The spiritual belief that the wicked must suffer eternally for their Earthly deeds would be horrendous in and of itself but Christians are actually taught, believe and spread the idea that even the innocent must suffer such an eternal fate for the crime of not accepting Christ as their savior.
What sort of savior is this that Christians have created for themselves that would demand such allegiance under penalty of everlasting pain? Christ, based on most Christian doctrine , is by far the most evil entity that ever existed in human history. Most Christian theology is nothing more than a masochistic philosophy which makes the likes of Hitler or Stalin look like choir boys compared to the Christ that most Christians believe in. "Believe in me or suffer forever."
And then Christianity proclaims God is Love and Christ is the Prince of Peace. The disconnect an hypocrisy is staggering. It is no wonder that over the centuries in an effort to resolve this conflict between a loving God and the evil solutions to His problem, how to reconcile His creation to Himself, so many different denominations and theological interpretations have evolved.
It is also why so many Christians have suffered deep and profound doubts about their faith.
That any should suffer forever, lingering on in hopeless despair, and rolling amidst infinite torments without the possibility of alleviation and without end; that since God can save men and will save a part, he has not proposed to save all — these are real, not imaginary, difficulties… My whole soul pants for light and relief on these questions. But I get neither; and in the distress and anguish of my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to me why sin came into the world; why the earth is strewn with the dying and the dead; and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects, that has given a moment’s ease to my tortured mind… I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers — upon death-beds and grave-yards — upon the world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever: when I see my friends, my family, my people, my fellow citizens when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger — and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned, and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do so, I am struck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it.
– Albert Barnes
The answer to the troubled soul is a simple one, there is no hell and if you truly are a Christian your spirit tells you this. A God of mercy would never condemn anyone to such a fate, I wouldn't would you? If you and I would not create such a place, for anyone then what you are saying is that we are more loving and forgiving than God. If you believe that, then why worship Him?
In my last study on the subject hell, I made the observation that their are now versions of the bible that do not have a single mention of the word hell in the Old Testament. In fact in the King James Version of the Bible in every case where the word hell appears in the Old Testament it is to denote the Hebrew word Sheol which has nothing to do with fires and torment, but rather was an unseen place where the dead went when they died. In Greek this would be Hades. more on this in a later study.
Psalms 139:8 (English Standard Version)
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!Now the King James Version
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.And just to show how different Bibles can be, from the Common English Bible
If I went up to heaven, you would be there.
If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!
Or the Good News Translation
If I went up to heaven, you would be there;All of these translations are referring to the same place but using different words to describe it, but in no case are they referring to the place of the damned for eternity of Christian mythology. But one of these translations, and there are others, is using the word that is commonly know as the place where "sinners" and the wicked go to suffer eternally-hell.
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
Which begs the question, if hell as we commonly understand it did not exist in the Old Testament, did Jesus bring not only salvation to the world but hell fire damnation as well? If the hell of Christianity was not a concept of the Jews prior to his arrival on the scene is part of Christ's gospel (good news) that God along with reconciliation sent the message of eternal torment with His Son to the world? Gives a whole new meaning to the verse "For God so loved the world...." doesn't it?
Biblical translation is no small matter, in the end it actually defines what God is or isn't. The fact that Christianity has determined that their God is a petty, vindictive entity who will cause the greater portion of His creation to suffer eternally is the direct result of false translations and interpretations of ancient writings not at all in keeping with the spirit of love which every true Christian feels at the core of their spiritual being.
Which brings me to a very important point I wish to bring forth for your spiritual consideration. From a spiritual standpoint wouldn't hell be the absence of God in your life? Either this life or the life hereafter? If so it could be said that unbelievers, regardless of their moral character, are in fact living in hell already. Spiritually speaking of course. And who is responsible for spiritual birth?
I'll give you a hint
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God— not by works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath beforehand ordained, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:7-10)Not you.
I will have more on hell later, but the important point I wanted to make was this. Either hell was introduced into the world with Jesus Christ as some sort of perverted spiritual solution by a not so loving God or it was introduced into the world by men whose spiritual guidance was far removed from the Christ you feel in your heart.
To them God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)