When one of my christian friends tries to tell me that I will suffer for enternity i just reply fuck heaven its probibly a boring place because all the fun things in life are sins anyways so Hell is most likely one huge party. So bring it on!
I think this is something everyone should read;
Hell isn't part of the Bible, neither is "Satan." The use of the name Lucifer in reference to the devil stems from an interpretation of Isaiah 14:3-20, a passage that does not speak of any fallen angel but of the defeat of a particular Babylonian King, to whom it gives a title that refers to what in English is called the Day Star or Morning Star (in Latin, lucifer). In 2 Peter 1:19 and elsewhere, the same Latin word lucifer is used to refer to the Morning Star, with no relation to the devil.
Satan means "adversary" and probably was used with a far broader meaning originally.
Unfortunately, I do know the Bible pretty well (or at least the Bible as Catholics teach it). Even when I had to study in private school, the preists were adamant about making sure we understood the origins of the stories, right down to why the Gospels are NOT accurate (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all written with the aim of converting specific ethnic groups). Strange that they were so liberal, but I'm not complaining.
I actually did a post on this a few years ago. I think it's here somewhere, but I'm too lazy to look just now :) You make some great points.
There are very little Biblical references for most of the crap American Christians 'believe' in.
The Rapture or the Glimmering is one of my favorites. I think there is only one passage to suggest such a thing, but once the 'Left Behind' franchise started pumping, the idea got a huge boost. It's accepted Christian lore now.
Human/Angelic hybrids are another.
One of my thesis papers in college was on the Nephilim. The more you look at characters of the NT, the more mind boggling it is. I mean, when you actual read the Bible, it's pretty easy to see that the modern 'take' on it is a far cry from what's actually IN the book. What's actually in it is...weird.
Daniel... Revelations, I mean, I can understand that Daniel probably was never supposed to be taken literally, but seriously? What's the over-all NT excuse? You can't go four pages in any one book without someone having a conversation with an animal, wrestling with an angel or using pretty outlandish magic. Grimm's Fairy Tales were more plausible to me as a child, but I've always loved fantasy. I think that's why I'm so fascinated with mythology. You can't sit there and ask yourself how people old could embrace the legends of Hercules and other demi-gods, mega-monsters and deities screwing with humanity on a daily basis without taking a look around modern times. Hell, there are people NOW that claim the earth is only 6,000 years old.
So yeah, it's a lot like arguing if Spidey really could take The Hulk down in Marvel universe, but so what? I do that, too.
alot of the problem is translation as well. People forget the first to translate both New Testament and Old Testament scriptures for popular reading were the Greeks. So it was natural to take "Sheoul" and relate it to "Hades," which was by far more understandable to a non jewish audience, and then you get "hell."
Looking into the orginal scripts you also find that the Hebrews were NOT described as slaves, they were armed, and the reason they were followed out of Egypt is because they sacked an Egyptian town. Its inconcievable just how much of the texts are misinterpreted.
I honestly think the bible, not taken literally, is a beautiful colaboration of stories. They can even be relevent outside of the Myth I feel. You get stories ranging on a variety of different topics, with broadly different characters that react very differently according to the situation. Its great literature.
But taken too literally, people twist them into whatever they want. Which rapture are we on now btw, three or four? :P