A Few Quotes About Hell

Sigmund Freud defined an illusion as beliefs that are derived from human wishes. “We call a belief an illusion when a wish-fulfillment is a prominent factor in its motivation, and in doing so we disregard its relations to reality” (Future of an Illusion, 38-40). Freud said that we tell ourselves that it would be nice if there were a God that is good to us. These ideas were very similar to those of Ludwig Feurbach, who said that religion is an outward projection of what is inside man. However, as Geisler points out, “We can tell ourselves that it would we wonderful if there were no hell or no final day of judgment at which we will be held accountable for all our deeds, but we shouldn’t fail to note that this is exactly what we naturally want to be true” (Geisler, Systematic Theology, 4:317)

C. S. Lewis said: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock, it is opened.” (Lewis, Great Divorce, 69)

The one who refuses God ” has his wish–to live wholly in the self and to make the best of what he finds there. And what he finds there is Hell.” (Lewis, Problem of Pain, 111).

“A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see. (Lewis, Great Divorce, 127)

“I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts may not wish to come out of Hell . . . but the certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self–enslaved. (Lewis, Problem of Pain, 115-116)

Geisler says that human dignity demands a Hell: “God created humans to be free, because He will not (cannot) force people into heaven against this freedom, human dignity demands a hell. Jesus cried out “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who sent you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

He also said that “there are people who cannot stand to go to church one hour a week. What kind of a God would force people to go to church for all eternity?”

Fredrich Nietzsche is often quoted as saying “Better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven.”

In Sartre’s play, No Exit, the door to hell is opened in the middle of the play. No one leaves, for they are there willingly.

Jesus speaks of Hell:
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Matthew 13:40-41)

“This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the firey furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50)

So what can we conclude? That Hell is a real place, a place that is dark, we are alone, and our bodies are burning forever. And the clear statement from both atheists and theists are that it is better to have free will and willingly be separated from God’s goodness forever, which is called Hell, than to be forever in God’s presence. Everyone who goes to Hell goes there willingly, and would have it no other way.

Of course, you don’t have to go to Hell………there is a way out. But it’s your choice.

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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10 Responses to A Few Quotes About Hell

  1. humblesmith says:

    A person commented as follows:

    Except no God worth believing in would be so petty, vengeful, mean-spirited and quite simply unkind to create a ‘heaven’ only for those who follow a particular set of rules. If there is a God, and I do believe there is, then all is God and we are God and there is this life and there is the next and no-one gets excluded. It never ceases to amaze me how God is portrayed as a parent, unfortunately male, the feminine, that which literally gives birth to us is completely ignored and denied, who is so cruel, unkind, nasty and unforgiving that any ‘child’ of such a parent would do better to stay completely away. Where is the love in exclusion? There is no love? Love is unconditional. A parent who can truly love, loves and embraces and never rejects or denies a child no matter what they do and yet this version of God, for it is only a version and a ‘man’ created one at that is supposedly exactly the sort of parent none of us want. I do believe it is fortunate that God has a sense of humor and S/HE forgives us any of our stupidities, particularly those which try to make God into something so small, petty and limited. I believe we are all meant to live our own truth and our own lives but the pity of so much religion is that the ‘truths’ they try to sell condemn so many to lives of fear, guilt and regret. God is all and God is love and everyone gets to heaven; actually, I don’t believe in heaven, I just believe the next life is a better, easier place than this wonderful earth and no-one but no-one gets left out.

    Thank you very much for your comments. I can see that you have thought through this, and you seem to care a great deal. There is a lot here, and I will respond to the main thrust.

    First, God is a spirit and does not have a body. As such, God is not truly male or female in the same sense that humans are. While we can know a few things about God from our own minds and from looking at creation, most of what we know about God comes from what He has chosen to reveal about Himself in the Bible. There we find Him speaking of Himself as male, Jesus, who is God, came as a male. So if God chooses to reveal Himself as male, I have no ground to question this.

    Second, regarding heaven and hell. God is indeed love. As such, He cannot do an unloving thing. He has created us in His image, and He therefore respects us to the point of giving us freedom. We have a choice as to whether we will follow God or not. Some people have chosen to love God, and some people do not want to love God. God is so loving to all people that He allows us to run away from Him if we choose; He will not force anyone to be with Him. Forced love is not love at all, for it is impossible to force someone to love you. Therefore God allows us to run away if we choose, and does not force anyone to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Think of it this way: There are people today who cannot stand to spend an hour a week in church. What kind of a God would force them to go to church for all eternity? If God were to take people who don’t like Him, and force them to be around Him for all eternity, He would be unloving and immoral. The only loving, moral thing for God to do is allow people to not go to heaven if they don’t want to. God has a smoking section, and a non-smoking section, and lets us choose which we like. If you go outside in the woods at night and turn on a light, some creatures are attracted to the light, and some run away from it. Jesus said he is the light.

    Next, we do not have justice in this world. Some people do evil things. God would be unjust if He did not punish evil. Therefore allowing evil people to have eternal bliss without any punishment would be an immoral act. Thankfully, Jesus paid the price for all, and all we have to do is accept His payment.

    Hope this helps.

    • R.Ross says:

      Thank you for the response. I am bemused at the seeming synchronicity of having my comment regarding heaven moved to a place discussing hell. we agree only on one thing, of course God does not have a body in the sense that we understand it which is why it is so unnecessary to provide God with a gender, particularly when doing so excludes and insults the majority of the world’s population… there being always, more females than males.
      It is extremely easy to talk of God without being gender specific and that means that there is a reason for ‘dressing’ God in male clothes; patriarchy. Because, of course, before God was a man, God was a woman (not right either) within the ancient Goddess religion, upon which I might add, the patriarchal religions drew. Most of the names attributed to Mary for instance, were once held by the ancient Goddess. That is of course all and good because religion is sourced in a rich and ancient past.
      The limiting factor is of course this idea that the Bible is literal when, given its limitations, it cannot be. Interestingly, and here patriarchy wields both pen and sword, the teachings of Jesus Christ are nowhere near as misogynistic as those of the Old Testament and Jesus did not discriminate against women.
      And clearly, my point still holds, as a loving ‘parent’ of any gender, no God could exclude anyone for any reason nor hold such a list of trivial rules which people had to abide by to get to heaven. Smoking and non-smoking rooms are too petty to be even considered for any God worth believing in…but I respect the right of everyone to their beliefs. I just think it sad, as I said before, that this interpretation of God is so small, vengeful, unkind and petty.
      My God is all things and rejoices in all that is, particularly our own uniqueness and embraces with love all that we are, with compassion, understanding, wisdom and a great sense of humour. Given how damaged and wounded people are, all of us, I cannot conceive of a God who would exclude anyone for any reason. If all is God then so is evil a part of God…. and if God is Love then even what we call evil would be embraced with Love which is the greatest power.
      Punishment is a mean-spirited human invention and doesn’t work between parent and child and most certainly could never work between God and all that S/He has created and continues to create. Just my thoughts. I shall not bother you further… I actually did not realise the view from your ‘hill’ was quite so fixed. It is why I gave up religion long ago and stick with God… a rewarding, joyful, fascinating and fulfilling relationship.

      • humblesmith says:

        Thank you again for your response. You said quite a lot here. Most of it I will let alone, for it covers quite a lot of ground. But I will respond to a a couple of things.

        If we believe there is a God, then we must respect a few things about what God says. We cannot merely attribute to God what seems best to me, for I know that I am flawed, impure, and routinely make poor judgments, and this is true of all humans. Therefore if we hold that we make statements about God that come from my mind, I am likely guilty of a flawed view of God. But if God has revealed to us a message about what he is like, then we must respect that view and change our view to what God says.

        The bible claims to be the revealed truth about God. We can reject it, certainly, but what we cannot do is pick and choose parts of it which we like and dislike, for this is merely creating my own view of god again.

        In the bible, God tells us things. He says he is holy and pure, and cannot be the cause of evil. To hold that good is the cause of evil is to hold to an absurdity, a self-refuting statement. For a god who is perfectly good to be the cause of evil would be a contradiction, like a square circle. Further, if God were to merely allow evil and not destroy it would make God not good at all. Even a human who saw evil and had the power to correct it but did not do so would not be a good person. If a king, judge, or mayor gave murderers the same benefits as good people would make him an evil person. Moreso with God. Still further, it would make God a liar, for he says that he is good, when he would clearly not be.

        The only way for God to be loving and just is to allow people to not be around God if they do not wish to do so. If God forced people to be in heaven against their will, when they hated it the whole time, would make God a strange God indeed.

        The only alternative is for us to pick and choose what we want, making God and heaven to be an invention of our own human imagination, what seems right to me. In the end, our minds are flawed, and we have no assurance that my mental invention is accurate. I do not find it wise to gamble my eternal destiny on my own personal ideas. Instead, I bend my will to what God says is true.

        Peace

  2. R.Ross says:

    p.s. For what it is worth some of the most spiritual, compassionate, generous hearted and nicest people I have ever met are atheists. I’m not, but I am struck by how often religion confers none of these things on people, and therein lies the pity of it.

    • humblesmith says:

      In my work on the college campuses, I periodically interact with the atheist/agnostic clubs there. I compare these to men such as Paul Kurtz and Bertrand Russell, atheists and agnostics of a generation ago. In previous generations, atheists were generally civil, respectful, and could hold mutually-respectful conversations. More and more now days, this is not the case. The members of modern atheist organizations are not as much a-theists, as they are vigorously anti-theists. You can merely read the writings of men such as Richard Dawkins to find that these people are not calm, cold-blooded, and respectful. The generation that is following after them are quite visceral in their statements. I’d say this is true for well over half of the atheists I encounter. Each year it seems increasingly difficult to have a conversation.

  3. Ryan says:

    Hell is a belief I struggle with.

    If you believe that God is just, then there are consequences to our actions.

    If you also believe God is merciful, then He has forgiven those who accept His forgiveness.

    There are those (including myself) who believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was broken for our sakes, so we can be forgiven.

    But it is a Gift, requiring a decision to accept or reject.

    I don’t understand why there needs to be a place of eternal fire that includes human beings.

    I don’t think I could bear even my worst enemies let alone my friends to be in a place for all eternity with weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    In my limited state I can’t see past the horizon, I can’t see the whole picture.

    But surely if God exists then He can see the whole picture?

    I do have questions though. The Bible talks about weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Will people have teeth in Hell?

    Or the ability to weep?

    Is this literal or metaphorical in its intent?

    If people are given new bodies in Heaven, will there be new bodies in Hell?

    And furthermore

    Who am I to say that God is unjust?

    What right does a mere creation have to protest against his Creator?

    These are just thoughts I have.

  4. Ryan says:

    However, the ability to honestly question assumptions is necessary in growth. I would like to think that I will not accept something just because it is emotionally shared from a pulpit. I believe there is a difference between honest questioning and defiance. Questioning with the intent to defy is a closed system.

  5. Pingback: Is it Just to Allow People to Go to Hell? (Part 6) | Thomistic Bent

  6. Ross says:

    If God want us to go to hell, God would not give to us his son Jesus, his words the Bible and the Holy Spirit. We to have Jesus is the Good news for us to help us to escape narrowly from hell. I am glad and I say thank you to Lord God for sending Jesus to save people. But sadly today Christianity seemed to decline and many people reject Jesus.

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