And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. Everyone will be salted with fire. --Jesus Christ
Many Christians are extremely offended if they are accused of believing that people are going to burn forever in hell. "I'm a true Christian," they say, "I would never believe that God would do such a cruel thing."
Some even go so far as to reject the concept of Hell altogether. They are not like those Christian fundamentalists, and You are "just as bad as them" for suggesting such a thing.
What we have is a case of a christian doing a BIG Christian no-no by using their own worldly moral judgement--something that, of course, people cannot have for themselves. Morality is put into our hearts by God.
I say, if you don't believe in hell, you're not really a Christian.
What does one need, minimally, to be a Christian? Without specific recommendations from individual sects, one must believe in and follow Jesus Christ. In other words, one must believe Jesus is the Christ. That means one must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God (and/or is God) and died to be the Savior--the Christian, through this belief, is saved. Salvation is the act of delivering one from sin.
That definition seems to beg one big, fat muthuh of a question:
Delivered from sin for what? Saved from what? Saved from Original Sin, or all the bad things we do of course. But why do we need to be delivered from the bad things we do?
If the only answer to this is "we are saved from death," we need to examine just exactly one believes about death itself. Some who reject hell as a bad place to go will answer "eternal separation from god." But, either eternal separation is a punishment all atheists are going through right now--which is certainly no punishement, or this "eternal separation" is something of a Twilight Zone Hell. Remember the first episode of the Twilight Zone, "Where is Everybody?" A man wakes up in a town that is normal in every way, except that there are no people? He goes insane within a half-hour. Well. That's kind of cruel. God makes all non-believers live in insanity for eternity.
In one of my earlier shows, I quoted a young man's idea about what "eternal separation from god" was. He said that it was like your worst pain in your life, only multiplied a hundred times. Twilight Zone Hell. You believe in hell.
Some who say we are saved from death believe that death is lying or floating in the dark for eternity, doing nothing.. Well, that's not death. Any conscious person (ignoring the fact that consciousness requires eating and getting rid of waste, etc) would go insane after awhile. Twilight Zone Hell.
Supposing a Christian really knows what death is. In that case, they are saved form nothing, becasue death is nothing. Again, they can only be saved from my fate, which would be ridiculous. Why would someone have to endure three days of torture on a cross to save people from a life like mine? I've had a great life--much better as an atheist than as a believer, by the way. Did Jesus endure the crown of thorns to save people from being overweight with a minor dental problem? If so, why are there so many fat, toothless Christians (and so many dead ones, too)?
To be a nice, fair, moderate, non-violence Christian, you are going to have to reject one of the main tenets of Christianity. Without salvation, there is no need for a Jesus. Without Jesus, well, you ain't no Christian.
Some Christians have managed to ask themselves the question: "If believe God is good and omnibenevolent, how can I possibly believe in Hell?" Maybe those Christians ought to look at what Jesus said in the above quote as well and ask themselves: "if I have decided that the concept of eternal torture is immoral, why do I worship someone that said it was?"
Now to do away with Original Sin.