/agree on all points
I'd also like to add that I believe the concept of hell itself was created as a fear tactic to scare everyone into believing. After all, common people in the dark ages were as gullible as children nowadays (for the most part).
When I was in high school they were given us lectures about hell, torment of the grave, day of judgement, bridge of hell....
I remember the teachers and the school principal crying... I saw them crying and I cried because I was saddened to them not because I was afraid of Hell..
Also, I remember last time I had a debate and a crazy muslim that I argued with him he doesn't have anything to say but hell, repent, hell, repent...
and because this was my first debate..
I felt like he hit me on my head with a hammer. >I was like what ? where am I ?
suddenly my friends supported me and they said to him, hey you don't terrify her with hell..
Last thing he said to me, you are crazy and should go to psychiatrist or otherwise, you will go to hell and forever ..
Yes. When I was in grade school, they showed us a movie about the devil around Halloween. I walked home so freaked out that I kept expecting the devil to suddenly appear out of no where and drag me to hell.
Another time, I was in church and a woman suddenly felt the "spirit" and started screaming and convulsing. People circled her, not to help her but to pray over her. I couldn't take it anymore and ran out of the church. I think that was the beginning of the end for me.
I am sure I wasn't so much affraid as concerned. When I was 15 my boyfriend suddenly jumped on the Jesus wagon. As unhappy as I was about the entire thing I just kept it to myself and went with him anyway.
After about a week my BF decided on this small church located above a sub shop. A few dozen hugs and a cup of juice later we were sitting in our seats, the preacher screaming about the rapture and shaking his bible around like he was on fire. He was on a roll as he called for as many amen, Jesus be praised as he could. Then suddenly 20 minutes into the sermon, in the middle of his "god anoint us with your love" chant he dropped to the floor in a crumpled heap. Not even a twitch from him nor the people around him. There was no concern, no rush to emergency, they were calm and at best excited. Some sang while others prayed. I think one of them was even knitting....
Then for 45 minutes all our asses just sat there and for that entire 45 minutes I was bored and worried out of my damned mind. Most of the time I was trying to figure out if he was dead, sleeping, or if everyone there was certifiably insane. The rest of the time I was trying to figure out what I was going to tell the cops if or when they ever came. At one point I even started to get up to go and check on him when one of the women grabbed my arm and sternly told me to sit because "god is here with us, can't you feel him? He is testing us, he is anointing us with his love, don't sin child or he will punish you to damnation so sit and pray for his touch". I sat back down looked over at my BF who looked as stressed as I did if not more. It wouldn't be till after we left that I learned that the entire time this was happening, he was thinking we were all gonna die and that they had poisoned the juice we had when we first arrived.
Soon the paster in his wrinkle free expensive suite jumped to his feet panting and praising gods love. The people chanted and chirped right along with him as he recounted his journey.... He said and I quote! "I went into gods home, sat beside him at his table, we had tea, we had cookies, but there were few cookies so he brought me the most wondrous crackers, and as we ate together god spoke to me of his love, and BLAH BLAH BLAH". He lost me at tea and cookies. I was mentally shut off at that point.
Few minutes later as we drove away I couldn't help but burst out laughing. When my BF asked what was so funny I blurted out "I wonder if Jesus ate all the cookies".