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From Theologically Curious:

Dear Liberal Preacher:

You told MJ that Hell doesn’t exist. How can you be a Christian and not believe in Hell? If Hell doesn’t exist, does Heaven? Can you believe in Heaven, but not Hell?

Yours,
Theologically Curious

Dear Theologically Curious,

Yes, you can be a Christian and not believe in hell.  I’m a Christian and I don’t believe in hell.  I find an ever-lasting, punishing hell to be contrary to a loving God.  So did some early church fathers.  Origen of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa questioned the eternality of hell and the literal interpretation of it as a fiery place.  I go one step further and doubt hell exists. 

So if hell doesn’t exist, why do I believe heaven does exist?  Isn’t that convenient to believe one but not the other?

Good point.

Actually, the idea of heaven itself is problematic.  Why not set up the world as heaven in the first place?  Why put human beings to the test?  Why didn’t God get it right the first time?

Furthermore, is heaven a place we go to or does heaven describe a reality on earth?

Personally, I’m pulling for heaven on earth, something like what is described in the Sibylline Oracles, which was a Jewish vision of utopian social transformation from around the time of Jesus’ birth.

The earth will belong equally to all, undivided by walls or fences. It will then bear more abundant fruits spontaneously. Lives will be in common and wealth will have no division. For there will be no poor man there, no rich, and no tyrant, no slave. Further, no one will be either great or small anymore. No kings, no leaders. All will be on a par together (Sibylline Oracles 2:319-24).

Doesn’t that sound pretty good?

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