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Tag: Lake of Fire

The Horrors of the Evangelical Hell

hell

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?

no atheists in hell

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:

message to obstaclechick

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.

Update

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-headshot

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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Hello Bruce, I’m a “Nice” Evangelical

hell

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Several times a month, I get emails from Evangelicals who want to let me know that they are not like “other” Evangelicals. They want me to know that there are Evangelicals who are nice, polite, decent, kind, and respectful people. That’s great, their mothers taught them well. However, these “nice” Evangelicals aren’t really as nice as they would have me believe. They desperately want to be viewed in a good light, thinking if I just knew that there are “nice” Evangelicals, I would fall on my knees and call to Jesus to save me. As if my entire deconversion hangs on how I was treated while I was an Evangelical pastor.

When I am feeling up to it, I respond to the “nice” Evangelical’s email with a few questions. Questions like:

  • Do you believe that humans are inherently “sinful”; that humans are broken and in need of fixing?
  • Do you think believing in Jesus is the only way for people to have their sins forgiven?
  • Do you believe there is one true God, and that all other deities are false?
  • Do you believe the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible text?
  • Do you believe that a person must be saved/born again/become a follower of Jesus to go to Heaven when he dies?
  • Do you believe that a person who is not saved/born again/a follower of Jesus goes to Hell when he dies?

The answers to these questions will quickly reveal that the “nice” Evangelical is no different from Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Steven Anderson, Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, Bob Gray, Sr., Bryan Fischer, James Dobson, or Franklin Graham. The “nice” Evangelical and the nasty/hateful Evangelical, both share the same beliefs. The former comes in a nicer, more pleasing package, but inside the package are the same abhorrent, vile beliefs.

Sometimes, a “nice” Evangelical will be coy about his beliefs. When pressed on the question of God torturing non-Christians in Hell/Lake of Fire for eternity, he often replies that he leaves such things up to God. A “nice” Evangelical want me to know that he doesn’t judge, he just unconditionally l-o-v-e-s others. However, if he believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, then he already knows what God says on the matter. Fact: non-Christians will go to Hell when they die. Fact: atheists, agnostics, secularists, and humanists will go to Hell when they die. Fact: most of the readers of this blog will go to Hell when they die. Fact: most of my Facebook friends will go to Hell when they die. Fact: most of my Twitter followers will go to Hell when they die. Fact: and, to make it quite personal, Bruce and Polly Gerencser and most of their children will go to Hell when they die.

The “nice” Evangelical, if he is truly a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Evangelical, is boxed in by his beliefs. There is one God — the Christian God; one way of salvation — Jesus; and Hell awaits all of those who reject him. This is why I respect someone like the late Fred Phelps more than I do a “nice” Evangelical. Phelps just tells non-Christians how it is. He makes no effort to hide his beliefs. The forwardness of such Evangelicals allows me to know exactly where I stand with them. No need for us to play the pretend-friend game or make nice with each other.

Sometimes, “nice” Evangelicals will take a psychological approach. They view me as one who has been wounded by the nasty, hateful, judgmental Evangelicals. They read a few of my blog posts and determine that I have been hurt in some way, and that this is the reason I am not a Christian. In their minds, they think if they are just really, really, really nice to me that I will be overwhelmed by their niceness and fall in love with Jesus all over again. Since “nice” Evangelicals think Jesus is w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l, they can’t imagine someone NOT wanting to become a follower of Awesome Jesus. A “nice” Evangelical sees Jesus patiently knocking on the door of my heart, pleading for me to let him in. Isn’t this the same Jesus who says that if I DON’T open the door, he is going to torture me for eternity in a lake that burns with fire and brimstone, a place where the worm dieth not? Isn’t this the same Jesus who will fit me with a special body after death so that no matter how severely he tortures me I can never die?

While there is certainly a truckload of harm and hurt in my Evangelical past, the reason I am not a Christian is because I do not believe the central claims of Christianity to be true. I don’t believe the Bible is an inspired, inerrant text. I don’t believe Jesus was God, virgin-born, a miracle worker, or resurrected from the dead. I don’t believe God created the world, nor do I believe in “sin.” Simply put, I reject everything one must believe to be a Christian. No matter how “nice” an Evangelical is to me, I do not buy what he is selling. Salvation requires faith, a faith I do not and will not have.

Look, I am glad that many Evangelicals are nice people. I am glad they treat me and others like me with kindness, decency, and respect. Their behavior certainly makes the world a better place. That said, I suspect their behavior is a reflection of their tribal training and culture more than it is their Evangelical beliefs. I am glad someone taught them to be decent, thoughtful people. I do, however, wish they would stop wasting their time by trying to “nice” me to Jesus. I have no interest in Jesus, and I think their time would be better spent teaching Evangelicals how to behave in public. As blog comments, news articles, blogs, social media,  and personal emails show, there are a lot of Evangelicals who don’t the first thing about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Instead of trying to save people who don’t want to be saved, “nice” Evangelicals should spend their time getting fellow Evangelicals saved.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce, Did You Ever Pray for God to Abolish Hell?

i have a question

I recently asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please leave your question on the page, Your Questions, Please.

Dave asked:

[Christian] Fundamentalists believe you can bring anything to God in prayer and he will answer it. They also believe in eternal torture as this god’s punishment for most of the human race. As a pastor did you ever pray that God would not allow such a monstrosity as hell? Why do you think that this plea is not made continuously by people who hold this belief? Is it because they don’t really believe they can change the mind of God, or is it because they relish the idea that nonbelievers will get what they deserve?

Evangelicals believe that the Bible God hears and answers their prayers. While Evangelicals are all over the place theologically on prayer, they believe that God does hear their petitions and answers in one of three ways:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not now

According to Evangelicals, every prayer that conforms to the will of God is answered affirmatively. Why, then, do most Evangelical prayers go unanswered — especially big-ticket items such as the ones mentioned by Dave? Why does God seem indifferent to human suffering, pain, and loss? According to Evangelicals, God saying no or not now happens for one of these reasons:

  • God wants to increase our faith
  • God wants to test us and make us stronger
  • God wants to chastise us for our sins, restoring us to a right relationship with him
  • God wants to bring glory to his name

While I am sure there are other “reasons” for God saying no or not now, these are the big four — the reasons most often cited by Evangelicals.

For thirty-five years, I prayed every day — often multiple times a day. Yet, I never, one time, asked God to abolish Hell. I believed Hell (and the Lake of Fire) was an awful place of eternal damnation and suffering, yet I also believed the people in Hell were getting exactly what they deserved. Salvation had been offered to them by Jesus Christ, yet they rejected it, choosing instead their own selfish desires. Of course, I dared not think too hard on the matter, lest I see multiple glaring contradictions. Had I thought about that matter, I would have concluded that God was unjust and unfair; that eternity in Hell seemed to be determined by who your parents were and geography.

After embracing Calvinism, I concluded that eternal destiny was determined not by making a decision for Christ, but because God had chosen some people to spend eternity in Hell. No one deserved salvation and eternity in Heaven, so God can’t be blamed for sending most people to the Lake of Fire.

I never believed I could change the mind of God through my prayers. God was the sovereign Lord over all, and everything that happened was according to his purpose and plan. People saved under my ministry were converted because God purposed from before the foundation of the world to bring them to saving faith. When I prayed, it was not so God would give me what I want, but so my will would conform to God’s. Ironically, on many occasions God’s “will” aligned perfectly aligned with mine. It was amazing that God often gave me exactly what I wanted. I later concluded that the only person answering my prayers was me; that my prayers were self-fulfilling wants, needs, and desires.

Dave concludes by asking a question that most Evangelicals don’t want to answer: [do] they [Evangelicals] relish the idea that nonbelievers will get what they deserve?

I do know that some Evangelicals relish the fact that I will some day go to Hell to be punished and tortured by God for eternity. I am viewed as someone especially deserving of eternal torture. I knew the “truth” and rejected it. I spit in the face of Jesus, choosing atheism over the one true faith. I have received countless emails and blog comments from Evangelicals who, with sadistic delight, describe what God is going to do to me after I die. Usually, they end with a call to repentance or “praying for you,” but I suspect that many of my critics relish what awaits for me in Hell.

Deep down, Evangelicals need validation; to know for certain that they are right. Their lives are built on certainty; that their God is the one true God; that the Bible is a supernatural book given to them by a supernatural God, a book that is a blueprint or manual for life; that their decision to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ was the right choice, guaranteeing them an eternity of heavenly bliss.

Those who don’t believe as they do will get exactly what they deserve — eternal punishment in Hell. What better way for you to be proven right than for unbelievers to be cast into the Lake of Fire? I suspect some Evangelical zealots will take day strolls to the rim of the Lake of Fire, and say to unbelievers, I TOLD YOU SO! The eternal suffering of unbelievers is, for Evangelicals, vindication of their beliefs.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser