In digging through my Bible for old notes, I ran across the idea that Hell doesn't exist. It's not a new idea, but one little explored. The passage that really spoke to me was Ecclesiastes 6:4-5 "I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness it's name is shrouded. Though is never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man-- Even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity.
The common motivation sold to us through Blaise Pascal's Wager of make the safer choice of choosing God and avoid Hell, if it exists, doesn't even have validity in the Old Testament. It's even absent in some of the New Testament. 2 Peter 3:4 "...Ever since our fathers died, it goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." Modern Christians threaten us heathens as if Hell is a forgone conclusion. If it contradicts death as laid out in the Old Testament, how does one reconcile that? Hell is described by modern Christians as a lake of fire with that of gnashing teeth. To be feared for sure! If nothing has changed, and those in their graves have no thoughts, and Jesus didn't return when he said he would, what is it that I'm afraid of? Do I need anything other than the Bible itself to reject fear of Hell? I would even suggest that the concept was a borrowed concept from a neighboring culture.
The Hebrew word for grave or Hades is Sheol. It's used throughout the Old Testament. A new word is not developed to denote Hell. It's clearly a different concept, but the same word is used. This new Description of Hell comes from the followers of Jesus. It's likely that the source was Egypt. Wiki
has a paragraph on it describing it as coming from Osiris and the judgement occurs on "Flame Island". This was developed between Judaism and the writing of the New Testament. Let us not forget the Geography here too, Israel neighbors Egypt. How hard would it be for Americans to adopt the religion of Canada, Hockey? Wait... forget that argument. You can certainly see the relationship of adopting ideas, my attempted example aside. It's not as if Jesus did anything original either outside of still being taught today. But that's a whole other book, or even series of books.
If Hell is absent from the Old Testament outside of Daniel 12:2 which says that "many", not all, will be awaken from their graves as the only OT Gospel that notes being awaken for judgement, and we can see where the concept of Hell comes from, and certainly why as it would pressure people to believe to this day, and we don't need to fear it because of absence of atoms to burn, what again is the argument for Hell and worrying about it? Ecclesiastes 9:10 and I agree, "...there is neither working nor planning, nor knowledge nor wisdom." The very same description that I would give death, and do I look worried?
(As an aside, for more passages, this blog
has many. Also consider Ecclesiastes 6:4 "I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness it's name is shrouded." for your abortion arguments. No meaning, no thoughts, God's words.)