Growing up, the biggest motivator tossed out to motivate me to find Jesus was the notion of Hell. I'm sure that I'm not alone. Religions like to toss it out as a threat like friggin' confetti. Saturday, at a wedding, an older couple gave me a pamphlet about how Jesus' Blood Donation would save me. I'm not sure how it happened because religion hadn't come up and I was respectful. But even in my late 30's the threat of the boogie man is my motivator to find the loving God. If God wants to draw me in he just needs to morph into Jennifer Love Hewitt in a camisole and I'll be right over and in that camp and looking for that love.
But what do Christians know about Hell? All Brimstone and sulferesque in a lake of fire, right? That's not too scary. If I'm going to die and only take this soul that apparently can't be detected, I'm not taking an atomic structure to excite that could translate pain, nor am I taking a nervous system or a brain to process it. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be afraid of given those parameters.
How else do they describe it? "As an absence of God." "Darkness" Good God I lived with a family in college where darkness was abhorred. But Matthew 8:12 refers to darkness and gnashing of teeth and Matthew 13:42 refers to a fiery furnace. We could make a list a mile long supporting this view. But something that isn't discussed much is Jesus going to Hell. It's known as the Harrowing of Hell. In the three days after Jesus was crucified he went down to Hell and spoke with everyone there back to those that wouldn't listen to Noah. (I'm confused as to whom he's talking to since John 5:28-29 says that all will be raised from their graves then judged at the Rapture.) You'll find the idea that he went to Hell in some Biblical passages as well. It's also in the Apostles Creed. So the place known as being absent of God had Jesus visit. And in his ever loving capacity he couldn't release these poor souls? How Omnibenevolent. I wonder if his light as described in John 1 over and over was able to overpower the darkness?
The theology is really ill-thought out. For centuries people have spent thousands and thousands of lifetimes trying to rationalize this bullshit. Hell with God present would cease to be Hell as Christians have described it. His light would push out the darkness. His love would radiate for all to feel and wouldn't those there simply be raised with him as they would certainly believe in him now and the whole law would no longer apply, no? The argument about Hell is haphazard and weak. The argument is weak and preys upon the weakness and fear that is thrust upon us from the time that we are very little. I reject everything about your Blood Donor pamphlet and only wish that we weren't at a wedding where you didn't have the guts to proselytize to me as you were getting up to leave so that I could have saved you from living out your last 10 or 15 years in fear. Instead you'll just spend those last years just hoping that you did well enough to pass his test. It seems to me that you are already in Hell.