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The Problem of Hell (Specifcally, What to Do There)


SilentScope001
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In the hope of learning more about how people view the world...as well as preparing for Day of Judgement...well...

 

You see, I feel myself to be quite a religious person. This means that I believe in religion. But the problem lies in the fact that my belief is not "doctrinally pure". I do not know if I am following my religion correctly or if I am betraying my God, and making my God angry. You may make the argument that it's impossible to me to find out, but I may find out if I die and God tells me that I disobeyed him.

 

So, this is my fear...that I could go to Hell. I know Hell is a bad place, and I would obey God so that I go to Heaven. But for all the people talking about why Hell is a bad place, not one of them gave me any tips for living in Hell, for preparing for Hell and for prospering in Hell. I don't need any tips for living in Heaven, it's supposed to be a utopia. But, Hell...is not a utopia, it's a prison, and one that last forever.

 

This troubles me so, the thought of me going to Hell. And the problem is...how do I live in Hell? Should I form a cult to worship God so that I don't get punishment? Should I lead a rebellion to try and overthrow God and free Hell? Should I accept my punishment and moan and weep? I don't know.

 

So, here is a thought experiment. Let us suppose the following:

1. God exist and he creates Hell so that he can place Bad People in there..

2. You have been told by God that you are going to Hell, since you are indeed...a Bad Person.

3. You will likely stay in Hell forever, or at least for a very long time.

 

Atheists can enter into the discussion, as long as they accept the following warrants and assumptions...I don't want a proof of why Hell doesn't exist, I want to know how to live in Hell. I think some Christians believe that they are already saved from going to Hell, but even so, I do hope they can assume that they are going to Hell, just for the thought experience as well as to help me out in my delimma.

 

Obivously, it would be good to go to Heaven, but any business person and economist knows that you can't put all your eggs in one basket. You have to prepare for any sort of disaster that can befall you (like eternal damnation), and react to it in a calm manner.

 

This thread, in not only helping me understand how to deal with Hell, can also help me understand people's thought processes in how God operates, how Hell operates, and how people in Hell operate when placed in Hell.

 

I hope this will not be a bad thread, and I really don't like flame wars and arguments. I really hope this will be a civil discussion.

 

Thank you in advance for all those who reply.

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I, too, am afraid of Hell. Doubts and spiritual questions have plagued me ever

since I was a child, and unfortunately I grew up in a church where such things

were not only discouraged, but considered a lack of faith and moral weakness.

So, I'll make the assumption that God wants to condemn me to Hell not only

because of what I've done wrong in my life (a.k.a. sins), but also because

I had such doubts and questions and held to them instead of taking any

answers on faith alone. Let's face it--around 60% of the Bible makes no

sense to me. So, God has banished me from His presence. How will I live?

 

1. Everyone I know says that in Hell, you have no hope. There is no

"second chance" for redemption or penitence after you die. Knowing

this, I would seek to detach myself from all the pain and torture I'd

be feeling. I'd close my eyes and try to "die", to "melt into the vastness

of the Force." Buddhists say that in order to reach enlightenment,

renounce cravings and attachments. I would try to renounce my

craving for and attachment to hope.

 

2. If that failed, I would try to betray the Devil in the ultimate experiment.

I'd listen, watch, and pray my plan would work. If God knows everything, He

surely knows that if anyone deserves betrayal, it's "Old Nick" or "Old Scratch!"

I don't know what this experiment entails, but I would give it my best shot.

 

3. If both Option 1 and Option 2 flop because, supposedly, people in Hell

are supposed to suffer forever without any chance of solace or eventual

victory, I would try to remember what someone told me about Hell-fire:

It's the same consuming fire of God's presence, although to people who

hate God and are Bad People, it is absolute and unbearable torture.

I would cease to resent God for banishing me, forgive Him, and trust in

His judgment at last. Perhaps, although I doubt it, that might relieve me!

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Your not the only one who fears hell. But i for one, even though i do care about whether i got to heaven or hell, i wont do anything to try and change my chances. If being who i am, earns me a spot in hell, then so be it. I do not like the idea of an eternity of endless torture, pain, and suffering and i would most like to go to heaven than down below.

 

I believe that you should not do things what you would not do if you truly wanted to go to heaven. Life is not life without trying all the things you can, (that's without going overboard with things such as: Drugs, excessive Alcoholism and other such things).

 

1.I do believe that there is hell, god, heaven and the whole shabang, most people who i know would probably tell you different (just goes to show, some people dont know me as well as they think) and that hell is a wretched place created for wretched and evil people. To be damned to a life beyond death which involves being tortured day and night, i would try and kill the deathness what has already occured. To explain more thoroughly, i would try and feel myself in a place of pure tranquilty and the pains are nothing but too many feelings of prosperity and happiness. If that would work, i doubt it, but its worth a shot, right?

 

2. I would say to him that if who i am is a person that deserves to go to hell, than fair enough. Just think about all the people who have died, who deserved life and all the people who are alive who deserve death. I would tell him that, then tell him to think about what is happening on the world whislt talking to me, and do things about that. (thats when i would carefully use my ninja techniques and sneak through the pearly gates) (is that blasphemy? im not sure)

 

3. But if that didnt work and i went to hell. I would do well with what i had, and try through killing demons and cleansing hell, that i can finally be forgiven and let into heaven.

 

 

But i just hope God will realise what an awesome person i am and just grant me permission to enter Heaven straight away. (It would save alot of time and trouble for the both of us)

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So, here is a thought experiment. Let us suppose the following:

1. God exist and he creates Hell so that he can place Bad People in there..

2. You have been told by God that you are going to Hell, since you are indeed...a Bad Person.

3. You will likely stay in Hell forever, or at least for a very long time.

You are making quite an assumption that people who are bad go to hell and people who are good go to heaven. Most Christians would tell you that being good doesn't get you into heaven but rather accepting Jesus as your Savior, accepting that he died for your sins and the whole parade that goes with it. The unsaved, those that choose not to believe are sent to Hell and of course the Antichrist and the False Prophet are sentenced there. Satan will be bound for a thousand years and then he will be released but only for a little while. This is all in the last book of the Bible entitled Revelation.

 

Tys mentioned that she doesn't understand about 60% of the Bible. So what? I admit that there are some parts I don't understand myself but I have heard that often people will read to what speaks to them and I read what speaks to me. There is also the instance of that verse in Matthew where Jesus said that your faith must be like that of children, the innocent and unwavering belief. I understand the fear of going to hell based upon a lack of faith but there are many instances within the Bible where God gives us a chance and shows us how to renew our faith. I can't name them specifically but there is Abraham's sacrifice of Issac, the miracles of Jesus, a whole bunch.

 

I know that it sounds preachy but some of the assumptions don't sit right with me. As to hell itself, I can give no clear idea as to what you would do down, there. The images we are often bombarded with like the flames are taken from the Bible but expanded. The Devil, with the horns and tail comes from the pagan creature called a Fawn or Pan, something like that and it became associated with the Fallen One, Lucifer.

 

As to your dilema SilentScope, there is one of Christian invention I might suggest, purgatory. There is no mention of purgatory in the Bible but it became integrated into Christian ideals and the like. Dante's Purgatorio of the Divine Comedy is an example of purgatory. It is the idea that when you die and you are essentially a good person but say like you killed to protect thousands, like a soldier, you would go here and work off a penance. If you lived good in purgatory, you would go to heaven. If you did bad like killed a man, you would go to hell. Hollywood portrayed this using famous characters from the west like Doc Holiday and Wyatt Erp. I forget the name of it.

 

Another suggestion is to take the idea from Dante's Inferno. In that part of the Divine Comedy he lists the different levels of hell depending on the offense with the lowest circle for treason and the punishment associated with it. The only thing I have a problem against is that the infants who died before they were baptized are there as well but the work is consistent with the idea that you are born in sin, you live in sin and you die in sin.

 

I hope this is what you are looking for SilentScope. I apologize if I misunderstood your post and query regarding this.

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I would like to point out for all that hell is sometimes portrayed as a place over which Satan rules and does what he pleases with the inhabitants. I'm pretty sure this is incorrect, as in Revelation it says Satan will also be thrown into the "lake of burning sulfur". He will be punished by going to Hell with the rest, not rewarded by getting to rule over it...

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I, too, am afraid of Hell. Doubts and spiritual questions have plagued me ever

since I was a child, and unfortunately I grew up in a church where such things

were not only discouraged, but considered a lack of faith and moral weakness.

So, I'll make the assumption that God wants to condemn me to Hell not only

because of what I've done wrong in my life (a.k.a. sins), but also because

I had such doubts and questions and held to them instead of taking any

answers on faith alone. Let's face it--around 60% of the Bible makes no

sense to me. So, God has banished me from His presence. How will I live?

 

Tysy, you're not the first to have doubts, and won't be the last. I've had questions and doubts. There's plenty of things to learn in the Bible and not all of it makes sense to me all the time, either, because I'm not a theologian with a background in Hebrew and Greek to catch all the language subtleties that would clear up some of the questions.

 

I think God is big enough to handle those kinds of emotions and questions of faith. Why wouldn't He want us to ask questions and learn more about Him? Job got mad at God, and he certainly didn't get sent to Hell. David and Abraham sinned, and didn't go to Hell. Paul persecuted early Christians before his conversion--he didn't go to Hell. :)

 

John 3:16 has it all in a nutshell--it says believe in Christ (and the sacrifice He made for us), and you'll be saved. That's it, it's that simple. It doesn't say 'believe in Christ and you'll be saved, except if you have doubts, in which case I'll have to reconsider whether I'll allow you into heaven to be with Me, and by the way, here's your one-way ticket to Hell.' :) All sins were covered by that sacrifice, past, present, and future. Am I going to screw up down the road and commit some kind of sin? Likely I will, even if I don't want to. God certainly can forgive that if you and I ask Him. I've never had the touchy-feely tingly sensation that some people get when having that conversion experience. I don't always feel like 'He's right there with me' like some do--I'm far too literal. However, my emotional experience is irrelevent to God's promise. He's never going to break His promise to us to save us, regardless of if we screw up our end of the deal.

 

I think you may be unnecessarily hard on yourself, Tysy. :) He's not 'out to get us' because "You've sinned and now you've got Me honked off at you." He's looking for a relationship with each of us, and He wants us to follow His rules for our own good, not necessarily to make Him happy. For example, when my kids were very little, we had the rule "Don't go in the street without Mama or Daddy." _We_ as parents understood the consequences of what would happen if they ran in the street and a driver couldn't stop his car in time, but they were too young to understand. We didn't put that rule in place to test their obedience, we put that rule in place for their own protection. We also disciplined them when they disobeyed to teach them not to run in the street. Why? Because the consequence of getting hit by a car was far greater than the discomfort they felt from any discipline. So, God's rules don't always make sense immediately, but usually down the road we learn something that shows us that yes, there actually _is_ a good reason for one of those rules. When we don't follow His will, He's going to allow us to experience the consequences of our decisions, and sometimes it's not fun. However, I don't feel the New Testament shows God as being punitive so much as being a loving Father.

 

In terms of Hell--if you're looking at it from a Biblical perspective, it's not fun, there's nothing anyone can do at that point to extricate themselves from that situation, and there's pretty much no way someone can overthrow Satan, who is quite powerful. What would I do in Hell? Wish that I wasn't there, and that's pretty much it.

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I hope this is what you are looking for SilentScope. I apologize if I misunderstood your post and query regarding this.

 

Hm. I think there probraly was a misunderstanding of sorts...Guess one can chalk it up to the different belief systems we share. I'll think I'll outline my belief system right here.

 

I am a follower of Islam, a Muslim, as I stated in the Ethics and Religons thread. Doctrine differences, as related to this Problem of Hell is as follows:

 

1. There is no such thing as original sin. Adam ate an apple, God kicked Adam out of Heaven, Adam feels sad, Adam ask for forgiveness, God forgives Adam, the affair is done. Because there is no original sin, Jesus did not die for our sins. (And according to some scholars, Jesus did not actually die at all, but that's a different topic.)

 

2. The concept of Hell and Heaven was made by God, and made before the first humans were created. Bad people go to Hell, Good people go to Heaven.

 

3. Getting your ticket to Heaven and to be saved from Hell requires more than faith in God, since anyone can believe in God. It requires "good works" as well, putting your faith into action and proving your faith...a really tricky subject. Muslims aren't the only ones who can go to Heaven, anyone who is a 'true' believer of God has the potential of going over there.

 

4. Hell is structured in 9 levels (each level worse than the last) and can easily be compared to the Christian purgatory. If you have a tiny bit of faith, or an atom of Imam, you basically can go to Heaven...eventually. You just get tortuted over and over to receive punishment for all your sins, and then, once the punishment get meted out, your skin will be healed and you go to Heaven, and stay there forever. There will be a few people who will receive eternal damnation, and it is those people that have no faith at all. [The reason I did not make this comment before is because I didn't want people stating, "Wait it out!" if I do go to Hell. That doesn't sound pretty helpful for dealing with the punishments in Hell. And I like to prepare for the worst-case.]

 

5. God runs Hell, via his angels. Satan gets punished just like everyone else in Hell, and he gets to go and get punished in that 9th Level.

 

6. I see God personally as a Judge, not necersically cruel, but not that mericful either. He evaulates us based on who we are...really. He can forgive us, but only if our forgiveness is sincere, and if he really sees that the forgiveness would be needed.

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It depends on your definition of Hell. Among the Greeks it is a bunch of people wandering about without knowing why, because their memories have been erased. Accoring to the Romans both of what the Christian call Heaven and hell are jammed into the 9 levels made imortal by Milton with the Elysian field (Heaven) at the top and Tartarus (The equivalent of the burning hell of the Christians) on the bottom. Whitley Sreiber ascribed to a Buddhist version where you must ascede to whatever punishment you get, while they wrote an entire series where hell is like Earth and you had to deal with all those historical baddies and the one created by Terry Gilliam in the seond book in the snake Oil wars' and Waiting for the Gaactic Bus where you go to heaven if you think you did right, and hell if you think you did it wrong.

 

My version of hell is having a phone jack instead of DSL, with someone who ascribes to a form of logic devoid of reality and common sense arguing with me about why we have both been sentenced here and always overlapping his or her comments on my responses. If i were in that hell, I would follow the old maxim of 'kil them all and let God sort it out'

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I shouldn't worry about going too hell or not. Just live your life the way you want and if god sends you too hell because of that he is not very nice and shouldn't have gave us our free will.

 

 

 

 

Please refrain from using foul language when posting, especially in the serious discussion forum. It does not help you make your point at all. Thanks. ~9

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Hmm, in that case, I don't think you will like Hell. :p

 

lawl.

 

I've never considered the fact that you actually live in Hell. What I mean is, are you sure that Hell will allow us to carry on a day-to-day existence? Will a 'Bad Person' be permitted to wonder about the realm in constant pain, having tea with fellow bastards? I always assumed that you're imprisoned in Hell. Locked up, the key thrown away, and tortured for eternity - both physically and psychologically. I don't think you'd be permitted contact with others, simply to prevent rebellion - God may have created it, but he gave it to Satan to rule after the War. Satan makes all the calls, not God.

 

So really, I don't think there can be a Survivor's Guide to Damnation or anything. You're not able to do much of anything.

 

I shouldn't worry about going too hell or not. Just live your life the way you want and if god sends you too hell because of that he is not very nice and shouldn't have gave us our free will.

 

Except God didn't give us free will. We were tricked by Satan, and took it. Read Genesis.

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Except God didn't give us free will. We were tricked by Satan, and took it. Read Genesis.

Why do you say us and we nobody of us was there.

 

God did gave us free will. Satan tricked Adam and/or Eva to eat from the tree but did not trick us to use our free will God gave us that. And I'm not going to read the bible, I was a partly believer but that was a long time ago.

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I shouldn't worry about going too hell or not. Just live your life the way you want and if god sends you too hell because of that he is not very nice and shouldn't have gave us our free will.

I spent the first 14 years of my life within the Catholic Church and the one thing that appalled me was their firm belief that if you had unconfessed sins, you went to hell. The problem with concept in my view was that a person in a coma could therefore die and any sins he might have committed even vicariously were a condemnation. The other was what I call the 'technicality absolution' which I mentioned as an aside in the novel Mirror of My Love where I comparwed a character to Mafia Don going around destroying hundreds of peoples lives, then making a deathbed confession and getting to heaven on that technicality.

 

 

lawl.

 

I've never considered the fact that you actually live in Hell. What I mean is, are you sure that Hell will allow us to carry on a day-to-day existence? Will a 'Bad Person' be permitted to wonder about the realm in constant pain, having tea with fellow bastards? I always assumed that you're imprisoned in Hell. Locked up, the key thrown away, and tortured for eternity - both physically and psychologically. I don't think you'd be permitted contact with others, simply to prevent rebellion - God may have created it, but he gave it to Satan to rule after the War. Satan makes all the calls, not God.

 

So really, I don't think there can be a Survivor's Guide to Damnation or anything. You're not able to do much of anything.

 

 

 

Except God didn't give us free will. We were tricked by Satan, and took it. Read Genesis.

 

 

Doc, if we did not have free will, we could not have made that mistake. A robot cannot be conviced by an argument to move from this place to that. You have to reprogram it to make that occur.

 

My question is, as someone who has been in loco parentis with children of five different women in my life, is what idiot puts something you don't want them to touch right there? To quote Terry Pratchett if God painted a lever bright red, and posted a sign that said 'Wanring do not touch this switch! All live will end if you do!' some idiot would pull it before the paint dried.

 

 

All right, quick question: How many times is hell in mentioned in the bible, and conversely, how many of those reference hell as a burning place or a place of torment?

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I spent the first 14 years of my life within the Catholic Church and the one thing that appalled me was their firm belief that if you had unconfessed sins, you went to hell. The problem with concept in my view was that a person in a coma could therefore die and any sins he might have committed even vicariously were a condemnation.

Tell me about it. I have to be a Catholic if I want to live in my father's house. I don't agree with many of their practices and find them totally bogus, most being in contradiction to what the original message was intended. Of course it doesn't help when I was blessed with a mind that looks for the reasoning behind it. Much of what I say gets me the result of my family asking if I became a Wiccan of all things. I'm just lucky I wasn't branded a Leftie Commie Pinko Person by my grandpa yet.

To be fair I do say that most of these 'rituals' are mired in tradition. Like all things of habit, they are very hard to break and change. Sort of like the desgregation movement. It took decades and yet we still encounter resistance. It dies hard.

 

All right, quick question: How many times is hell in mentioned in the bible, and conversely, how many of those reference hell as a burning place or a place of torment?

I couldn't tell you but I can tell you that in Revelation there is mentioning of a bottomless pit and that a burning in sulfur but as to an actual furnace and flames, I think it to be Christian invention. Purgatory is Christian invention; there is no mention of it in the Bible.

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3. Getting your ticket to Heaven and to be saved from Hell requires more than faith in God, since anyone can believe in God. It requires "good works" as well, putting your faith into action and proving your faith...a really tricky subject. Muslims aren't the only ones who can go to Heaven, anyone who is a 'true' believer of God has the potential of going over there.

 

Christians believe that sin is passed on to each person. In either case, none of us is sinless, and so Christ served as the sacrifice to bridge the gap between God and humankind.

 

As for Christ not dying--Roman soldiers saw death all the time. There's no way they could have just missed something there. Having seen a number of people die, I can tell you pretty definitively that except in some very extreme cases of hypothermia, there's no mistaking someone being dead. There are certain things that happen to someone's body just as they die (besides the heart and breathing stopping). People at that time saw plenty of death, and they all would have been very familar with those signs.

 

In Christianity works do not get one to heaven: "For by grace you are saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9). James 2:14-20 does state 'faith without works is dead', but is specifying that works are what demonstrate the faith you already have.

 

@mach--I'm not real thrilled about 'deathbed confessions of faith', since it doesn't strike _me_ as quite fair. However, if you look at sin from God's perspective, yeah, I probably have less sin on my hands than a Mafia Don, but sin is sin. We think of it as worse sin or lesser sin, God thinks of it as just 'sin'. Since heaven apparently has levels, I imagine the really 'good/pure' people will have the really 'good' level in heaven, and people who make it in by the skin of their teeth will be on the lowest level and maybe not having nearly as good a time as they could have had they followed God more closely in life. I just don't know how God plans to handle that.

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All right, quick question: How many times is hell in mentioned in the bible, and conversely, how many of those reference hell as a burning place or a place of torment?

 

 

I set this aside because JM12 got one of them. But it was a vision given to Peter on Patmos, and the line after 'hell and death were thrown into the pit' is the most intriguing, because Paul goes on to say, 'this requires discernment. The burning pit is the second death'

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Wow. Thanks mach. I admit that I don't read the Bible regualrly but I always like to read Psalms and when I read the series Left Behind, I looked at revelation. That was why I remembered it so vividly.

 

I read everything though i joke that I read the bible so as the old sage said 'I would know my enemy' since as a pagan, I keep having the more irritable form of Christian accusing me of satanism or devil worship.

 

It really bugs them when you quote form the bible back at them supporting your argument when they give you a ration of crap.

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I set this aside because JM12 got one of them. But it was a vision given to Peter on Patmos, and the line after 'hell and death were thrown into the pit' is the most intriguing, because Paul goes on to say, 'this requires discernment. The burning pit is the second death'

 

Just a clarification--it was John who was exiled to Patmos and wrote Revelation, not Peter. :)

 

Number of times Hell appears in the Bible--depends on the translation, and depends if you include things like 'Gehenna' or 'Hades' in your definition of Hell. There are about 3 or 4 times where 'the fires of hell' are referenced, but Revelation speaks of something slightly different, noting that 'death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire' (Revelation 20:13-15)

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Just a clarification--it was John who was exiled to Patmos and wrote Revelation, not Peter. :)

 

Sorry; Peter is the one crucified on an upside down cross, which is why what is called the Satanic cross is better known to those who pay attention as the Cross of St Peter.

 

To save you all some trouble. The term 'hell' is mentioned over 3,000 times. My question reamins, how many are burning ones?

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Christians believe that sin is passed on to each person. In either case, none of us is sinless, and so Christ served as the sacrifice to bridge the gap between God and humankind.

 

Hm. Chalk this up to the difference in religion then. Everyone is born sinless, according to my religion, and then from there, they accumlate their sins or do good deeds to cancel them out. If you have no sins by the time you die (or you have minor sins that will then get forgiven by God), as well as if you believe in God, you go to Heaven. Oh well.

 

And, as for the belief that Jesus did not die, the reason the theologists say that is because they believe that God would let a prophet get harmed. So, basically, according to them, God made some random nobody (some state that this nobody was Judas) appear to look like Jesus and he's the one that got executed, while Jesus just ascended to Heaven and stay there. Again, it's a seperate topic, and I really don't want to argue on faith...but just a clarification of what I believe. :)

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And, as for the belief that Jesus did not die, the reason the theologists say that is because they believe that God would let a prophet get harmed. So, basically, according to them, God made some random nobody (some state that this nobody was Judas) appear to look like Jesus and he's the one that got executed, while Jesus just ascended to Heaven and stay there. Again, it's a seperate topic, and I really don't want to argue on faith...but just a clarification of what I believe. :)

 

The largest proponent of this are those that have read the 'Passover Plot' where a man laid out a realitvely logical premise provinding that Jesus was not the Savior of the Jews, just merely a wily political animal trying to drum up support for a Jihad (Yes, the Jews had them too, they just didn;t call them that).

 

But then the entire 'death and ressurection' precept, which was according to later theologians had been prophesied would have to be addressed.

 

Not arguing, merely pointing out the place where the people you mention might have gotten that idea. The entire premise of 'Holy Blood Holy Grail' and 'The Da Vinci code' assumes that someone rescued Jesus before he could die. A lot of people point to the man who tried to get him to drink gall, which was at that time a painkiller and in sufficient dosage would have rendered him unconscious.. Then, removed from the tomb before he could awaken, he joined MaryMagdalene and they lived happily ever after.

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