This is the one hundred and seventh installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is the movie The Burning Hell, produced by Fundamentalist Baptist pastor Estus Pirkle and Ron Ormond. Released in 1974, The Burning Hell was used by thousands of Fundamentalist churches to “scare” sinners into getting saved. I first saw The Burning Hell in 1974. I saw it several more times in the late 1970s and 1980s. According to the Estus Pirkle Evangelistic Association website, The Burning Hell:
is a scriptural interpretation of what the Bible has to say about a literal hell. The film seeks to portray in graphic terms all of the horror of hell and how to escape its flames. Of central importance in the film is the incident involving the rich man and Lazarus. Millions of people have been saved in Spanish and English speaking countries through this film. The film is sixty minutes and in color. Preaching is by Estus W. Pirkle.
The movie is available on DVD for $29.95, plus $6 for shipping.
One of the things that helped me with my lingering fears of hell, was this list of various hells throughout religions. One of them depicted the afterlife as a winepress in which your body would be continously squashed. Clearly, I had never been afraid of that happening to me after death before! Seeing someone else’s version and finding it more funny than anything else did help. I’m only afraid of this kind of hell, the everlasting fires, because I’ve believed in it for so long whereas I’m not afraid at all for the winepress hell. For me, it confirmed that it is just people imagining the afterlife and creating both a happy version and a bad one.
What a nice way to believe, If your belief is correct then everyone wins if it is just people imagining and afterlife.
Suppose for a minute that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and suppose they are literal.
According to what you say ten you would have a 50% chance of winning. On the other hand if what I believe is true
then I have a 100% chance of winning. We are free to believe whatever we want, God gave us free will but if our beliefs are not in accordance with the word of God then we risk an eternity.
Seriously, I like my odds better.
I presume, then, you are also a Muslim, Buddhist, Shintoist, etc. The piss poor argument you are trying to use is called Pascal’s Wager. It fails miserably because you assume Christianity is true and you only apply it to Christianity. If you were true to your argument, you’d have to embrace all religions.
Of course, you believe only your peculiar interpretation of the Bible is right, and only your deity is the one true God. Thus, you’d have me become a Christian solely out of fear of being wrong. Is that the best you got? No thanks.
“We are free to believe whatever we want, God gave us free will…”
I’d dispute this claim in its entirety.
First off, we are not free to believe whatever we want. For example, no matter how hard I try, I cannot believe the world is flat, and in similar vein I can’t believe the claims of Christianity. I just can’t do it; it isn’t possible. In the unlikely event that there really is some sort of god, and who knows my thoughts, then he’ll appreciate I’m sincere.
In any event, I’d dispute that we have free will. Ultimately, everything we do or think is simply the result of lots of physical things happening inside our bodies and, especially, our brains. We are actually at the bidding of the neurons in our brains, and it is those that control us, and not the other way round. I don’t deny that our sense of free will is overwhelming, but it is an illusion (in my opinion).