Most Evangelicals believe in a literal Heaven and Hell. The Bible says that it is “appointed unto men once to die.” All of us will die someday, Evangelicals say, and the moment we draw our last breath, we will be transported by God to Heaven or Hell. Where we end up depends on whether we were born again/saved. Those who were saved when they died go to Heaven, and those who weren’t — atheists, agnostics, pagans, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Catholics (to name a few) — go to Hell.
Hell (actually the Lake of Fire) is a place where unbelievers will be punished and tortured for their sins for eternity. Some Evangelicals suggest that the only sin people will be punished for in Hell is the sin of unbelief; as if this is somehow better than being punished for adultery, fornication, or being LGBTQ. The life expectancy for humans is 70-80 years in most of the developed world. If Evangelicals are right about Hell, this means that a momentary decision made by unbelievers to not believe the Evangelical gospel will be punished for millions, billions, and trillions of years. Think about that for a moment. Just saying no to Jesus means you will be tortured by God of “love” forever. How you lived your life matters not. What good works you did matters not. You may have been an awesome mother, father, grandparent, or friend. It matters not. You may have devoted your life to serving the sick, poor, and marginalized. It matters not. If you didn’t believe the right things (and Evangelicalism preaches a gospel of right beliefs) you will spend eternity suffering in the flames of Hell. (And yes, I am aware that a small percentage of Evangelicals are annihilationists. But even with annihilation, unbelievers are still tortured by God for a time before they are obliterated.)
Worse yet, the natural body can’t withstand the extreme fire and heat of Hell. Those consigned to Hell would immediately melt and be turned to ashes without God doing something to keep that from happening. The Bible teaches that Heaven and Hell are actually temporary holding places. After Jesus returns to earth and defeats Satan, every human will be resurrected from the dead, judged, and then given a new body. Christians will spend eternity in the Eternal Kingdom of God. Unbelievers will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. (I speak generally. I am well aware of the various Evangelical beliefs on these subjects.) By fitting unbelievers with bodies that can withstand the terrors of Hell, they won’t be turned to ashes. Isn’t God awesome?
There’s no evidence for the existence of Hell (or Heaven). Ask an Evangelical to point you to where Hell is and they will point down. What? Hell is Australia? I guess Hell could be Antarctica, though its climate seems very un-hell like. All joking aside, most Evangelicals believe Hell is somewhere in the center of the earth. According to Wikipedia, the core of the earth is approximately 1,500 miles in diameter, one-fortieth of the volume of the whole earth. Today, almost eight billion people live on earth. Scientists estimate almost 110 billion people have lived and died on our planet. Evangelicals believe that the vast majority of people past and present will end up in Hell after they die. Evangelicalism is an exclusive club. Few people are actually members. Thus, we can safely say that Hell has a population in excess of 100 billion people. Imagine 100 billion people living in a space the size of the United States. Donald Trump might want to go to Hell and build high rises to accommodate all the non-Evangelicals.
The very idea of Hell is absurd. Yet, a majority of Americans believe in its existence. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, sixty percent of American adults believe in the existence of Hell. Eighty-two percent of Evangelicals believe Hell is a real place. The literalness of Hell is deeply engrained in our thinking. Even among Evangelicals-turned-atheists, Hell often lurks in the depths of our minds. How could it be otherwise? Years of indoctrination, of being told Hell is a real place and unbelievers will spend eternity being tortured by God, will do that to you. I have received numerous emails over the years from ex-Evangelicals who are still struggling with thoughts about Hell. It is hard to shake the sermons and Sunday school lessons about Hell. When people are told a lie repeatedly, it should come as no surprise that they believe it. Undoing the psychological conditioning often takes years.
Hell is a cudgel used by Evangelical preachers to keeps asses in the pews and money in offering plates. If threats of Hell are removed, would Evangelicals still attend church, give money, or evangelize unbelievers? Heaven is the carrot, but Hell is the stick. If there is no fear of Hell (or God), would people still devote themselves to the one true faith? Maybe, for social reasons, but if there are no worries about going to Hell, I suspect people would likely treat their chosen religion more cavalierly than they do now (more like they do in some European countries).
Today, my friend ObstacleChick had an interaction on my Facebook page with an Evangelical man named John. I doubt that’s his real name. John sent OC a private message, one that can only be described as a Hell-inspired death threat.
Here’s a screenshot of John’s message:
OC is a former Evangelical, a Southern Baptist. She attended a Christian school. OC was deeply immersed in Evangelicalism before she deconverted. I suspect what upset OC the most was this asshole calling her Missy. 🙂 OC tried to respond to John’s threat, but, of course, he blocked her so she couldn’t do so (and I blocked him on my page). I hate it when my friends face retribution from Evangelical Christians because they comment on my Facebook page or this blog.
John believes in the existence of Hell. His words reveal that he has been deeply indoctrinated, and that he thinks it normal and acceptable to threaten unbelievers with death and Hell. Perhaps John even thinks he is doing this out of “love.” Isn’t this exactly what the Evangelical preachers do? They preach up the love of God and the awesomeness of Jesus. Yet, they also warn unbelievers that if they refuse God’s offer of salvation through the merit and work of Jesus, judgment and Hell await.
The good news is that there is no Hell. I have seen no evidence for its existence. While thoughts of Hell may infrequently plague my mind, I know they are vestiges of five decades of psychological indoctrination. The longer I am removed from Evangelicalism, the fewer thoughts I have about Hell. Lifelong indoctrination doesn’t disappear just because you stop believing. It takes time to free one’s mind of years and decades of harmful beliefs. If you are struggling with thoughts about Hell, all I can tell you is that it gets better with time. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. There’s no life after death, so all we have is the life before us.
An hour after I posted this article, I received the following email from an Evangelical man who calls himself Rev. James Makerfield:
I hope this email reaches you well.I hope it reaches MANY in fact!
From the “Zealots”. Or Evangelical “assholes”. As you put it.
Number ONE we love you all very much. Mr Bruce you are Loved very much!
The GREATEST HATE is to NOT bring the gospel to the lost! and we all need the gospel! Believers and unbelievers.
Hell is REAL place!
It is NOT A THREAT!It’s not a fairytale!It’s not a scare tactic!
It is REAL! I’d suggest googling “atheists who went to hell”. If you want proof outside of the Bible.
What I am going describe now is the portrait of the eternal future of EVERYONE who dies without Jesus Christ. 😭
This includes all people who trusted in “RELIGION” (man’s attempt to make himself right with God)
All who tries to earn salvation through good works and morality.
And all who fell into the trap that not even the demons fell into! ATHEISM and ANTI-THEISM/ANTI-CHRISTIANITY ( which is what a high percentage of atheists really are they’re really Anti-Christians.
As the Unbeliever takes his or her last breath in this life they will take their first breath in eternity pulled from their body and taken and placed in a deep hot dark pit!
Deafening screams will be on all sides all around them! The place will stink God awful! 🤢🤮
Take rotten eggs, sulphur, human crap/sewage and a landfill and it won’t hold a candle to the stink of hell and burning souls! 😢
Their body will ignite in flames! You will scream “AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!” “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”
You will feel pain that cannot be described in any human language!
You will feel the reality of Revelation 20:15!“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:15
You will scream “OH GOD!!!!! YOURE SUPPOSED TO BE LOVE!!!!”
Then you will remember John 3:16“For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
You will remember Romans 5:8“But God commendeth his love towards us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us “ Romans 5:8
You will cry “AHHHHH!!!!! THIS CANT BE HAPPENING!!!! WHY WASN’T I WARNED!?!?!?”
Then you will remember every person who tried to witness to you.
You will remember every sermon you ever heard and/or preached but NEVER TRULY believed!
You will remember finding a tract in a bathroom and throwing in the trash or on the ground.
You will remember every person on Facebook and the internet blog,every email, every call every Avenue that Christ used to desperately get you to accept his grace and mercy.
Now it will be too late!
Furthermore as the rich man pleaded in Luke 16:19-31.
You will have an indescribable thirst like you have never had before! UNO ONE DROP OF WATER would be precious but you and everyone else who died in sin will NEVER get it! 😭
You will have a desire for unsaved family and other people trapped in unbelief to come to salvation through Jesus Christ.
Just as the first rich man did for his 5 unsaved brothers.
You will pray for God to send someone to tell them the gospel!
You will curse the day you were born!You will curse the moment you were conceived!You will wish you would’ve been squirted on the mattress!
This pain and agony will last for all ETERNITY!
What’s 20 years in eternity!? Less time it takes to blow a breath of air!
If a person lives to be 110 that’s less than a 1/2 in eternity!
900 million years will be less than 1/2 second in eternity!
Think about the prisons on earth even in a earthly human prison there is hope that you can can get out! No one will ever get released from hell!
And imagine being in a prison with every murderer, child rapist,vile of the vile!
In hell you will scream right beside Satan and the Anti-Christ and the false Prophet and thousands of demons for all eternity!
There will be no contact with anyone! Hell will be full of millions that rejected Jesus Christ and each soul will be in complete isolation!
There will be NO REST! Not even a quiet moment!
And yet the LOST world says that we (TRUE GENUINE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST!) “HATE” people when we warn them of this COMING REALITY! Pfft!
Jesus Christ loves YOU and he does NOT want you or anyone else to perish in hell.
What if this email is your last warning?What if you don’t wake up tomorrow?
I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you and anyone else reading to listen to the Holy Spirits call.
It sure sounds like John and James are the same person or identical twins.
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.