There are many versions of ‘Hell’ taught across the spectrum of Christian beliefs. Here is Bill’s – Bill I hope you don’t mind me quoting you:
I do not believe, not do I accept that the “Hell” doctrine is a biblical concept. I believe in Judgement but not literal flame and literal fire for a literal eternity. The hell doctrine was born of Catholic heresy and remains a venomous thorn in the side of orthodox Christianity today. Many people are beginning to question the veracity of this doctrine and many translations are dropping the word “hell” from their bibles altogether seeing as it’s a gross mistranslation in the first place.
A lot of megachurches don’t teach about hell now, since it’s not seeker sensitive. Others would like to see the re-emergence of fire and brimstone preaching. The worst extremes of fire and brimstone preaching loaded people with guilt and fear, scaring them into following Jesus – or at least trying to do all the right things, which became very legalistic. Jesus himself asked us to follow him, but didn’t try to scare us into it – at least that’s not my reading of the New Testament.
Yet despite not focussing on hell, many megachurches do believe it is a real, literal place. My Anglican minister taught me it was a place of eternal separation from God. Others like Bill say it is not a biblical concept. Most non-Christians I know find the concept of going there highly offensive, and contradictory to the notion of a loving God.
So – should ‘hell’ be dropped from the Bible?