Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hellfire and Brimstone

Preachers and priests (I'll just refer to them as priests for the rest of this entry) have found the cash-cow of Christianity in the form of Hell.  There's no better way to keep those pews full and nothing takes less work for a lazy priest than scaring the "hell" out of his congregation.  The congregation becomes as sheep - instinctively following the priest on whatever whim grabs him in the moment, because without the priest, they would surely suffer for all eternity in a fiery torment which was created and set aside just for doubters like them.

The point of this blog entry, is that Hell is just as imaginary and just as baloney as everything else the priest is describing.  I'll break it down from a Christian perspective:

Luke 16:14-31 details a story of a man lamed Lazarus, and an unnamed rich man.  The Lazarus in this story is likely not supposed to be the Lazarus who was resurrected.  Instead, this is just some other guy named Lazarus.

In this story, the rich man goes to hell, and Lazarus goes to Heaven.  Lazarus receives a message from the rich man, who begs for just a drop of water on his tongue.  So the question is:  Is this a story about eternal suffering?  To answer that question, let's look at the story.  Lazarus, supposedly is a good man, honorable, worthy of heaven.  The rich man is... what?  He is not described as being evil.  Neither is he described as being an unrepentant sinner.  He's just rich.

Jesus is known for delivering parables to try to teach lessons to his followers, and that's just what this story is - a parable.  This is not a story of eternal torment in Hell for those who don't go to Heaven.

The lake of fire, as described in Revelation is a description of destruction, not violent torment.  The gnashing of teeth is the weeping before the destruction.  The worm which never dies describes the trash heap outside of Jerusalem where fires burned up the trash.  Living people were never thrown into the trash heap to be burned - ever.

So, the whole idea of a place/dimension of torture is silly.  There is no Biblical evidence of such a place.

The next question is, then, why do priests constantly scream about Hell and suffering on the pulpit?  MONEY!  What better way to get you to follow of the rules, like tithing (cha-ching!), bringing your friends and family and making them tithe (cha-ching!) and giving more till it hurts?  That's right - Hell is all about money.

Now that you know, every time you hear a priest talk about Hell, and then pass around the offering plate, the preacher is only after your wallet.

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