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Fear of hell, advice please
#1
Fear of hell, advice please
Hello,
I am not an atheist myself (I was raised heavily Greek Orthodox) in a Ukrainian-Romanian family. We are incredbily religious, and my grandfather in fact is a Priest. My parents are hoping I will be the same. For those who do not know, Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, so I am also expected to have children and raise them religious, etc. Recently, I've been having doubts about religion, but fear of hell makes it difficult to let go of the religion.
Everytime I show any signs of skepticism, my friends and family try to prove Christianity at the bear minimum to be correct. I get emails all the time from people showing me how Jesus is the way to eternal pleasure and not following will lead me to torture forever. I recently viewed a few Near Death Experience videos, and they come from Christian sources, they have testimonies of people who went to hell when they were close to death. One Near Death Experience of a woman who crashed her car into another scared me: she had a head on crash, suddenly, felt a feeling of falling, and saw complete blackness. Then she saw these tall demonic looking monsters who took her to some waiting room where she saw them torture other people, beating them up, mocking them, throwing spears at them, and her hands were bleeding. Suddenly, she found herself in her car, she said she could see the blood on her hands from the hell for about 10 seconds. There are a whole plethora of these testimonies, and the similarities are uncanny. The most common sequence of events: the person having the experience sees darkness, then they see flames and fire, then demonic creatures come who look like reptiles with horns and mock them, beat them up, swear, and they can hear other screams. Then, sometimes the experiencer calls out to God, and a huge hand comes down and pulls them out of the hell, and back to their bodies. I know that these people never actually died, because a near death experience isn't a death experience, I also know the brain is not reliable as a source when it is super stressed and malfunctioning. Not even all of these people were near death during these experiences. Some were on drugs, others were not. You would think different situations would trigger different experiences. It's just that the good majority of hell Near Death Experiences occur in the order I put out. Growing up, I never expected to see demons torturing people in hell, and it seems many people report that. I can't fully explain it. The church and bible do not teach about seeing demons in hell, yet somehow all these people hallucinate that? Anyhow, do these similarities amongst accounts scare any of you? I would just really like to get rid of this whole hell fear. People in my communities act ad though I should be following these experiences, do you guys think I should be putting this much stock into the experiences?
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#2
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
There's nothing to be afraid of because it doesn't exist.
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#3
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
The only hell is the one you create for yourself in your mind.
“The man who can't visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.”
~ André Breton
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#4
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
I think the only hell is bodily pain. My mind doesn't disagree.
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#5
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
(February 28, 2018 at 8:50 pm)orthodox-man Wrote: Hello,
I am not an atheist myself (I was raised heavily Greek Orthodox) in a Ukrainian-Romanian family. We are incredbily religious, and my grandfather in fact is a Priest. My parents are hoping I will be the same. For those who do not know, Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, so I am also expected to have children and raise them religious, etc. Recently, I've been having doubts about religion, but fear of hell makes it difficult to let go of the religion.
Everytime I show any signs of skepticism, my friends and family try to prove Christianity at the bear minimum to be correct. I get emails all the time from people showing me how Jesus is the way to eternal pleasure and not following will lead me to torture forever. I recently viewed a few Near Death Experience videos, and they come from Christian sources, they have testimonies of people who went to hell when they were close to death. One Near Death Experience of a woman who crashed her car into another scared me: she had a head on crash, suddenly, felt a feeling of falling, and saw complete blackness. Then she saw these tall demonic looking monsters who took her to some waiting room where she saw them torture other people, beating them up, mocking them, throwing spears at them,  and her hands were bleeding. Suddenly, she found herself in her car, she said she could see the blood on her hands from the hell for about 10 seconds. There are a whole plethora of these testimonies, and the similarities are uncanny. The most common sequence of events: the person having the experience sees darkness, then they see flames and fire, then demonic creatures come who look like reptiles with horns and mock them, beat them up, swear, and they can hear other screams. Then, sometimes the experiencer calls out to God, and a huge hand comes down and pulls them out of the hell, and back to their bodies. I know that these people never actually died, because a near death experience isn't a death experience, I also know the brain is not reliable as a source when it is super stressed and malfunctioning. Not even all of these people were near death during these experiences. Some were on drugs, others were not. You would think different situations would trigger different experiences. It's just that the good majority of hell Near Death Experiences occur in the order I put out. Growing up, I never expected to see demons torturing people in hell, and it seems many people report that. I can't fully explain it. The church and bible do not teach about seeing demons in hell, yet somehow all these people hallucinate that? Anyhow, do these similarities amongst accounts scare any of you? I would just really like to get rid of this whole hell fear.  People in my communities act ad though I should be following these experiences, do you guys think I should be putting this much stock into the experiences?


Bold mine.

Why would you put credence in the stories from a person who just went through such a traumatic experience?

Her mind was almost assuredly in extreme panic, and not operating well. Why would you believe a story from a mind in crisis? Humans are notoriously unreliable as eyewitnesses with minds working their at their best, why would you believe a story with a mind operating at its worst?

Not to mention, people that grow up in other cultures, in other religious traditions than Christianity, do not have images of the Christian hell or heaven during their near death experiences. Hindus see and experience Hindu religious images when they have a NDE.

Also, the human memory does not work like a video recorder, when storing memories. Sometimes, memories are manufactured during and immediately after physical or mental crisis.

Just one example of how poor the human memory is. There were about 400,000 people that attended the Woodstock festival. But the number of people that claim to have been there, are over double that figure. Years of watching the Woodstock movie, listening to the soundtrack, talking about it with their friends who may have been there, help build false memories.

And lastly, how much time do you worry about being punished in the hells for all those other religions you weren't brought up in?

You'd believe if you just opened your heart" is a terrible argument for religion. It's basically saying, "If you bias yourself enough, you can convince yourself that this is true." If religion were true, people wouldn't need faith to believe it -- it would be supported by good evidence.
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#6
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
Do you want the way you live your life to be ruled by fear? That's the question you should be asking.
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#7
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
Fear is a huge motivator.

No wonder I'm so lazy.
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#8
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
Okey, im going to take you seriously, which may not be wise.

If you are afraid of hell it is because you are afraid that God made such a place and will send you there. Personally I don't see any real evidence that there is anything remotely like a god in the known universe. So I don't worry about what he might do to me any more than I worry about what elves or unicorns might do to me.

The only way out of your fear is to cease to be afraid of myths. Why is it that you believe in God's existence?

The Bible describes such a being but rather inconsistently. Hell isn't really a thing in the Od Testament, and the New Testament is all about saving you from it. The Old Testament God is just for the chosen people but otherwise harsh. The New Testament one is all forgiving, except for that Hell thing. Both talk of miracles, but recent miracles are in rather short supply. Most of the cosmological and biological descriptions in it are obviously false. As a historical document it's less than reliable. I solidified my lack of belief simply by reading it cover to cover. Try it. Pay attention to what it says rather than what you've been told it says.

Other than the Bible, why else do you believe? Because your parents do? Why do they?

Near death experience are just that. NEAR death. They aren't death experiences. What people experience is intensely cultural. Only Christians see Christian imagery. As a guide they are about as useful as dreams. They don't provide evidence of much except how the victim was raised.

That is the crux of it. What real reason do you have to think god or hell exists? If he doesn't and I am personally sure he does not, what reason do you have to be afraid of not following him?

If you really believe in him and can't be shaken in that, I can't tell you how not to be afraid. But many Christians don't become priests. Ask them why not.
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
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#9
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
Why isn't any Christian afraid of Heaven? I mean it's pretty shitty place and these are honest depictions of Heaven

[Image: lBrNZQcT_o.jpg]

[Image: n0Km6xEc_o.jpg]

How is this any better then Hell?
teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. - Sam Harris, "Letter To A Christian Nation"
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#10
RE: Fear of hell, advice please
Less agonizing than melting in fire, I reckon.
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