Here I introduce the idea of Hell I will be dealing with and to look at how the subject was treated in the Old Testament.
Fear of Hell tortures multitudes of people. From the devout, to the deconverting, to the nominal believer, to the completely unreligious who still have some little flicker of fear in the back of their minds, the threat of eternal, conscious, fiery torment hangs over people's hearts and minds. If I can unpick and unpack this threat in order to expose it as false, unfounded, and untenable, perhaps I can help to alleviate those fears and bring peace to those afraid to take the next step away from their abusive relationship with faith.
Not a single episode, not a short season, but a long process of unravelling that puts me where I am now. It's not that I have been on a journey; I am still on that journey.
Disbelieving the God of the Bible and those other faiths does not mean that I believe in the utter absence of anything transcendent, higher, other, unexplainable, or above our current understanding.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the expression, the black dog is an old euphemism for anxiety and melancholy. I find myself taking a walk with this old, unwelcome, friend quite a bit in recent days.
The difficulty with all of this is that this mild fascination with all things gently spooky coincided with my conversion to evangelical Christianity. Suddenly there was a whole bunch of stuff I wasn't supposed to be interested in because it was "dark."
The Jesus we see in the New Testament is a false prophet as described by the very book that is supposed to reveal him as God.
What joy is there in those holidays that are based upon a religion from which we have turned away? I propose a new holiday season: The Hygge-days!
There is a serious lack of helpful information out there for people who are struggling... with serious questions about their faith and can't speak to people about those questions out of fear... with moving away from faith and wanting validation... with anger at their experiences and having no place to vent... with the overwhelming hold that evangelical Christianity has on so many lives.
Imagine my surprise when a textbook, for a biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) class, in an MA degree program, at a devout evangelical college, told me the difficult truth that the Bible was not reliable.