the “sinner’s prayer” as a 4-year-old child. She describes what happened:

“More than any other mental image, I pictured God as my Shepherd and I loved Him. Then one night, a visiting missionary’s child told me that God was going to send me to Hell where I would burn forever in fire.

I already loved God. The only thing that night did was change the way I viewed Him. Instead of a Shepherd with a smiling face, I now had a different image of Him, a schizophrenic one, if you will. On the one hand, there was the good Jesus who loved me. On the other hand, there was the Scary God who would burn me.”

Makeesha adds some great comments to this post in the ensuing discussion of hell, damnation, and the wrath of God. In response to this statement by another commenter, “One thing we do need to realize, however, is that God will send people to hell,” Makeesha answers:

My focus though, of my question, was not about a literal hell but rather if God literally sends people there. It’s an important point in terms of how we view God and view his role in our lives.

Brother Maynard has an interesting post today about the use of rapture as a scare tactic in evangelism. Being of similar age, his post was an interesting trip down memory lane for me. I found the words to “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” intact in the dusty corners of my memory bank.

I also remember seeing (the last time in 1980) “A Thief in the Night” several times and the sequel! Bonus points to the first person to post the name of the sequel without googling. (I confess I had to google it. I only remembered one word of the title.)

Brother Maynard’s words:

“I no longer consider it very loving to attempt to scare the hell out of people. You can get people to pray anything if they’re terrified enough.”

We talked some about this topic in my earlier post, The Wrath of God. There were also a lot of great comments and good discussion in the comment thread of that post. On that post, I said:

“Legalism requires the harsh language of sin, judgment, and wrath. But what if God is completely confident in the power of love to transform a heart without threats and intimidation?”

Another post that I wanted to link to was Steve’s post at Theological Musings, You Might Be Misrepresenting God If… This post is so good because it emphasizes that as God’s ambassadors, it is important that we are aware of the message we send. I will quote his first and last points. Be sure to visit his blog to read the rest.

  • If your message is not filled with hope, you might be misrepresenting God.
  • If you believe that one’s beliefs about baptism, bible translation, rapture timing, tongues, or a particular interpretation of Genesis 1-2 are absolute essentials to salvation and/or fellowship, you might be misrepresenting God.

A few concluding thoughts…

The most important thing about this whole topic to me is the image of God that is being portrayed. It really matters if the overall image of God being presented to the world by the church is actually a distorted caricature of His true nature.

If our calling is solely to make converts, then sure, go ahead and scare ’em into making a decision. It is expedient for producing submission based upon fear, condemnation, and intimidation.

However, if our calling is to make disciples, then the approach must be different. A disciple is a relationship of surrender based upon trust and love. Therefore, the most important thing is that we accurately represent God to those who would choose to follow Him.

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32 thoughts on “Scare the Hell Out of ‘Em

  1. Grace,

    I can relate. I’m sure I watched that movie at an all night youth lock in. I had the hell scared out of me when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was during an old time revival and the speaker was one of those hellfire and brimstone guys with white shoes. My perception of God for many years was that he was always angry with me.

    I have made the shift in the past few years, however, to sharing Jesus via dialogue instead of monologue. The difference it has made, both here in the US and all around the 10/40 Window, has been huge. It has allowed for a pursuit of making disciples versus the piling up of converts.

    Good post…

    Eric

  2. Brimstone burns with a blue flame and was often used when refining copper or iron since it burned hotter, so maybe you should change your picture :-).

    Anyway, I have been struggling with this issue lately myself. The Sunday club that I still attend (why?…I don’t know) put on a ‘Judgement House’ during Halloween. Most of my friends were giddy over the event, especially since there were over a hundred ‘decisions’. I however was disturbed deeply by the production; was God really some ogre who has to burn people for his glory? I haven’t come to a final conclusion, but I have come across some interesting ‘what if’ scenarios that are based in scripture. I don’t have time to cover them now, but hopefully I have time to share later this evening. One of them is hidden in my first paragaph BTW :-).

  3. I call that sort of conversion “fire insurance.”

    God can use it, He being faithful, can use any of the meager gifts we bring to Him, but … what kind of crushing violence have we done to that poor soul in the process?

    Some of us manage to grow past it. Others go on to repeat the violence in the awful patterns of abuse and violence that have become all to familiar in both secular and sacred cultures. There are ripples and waves of effect that this caricature causes that are too close to evil for my comfort.

  4. Oh, Rick … are you saying that the brimstone fire is for followers of God to refine us? Hmmm … now that would be a new take on it that would definitely stop people short.

  5. I think Rick might be referring to the theory that people only stay in hell to be refined, when they are then escorted into the presence of God for the rest of eternity.

    In other words, hell might be eternal, but staying in it might not necessarily be so.

  6. Yes Steve that’s what I was referring to. I would be quick to reiterate that I haven’t drawn any conclusions myself yet, but it is interesting to set aside your preconceptions and just look at the words and images used to describe the subject at hand. For instance, did you know that there are actually 4 distinct words in the original languages that are translated into the word hell?

    I would like to back up a bit and give a little more context to my story. First a key thing to know about me is that I suffered abuse as a child, so in that alone I struggle not to see God through the lens of my pain. Second, the “God is love, BUT God is also Just” argument came apart on me about two years ago. I was actually wrestling with the question of who needed the Cross when it came apart. If God needed the Cross, (i.e. God’s justice or wrath is satisfied), then that meant our sin changed God; it created a need in Him. And if that was true, then the Cross ‘fixes’ God but doesn’t fix us. I couldn’t reconcile the needy god with scripture. But what if the Cross was the sacrifice God gave to cure our disease, rather than the sacrifice he required? That is the conclusion I drew after about 6 months of reflection on the cross passages.

    With the ‘but God is Just’ argument pretty much decimated, it deconstructed my view of hell as well, only I didn’t really think about that — until Judgement House….

    BTW, God is Just carries a whole new meaning for me now, it’s not about punishment, it’s about putting things right again…

  7. Rick, I like the way you think. I, too, have been wrestling with a lot of those types of teachings that I’ve always heard and always just assumed made sense. Sometimes when you really think about them…..they don’t.

    A local church here does the Judgment House thing each year, too. My wife and I were just talking about it this year and thinking some of the same thoughts you presented here. Is that really the message of the gospel? And are people really coming to Christ? Or are they just getting the hell scared out of them?

    I think there’s…well, I’ll go for the cheap pun here…one hell of a difference ;)

  8. Steve,
    And are people really coming to Christ? Or are the just getting the hell scared out of them?

    That question loomed very large in my mind during the JH event. Funny (not really) that in our legal system, if you can show that someone was coerced by use of fear into some agreement, then the agreement can be considered void yet God is supposedly OK with that?

    Darn, it’s getting late, I had hoped to present some ‘what ifs’ with scripture references. I’ll mention a couple anyway, maybe you can figure out the passages yourself.

    What if the work of Christ really was greater than the work of Adam?

    What if God really does intend to reconcile all things to himself?

    What if we really do have our being in Christ? Could we then exist apart from him?

    What if accepting Christ was not a transaction, but something more relational? Like an abused child, who is adopted into a loving family, eventually accepts the truth that they are loved and wanted?

    What if every child really is planned and wanted by their true Father?

  9. REALLY good thoughts in your post, girl…

    It is amazing how much the “fear” doctrine is engrained in so many of our evangelistic techniques. Yet Jesus came and preached the Kingdom of God, r ight? So what was it He preached that seemed to draw the sinners and reprobates in like flies, but yet repelled the religous establishment? Because a “fear Gospel” would have had the righteous religous folks clapping (and the sinners quaking and/or running).

    Jesus was obviously preaching something different than our modern fear-based gospel, and He was certainly no less of an evangelist.

  10. 2nd movie was “A Distant Thunder” — they had a guillotine in it. (nice touch for scaring kids)

    third installment was “The Prodigal Planet”, but I was old enough by that point in time to decline seeing it (and never regretted that decision!)

  11. Fascinating comments…

    Eric,
    I had to smile at the description of the guys with white shoes. Somehow that seems very symbolic of this whole era and mentality.

    I am wondering if perhaps those who present an angry, judgmental God still personally live with that perception of Him.

    sonja,
    So true, God can use anything, but then we must begin the process of attempting to introduce this convert to the love of the Father, overcoming whatever hurdles of violence and fear we have put in their way. I wonder, on even a natural level, why we would present a loving person as angry and harsh, unless we didn’t really know them.

    Steve,
    Yes!!! The only word I remembered was thunder. You knocked it out of the ballpark with your post on misrepresenting God. I am definitely tracking with you on that idea.

    Rick,
    Very interesting thoughts. I used to worry about questioning traditional/literal understandings of hell. I believe the greatest tragedy for a person is both current and/or eternal separation from God’s love.

    In that vein, I think it is okay to say I don’t understand the details of how things will play out eternally, and actually I think it is somewhat presumptuous to assume one’s understanding of these things based on traditional teachings is the right and true literal understanding.

    As to your thoughts about justice, I have come to the same definition. When I read scriptures about judgment, rather than reading them through condemnation, I read them as a promise that judgment is when God will restore all things to the way that they should be.

    I believe as we begin to understand the scriptures through a lens of kingdom, redemption, restoration, and reconciliation they take on a very different tone than what many of us originally learned.

    Molly,
    Great thoughts, and I really enjoyed your post. The gospel of the kingdom truly is good news for the lost and sinners, not so great for the religious establishment. ;)

    robby,
    I don’t remember any of the details of the movies. I also don’t remember being scared by them. I must have assumed I had my rapture/tribulation bases covered.

    I didn’t realize that there were more than 2 movies until I looked it up on wikipedia. There were actually 4!

  12. Ah the hell with it… :(

    We do have a problem with the concept of eternal torment ( hell) if we believe God to be all powerful. In other words, nothing in His creation could ever be an eternal threat. No matter how ‘free’ the will of those that you ascribe choice to.

    There is no being that could really be worth eternal torture if all God wanted to do was ‘punish’ the evildoer…

    Now if you want to start arguing that God is indeed ‘limited’, then you have to change your conclusions about Him being Omnipotent. Or Omniscient. Somehow God must be able to justify the eternal torment of hell if & only if He created humans with a portion of Himself, that is an aspect of divinity that cannot be annihilated…

    So we have to consider then the immortality of the human soul (and demons) instilled with a quality that God Himself could not repent of once He decided to ‘create’ such an entity…

    Once created, those free-will beings were now given limited decision making ability that carried with it eternal consequences only because God limited Himself & shared part of His nature with those beings that were created with free will.

    If we are ‘stamped’ with the divine imprint, then we are by design representatives of that nature. And if we do not ‘choose’ to participate in the fullest expression of that divine nature, we will be judged accordingly…

    Now, it doesn’t make sense that God would make such a creative decision based upon His foreknowledge. At least if you want to make a logical argument for such. It is true He set up the rules of this universe & all its spiritual implications. But if He did choose to keep hell’s torment going for all eternity as some divine yin-yang balance of heaven, we must ask ourselves, “Why?”

    And that is the crux of the hell issue. God cannot be so compromised that any portion of His creation warrants eternal damnation. And if He does intend to keep hell’s flames stoked, for what purpose does it fulfill?

  13. Dan Kimball has just posted his thoughts from his teaching last week on hell. He reminded me of that Seinfeld where Puddy gets “saved” and Elaine says “If you think I’m going to hell you should care that I’m going to hell”

    He’s got some good thoughts there.

  14. Good comments here!

    It’s interesting that our English word “Hell” is thought to be taken from “Helle,” the Norse Goddess of the underworld. The church’s conception of Hell was heavily influenced by pagan concepts of the afterlife.

    Since the kind of churches in question oppose traditional Halloween on the basis of its questionable origins, perhaps a bit more research is in order. If after learning the truth they insist on keeping their precious Hell, at least horror lessons from their pagan forefathers might help them turn out even scarier movies.

  15. Fear is a pretty lousy recruitment technique on the surface, but interestingly enough its one of 3 ways are brain is hardwired/fast tracked to make a decision – the other 2 being benefits (what do i get out of it) and values.

    Of course i wonder if we are pitching hell at the wrong people – Jesus seemed to engage in discussions with hell mostly with the religious establishment or with his close disciples – maybe making the point that if you have chosen to believe in him it is not enough to rest on your laurells and think well i’m ok jack – for me hell is meant to inspire us to reach out to others – to stir up compassion and action with in us to love the world and share the hope that we have.

    A hope that says in Jesus we will live on forever, that in him we find our full true humanity and have a destiny and a future that is worth living for.

  16. when we were going through Romans and we came across God’s wrath we came to this conclusion (for now :) ); that His wrath was played out by turning man over to his own desires and ‘lusts’… that whole section at the end of Romans 1. I had just never read that in context before (imagine that?!?)

    I should probably go read your wrath post before commenting on it. sorry.

    I was in 3rd grade when I saw the “Thief in the Night” – at boarding school! I prayed to be saved every night and day for months until I had some good heart talks with my Dad on school breaks.

  17. Joseph,
    This hurts my brain! Omnipotence vs. free will? I don’t know. Can we just love Jesus and not worry about the rest?

    Heidi Renee,
    I read that post also. As usual, Dan has a pretty balanced approach, and as usual, he takes some heat from the watchdog blogs for not taking a strong enough stand.

    Mike,
    Interesting, so Christmas, Easter, and hell all have pagan origins. Hmmm, that messes with a lot of traditions.

    Paul,
    Someone on an earlier post mentioned that perhaps the reason Jesus talked hell and judgment with the religious pharisees was because that was the language they understood. It was the message of hope and grace that seemed to mess with their minds.

    reneegrace,
    That makes sense to me. God’s wrath is toward sin because He knows the destruction that following it will produce in our lives.

    “Thief in the Night” is definitely not a movie for 3rd graders! Someone should have known better.

    Elle,
    Thanks for the link. I spent some time reading it this morning. I can’t say I’ve got it all figured out yet though. ;)

  18. Grace: Far be it from me to hurt any brains! :)

    The concept of hell has been used as a club since its descriptive references from scripture were embellished by preachers, teachers, writers & theologians to get a very negative point across…

    Protestant evangelicals are the most practiced at this along with the Pentecostal camp. The biggest AoG church in town puts on “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames” every year. Right before we moved here it was touted as catalyzing a mini-revival of sorts amongst the youth. Became a inter-church evangelism tool & most every youth group from every denomination encouraged to come “and bring an unsaved friend…”

    Imagine that: having an “unsaved friend”…

    My, my, my…now that’s a concept! :)

    Using such terror tactics that are no different than Hollywood’s next creepy horror-fest seems oddly out-of-character with the Jesus that became like us to restore what it is we could not do for ourselves. So yes, that is really the “good news” not the theological fire escape concept that is sometimes used as a cheap imitation.

    I rattle on about the concept of hell because it is so twisted in its conventional representation. And if you begin to think through its implications (sorry for the brain strain) it seems oddly saddistic.

    Both the references to heaven & hell in scripture intentionally vague IMHO. God is not into the lurid details of hellish torment that have become the more common depictions we are familiar with. And heaven is hinted at in more fantastic language but still largely devoid of lengthy detail. We as humans do want to “know” what lies behind the veil, but it appears there is only our personal one-way ticket departure from this life that will finally fill in all the blanks.

    God as a vengeful tormentor may not be greatly exaggerated, but then it is the list of who gets to experience His wrath that is the stickler. That list very short & narrow for many that use hell as their personal catch-all for everyone unlike themselves. They picture themselves with roasting spit in hand just waiting for the Good Lord to pronounce His eternal sentence of damnation so they can help the angels poke & prod the condemned goats into the firey pit…

    I think God has a better way to deal with the issue just as you imply. And yes, love does cover a multitude of sins…

    Question: Does anyone here understand what Jesus accomplished by saying these words on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing…”?

    Who was forgiven? And how will it be remembered on Judgment Day?

  19. Joseph,
    It is so true that these kind of scare tactics are common and strangely unquestioned among evangelicals and pentecostals. I agree wholeheartedly that they are out of character with Jesus and with the message of the gospel he presented.

    The reality, as you said, is that we really don’t know the details of eternal punishment, heaven, or hell. However, we do know the Way to life in the kingdom and restored relationship with the King. While we may not know absolutely who is in and who is out, we have a sure answer for anyone who wants to be eternally loved by the Father.

    What he accomplished? I would say that he accomplished forgiveness for everything, past, present, and future for all of us individually and collectively. I believe that on Judgment Day we will have a full revelation of what that means.

    What do you think?

  20. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

    They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”

    Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

    Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

    Grace: I do not claim to know the scope or even the deeper implications of Jesus’ forgiveness statement as He hung upon the cross.

    I brought it up as a discussion point for others to ponder. The reason? My own personal reevaluation of the entire ‘hell’ consideration I suppose.

    I like the scope of your application though. Has much more grandeur than just a statement made to the Roman soldiers simply doing their gory execution duties. But compared to Jesus’ remark to Judas this seems rather puzzling since Jesus ‘knew’ Judas & the Roman soldiers were complete strangers. And pagan of course…

    So, let’s try to get this straight. Jesus came to die? Strange consideration. An innocent man had to die? And then the manner which it was orchestrated warrants a divine “Woe” for Judas but the actual capital punishment itself is forgiven?

    If Jesus had to die then why such a dire retort to Judas? Judas didn’t understand the grander spiritual significance of his actions anymore than the Pharisees or the Romans did. And certainly all those people shouting out “Crucify Him!” as He stood before Pontius Pilate were just as clueless. “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” they all answered.

    Were all those key players in the Passion Story aware of the significance of their actions? And did God’s wrath actually hang over all humanity? What was it that compelled God to allow a cruel death of an innocent man to mitigate His wrath? And how does the concept of hell or eternal torment make any sense in the equation?

    Yes, it is a ‘hurting brain’ rumination. But if Jesus could extend divine forgiveness to the clueless, then His statement may have far greater impact than we comprehend. Maybe it could be those Roman soldiers were welcomed into Paradise along with the Thief that understood Jesus’ innocence. And if that is the case then maybe Judas’ suicide & disembowelment was all that he suffered. Maybe there is no ‘hell’ as we understand it. Or maybe it is purifying instead of tormenting. Purgatory? Maybe. But using the eternal torment details to scare someone ‘Christian’ seems beyond the manner which Jesus framed the topic in the scripture passages it is mentioned…

    Just more food-for-thought… :)

  21. Joseph,
    I believe the everything related to the curse was dealt with on the cross. One verse that intrigues me is Rev.13:8 about the Lamb being slain before the foundation of the world. Perhaps the crucifixion was the manifestation of a reality established even before creation.

    I’m glad that we aren’t required to have all this stuff figured out.

  22. i have been uneasy about the whole Hell Thing (as I call it) since I was 18 years old. Only in recent years have I been willing to entertain the idea that maybe we got it all wrong about eternal hellfires for those who are not “in.”

    The more I go on in exploring other perspectives and studies about hell the looser the grip of this doctrine becomes to the point that I can almost call myself a Christian universalist.

    My 10-year old son asks, “Why would God create all these people just to let them go to hell?”

    Good question. Why indeed.

    Great discussion here…

  23. Yes…a great discussion indeed! :)

    Grace: I happen to be intrigued by the scope of what you address. If you use the term “everything” it is rather grand in its breadth is it not? And if the Lamb was ‘slain’ before any of earth’s history was a twinkle in God’s eye, then what does that imply? God was preemptive vs. reactionary?

    What of the curse you mention? God’s wrath? The Genesis 3 curses declared against Adam & Eve? Cain’s curse? All of the above?

    And while the considerations of hell & its darker implications may be unpleasant it is going to be part of how we view this God we claim to be a Father & loving & indeed ‘just’…

    Our trusting God will be directly proportional to what we ‘believe’ about Him…

    And certainly the concept of eternal fiery torment ‘overkill’ IMHO…

    Sure we do not need to have it all figured out. But it lingers like some shadowy spectre at the back of mind. Is God’s love & grace greater than any sin committed by created beings? Does God need His sense of justice to be continual even if those in heaven are blissfully ignorant of the ongoing torments?

    And somehow God is not able to work out an alternative? He is omnipotent, correct? Or is He simply committed to such an eternal destiny model?

    Pam: Christian Universalism is indeed an intriguing consideration. But then we must be blunt about the manner which God is depicted in the very scripture narratives we seek for comfort.

    Did He destroy all land dwelling creatures in the Great Flood while preserving the 8 in the Ark? Did God order the wholesale slaughter of the Canaanites? Is this God the same as the Jesus we wish to introduce to others?

    And if Jesus did mention hell in any of the Gospel narratives, did He couch it in such a way as to include having the most correct theology as one way of avoiding the heat? Or does each mention of hell actually have to do with actions or the lack thereof?

    I am not convinced yet of a universalistic concept of hell & its duration, but the more one considers the arguments the more one can appreciate the reasoning behind the perspectives. If we believe God makes allowance for the innocent babies that die or the bushman in deepest Africa that did not have the story of Jesus delivered to him before dying, then what prevents us from understanding God will definitely address all wrongs done using appropriate punishment, but with the intent to purify instead of torture? Does annihilation help with the concept of eternal torment? A final consumption of anything & everything contrary to God’s perfection? No sin, no death & no eternal torment?

  24. Great comments. All this reminded me of something that I listened to a while ago. At the time the guy was too off the charts for me, but maybe I’ll have to give it another go.

    I had found it on http://www.perichoresis.org/

    here’s the audio (part of a series)
    [audio src="http://nas1.cervit.com/perichoresis/Audio/Perichoresis_101_03.mp3" /]

  25. Yes, this has been an interesting discussion.

    joseph,
    About the curse, all of the above including death.
    Good point that while we can’t necessarily have it all figured out, we also cannot disregard the ideas completely because they impact our view of God.

    rick,
    Thanks for sharing the link. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I will.

  26. Grace: Ah yes, death…

    But then, we still die. Physical death the final destination this side of the veil. Now if you believe that the death God said was the consequence of eating from the Tree of Good & Evil, was it simply physical in its result? Since Adam+Eve were prevented from eating of the Tree of Life it appears this was the manner which death resulted. They were banished from the Garden…

    Did the cross become some new form of a tree of life for us? Only because the original curse was then nailed upon it once & for all?

    Hmmm…

    We do have to distinguish between the most obvious physical death vs. what we understand as ‘spiritual’ death & its scope. This brings us into the realm of theological speculation of course & how we perceive God dealing with the grander concept of sin, its consequence & how it has been addressed through the Incarnation, cross & resurrection.

    There are grand ideas regarding Adam’s sin & how it ‘infected’ all humanity. But was such sin the original type espoused by Augustine, or was it simply the disease condition of spiritual anemia that the Eastern Orthodox understand it to be? So in effect Jesus either had to pay a debt to deflect God’s pent-up wrath against all humanity or He was the perfect Lamb that bore the affect of humanity’s weakened condition to bring healing/reconciliation by absorbing the sin of the world as He hung upon the cross.

    God’s vengeance appeased, or Jesus willingly taking upon Himself the hopeless condition (disease) of all humanity? God as stern Judge, Jury & Executioner or God as the Great Physician?

    Father of the Prodigals or Someone to fear?: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

    Reminds me of a Christmas concept many a child has wrestled with: “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!” :)

  27. Yes I was bombarded with the movie series Thief in The Night and a barrage of religious hell fury preaching and basically was mentally destroyed accompanied with the other abuses the so called Christians inflicted on me. Several people from the cult Baptist Church I attended have committed suicide and or been institutionalised. Fear of God is no way to live. I know this I have a massive fear of a God that makes me sick, and while The Christians are trying to help me recover that fear is imbedded and has been since I was a child. No God that does that should be in existence,and now I like many others are afraid of something that I dont know even exists. I hope that the real God heals this because if he doesnt help us all soon I fear that we will not live a full and content life without fear and nightmares. I had God and the Bible literally beaten and raped into me and now
    trust in any religious organisation is almost an impossibility, trust in a God is even worse. Tortured souls are everywhere due to these religious nutcase fanatics, they should be held accountable, on this earth and in the next life. God is not what these people say, I am still figuring out what God is at all. Anyone else feel this way?

  28. Angie: much pain & associated trauma from what you descibe has indeed been the lot of others that have suffered church abuse situations.

    I cannot begin to assuage that hurt. I cannot make excuses or try to explain why such things occur. But there are many that do post here that can do a much better job at talking about such things. I will simply acknowledge your initial posting & encourage you to stick around & interact with grace & others that can identify with your pain.

    Blessings…

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