Hell, the psychological effects of a belief in a location where you are sent to suffer for all of eternity.
So I usually don’t target specific aspects of a religion, rather I discuss things incredibly widely and odds are wrongly. I’ll probably say a few wrong things here or there on this post, but I wanted to talk about Hell, and the psychological impact of believing in it.
Specifically the Christian interpretation of Hell. Hell, what is it? Well Bibles translated into English use the word “Hell” to mean a combination of things.
One of the things it is used to mean is Sheol, which is a Hebrew word, which can mean grave, or Hades (the place), or place of the dead. These refer to the temporary abode of the dead. Not a place of eternal torment.
Gehenna is where most get the notion of Hell. Gehenna is the location described in Matthew 10:28, and where the unquenchable fire of Mark 9:43 comes from. This right here is the place of eternal torment.
Another word that is translated into Hell in English is Tartaro. Or Tartarus. Tartarus is basically the Greek version of the Underworld’s flaming prison. Where the enemies of the gods were sent. So if you go to Tartarus your eternity is going to suck.
Context matters. But when people colloquially use Hell, they mean a place of suffering, where the unrepentant sinners, or non-believers go to suffer for their sins, or lack of belief.
Why do they need a “Hell” especially if God is all-loving? Theists that I know have said a wide variety of things concerning this question. Some have said, that God wouldn’t “force” himself onto non-believers and that it is either Hell or Heaven. But this is a false dilemma. If God is truly all good, and all knowing, surely he’d know that people can be deserving of paradise, or at least an okay place without accepting Jesus. Thus he’d create another set of locations for non-believers.
Some theists I’ve known have said that Hell is a place for sinners. But God loved them, so why would he send them eternally? Plenty of Christians don’t believe that God sends sinners to Hell eternally. But this is still an extreme punishment. Years, decades, centuries, where existence is pain, suffering, and agony. All of existence. Imagine every single cell in your body, on fire, burning, to the point where you cannot imagine anything but the fires which consume, which roast, which incinerate. But no sweet release. No ending in sight. Merely years of agony. Most people would say that even the worst person imaginable would not deserve very long.
Personally? To me this sounds like a fear tactic. This sounds like an intelligent, malicious, and horrific tactic through which people become too afraid to contemplate anything else. The reason why this could spread is simple.
Imagine if you were made aware of this, and presented with it as a “truth”. Wouldn’t it terrify you? Especially if you told this as a child? Or as an impressionable member of society? Or by someone of influence, who truly believes this?
And imagine another situation. What if someone were unaware of your religion? Wouldn’t you feel obliged to tell people about your religion? About your Hell? Your Heaven? Even if spreading the Gospel wasn’t an obligation laid out in the Bible (which it is according to many denominations and quite a few Bible verses), you’d feel pressured to “save” those unaware by spreading the “good word” of God. Even if you hate someone would you keep them in the dark and effectively condemn them to eternal death and suffering? What would that say about you as a human being? About your state of mind? About your morals?
Anyway, those are my two cents on Hell, and the psychological effects believing it has, had and could have in the future. Comment, like, share, do all that fun stuff I’d love to hear your two cents on this!