by George C. Mayes, M.Div.
Hell. For many it is simply another curse word. For others it can be a situation or a state of mind, a kind of “hell on earth.” For others still it is an angry retort to a perceived slight, a “Go to hell.” As casually as the word gets tossed around, many in the West still find the belief in a place of eternal conscious torment to be an uncomfortable idea at best and an unpalatable one at worst. Even for many Christians the idea of eternal torment is extreme and there is a rising trend aimed at downplaying, avoiding, or simply explaining away what has been historically the accepted teaching on hell. There are many reasons for this: a pluralistic society where there is no objective truth, an emphasis on the love of a God who would never send humanity to a place of eternal torment, and a denial of scriptural authority to name but a few…[more]