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Hell is a human construct, not a divine one. A way that allowed the early church to build up its power on earth: tell everyone you're damned unless you follow our path and our church. It's really a massive con job - a type of existential blackmail. If you look at the idea seriously, it's impossible to reconcile the notion of a loving god with the idea that he keeps a personal torture chamber.

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We really need to stop that. Green cemeteries and mushroom suits! Terabith 13 posts. Lady Florida. MercyA 18 posts.

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Ordinary Shoes 17 posts. May Green ceme. That's abusive.

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I have words. I believe, in a hope grounded in scripture way of believing, that God will ultimately reconcile and restore all things. I believe the judgement begins a process, for all, toward that restorative ultimate end.

I don't know what that will look like or be like for anyone. Ghenna, the word translated, hell was a garbage dump. It's still a real place, though I think a park or something similar now. We all need now, and will all need then, healing, restoration, purification. That's biblical. And I think believing it distorts people's understanding of God's nature. That concept caused me a great deal of angst growing up how did I know if I believed "enough".

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I've evolved in my understanding of hell and, related to that, my understanding of God's character and what it means to be a follower of Christ as an adult. It's been beautiful for me actually. People will, I think, always have free will to reject God. I guess it would come down to whether a person's stubborn refusal of God would, ultimately, outlast God's mercy and love. Certainly not. In either direction. I believe hell is what we do to others and ourselves on this earth.

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Now I'm more of a universalist who believes Jesus was very successful in restoring all things and all people, and that God's justice is always restorative and never punitive. As someone else who sat through many long years of CCD, this story is bull puckey.

If the guy wanted to get into Heaven, why wouldn't he just confess his sins and do his penance? Worst case scenario, he'll get Purgatory and he'll have to hope his family liked him enough to light candles and have masses said for his soul.

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I'm not being snarky, these are the rules as I understood them. We always lit a candle for dead family members each week and had a mass said every year when it was our turn as did every other family in my parish. Even now, long after I realized that this didn't ring true to me, I've lit a candle, well now it's a little led light, for recently deceased people and said a Hail Mary.

It's just what you do. Neither is confession. One of the conditions of confessions is contrition. God knows your heart.

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I know of people who have had priests retain sins and refuse absolution because they had no intention of even attempting to stop sinning. I don't think we choose to believe or not believe.

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We can't choose to believe something we don't goodness knows I tried and we can't choose to stop believing something is true if we think it is. My parents are 80 and lifelong believers. They are not going to just decide to stop believing one day. There are too many factors making it true for them.

Likewise, I can't decide to believe anymore because there are too many factors making it unbelievable for me. Not to mention it makes no sense for someone to literally choose eternal torment over eternal happiness. We are human driven by all sorts of reasons to do self-defeating things, but I think it would, pretty much by definition, mean someone is out of their minds to choose hell.

Then again, coming from a mental health perspective, I also think few if any choose to be evil, so there's that. As a 9th grader and for the next 40 years, and as a Catholic, you did not know that no one on earth knows who is in hell? Why are so rude to people on this forum?

Is this your schtick? Are you going out of your way to be rude? Surely you don't interact with people like this IRL. It's funny what we remember from childhood. A friend was also in that class.

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She moved away and we reconnected in college. She told me that she had freaked out for years by the lady they brought in to talk about sex. My friend claimed this woman made her feel guilty for years about "near occasion of sin" by kissing your boyfriends, etc.

I was there and don't remember that at all. All I remember about that class was thinking why they brought this woman in to lecture about sex when she didn't make her own son attend CCD. He was in our grade so he should have been in our class.

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It was a weird thing to say to a group of 9th graders. If someone believed in the scapular, then why would they be a terrible person and decide to "trick" God? This guy also freaked me out for years because he told us that Lourdes happened in the morning, Fatima was at noon, and Medjugore happened at night.

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That freaked me for for years. Not kidding.

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The final freaky thing that stuck with me for years was a priest telling me that purgatory only existed until the end of the world so if you died at the end of the world, purgatory wasn't an option. For the non-Catholics, purgatory purifies someone to make them perfect so they can get into heaven. You can only get into heaven if you are perfect. So if purgatory isn't an option and you aren't perfect I have made decisions to believe things I never ly thought I would and that I struggle to maintain daily.

But at the end of the day - I see no other rational sane choice so I continue to live according to that belief. I know people in their 80s who have left their faith. I know elderly people who have converted to a faith.

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Clarifying this a little bit. The best confessor I ever had told me that if you aren't sorry for your sin you can be sorry that you're not sorry. That sounds convoluted but it was helpful to me. Believe in it? I don't know.

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I hope there is no hell. I'm not perfect and according to what I was taught asI am surely going there! Variations of brain teasers like that have been around forever. Here is on version of one, from a random website:.

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One day during the sermon, which was long and dry, my grandfather fell asleep. Suddenly there was a great commotion outside. A mob of peasants appeared, stormed the house, grabbed him and tied him up, dragged him to the market square, where there was a platform with a guillotine set up. My grandfather was led up the stairs, a priest muttered a few words to him and then his head was placed in the cradle of the guillotine. A hooded executioner approached and reached up for the lever that releases the blade.

At that moment my grandfather was snoring loudly, so my grandmother reached over and pinched the back of his neck to wake him up. This was such a shock to my grandfather that he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot.