The question of 'hell'... Very few Christians are willing to study it in an objective way. They grew up being taught it in church. It scared them. As adults, it still sort of terrifies them in that it is what they were awaiting, but it really does terrify them for the people who are going to go there.
It is a critical aspect of their theologies. And because most were inculcated with it at an early age, before they could objectively consider it, then they largely cannot be exposed as adults to the fact that it is not an eternal place, and that there is no coming out. They believe that the sinner is put there to suffer eternally. But the Bible clearly teaches from beginning to end that hell is not eternal.
I know very much what the experience was like. When I was a child, me and the other children were taught about hell in church. We were told the rapture was going to come, Jesus would take the true believers away. We were told we better get right with God! or we would be left behind and an antichrist figure would take control and start killing everyone! And even worse, if we did not turn to Christ, we would all burn in hell!
I was horrified. I had nightmares. I begged Jesus every night to not send me to hell. 'Please let me die before the rapture comes, I cannot make it in the tribulation!'
Some evenings, the night skies were colored red, ominous to a child. I fear we would not make it home, my family would be taken and I would be left to die.
And even as a child I knew strange things were afoot. I knew, thanks to my East Texas conservative upbringing that there was a weasel in the White House. In the fall of '96 at a hayride, just after the election Gore-Clinton campaign placards were burned in effigy on a fire.
I remember the haunting of TWA Flight 800.. so many souls downed off the coast of New York City, their faces haunting from the tabloid magazines.
At church, I never had any friends there. I spent nearly ten years of my childhood in that church and there is no one from there I talk to today. I hated them. I reviled them. A Sunday school teacher said I spoke to them with venom on my tongue. I hated them because I saw them for what they were, an exclusive little clique that welcomes no outsiders. My family and I were never accepted by those people and I hated them and their fakeness.
And this was a large church too. One of the larger ones in town. Easily several hundreds.
There was nothing about my childhood that would conform me to a Christian experience. All I knew is they were fakes and they lived to scare people.
As a boy in school, I was extremely autistic. I was practically insane because of my autism. But I was only on the spectrum. In those days they didn't know what it was, the name Asperger syndrome only came about in 1994 and it took a decade before it started resonating as a major diagnosis.
The little world I created was an escape. It was the only thing I could do to respond to the events of the world around me. At the school were bullies, who often didn't target me at once, but came and went in episodes. When year I'd share a class with a boy like Kyle and he would target me. Other times Kevin would target me. And other boys. The teachers never made any effort to stop it. They were probably scheduling a teacher's rally or something for 'not getting paid enough' boo-fucking-hoo.
So I chose to withdraw as much as I could. But even then, they bullied me even stronger so I would withdraw even further.
Despite losing memories of much of my childhood, I remember a few brief moments of clarity when I started beating the shit out of some of these kids for what they had done, and then getting sent to the principal's office where I'd be put in a box for three days at a time or sent home and suspended. Funny, the only thing the teachers had a problem with was self-defense.
At 18, I was a senior, and that in itself is tough, finishing your last year of high school at that age. If you're 17, you're probably living at home and can't afford to be stupid. I had an apartment at 18 and I began inviting over potheads. I started smoking weed. It was therapeutic. And I had friends. For the first time in my life. I had people I could really talk to and say I shared interests with.
So I was thrown out of school, lost my apartment, and after staying with a friend for a couple weeks I went back home. I was after a few months thrown out. So I drove my Chevy Malibu into town to embark on a period of living in my car.
All things considered, it was great at first, but later it turned into living hell.
It was such a living hell, I faced imminent imprisonment or death toward the end, or at least I felt that way.
I gave my life to Jesus Christ. And I was delivered from that.
That was in November 2007.
What I had to do from there, was read the Bible. I had to pray over it and ask for the meaning. I had to seek counsel. I had to study the words.
And what I came to find out about this 'hell' thing.. It's not what you think. You think people go there to suffer eternally for their sins. That's not it. They go there to die. It may take ages for them to die out, I don't know. But they know what's happened. They see the life, the one life they had to live on earth, and in contrast, they see the life they might have had, the 'Lazarus in Abraham's bosom', and they know they are dying. And then finally, at the last moment, they breathe their last and they're gone.
I have to tell you guys, that is more horrifying than anything I heard growing up as a child.
I eventually in my late teenage years started to come out of that world more and more. I gradually gained healing from much I had endured.
But the church, what it did to me as a kid, the years it took from me I will never get back. I never had the chance at a normal childhood and the church has a lot of blame to accept for that.
So I can relate to the young people who experienced this sort of brainwashing and scare tactics. But to turn this on God, for what these stupid moron Christians have done, is wrong. God didn't do this to you. People with low education, low IQs, did it to you and they thought they could 'scare' you into being good. And some of them are just flat out rapists, let me say that.
God had nothing to do with that. I hope at some point you can see that God does love you and He hates them even more than you do.