If so, what were you doing for them to say such a thing?
My mother was told she would be going to hell if she didn't donate to the church. That's why she stopped going and I was fortunate enough not to have to go through that weekly torture.
Now I was told I'm going to hell because I wanted to make my grandmother happy. But to be fair, I did ask...
Anyway, I want to know if they've been that aggressive towards you guys.
Eh, I wouldn't ask for these people's opinion if I were you. How impractical is a religion that is so unrelenting that you can't even tell a little old lady a lie that makes her feel better in her old age? Why is that wrong? You don't feel guilty because it's not wrong. In fact, I would argue and say you're doing the right thing. If that was the standard for going to Hell, everyone really is damned. There's no reason to be cruel to people just for the sake of honesty!
Can I ask why you're interested in their opinion? I'm sure the answer would vary from denomination to denomination, actually. Catholics seem a little more zealous about what sends someone to Hell. When I was a Christian (Baptist and/or Evangelical), once you ask Jesus into your heart, you're saved. No amount of lying will land you in Hell thereafter, if you're "truly" saved that is.
I just don't take Christians (or other religious people) seriously, so it doesn't bother me at all when they say I'm going to Hell. I'm about as worried about Hell as I am the Boogeyman.
Right on Coleen!
One more point I might add... if you can convince the little old lady (or little old man) that religion is BS, then they will actually "see the light" and realize just how little time they have left! In effect, you would be giving them the gift of what life remains for them.
Often people who learn they are about to die have a revelation about how precious life really is, and they (finally) connect with those people who mean the most. How differently we all would live if we all knew when we are going to die. I maintain most of us live like we will live forever. If your health is good, then it is hard to continually remind yourself that your time is limited, and life is indeed a race against the clock!
Is it any wonder that man has sought immortality since the beginning of time? We all think... If only we could find the "Fountain of Youth"... then we could live forever! The stakes are high, and unfortunately...we as atheists become the bearers of bad news that no one wants to hear or face.
I would rather know the bad news, than participate in my own deception. To deceive oneself so badly is tantamount to tearing your eyes out so you won't see yourself grow old when you look in the mirror ...and live the rest of your life blinded by your own vanity. Ignorance is bliss? I don't think so. I would rather know the bad news than kid myself and be afraid to ask my doctor the question... how much time do I have?
R. Allan Worrell
I think the reaction to the revelation that there is no god late in life really depends on the person's personality and life history. My grandmother is sharp and intelligent at 76. I don't think it would necessarily devastate her, but she seems to really be looking forward to seeing my grandfather again. He was a pastor and they both spent the majority of their lives preaching and teaching the gospel. I think it would be a tough blow to realize everything they'd accomplished in life was a waste, and also that she doesn't have eternity ahead of her after all... especially so close to the end. Aside from seeing my grandfather again, she has nothing to look forward to now. I think, for some, ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance is not bliss for me; I've always wanted to know the truth no matter how ugly. When I was a Christian seeking answers, I didn't realize the price of knowing the truth though. At only 29, it has still been a struggle coming to grips with the fact that my time is limited and I don't have eternity ahead of me. It is a loss that people do mourn I think. Maybe not everyone does, but anyone who truly invested their life in that idea is going to find it hard to wrap their heads around. I wish I hadn't spent so much time focusing on shit that didn't matter. Yes, now I know the value of this one life I have, and want to make the most of it... but I don't really think old people would experience the same benefit of knowing this is really the end of the line for them.
Like I said, I think it all depends on the person. :)
THIS is an excellent piece of writing & I think VERY thoughtful insight. Sometimes, it can only be hurtful to plant doubts into an elderly person who's lost most/many of the people they've loved. As far as I'm concerned, let them have their fucking fantasy. They will be VERY difficult to dissuade, & at that point in life, why take it from them anyway? It's the next generation we need to bring over the fence, isn't it? WE NEED the youth, IMO. Not the ones on their way out! Why? In order to abolish the madness religion has wrought on society from it's inception, we must eliminate it. THAT is why we need them on our side. It can slowly, painfully die, without them. With them, we stand a chance of (relatively) quick eradication of this evil that's been perpetrated on mankind, for at least 30 centuries. if we're to be kinder, gentler and give in a truly humanitarian spirit, why lay something on an 80 yr old grandmother who's likely nearing death, and LOOKING FORWARD TO REUNIFICATION WITH LOVED ONES!?? What harm does it do? Take it, and you could sentence her to more pain than anyone deserves. Let her have it, what fucking harm does that REALLY DO???
After leaving xtianity, my brother used to ask, "how can you believe there's no god?" or Q's like, "if we have no soul, what happens when we die?" He was very suddenly and unexpectedly dead at 45. It almost killed me, I admit. I regretted SO MANY WORDS. I wish I would have let that subject be. Fortunately, he was only what one might call in a precontemplation stage of... renunciation of his faith. But if I'd have known I was going to lose him so soon, those are conversations that would not have taken place AT ALL. They'd have been replaced with, "I dunno Tim. I only know I love you more than words can convey, and want to make the most of the time we have now. IF heaven exists, cool, I'll be very pleasantly surprised to get more time with you. For now let's just ENJOY the time we have right now!" Think about this before you try to convert an old person who's been brought up in an era when most EVERYONE believed, so they were brainwashed early, it's been with them in a fundamental part of their life, their WHOLE life. What harm to let 'em have it for a little while longer? Maybe I'm missing something. Plz, fill it in if I am. I'd like to hear opposing views on this.
I suspected the answer would be the one I received. I don't care for their opinion, I know I'm doing the right thing by telling her I love her, and I'm sure you're correct that it would differ from each denomination.
But like I said, I had a feeling he would tell me I was damned. Maybe I wanted to see first hand how ridiculous some people praise their holy books. Even in a situation where it's morally the right thing to do this guy believes so much what that book says that he believes I'm going to hell.
Regarding your question on Reddit, I do not think that all sins are equal. If they were, why would there be an "unforgivable sin" meant to discourage me from saying things like, "The Holy Spirit is a dick, and Jesus can suck it"?
Regarding your question here, no, I do not recall anyone ever telling me bluntly that I'm going to hell. Perhaps I haven't been trying hard enough.
I love the way the priest phrases it.
So I guess in your case yes you are going to hell.
He just guesses that you'll suffer eternal damnation? Also the casual delivery of the damnation is so hilarious.
I've been told before that I was going to hell. The reason I was told this was because I voiced my belief that there is no god.
"If you are an unbeliever, then god has a special place for you - hell"
"And all I have to do it accept Jesus to avoid hell?"
"Yes. That's right. Accept Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour and be born again"
"Well. I've already said I don't believe in God, so what makes you think I believe there is a hell or any sort of afterlife?"
A debate ensued where they used every strawman, red herring possible. Brought up Pascal's wager, etc etc. I love impromptu debates in person.
Absolutely, by my own mother. I told her that we can deal with that when it comes. Can't really say that helped the situation, but there wasn't much else to say or do in the moment. It's understandable given her beliefs, and I just left it at that. While she may still think it or believe it, it doesn't show in her interactions with me at all - and I think she's figured out some way around it in her head anyway (like I'm just going through a phase and I'll come back so I won't really end up in hell or something to that effect).
Yes, I've had several relatives tell me they're worried and going to pray for me because I'm going to hell and they don't want that to happen.
I explained, I wan't worried about going to a place I that didn't exist.
That said if I had my choice of non-existing places to go to.. I think I'd choose between Pern, Melnibone, or Middle Earth,
I know I've been told I'm going to hell but I don't remember any of the circumstances because no one is enough of an authority (not even the pope) to warrant making note of such pompous claims. Until someone comes back from the dead in an unambiguous way and says whether heaven and hell exist then it is all speculation. And my speculations are just as valid - moreso IMO since I've put more original thought into it than any Xian I've met.
The only way for heaven and hell to exist is if god is evil - hell is endless torture for messing up during our very short and confusing time here, while heaven is what? endless praising of a confusing deity? Really?
These are severely antiquated ideas. The only way a good god exists is if he considers not just what you did but also why you did it. You obviously feel at least a small connection to your grandmother and want to do nice things for her. So how (if god is good) is exaggerating your feelings a hell-worthy thing? It is not. Anyone who says otherwise is a scheisskopf IMO.
When I was 11 my sister died, at 6. We were told by the parrish priest, that our sister died because we did not go to church enough. This might have been because we were at the hospital every available moment to visit and wait. She did not come home. I remember praying for her to come home, and get well, but no dice. Even as a young kid, I could tell that this was screwed up, so two years latter I decided to put lots of distance between myself and the church, but my parents would not leave me be, so I grugingly went to catholic school off and on for another 6 years. I have to thank them, they were very effective to convince me to read sciences textbooks that were available to me ;p).
Again, over the years, asking the most nieve questions, as my mind improved, placed me into the most painful and harsh conditions. Any where from being bullied for reading science and not required catholic readings to debating nieve believers and winning a few arguments, but marginalized by people I thought to be friends.
I shall not labor over the details, so much seems a common experience to folks here. Being condemned to hell just happened again a few days ago, but so far the curse seems to have few teeth. I have seen 'hell' in the many forms that culture can create, even the people that pretend to compassion can have the worst imaginings.
I love my wife, our puppies, the land we attempt to preserve, the few good friends I have, ideas that cross my path and fill my wonder. Visiting the local town just reminds me of the sad created hells that we sometimes occupy, and promoted by others to share with us. If my life is hell, I would rather rule in it than serve in the hells that culture so quickly and easily creates out of it's ugly imaginings. A mind misused, could be in its own worst hell. I just try to have a nice day. The devils that remain can dwell where they will, I hope their thermostat is not set too high.
If I remember my catechism correctly, it is God, not priests and not moms, who decides if someone is cast into eternal hellfire. Anyone who presumes to speak for God would seem to be guilty of the sin of Pride.