Many Christians today believe in a place of eternal torment where sinners are sent after death, commonly referred to as Hell in English. This belief is extremely mainstream and forms part of the basic perception of the religion in popular culture. Am not a Jehova Witness tho but i want you to enjoy reading this.
1.It was Barely Mentioned in the bible
According to Romans 6:7, “he that is dead is freed from sin.” So if a person’s sins are cleared with his or her death, then what’s with the additional punishment of Hell? Well, Romans 6:23 goes on to state that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Note that there is no mention of sinners being condemned to everlasting torture, they simply don’t get the reward for living a righteous life. Similarly, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 says that the punishment for those deemed wicked is not fiery torture, but destruction, “shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
2.Many References To Hell Were Mistranslated
When it comes to misconceptions about Hell, the popular 17th-century King James Version (KJV) of the Bible has a lot to answer for. For example, in the KJV, the prophet Jonah was in the “belly of Hell,” while David bafflingly insists that God would be with him even in Hell. Even Jesus pops down to Hell after his death on the cross.
That’s particularly important to Hades and Sheol, which are roughly equivalent words in Greek and Hebrew. Neither can reasonably be translated as “place of torment,” which is what the word “Hell” now generally implies. A better translation might be “the grave” or “the afterlife.” Neither term carries a value judgment in the way that “Hell” does—only the wicked go to Hell, but all souls are in Sheol after death. So David’s weird KJV claim that God would be with him in “Hell” is better translated as “the afterlife” or even “the depths.” While the KJV references Jesus being in Hell after his death on the cross, the New International Version makes a much less dramatic reference to him being in his “grave.” In fact, the New International Version only refers to Hell 15 times, compared to a whopping 54 mentions in the KJV.
Other modern Bibles try to avoid such problems altogether by simply leaving “Sheol” and “Hades” untranslated, although this hasn’t quite undone the influence of the KJV. As the Encyclopedia Americana of 1942 put it: “Much confusion and misunderstanding has been caused through the early translators of the Bible persistently rendering the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades and Gehenna by the word ‘Hell.’ The simple transliteration of these words by the translators of the revised editions of the Bible has not sufficed to appreciably clear up this confusion and misconception.”
3.Jesus Didn’t Invent His Parable About Hell
It’s right there in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, as recorded in Luke 16:19-31.
In fact, Jesus didn’t even come up with the story in the first place. Scholars have long identified the general outline (a beggar is rewarded after death, while a rich man is punished) as an Egyptian folktale that became popular with Jewish religious teachers like the Pharisees, to the point that early Jewish literature contains at least seven versions of it. In Luke’s account, Jesus only brings the story up after the Pharisees mock his original Parable of the Unjust Steward, thus using one of their own favorite stories to demonstrate their hypocrisy. With this context, it’s hard to see the parable as a serious account of the Christian afterlife.
4. Even The Church Fathers Couldn’t Agree On Hell
Since many hold the early church fathers as the authority on matters of faith and doctrine, many would find it surprising that even they couldn’t agree if Hell existed and, if so, what it actually was. Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Cyprian were among those that held that Hell was a literal place of fiery torment. Origen and Gregory of Nyssa disagreed, countering that Hell was simply separation from God.
In modern times, many Christian denominations have moved away from Saint Augustine’s conception of Hell as a physical place beneath the Earth. Even the venerable Catholic Church has apparently decided to go with the flow, with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992, declaring that Hell is simply a state of “definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed.”
5.Some Aspects Of Hell Seem Distinctly Non-Christian
The Ancient Egyptian religion, for example, featured a cavern containing a “lake of fire” where the souls of the wicked were punished for their transgressions. The early Mesopotamians also believed that the underworld lay underground, although it was more dim and miserable than a place of eternal punishment.
A particularly interesting comparison can be made between the popular idea of Hell and Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion originating in what is now Iran. In the earliest Zoroastrian texts, the souls of the sinful are judged after death and condemned to eternal punishment in the underworld, which theBook Of Arda Viraf describes as a pit full of fire, “smoke, stench and demons.” The souls are tortured according to the severity of their sins in life and the whole thing is presided over by Angra Mainyu, the great evil spirit, “who ever ridiculed and mocked the wicked in hell” for following him instead of their creator god.