Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Enjoy Hell - As You Think, So You Are--The Series, Part 2

Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

Sinner, you stand at the edge of the Eternal Fires. And we can't wait to see you topple into them. So says St. Thomas Aquinas.*

The idea of watching people burn and agonize in hell is not so much to give glee to the viewer, but to show them how lucky they are they're not among that Fallen Group. 

The conservative Christian--Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, or otherwise--worships a dichotomy, not a loving Spirit. I grew up among the Hell Is Real crowd. For a long time, I bought it. Until I didn't. It took time, overcoming fear, learning and choosing to forgive, and ultimately, to love those who continued and continue to criticize and condemn me. 

This blog is meant to help you, the Spiritual Seeker, to come out from among them, to borrow a bit of scriptural parlance. And to help you understand that if there is any kind of spiritual presence in and as this universe, it certainly isn't the gods and deities of the various so-called holy books. That includes bibles. 

My purpose here? 

  • To help those who are struggling with old, scary traditional religious pasts to come to terms with them.
With that in mind, I share with you this story.

The Born Again Experience: What It Gives, What It Takes, What It Costs

Do you think eternal life is a free gift, that all we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as savior? In fact, this so-called gift is far from free. You are required to relinquish your intellect and accept a rather nightmarish belief system, one which predicts that more than 90% of humanity will end up in an eternal hell. In this article, you will come, step by step, to understand the high price "salvation" extracts on every level--socially, emotionally, spiritually, even physically!

Read on…

A young man approached me on a downtown street in a large western American city. He asked me this question: "Would you like to inherit eternal life?"
"Who wouldn't!"  I responded.
"May I tell you how to do so?" he asked, gently.
I knew what was coming. "Are you sure you really want to?"
''Yes, I am."
"Go ahead, then, tell me."
After informing me that he referred to himself as a born-again evangelical full gospel dispensationalist Pentecostal street missionary, the conversation went something like this:
"You must accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior. The only way you can do that is to admit that you are a sinner. It is only in that confession that the Lord can save you."
"Is that all there is to it? If I simply say I'm a sinner and accept Jesus, then everything is OK from here on out?" I asked.
"Well, yes and no. When you accept the Lord, you also accept a new way of living."
"You mean I have to give up things?"
"It's partially that, but it's more."
"I know the basic stuff. Drinking, smoking, that sort of thing. But let me ask you a question: do I have to give up my belief that everyone is free to choose his or her own path to God, religion, spirituality?"
"No, but you have to believe that every one of them is wrong."
"Do I have to believe that this 'born again' way is the only way? The ONLY truth? The ultimate truth?"
"And do I have to do as you're doing, go out and tell people how wrong they are for not believing as I?"
"Do I have to view the Catholics as 'not saved?"'
"Yes, unless they become born again like us. We [the Protestant/Evangelical advocates] believe the Roman Catholic Church is the Great Whore mentioned in the Book of Revelation. It led the whole Christian world astray for centuries. It is only because of people like me that the truth is finally being revealed."
"And Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, Muslims, and Jews—are they unsaved as well?"
"Yes, unless they become like us. They all subvert the Scriptures, bending them to suit their own programs."
"Must I view women as being in subjugation to men?"
"Yes. Feminists are bound for hell. The man was intended as the authority and head of the family, as Christ is the head of the True Church. St. Paul himself commanded that. God's wrath will be poured out fully upon all women who do not submit to the authority of men."
"And gay people. Must I take the side of the right-wing organizations that are anti-gay?”
"Yes. These groups only want what's best for our children. God hates the way gay people live and those who stay gay are condemned for all eternity. We must make sure that kids know and believe that so that even if later on they decide—not discover—they're gay, they will never reveal it and continue to pray that God will cure them. They must be made to know that they will burn in an eternal hell if they don't change."
"And you know this as fact?"
"Yes. The Bible says so."
"Oh, so I must accept the Bible, as written, as absolute Truth, infallible, and inerrant?"
"But haven't there been a lot of contradictions, even mistakes, discovered in that book?"
"God makes no mistakes and He wrote the Bible; therefore, we must have faith that it contains no errors, even if it seems so, even if so-called common sense says so. We aren't wise enough to know the difference."
"I see. We're created with reason, but we're not suppose to exercise it, eh?"
"Right. We must accept the Bible on complete, blind faith, never questioning."
"Can I trust science?"
"Only when it supports the Bible, which it almost never does. Science preaches the belief in evolution. That belief is a mortal sin! Even to just consider the possibility is treading on dangerous spiritual ground! God's wrath is nothing to play around with."
"But isn’t evolution just a theory? I don’t believe its touted as absolute truth."
"Doesn’t matter. Calling it just a theory is one of Satan’s ways of infiltrating public education with lies."
"What about other religions?"
"All false. Ours is the only way."
"Where did the religions that are older than your way come from?"
"The devil."
"So the Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Confucius, and Lao Tzu were all devil-worshippers?"
"Worse. They were devils themselves, sent by Satan to deceive the weak-minded."
"Most of the other religions have valuable insights and wisdom."
"That’s the trouble. They often make sense, at least in places. That’s how the devil deceives through those religions. He makes them seem as though they make sense."
"Wow! Must I also believe in a literal devil called Satan?"
"What if I cannot do that?"
"Then it is the same as if you didn't believe in Christ."
"I see. It's a package deal?"
"In a way. Without the devil, there would be no need for a savior." [Author's note: It is suggested that the reader deeply consider the ramifications of this statement.]
"So, Satan is somewhat of a linchpin?"
"He's necessary."
"Like I said, a linchpin. Without him, the whole of Christianity would be unnecessary, wouldn't you say?”
"Yes, if the devil was fantasy, but the devil is real."
"How do you know?"
"Well, the Bible says so, but even still, you can see his work in the world. Violence, hatred, atheism. How could that all be without a devil?"
"How about natural human pride, greed, and fear? Perhaps we could accept responsibility for our own garbage? Are there no moral atheists?"
"Not possible. Original sin** means we have no power to save ourselves. We are basically useless. And atheists turn us into mind-gods. It is only by the grace of God that we even continue to exist. We don't even deserve His love. It is only through the blood sacrifice of Jesus that we have been brought back into His good pleasure. And even so, He still has to keep a stern eye on us. He writes down every sin we commit and will throw them back in our faces on Judgment Day. He should have done away with us back in Eden. We're such worms! We should fall on our faces before Him and plead constantly for mercy. And to even suggest that the devil and hell are myths is heresy. You can burn even for the thought!"
"I see. So God basically created human waste?"
"No, we made ourselves that way by listening to the serpent in the Garden of Eden."
"Oh, a talking snake. What was he doing in Eden in the first place?"
"That's not for us to know. If it isn't explained, or mentioned, in the Bible, we should just leave it alone. God has His reasons."
"And, of course, God is male, right?"
"Certainly. To suggest otherwise is blasphemous and heretical. Anyone who thinks God could possibly be female or, I shudder to mention it, androgynous, doesn't understand how repugnant and impossible that is. A female God? A God with both genders? How sickening!"
"So I guess you would hate the thought of a female president?"
"Women brought sin into the world!"
"By Eve's accepting the word of the serpent in the Garden and then causing the fall of the man, as well. They disobeyed God's direct commandment not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They permanently separated themselves from their Creator. It took Jesus, who was God Incarnate, to sacrifice His own life so that humanity, or at least those who chose The Way, could be saved from a deserved eternal damnation.”
"But if Jesus is God Incarnate, then He knew He couldn't really die. After all, a god can do anything, right?"
 “ ‘Jesus is the one and only God, the Creator of the Universe, and stands separate and apart from said creation because of Original Sin. To believe anything else or to refuse absolute obedience to Him by not accepting the Bible as His absolute Word and His ministers as absolute authority on earth is to incur His wrath. Anyone not accepting this will suffer eternal torment while the Chosen of God watch with satisfying and righteous pleasure.’ Thomas Aquinas said that, and it’s true.”
"So, let me see if I have this straight: in order to inherit the free gift of Eternal Life, I must believe that the Eternal Creator God is a poor Jewish carpenter from Judaea, very much male, very stern, and recording everything I do, think, or say; science is bogus; see myself as utterly worthless; become a believer in devils and talking snakes; hate gays; subjugate women because they are the mothers of sin; judge and condemn other religions as demon inspired; take the Bible literally, even its contradictions; try to change others' lives by telling them how wicked they are; believe there is only ONE way, accept all of this on blind faith alone, and accept that even other Christians who don't believe exactly as I do are somehow out of the fold, suggesting that the majority of the human race is bound for hell. Right?"
"You forgot one thing."
"You must love everybody. And that's a rule! You'll burn otherwise!"
After everything else he'd said, I did a little gasp on that one.
"I see. So accepting Jesus, the "Prince of Peace," as savior isn't quite enough."
"Salvation--eternal life--then, is not really a free gift as you have claimed."
"It is free, as long as you pay the price."
"Young man, do you know what a cult is?"
''Why, of course! That's any group that doesn't believe like we do."
I didn't convert.
A Closing Thought
When you consider the Bible, consider this: it is a book created by and for humans. It is loaded with inconsistencies, contradictions, and outright errors—just like the humans who pieced it together over many centuries, ideologies, and personal interests. Still, it remains a monument to human thought, creativity and tenacity. 

As you slosh through the myth and magic, keep your eyes and mind open. Snippets of high quality wisdom will show themselves. But you must dig deeply. When you do, you will meet the Creative Spirit of science, religion, philosophy—the universe. It will seem unfamiliar to you, especially if you have bought the myths. But this Spirit is friendly. It does not condemn. It isn’t hiding. It is out in the open. You have missed it only because you weren’t looking for it. 

Before we knew the earth was round, it was still round. Upon observation, we got the picture. So it is with Scripture. The simple truth that we are all one and the kingdom is within just waits for you to find it. When you do, when you awaken to the truth that there is only One Power, you will never view life or spirituality in the same way again. 

The universe is whole in spite of biblical threat, in spite of appearances. Don’t take my word for it. Track it down for yourself. It is the true free gift.
I (Richard) have been an ordained New Thought minister since 1993. I left the evangelical Christian community in 1982. 

The god of the Bible was too much like his human creators. I needed and wanted more. I let go of my belief in a literal devil and everything changed. The true Creative Spirit showed itself in the Bible, the Qur’an, the Gita, the Upanishads, and in many of the wisdom traditions. Turns out, the world is not flat. God doesn’t exist up and above and separate, and there is no eternal utopian heaven. And, of course, no eternal hell.

*"In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned. " St. Thomas Aquinas
**Original sin: the doctrine that states humanity fell from grace when Eve believed the serpent in the Garden of Eden when he said, "In the day you eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, your eyes will be opened and you will become like God. He knows this and that's why He has forbidden you to eat from it." (Gen. 2 paraphrased) She then took the fruit, ate of it and gave some to her husband, Adam, and their eyes were opened; hence, the first incidence of SIN, disobedience. (It is because this story was taken literally that women have been, in the Western world, dominated by men ever since.) However, if this story is read carefully, it becomes clear that they DID become as gods, knowing good from evil (Gen. 3:22). God put them out of the Garden, not because they "disobeyed" and ate from a certain tree, but because, having so eaten, they awakened their power to choose; therefore, they would likely choose to eat from another certain tree, namely the Tree of Life, and live forever, implying that they would then be God's rivals rather than His puppets.
(Visit your local Unity, Religious Science, Divine Science, or Independent New Thought church or spiritual community to discover more…)
For info about the false doctrine called Eternal Damnation, here is a most enlightening website produced by an evangelical Christian. If you are a Truth seeker, do not miss this important site.

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