You may think hell is an odd topic to discuss these days given a significant number of people in the West don’t even believe it exists…
First, what people believe can affect those around them. This is becoming ever more apparent in our increasingly globalised world. An extreme example is someone who believes blowing themselves up in a crowded place will earn themselves a spot in Paradise. Assumably, you think that’s a ridiculous thing to believe but the fact someone else believes it still affects you, even if only indirectly1.
Second, I’m sure I’m mistaken about many things in life. At the same time, that the majority of people throughout history probably did/do believe in some sort of Hell2, should make us all pause. It’s just possible you might be mistaken about what happens after you die.
In both cases, I think it’s better to engage with the issue—even if you think it’s only a hypothetical thought experiment—rather than simply ignoring it. We may not significantly, nor rapidly, change the other’s view but we might reform/improve it a little, and influence those quietly following the discussion.
Anyway, I’m a Christian, a husband, a father of 3 young children, and a full-time worker but God willing, I hope to make time each month to share thoughts on:
- Does our view on hell affect the way we interact with God, people, and creation?
- Does our view on hell affect our view of justice, punishment, and evil?
- What things in this world, which is hellish3 for many people, can we improve/reform?
- Can people in hell be reformed? Is hell a place of reformation—a reforming hell?
- How are Christians currently trying to reform our view of hell?
- How have past Christians wanted to reform our view of hell?
- Does our view of hell fit into the Bible’s big picture, particularly pre-Fall?
1. e.g., the tightening of security at airports.
2. In this case, I’m speaking broadly of any negative fate of people after death, so including beliefs, such as annihilationism, where people cease to exist.
3. “this present evil age” Galatians 1:4