“The notion of a divinely ordained place of punishment for the wicked after death is deeply embedded in the Christian imagination. How should we think and talk about hell?”
A common assumption of life and the universe is that after death every person will face this Y in the road. According to evangelical christianity, those who believe in Jesus will go to heaven and those who do not are destined for hell. This is the familiar unchallenged narrative of the afterlife among christians and even among many people outside of christianity.
There are many people have no interest in changing this traditional view. For those who do question the concept of hell and other aspects of the afterlife, there are many good articles and books about these topics. I am not going to attempt to address the academic arguments in this post.
Because hell is such a fundamental aspect of the narrative of life and the universe, it cannot be questioned without disrupting our entire theological framework. If this occurs, the pieces of the overall story must be put back together in a way that makes sense of a new view of the afterlife.
I had no intention of dropping hell from my theology, but my entire belief system has shifted to the point where there is no longer a place for the traditional notion of hell. The following three beliefs led to my abandonment of the traditional view of hell:
1. There is no “place” outside of God, no place where He is not.
2. The line between this life and the afterlife is much finer than we imagine.
3. The judgment and justice of God will result in the healing of all creation.
As a plausible alternative to the traditional narrative of the afterlife, consider that rather than a Y in the road, all of humanity will spend eternity in the presence of God.
This post is part of the May Synchroblog “What The Hell” – thoughts about the controversial subject of hell. I’ll add the links to all the other participants at the end of this post as soon as they are available.
Jeremy Myers – Does Jesus Talk About Hell More Than Heaven?
Wesley Rostoll – Hell, thoughts on annihilationism
K. W. Leslie – Dark Christians
Angie Benjamin – Hell Is For Real
Paul Meier – Hell Is For Real – I’ve Been There and Came Back
Glenn Hager – Abusing Hell
The Virtual Abbess – What The Hell?
Kimbery Klein – Hell, if I know.
Michael Donahoe – Hell Yes…or No?
Liz Dyer – Hell? No!
Margaret Boelman – Hell No I Won’t Go
Loveday Anyim – Why the hell do you believe in hell?
Linda – The “Y” in the Road
Edwin Aldrich – What the Hell do we really know.
Mallory Pickering – The Time I Blogged About Hell