Back in October of last year, I made waves among my Christian friends when I announced that I no longer believed in Hell. I was still a believer at that time, but stopped believing sometime between the end of that month and early November. I announced it with a nearly-exhaustive 13,000 word article, which dissected every aspect of the topic, and addressed every single verse used to support the doctrine. I shared the article on Facebook and Twitter; much to the dismay of some family members and friends. The article got the attention of one of my pastors, who even indirectly addressed me during a sermon (most people probably didn’t catch what we going on.) I didn’t have a problem with that (it was good natured;) it was just a weird time for me as I had never been controversial before. One of my two writers left the Christian website I was running immediately after learning of my change in beliefs. I was suddenly labeled as a heretic by some. I think I got more negative reaction from that change in opinion than I got when I announced I was leaving the faith.
Desite the negative reactions, there were a few people who actually changed their mind on the issue after reading the article; including the other writer for my website. Many people weren’t afraid to tell me I was wrong, but no one actually tried to disprove my reasoning. At most people would quote verses to me; all of which I covered in-depth in the article. I think it ended up getting around 600 views (I haven’t checked in a while) and a lot of shares on social media. I was pretty happy about that. I felt it was my calling to get the word out that God was truly good and would simply burn people to death instead of burn them forever (yeah, I know, still sounds evil.)
You can read it here: Why I No Longer Believe The Bible Teaches Hell
I came to this view after following my gut and discovering what the Bible reallys says. I was watching a television show; a sketch comedy called Studio C (the best show on television btw,) and for some reason that night I was trying to reconcile the idea that all of these wonderfully funny and seemingly nice people were most likely on their way to eternal torment in Hell. So after the show I decided to look up different views on Hell and stumbled across some great articles on a view called annihilationism, which I described in my article. I researched the topic for over a month, devoting nearly all of my free time to the study of it. I researched all of the arguments against the view, as well as the Greek and Hebrew words used by the biblical writers. I studied the history of the doctrine, and the views of surrounding religions at the time the Bible was being written.
I’ll go ahead and list the fifteen core points, each of which I explore in detail in the article itself. If you are interested in my reasoning and the evidence, it’s all there. The numbers all correspond in the article so you can examine individual parts of the argument if you choose to. Keep in mind that I had written this from a Christian perspective, not a secular one.
15 Reasons I Stopped Believing In Hell
1. Scripture never once warned people of eternal torment, but always warned of destruction.
2. The English word translated “hell” does not occur in the original manuscripts.
3. The Old Testament contains no teachings on or allusions to eternal misery in the afterlife.
4. The NASB and ESV bibles (the two most popular translations among conservative Christians) both contain a mere 13 occurrences of the word hell; all in the New Testament, translating not one, but three different Greek words.
5. There is no evidence that the apostles ever preached or taught about hell or alluded to a place of eternal misery; and Jesus only spoke of it twice to unbelievers.
6. The doctrine of eternal torment is based on the idea that man possesses an immortal soul; which is never taught in the Bible.
7. Not only is hell built on man’s presumed immortality, but it is also built on the assumption that the soul is always conscious (important when discussing the period of time between death and the final judgment.)
8. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man (used to support hell) cannot be taken literally without creating conflict with the rest of Scripture.
9. Metaphors such as “unquenchable fire” and “worms that never die” clearly refer to the shame of death and destruction as seen in Isaiah 66:15-24; which Jesus alluded to.
10. By the time the lake of fire is introduced in Revelation 20, it is far too late for it to have had any direct influence on the prior meanings of words.
11. The eternal fire is said to have been prepared for Satan and his angels.
12. The lake of fire is to be viewed figuratively.
13. The phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” can only be understood as figurative language, and therefore does not contradict annihilation.
14. When the Bible refers to things as being eternal, it is referring to effect, rather than process.
15. The lack of common knowledge about even basic aspects of the doctrine of hell lead me to believe that it is not a commonly scrutinized doctrine; nor one that is taught in detail to churchgoers.
Here are a few other articles I had written about this topic, including other aspects of the argument against ECT which you may find interesting as well: