Standing up for Honest, Inquisitive Christians who have Issues with the Literal, Calvinistic Hell.
Do you vindictively or sadistically wish to see your enemies burn in hell? If you were knowledgeable about all the people you love being burned to crisp in hell, would you selfishly accept paradise for yourself? In many ways, if you are a highly sensitive or emotive person, you are bound to question hell. Furthermore, if you are honest then you will voice those concerns to others. It is a burden to carry the alarming images that the Christian hell conjures.
*Click the picture above to access the article I’m responding to*
Recently, Chad Holtz lost his post as a pastor at a church for something very moral. Instead of blindly abiding by the binding rules of his church, he honestly voiced his concerns about the literal depiction of hell. His congregation, being unloving hypocrites, denounced him. With condescension, they scorned him for holding such views within the domain of his mind. To them, the pastor should be the epitome of Christlike perfection. We should ignore our pressing human limitations and dishonestly strive towards shedding every last piece of our precious inhumanity. Instead of supporting Chad’s doubts, the church devalued him and treated him as a common criminal instead of using his charge as a way of opening up a constructive, theological conversation.
Truthfully, this bubonic plague of fundamental Christianity plagues the church with the toxic sin of pride and lying. In effect, church members are not promoted to be neither honest or meek. Instead, they are promoted to strictly, inhumanly follow and believe a litany of beliefs about the metaphysical world. Again, the metaphysical world naturally is beyond our human senses therefore everything we decree about hell or heaven is pure conjecture. Yet, humans are savvy about constructing unwieldy structures of decisive, untruthful beliefs about God. When really, the believer should be humble when trying to respond to something that supersedes the senses. We should grasp God as an explorer who feels blinded by earthly sense. In reality, our sense of heaven or hell is greatly distorted. Therefore, the entire notion of these planes of existence being lucid in our minds is merely an illusion or lie.
The mainstream church revels in their Tower of Babels where God is downsized through limiting speech. Actually, Jesus was rather simple when he explained that belief in him does not come from belief within the superficial idea of him. Some Christians simply believe within Jesus’ existence and then forgo the application of Jesus’ virtues within their life. Leeching Jesus of humanity and depth, Christians begin to believe only in Jesus’ masculinity or his existence. None of these Christians strive to live the difficult life of compassion. Instead, they gloss over the compassion bit and make their church lives insular. They focus instead on the superiority of men due to Jesus’ gender. Due to that wrongful emphasis, women are denied the opportunity to become spiritual leaders. True morals become trivialized then and Christian belief becomes a list of irrational rules of dehumanizing yourself rather than expanding yourself through the belief of living selflessly.
The church reaction to Chad Holtz’s position is disillusioning to me. It makes me wonder whether Christianity as a whole has taken the Bible as an excuse to augment the basest aspects of humanity. In many ways, the Crusades were justified solely on Biblical belief as a way of assuaging the sadistic urges of some medieval warriors. Interestingly, the focus on the symbol of the cross used in Jesus’ sacrifice was reinforced during the Crusades as if to indicate to the heathen enemies that they were exempt from Jesus’ offer of salvation.
Metaphorically, Chad Holtz’s congregation treated him in much the same way once he honestly expressed himself. Within some churches, the practice of craftily concocting lies to appease your fellow church member is seen as more important than acting charitably. In Sunday school, the curious questions of younger children are sharply dismissed. We are taught through the wrongful depiction of the Garden of Eden story that questioning God is akin to betrayal or denial of him. But, in reality, part of seeking something wholly unknown to us requires questions. Therefore, this church restriction of intellectual extrapolation is both foolish and highly ridiculous. Even more preposterous, it wrongfully elevates us to the throne of God because we think we know his entire being perfectly.
As a doubtful Christian who has questioned the existence and idea of hell more times than I can count, I am saddened by this church’s persnickety attitude in response to Chad Holtz’s honesty. Furthermore, I pray that Chad Holtz finds a more suitable post at another church where he will be accepted as an imperfect, humble human being. To me, this recent news from this church and the response to Rob Bell’s book is very illuminating; it clearly shows the pride and dishonesty that blossoms within some Christian communities. Moreover, it shows that we haven’t sought to understand Jesus or God by first accepting that we truly do not know with full certainty any aspect of their being. Certainly, atheists, agnostics, and apostates do have valid reasons for leaving Christianity which seems far too obsessed with bullying inquisitive individuals. Additionally, some Christians have an unhealthy addiction to fulfilling gender stereotypes rather than living a selfless life.