Hell is not for sissies

It was brought to my attention the other day how we as Christians have an aversion to talking about hell that the world doesn’t have.  There are seemingly endless slang uses for hell in the everyday life of the average person.  Yet we are afraid to bring up the topic.  While hell can be used as a curse word, it is a literal place that it is our job description to tell people how to avoid.   The noted atheist Penn Jillette ,from the famed Penn and Teller duo, has a very interesting take on evangelism from an atheists point of view.  You can look for yourself by following the above link but what he basically says is, if you truly believe that hell is a literal place, how much do you have to hate someone not to tell them how to avoid it.  You have to admit that our reluctance to tell people about hell is a pretty good reason for the world around us not to believe that it exists.  I think this is true about preaching today as well.  Hell is not mentioned from the pulpit as it used to be.  We need to quit being sissies about our belief in a literal heaven and hell and begin to tell people how they can know the truth of God’s forgiveness before we no longer have the opportunity.

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6 Responses to “Hell is not for sissies”

  1. makarios Says:

    Good post. Absolutely true.

  2. Daniel Malcor Says:

    I am an atheist and have been listening to Penn for a few years now. I think you have summarized his point very well. However, your follow-up observation “reluctance to tell people about hell is a pretty good reason for the world around us not to believe that it exists” is too soft a sell. The world around you has no reason to believe in hell as a real place any more than it should believe in Narina, Middle Earth, or Limbo are real places.

    You have to do more than “tell” people about a place to make it real. It actually needs to be real.

    • drycreekbiblepastor Says:

      I greatly appreciate your observations. While it is very true that people not telling people about hell is a poor reason to believe in it’s existence, please take into account that the purpose of the post was not to persuade of the existence of hell but of the necessity for those who believe in God, heaven, and hell to live out those beliefs. God, heaven, hell and the afterlife in general cannot be proven and must be approached through faith. My goal is not to force people into believing as I do but to simply explain my beliefs based on the bible. What happens then is up to them.

      Thank you for your observations.

  3. Daniel Malcor Says:

    See you are backing away from telling me that you believe I am going to hell. I told you “I am an atheist” so you know I will not be with you in heaven. But then you go and hide behind “explaining your beliefs” and not actually trying to persuade me (or anyone) of the real peril of hell. I don’t think you understood what Penn was saying at all.

    How much effort would you go to in order to stop people from marching off a cliff to a painful death? Would you just walk at a safe distance and sing a happy tune to attract them away from the edge? And falling off a cliff is nothing compared to the eternal fires of hell. Or so I am told.

    Is it the fact that death is a long way off and hell isn’t as easy to believe in as the bottom of a cliff?

    Mind you I don’t believe in hell in any form, and I think it is hideous abuse of anyone’s trust (especially a small child’s) to tell them they are bound for a place that you have never been and never known of anyone to have gone there. Not to mention a place from which nobody has ever come back from. Also the absurdity of claiming that anyone or anything is “eternal”, but we can leave that for another discussion.

    :-Dan

  4. drycreekbiblepastor Says:

    You are right of course. I appreciate your stretching my thinking in this area. I did not personalize this discussion and was only examining the argument I was making. As an Athiest you are destined for an eternal separation from God in a literal place called hell. But understand that it is not because you haven’t been good enough to get into heaven, it is because everyone who enters this world is spiritually separated from God. That is what Christ died on the cross for. Until a person comes to be convinced that they need Christ in order to be acceptable in God’s sight, they are destined for hell. The problem is that we are sinful people by nature and the answer is the fact that Christ paid for that sin on the cross. That being said it is not possible for me or anyone else to save another person. I am responsible to tell you that salvation from hell is only possible through Jesus Christ.

    I am currious to know, if there is nothing beyond this life, how do you establish purpose for existing at all. What is it that you live for? Again I appreciate your interaction Daniel.

  5. Daniel Malcor Says:

    RE: if there is nothing beyond this life, how do you establish purpose for existing at all?

    Same way everyone does, you do what feels right to you, and you look around the culture you are living in and see what is acceptable to that culture. Religious and non-religious people all do this. The only difference is that the “people of the book” will review their text and cherry pick the parts that support their ideas of the good life. Clearly they cannot follow the whole bible to the letter. That would lead to activities that the surrounding culture would no longer tolerate (just on the treatment of Women alone, not to mention stoning disobedient children).

    Since we started with Penn seems fitting to point back to Penn Jillette’s “This I Believe” on NPR http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5015557

    :-Dan

    There is another take to the “What is the Meaning/Purpose of Life?” question. Simply that it begs the question. Like the question “Why is the Unicorn hollow?” starts out by assuming there are Unicorns. I like to include this point, just because it startled me when I first heard it. Always gald to woken up to a new way of looking at a problem.

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