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How can any human being choose of his or her own free will to go to Hell?

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Showing 201-225 of 1000 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 10:43:03 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
Right, we make many wrong choices in
our lives, due to our conflicting desires, and
our imperfect and complex minds,
and the mysterious interaction between ourselves and
our environment operating on so many levels,
but I do not think any of the decisions we make
qualify as anything like knowingly choosing Hell for all eternity.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 10:45:01 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
Lilly, I think that the justice we project on God is a human version of justice.

One can argue that everything we project on God is human, of course,
but I think that our sense of "God's justice" is particularly human in
that we tend to define Him in ways that not only present him as
imperfect but which often present Him as worse than people we
know, love and respect here on earth.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 11:01:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2011 11:03:33 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
I think it's a matter of perspective. We tend to project onto God human qualities of justice, good, the opposite of evil, the person who is all knowing, all loving, always compassionate. However, I think we are projecting qualities that we are born from - that we are from the source of, if you will.

That what we're actually doing is remembering our pure souls before we came here on the planet - heaven if you will, the place where we all come from and will all return to. And it's there that we exist without sin, knowing pretty much everything about our previous lives, and together with our guardian angels and loved ones from our soul group, we choose our next life.

We choose our parents, and with free will, choose the obstacles in this life that we'll encounter. But while we're here, we long to reconnect to that realm, reconnect to the place where we are all energetically, spiritually connected. Some describe it as blissful, some say it's heaven, some say nirvana - but it's all aspects of the same place where we love unconditionally, we love freely and without prejudice, and we observe our fellow beings down here (or over there) on Earth with a degree of compassion, amusement and gratitude. While we're here we go through this world of polarities, of yin and yang, of negatives and positives - and learn life lessons we signed up to learn, but aren't consciously aware of.

Oddly enough I've just learned an old Hollywood icon has died - Bert Schneider. And a friend tweeted me "He died penniless, it was a sad ending, he's free now." And I wrote back "We all die penniless. I see it as a happy ending. He moved a lot of people, changed a lot of actor's lives and at the end may have been a shadow of his former self. But he's now back in his mom's arms, and walking with angels."

I'd back what I'm saying up with research, but every time I mention it my posts get censored and deleted. But I agree with you Ms. Rice, we project on God a human version of justice, but we long to reconnect to our own inner sense of divine immortality that we come from, and return to, before choosing to come back once again. I don't see the Christianity and reincarnation (not as traditionally defined, but as it's research is showing it to actually be) as mutually exclusive concepts - rather they both enhance and deepen the other's tenets.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 7:44:41 AM PST
Lilly Smith says:

How we view God's justice depends on how we view man's responsibility in the actions of his own life. If, as in the Christian view, man is responsible for his own choices concerning good and evil, then a perfect God who is separate and distinct from his creation must hold him accountable. Otherwise justice is not served. If you reject that understanding and have a different view of who man is and why he does bad things, then perhaps a different form of justice would apply. However, to say the Christian view of God presents him as imperfect is incorrect, because it doesn't take into account the entire Christian understanding of God and his relationship to man. In other words, a person can't condemn the Christian view of justice and judge their God as imperfect based on a Buddhist view of man's existence.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 8:05:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 8:09:30 AM PST
1 says:

Pick up a book by Hans Urs von Balthasar called "Dare We Hope." He basically concludes that it is realistic to hope that all are saved, without saying that all necessarily are. There is great discussion and quotations regarding the individual's choice to reject God through the act of (mortal) sin. In the (mortal) sin itself is the eternal rejection. If you view Hell as eternal torment of absolute physical pain and misery, it becomes too far removed from the actual definition of Hell: an absence of God. (Mortal) sin is this absence.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 8:38:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 8:43:03 AM PST
Amon says:
You know your God isn't omnipresent according to you right? Please Christians, you would all be a much more unified bunch if you could come to a consensus on what atrributes you believe God has.

PS: Its the sheep that are led to slaughter...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 9:34:27 AM PST
Yo says:
FashionSense says: "Our desires are chosen by us. Our soul chooses its desires."

Assuming your statement is true, that merely begs the question, do we choose our soul? And, if so, on what basis? And, if not, then, once again, there is no free will.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 9:53:07 AM PST
Amicus says:
Theresa wrote: "Being without God for all eternity would be unimaginable, worse than anything any being with limited intellect and imagination (mankind) could ever come up with."

Amon wrote: "You know your God isn't omnipresent according to you right?"

Hi Amon,

Hmmmm, I hope Theresa answers you. Are the people in "hell" really "without" God?

We know that they don't share the "beatific vision" (the joy of seeing God) -- but on the other hand, God is omnipresent. -- He is everywhere, even in "hell".

This needs clarification.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 9:58:00 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Interesting post.
Myself I have never believed I chose my parents, or
participated in any way in life plan decisions before birth.
I have no inkling of ever having been in heaven, or of
any previous life.
But I know many talk of the ideas you describe here.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:02:35 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Lilly, I have no doubt that God
holds human beings accountable for what they do
and how they do it.

People who have had Near Death Experiences
have reported over and over that they encountered a
personal judgment with a being of light, whom some
called Jesus.

But I am unconvinced God's plan involves any everlasting Hell of
eternal torment.
The Hell view seems woefully outdated, a barbaric
construct of an early era in which Roman justice involved
torture and horrific executions, sometimes for whole families.

I do see the notion of Hell as part of a larger Christian framework
in which many many basic parts do not make sense at all.

I feel the entire Christian system is founded on falsehoods.
It's all of a piece: Hell; the Fallen World; Total Depravity;
Substitutionary Atonement; etc.
And I think all of it is false.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:05:35 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
a a, I have posted often on this book, and I have reviewed it for Amazon. Thank you for bringing it up here.

If you reread the posts here, you'll see I am rejecting the idea that
anyone can definitively say "no" to God and choose an eternal Hell.

As I've stated a number of times, I think the new theological emphasis on this(people choosing Hell or separation from God)is yet another attempt on the part of theologians to exonerate the deity
for the existence of evil in the universe and shift it to humankind.

I do not think the shift is any more successful than the earlier notion that some how a hapless slob named Adam is to blame for the entire creation being Fallen.

I think Christianity needs to take a hard look at these old and dishonest ideas.

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 10:10:37 AM PST
Martin Zook says:
Well, faced with the prospect of 72 virgins in heaven, or whatever treat awaits in hell, it might be pretty understandable why one would choose the latter.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:16:40 AM PST
I agree; that is why the concept of hell is an irrational religious idea that has been designed by various religions to control people. I use the term "choosing hell" metaphorically since I think that when we make the wrong decision, we simply incur karma and have to return here again and again until we have worked that out and learned the lesson so we no longer have the desire to "sin" so to speak.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:40:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 10:44:55 AM PST
Well, there is a whole thread on reincarnation, Christianity, and some of the recent research on it that you might find interesting. I have a background in hypnotherapy and this thread discusses life between lives--I would not call it heaven.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:43:13 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Do you work now in hypnotherapy?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:50:40 AM PST
No, I got very sick shortly after I finished grad school and by the time I was well, the licensing laws had changed so I did not pursue it [it meant another year of grad school and more internships]. I occasionally assist friends on a no fee basis, but have not done any hypnotherapy for at least ten years at this point. However, I am fascinated by the work of Michael Newton on regressions to the life between lives [i.e. "heaven"] and have been following that work.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:56:43 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Can I email you about this?
My email is listed in my profile, on my Facebook Fan Page
and on my website. or

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:06:09 AM PST
Rich Martini says:
AR, If I may, I've been researching reincarnation via the work of psychologist and author Dr. Michael Newton. He was a psychologist working in LA, skeptical of past life regressions until one spontaneously happened during a therapy session. From there he began to see clients who remembered past lives (as Brian Weiss recounts in his books). But in Newton's case, one day a client suddenly traveled to a "life between lives" - a realm where she spoke of a heaven like arena we all come from. Newton closed his public practice, and for the next 30 years only saw clients who could take him to this realm and explored and cataloged it extensively before publishing in 96 (or sharing any of his details). The consistency of the reporting is remarkable. As a filmmaker, I set about to either disprove or prove what he was saying was true.

So independently, with people who've never seen or heard of Newton's work, I've had the same results. I've filmed dozens of people under hypnosis, and done a couple of sessions myself. It doesn't matter who is doing the questioning, or involved in the session - the results are uniform. According to the research; we choose our parents. We choose our lives with the help of our soul mates, or beloved friends in spirit who we reincarnate with over and over. Artists, like yourself, use their energy to help and heal people through words, music, images - which all have a quantum affect on everyone who reads them (or hears them).

They report there is no concept of sin, of divine retribution or punishment back there - rather, people punish themselves for the negative energy they've put out during a lifetime. People report reliving each and every pain they've inflicted on others, but they experience the pain as if they themselves were receiving it. The chastisement is self created - done because we realize the pain we've created through our thoughts, words or actions. They report no hell, but they do report a kind of purgatory where souls who've lived particularly heinous lives send themselves to pause and reflect for all the spiritual pain they may have caused. But this isn't done as punishment - but as a way of helping the individual get back on their track. A track that leads through dozens, perhaps hundreds of lifetimes. Each one affording new spiritual lessons along the way.

Again, I'm not speaking of a philosophy, or a religious concept - this is based on thousands of interviews Newton and people trained in his method have conducted. I've filmed a fraction myself, people under hypnosis from all walks of life - my agent, a reality tv producer, it doesn't matter; they all (much to their chagrin) see and say the same things about the Afterlife. As a skeptic myself, I was offered to have my own session - I've two now, and am chagrined to say, the results were the same for me (but different, since they were from my own pov).

I also think when artists describe creatures of the earth that have eternal life, whether blood drinking ones or not, they're also reflecting some part of this spiritual truth we've all experienced. The same goes for profound experiences in Christianity - the concept of being born in the image of God, of eternal life, in loving a neighbor as themselves (because they are themselves or composed of the same energy), the idea of loving kindness and compassion that isn't based on judgment but on forgiveness of all sins - it's identical to what these people are saying under deep hypnosis.

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 11:17:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 11:17:46 AM PST
Yo says:
Pelly says: "the concept of hell is an irrational religious idea."

Aren't all religous ideas irrational since you can't prove them logically?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:20:32 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Very interesting post.
I've followed research in these fields
for years, reading Brian Weiss (I spoke to him
once on the phone but did not follow up on going to
see him for hypnosis.)
And I am familiar with that discovery of the place between
lives, etc.

NDErs describing the personal judgment in which they see the
effects of their actions on others and essentially judge themselves
....all this is very inspiring.

One thing about a writer who pursues obsessions without
a conscious effort to edit them or control them is....that the
written material may reflect many many things.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:35:53 AM PST
Certainly--my e-mail address is

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:40:30 AM PST
Actually, some religious ideas are not irrational, but many are. The goal of the advanced spiritual seaker is find out the difference. At this point, I know that hell is irrational.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:55:44 AM PST
Lilly Smith says:

My view of hell comes from the Bible, which you rejected. It is the place were the souls of men are kept until Judgment Day. On Judgment Day God judges each one justly. The penalty for sin is death, not eternal torment. The Bible never speaks of eternal torment for mankind, so I have no idea where you got that view.

The idea is that sinful man only exists within a temporal world. Man does not live forever. Those who receive God's forgiveness and righteousness in Christ are freed from sin and the penalty of death, and so will enter eternity with God. Those who choose to remain in sin face judgment and final death. They have rejected eternal life. The Christian view of hell comes from early Jewish writings concerning Sheol.

I get that you think it's all false, but I don't get how you believe people are then held accountable for what they do. How are they held accountable? And if judgment is not undesirable, why believe in a God who is merciful?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 12:06:15 PM PST
Anne, respectfully, may I suggest your premise may need some rethinking.

You state: "fallible human beings are not capable of knowingly choosing Hell instead of God."

The exact opposite is actually true. Logically it is the fallibleness of humans that would allow such a decision. That humans cannot willfully chose hell fails to recognize how self-destructive humans can be in making decisions.

The way I am understanding your position comes down to an ages old question - would a person knowingly chose evil over good given knowledge of both. You apparently believe not but your position does not account for the fact that sentient beings can freely reject God's "very good", even while in His presence. First, that is the tale of Satan. Second, that is the tale of the Creation story, Adam and Eve. Both, regardless of what one believe about the historcity of these accounts, inform the Christians worldview. Our fallibleness contributes to our own demise - save Jesus.

Socrates too argued that no one knowingly choses a lesser good, or no good at all, over a greater good. But this fails the test of history. Augustine went to great lenghts in his Confessions to explain how as a young man he did the exact opposite choosing the lesser good willfully. People choose many evils for themselves today from smoking, drinking to excess, out of control sexuality, drug use, to crime, to committing atrocities. Perhaps that's not reasonable or responsible but it speaks to our falilible nature.

Therefore, I must disagree that there is very little as way of explanation of how a person could knowingly choose hell. If comfronted with the reality most probably won't, but we cannot unequivocally claim no one would given the fallennes of man. The condition of man is the crux of the matter.

Francis Schaeffer informed us this: "the difference between Christian thinking and the non-Christian philosopher has always been at this point. The non-Christian philosopher has always said that man is normal now, but biblical Christianity says he is abnormal now." That abnormality allows humans to make decisions that are not rational nor reasonable and we should know how "abnormal" we humans are from any cursory look at the news on any given day.

I do however understand your aganst with respect to the overt judgmentalism of many Christians who wield their evangelicistic club based on a decision-oriented salvation message. But here I must disagree with your generalizations. Much of Christianity's view of hell is historic, not modern, aising out of the influences of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno" and later taking voice through such theologians as Jonathan's Edward's "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Vestiges of this theology remains but I don't believe they represent the majority view today.

Are you familiar with the recent controversy and debate that arose out of Rob Bell's book - "Love Wins"? It brought to light the very question you are asking. Many theologians, and many Christians, are reexamining this subject today. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water. :-) Remember, Christians can be as falilible as anyone else. It's what you do with what you know that makes the difference.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 12:15:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 12:20:09 PM PST
G. Howard says:
Lilly Smith says: My view of hell comes from the Bible, which you rejected. It is the place were the souls of men are kept until Judgment Day. On Judgment Day God judges each one justly. The penalty for sin is death, not eternal torment. The Bible never speaks of eternal torment for mankind, so I have no idea where you got that view.

The Bible says: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.

The Beast is a man and so is the False Prophet, they are not in Sheol but in the Lake of Fire. How long are these people going to be tormented according to the Bible?
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