In the world today a remarkable number of people believe that there is a place called Hell, and a great many of those people use the Bible as their authority in this matter.

Typical of this approach is that used by a person who posted an entry in the Comment section beneath another article on this front page, the article headlined “1,000 Words That Will Change the World.” (Found lower, in the right-hand column.)

I have chosen to lift this Comment, and my response, to the top of the page, because I believe it deserves to be a Headline Story in our world. Perhaps the Headline Story. Here is this particular comment, posted by a very sincere reader named Kim who simply wanted her confusion on one question addressed — followed by my reply.

I have been enjoying reading Neale Walsch’s messages from God for several months now… There is one message from Neale that has brought on some question in my mind if anyone can explain this (respectfully)…

Neale’s quote here, “(9) There is no such place as hell, and eternal damnation does not exist.” I would like to know more what Neale was trying to say here because as Christians, we know there is a heaven and there is a place called hell, there is eternal damnation?? I would like to explain my thoughts using these quotes from the Bible…. my question is my confusion to Neale’s statement that there is no hell or eternal damnation… and if there were true, what is the 2nd coming of Christ about?

Are we not called to fear God? … Why would we fear Him if there wasn’t an eternal punishment for our lack of repentance for sin, if there wasn’t consequences to our lack of remorse for sin?

Jer 5:22 (NIV) “Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

There are also many verses in the Bible which describe a place of fire…. (hell)…
Matthew 10:28 – And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Revelation 20:14 – And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15 – And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

James 4:12 – There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Mark 9:43-48 – And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Revelation 20:10 – And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

My Dear Kim…Yours is a very fair — and a very often asked — question. May I say in reply that I see that you are using, as the basis of your understandings about hell and damnation, passage from The Holy Bible. Yet these passages from the Bible would have no weight unless the words of the Bible were considered to be infallible and inerrant. That is, they are Absolutely True, to the letter. Do you believe this, Kim?

The difficulty the world has, Kim — and I say this with total respect for your view — is that people tend to quote the Bible selectively. I call this Bible Cherry Picking. They pick out the chapters and verses that support their point of view, but totally ignore, or “write off”, verses with which even THEY disagree.

For instance, Kim, do you agree with the verses in the Book of Deuteronomy, where it says that if a man marries a woman and finds that she is not a virgin, and if her family cannot prove that she was a virgin before her marriage, “she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death” — ?

Now you might say, “Wait a minute. This is God’s Law?” And the answer is, as it is found in the Bible, yes. The Bible also says that, if found to be in an adulterous relationship, both the man and the woman are to be taken to the city gates and also stoned to death.

And God is concerned about other real life matters as well. Apparel, for instance. A woman “must not wear men’s clothing…for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this,” the Bible says. It also says: “Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”

Then, too, only certain people are welcome in God’s house of worship. If you happen to be a child born out of wedlock, you cannot go to there. Did you know that Kim? The Bible makes this very clear. It says that no illegitimate child, “nor any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation.”

And, did you know this, Kim…?…If a certain part of a man’s body happens to be injured in an accident or as a result of war, he may join with other worshippers of God in a House of the Lord.

The Bible says:

“If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be included in the assembly of the Lord.”

Yes, these are words right out of the Bible. Do they upset or embarrass you? Turn to Deuteronomy 23:1-2, New Living Translation. “Oh,” you might say, “one of those modern Bibles.” Yes. The King James Version has it this way:

“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord,” but it means the same thing.

And the Bible has some startling news for women who take some of those
self-defense classes that are offered these days. They can find themselves in a
lot of trouble with some of what they learn in those classes.

The Bible says:

“If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.”

The writers of the Bible had a real thing going on about male genitals, didn’t they? Of course, who do you suppose was doing the writing?

Oh, and they also had some thoughts about children who don’t obey their parents. These are probably not thoughts that many mothers would have. Kim, do you know what the Holy Bible has to say about children who don’t obey? Kill them.

What? you might say. But according to the Bible, God says to kill them. Now you might not believe that, but it’s right there, plain as day:

“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town.

“They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you.”

I guess that would do it, all right…

So, Kim, you will excuse me if I am not quite totally convinced that all of our answers will be found in the Bible…or that everything we find in the Bible should be considered the absolute and total Truth, and The Way It Is.

We cannot “select” only what we want to accept from the Bible, and toss out the rest. This is called Bible Belief Cafeteria Style. Either the Bible is the Absolutely Correct and Inerrant Word of God, or it is not. Maybe it was written by well meaning, but very fallible, human beings. Do you think?

So, does ‘hell’ exist? Is it a place to which God condemns us if we act, or do not act, in certain ways? That is the main topic this month at…

— which is intended to be one of the most intriguing new websites on the Internet.

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