Do you believe there is a real hell? Poll


Telstar, the rejection of infernalism (which is what von Balthasar labeled those who believe in an everlasting punishment/torment for humans) is predicated on two things. 1. God’s love and mercy are infinite in nature and extent. 2. The sacrifice of Christ took him to the outer limits of godforsakeness (which would include hell). That’s it in a nutshell. When those two truths are pondered deeply, a hope that hell will one day be emptied of human souls follows rather smoothly.

I’ve brought up other arguments here (the disproportionality/injustice argument, the rejection of libertarian freewill, an argument against Aquinas’ psychological “no exit” argument, etc). But, what von Balthasar did was to consider as deeply as he was able the two truths I list above and the implications of those truths for human salvation.

We all love and obey the Church as best as we are able. No one is looking for loopholes. No one is trying to rebel and deny dogma. Rather, we are looking for a position that takes into account all of the data.

To reiterate, this von Balthasar position of hope is not apokatastasis (there are reasons for believing that fallen angels cannot change their minds)
It is not a rejection of a belief in hell.
It is not a rejection of a belief in the punitive nature of hell.
It does admit that there could be human occupants in hell.
It rejects the infernalist position (everlasting punishment/torment/suffering for the human)
It rejects libertarian views of free will because the greatest minds of the Church have also rejected that position (e.g., Sts Augustine, Aquinas, etc).
It is a position more compatible with our common sense of justice (a punishment is proportionate to the crime).
It accepts that Christ died for all.
It accepts that God is love.
It accepts that God desires all to be saved.


Telstar, I stated that libertarian free will is not easily defensible within a secular framework nor within the Church. The claim I was making is that you and Kill were both too reliant on what seemed to be a libertarian freewill view to justify in your own minds how God could punish someone for all time for rejecting His love. The point I was making is that hardly anyone (whether Catholic or secular) advocates libertarian freewill.A view closer to determinism (with a tiny bit of wiggleroom for human freedom) is what the Church has consistently taught. You would first need to reason to yourself why you believe that view of human freewill is correct before you could use it to justify to yourself the infernalist position.

And, I like what you have to say regarding the CCC. I couldn’t agree with you more. It most definitely is a reliable guidebook to the teachings and practices of God’s church. I suppose you could defend a position that the Catholic Church at its essence/core is aligned with the mind of God. But, you couldn’t defend a claim that the Church is always perfectly aligned with the mind of God. Historically, the data just doesn’t seem to support that belief. Remember Arianism and how widespread it was (including members of the episcopacy)? The Church remains true to God at its core, I suppose, but sometimes only through a lot of struggle.

I’m glad you brought up the creeds. Consider the Apostle’s Creed. Then consider the Nicene Creed, which is more robust. That seems like a development of doctrine to me. Dei Verbum makes this point better than I can, so I quote it below.

**(4) Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.

This tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.**

Cardinal-elect von Balthasar, Bishop Barron and all others who advocate this view (see my reply above to Mark) believe that they are doing exactly what Dei Verbum indicates. A rejection of infernalism is an example of “growth in the understanding of the realities and the words that have been handed down.” A hope that hell will be emptied of human souls is the Church moving “forward toward the fullness of divine truth.” It is an attempt to take into account all of the data.


Wow, I’m glad to see you here Latin! I totally had the lone-wolf syndrome going on. Your posts here are a breath of fresh air. And, you provided the Thomistic arguments for rejecting libertarian freewill. Good on you! I failed to do that myself, but I doubt I could have articulated it as well as you did anyway. Thanks for chiming in!!


Delphinus, there’s probably a lot of truth in what you say. Milton’s famous line, quoting Satan, is “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” But, as you say, that belief of Satan’s most likely isn’t true at all and leads to regret, wailing and gnashing of teeth.


The Church does not accept or teach that Christ died for all. Even in the words of Consecration the Priest says,

(holding the host) “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

(holding the chalice) “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”

Jesus says in the (DRV) Gospels of Matthew & Mark:

“Matthew 26: [27] And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. [28] For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.”

“Mark 14: [23] And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. [24] And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.

Jesus never said that His blood covered all mankind. It is certainly offered to all, but not everyone is willing to accept His offer of redemption. It’s their choice to make. He will never force anyone to accept that gift.

Von Balthasar is just plain wrong. His whole premise of what he thinks MIGHT have happened when Jesus “descended into Hell” is wrong on so many levels that it completely amazes me how any faithful Christian could ever believe any of it. It completely nullifies the need for anyone to ever follow the teachings of Jesus, at all. It takes the whole OSAS and applies it to every single human being that ever lived, no matter how many or how heinously they’ve sinned during their entire lifetime. It not only totally wipes out their guilt, but it also completely removes their own responsibility for making reparation to God for their many offenses.

If this “theory” is true, then all of the greatest Saints of the Church, and every Catholic/Non-Catholic Christian that has tried his/her very best to live a good and decent life, have completely wasted all of their time and energy, when they could have just spent their lives in utter depravity and debauchery, and still gone to Heaven!!! It’s an insult to the Justice of God. I’m sorry, but (IMHO) this kind of ‘thinking’ isn’t even worthy of being called ‘theology’ at all. I have to wonder what the guy was smoking when he came up with this stuff.


Hell is a real place. On a billboard:

Life is short.
Eternity isn’t.

This message was sponsored by a group of nuns.


Telstar!!! I’m surprised but so very proud of you! And I’m not even being ironic or sarcastic, I’m legitimately proud—you find yourself in staunch disagreement with the CCC!! “The Church does not accept or teach that Christ died for all .” ??? Among other places in the CCC, section 605 reads as follows:

605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God’s love excludes no one: “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” He affirms that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many”; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.”

Look at you!! I call this progress. :smirk:

However, in the words of St Paul himself, “Just as in Adam all died, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:22

For every example you would give to show the limited nature of the sacrifice, I could provide a scriptural counterexample. Seems then that the question can’t be settled by appeals to scripture.

And I think you know better than to reason as you do in the “Von Balthasar is just plain wrong“ paragraph. Purgatory (the hospital) and hell (the prison) are both plenty of incentive to follow our Lord’s commandments, right? In both places, guilt and responsibility would be acutely felt!

And then there’s also the lines from Christ that evidently suggest that there is not equality in heaven. “He who wishes to be first, let him be last…”


This speaks of the resurrection of the dead so made alive where? Heaven, the New Earth or Hell? God’s love is for all but what of those who absolutely reject his love? God’s judgement is perfect – so perfect, dare I suggest that the person judged will agree with the judgement completely – thus if there is even the smallest glimmer of love for God, then there is purgatory where the person may be purged of their hate. Hell surely has no exit because of perfect judgement.


Nice Ed, you’re on to something. You ask but what of those who absolutely reject his love? What makes you think that a human could absolutely reject God’s love? I’m not sure what type of freedom you think you enjoy as a human, but it’s hard to see that it would go that far—absolute rejection?! Libertarian freewill is not compatible with God as the Catholic Church understands him. (See Latin’s post above regarding the causal interaction between God’s will and human wills.)

God’s judgment is perfect, but since we are saved by grace, I’m not sure of the significance of that statement. Love is a higher good than justice. Humans do not get what they deserve (justice)—they get the gifts bestowed by grace.

But, I very much like your “smallest glimmer” thought! I wonder in which humans there would not be the smallest glimmer of love…


^^^ This is what I actually said.^^^

I have to say, that’s a pretty slick attempt at twisting my words, but you’ve conveniently ignored my counter remark that clearly states that His OFFER is most certainly made to all, but NOT EVERYONE will ACCEPT His offer. So, your ‘pride’ in me is clearly misplaced. As far as you saying you’re not being ‘sarcastic’, I think it sounds much more condescending than sarcastic, but I really don’t care what you think about me or my beliefs. Just, please stop twisting my words.

BTW… I specialize in sarcasm. :smirk:

I had a old friend that always used to say, “If sarcasm was a virtue, I’d be a saint!” It was true. He was even more sarcastic than I am. But, he was also much more saintly than I’ll ever be. But, I do appreciate a good dose of sarcasm, here and there.

Jesus most certainly suffered for all mankind, because He truly wants all men to be saved. But, He’s definitely not a fool. He knows all too well that there will always be men who will love their sins much more than they could ever love anyone, or anything, else (except themselves), least of all who would ever think about loving God. They are the ones who end up in Hell, because they cannot love anyone or anything but themselves, except perhaps, all of the physical pleasures of this fallen world that they live to possess. They’re a lot like Gollum, sad and pathetic.

One more thing that I almost forgot, the terminology of “little ones” that Jesus often used, was in reference to the innocent ones that were often taken advantage of, or treated poorly, by the ravening wolves. Those are the “lost sheep” that He was always most concerned about. He despised the wolves because they had no heart.


As @Edmono said, this passage refers to the resurrection of the dead. All will certainly be resurrected on the Last Day, but that’s when Jesus will come to Judge the living and the dead, and He will separate the sheep from the goats. I know you really hate to hear this, but I’m going to post it, anyway:

“Matthew 25: [32] And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. [34] Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

“[41] Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

So, are you calling Jesus a liar, or not?

That is true. Many saints have spoken about the varying degrees of power and glory that are given to the Saints in Heaven, according to how well they followed the will of God during their lives on earth. A perfect example of this would be Mary, who lived her entire life in perfect conformity with the will of God. She is the highest Saint with the greatest glory among all other human beings in Heaven for that reason (While Jesus is human, He is also God, so there’s no comparison there.). Even Saint Paul gives us a hint of the different degrees of glory in Heaven:
1 Corinthians 15: [41] One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, and another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead.

The same has also been said about Hell. The degree of punishment for souls in Hell are also said to be commensurate with the type and severity of the sins committed by the individual. They will all get the punishment they deserve according to how much, or how little, they sinned during their lives on earth. So, Hell is not ‘equal’ in it’s punishment for everyone that goes there.


I modified my flagged post as follows to make sure not to be flagged unless someone by abusing the flag for the reason to hide the truth.


Pantaenus; Clement of Alexandria; Origen; Athanasius; Didymus the Blind; Macarius of Egypt; Gregory Thaumaturgus; Ambrose; Ephraim; John Chrysostum; Gregory of Nyssa; Gregory of Nazianzus; Evagrius Ponticus; Titus of Bastra; Asterius of Amasea; Cyril; Methodius of Tyre; Pamphilius Eusibius; Hillary of Poitiers; Victorinus; Macrina the Younger; Dionysius the Areopagite; John Cassian; Maximus the Confessor; Proclus of Constantinople; Peter Chrysologus; Diodorus of Tarsus; Stephen bar Sudaili.

"Luis F. Ladaria SJ presents a powerful statement openly advocating the doctrine of universal salvation in his book Jesus Christ Salvation of All.

Archbishop Ladaria has been secretary, the second in command, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2008 until 02/07/2017 and from this date on Pope Francis appointed Ladaria SJ. to the position of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Jesus Christ Salvation of All by Luis F. Ladaria SJ.

Quote: Jesus includes everyone and excludes no one, and all of us have received his fullness (cfr. John 1:16).

The universality of salvation and unity of Christ’s mediation mutually affirm each other [p. 144].

Yet by dying, he gave us life, that is the life of his resurrection.

Even those who do not know him are called to this divine vocation, that is, to the perfect son-ship in and through Christ.

Christians and non-Christians reach this goal by virtue of the gift of the Spirit that associates us with the unique paschal ministry of Christ even if it is through diverse paths known only to God [p. 148-149]. End quote.

I’m sure some Christian doesn’t like the teachings of Fr. Ladaria SJ. who is in fact the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but I’m also sure many Christians loves his teachings, I’m among them.


If everyone truly gets saved than does it really matter if people don’t know this truth?


Yes that is above a serious question and demands a serious answer!
Yes that is really matter, because if someone doesn’t know that he will spend all eternity in heaven or in the pains of hell, that worry/ fear put many Christians into a fear induced paralyzed state and their great commission become their great omission.

We can read the terrible results of the lack of knowledge that many Christians doesn’t know they will spend eternity in heaven or in the pains of hell in the Catholic Answer Magazine.


HECTOR MOLINA explains the REASONS and the EFFECTS that Catholics in general Don’t Evangelize.

Quote: I have experienced among Catholics the fear and insecurity because most of the Catholics I know, they doesn’t know they spend eternity in heaven or in the torments of hell and that fear paralyzes them.

The Catholic Answer Magazine has an excellent article Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize.

CAM had a joke on the cover which said,

Q: “What do you get if you cross a Catholic with a Jehovah’s Witness?”

A: "Someone who knocks on your door and says nothing."

Why Catholics Don’t Evangelize?

How to move the stumbling blocks of FEAR and IGNORANCE By Hector Molina

Quote: It’s no secret that Catholics aren’t renowned for their evangelistic prowess or missionary zeal.
This is despite the fact that the last several pontiffs, including Pope Francis, have written and spoken extensively on the subject, which has become a renewed priority for the Church.
In Matthew 28:19, our Lord enjoined the apostles, “[G]o therefore and make disciples of all nations.”
In Mark 16:15, Jesus commands them, “[G]o into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” This is what is referred to as the Great Commission.

Sadly, for many Catholics, the Great Commission has become the Great Omission.

Why is this so? Why don’t Catholics as a whole evangelize?


If you were to survey a group of Catholics about what holds them back from sharing the Faith, the No. 1 response you would get is “Fear.”

FEAR PARALYZES many believers from living out their faith and sharing it with others.

There is a fundamental principle at work here, one summarized by the old Latin axiom Nemo dat quod non habet (“No one gives WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE”).

One cannot share Christ if one has not first ENCOUNTERED CHRIST, or effectively share the gospel without experiencing its power in his own life. End quote.




We can present a Gospel which is a “bad news” which rains hell fire, brimstone and the worse INSECURITY which paralyze the soul and spirit.
We can hide the liberating teachings of Salvation of the Catholic Church from the laity which causes insecurity on the faithful and put them into a fear induced paralyzed state, or we can present the wonderful doctrines of Salvation which liberates the faithful, connects them with Christ, gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.


What would a Catholic lose if he would be free to believe HIS SALVATION IS CERTAINTY?


He would lose his fear induced paralyzed state and his Great Omission would become his Great Commission.


Hi Telstar, you and I have been over your literalist interpretation of Matt 25 and your figurative interpretation of Matt 18. We’ve covered this ground. I asked you why you took Matt 25 to be a literal future-telling event of end-times judgment, rather than hyperbole to emphasize the seriousness of helping particularly vulnerable individuals. I never got an answer. You’re willing to take Christ as speaking hyperbolically in Matt 18 when he speaks of maiming yourself so you can enter into heaven. Why not treat Matt 25 the same way? Provide some reasons. Or, if you haven’t yet maimed yourself for the sake of entering the Kingdom, perhaps you don’t want to take Christ at his word either? Or maybe both passages use hyperbole to emphasize their various points…

And yes, Dante thought the same about hell, he proceeded deeper and deeper into the inferno as the severity of the sin increased. And, as I’ve said too many times to count here, the Balthasarian position does not deny that there could be occupants of hell (even you or me one day! :scream:). But God’s grace extends all the way to reach the one lost sheep.

I already made a list above of how this position makes better sense of all of the data. The infernalist position makes sense of comparably not as much of the data. And it leads one to advocate bizarre positions (like that Christ didn’t die for all). If you want to be committed to your belief in infernalism, then ok! I’ve laid out many reasons for disbelieving in the everlasting duration of hell for human souls. I’d say you’ve tried to rebut less than 10% of my arguments here. And the only justifications you have repeatedly supplied are literalist interpretations of certain NT passages. If that’s good enough for you, then ok!


Seriousquestion, there’s an important distinction to be made between someone not knowing this truth on the one hand and someone being given a conflicting message about God on the other hand. It’s always best to be in possession of the truth in as full a measure as we can be, that’s obviously the case.

However, if we as Catholics present to the world the following set of propositions, there’s a deeply conflicting message that we’re sharing. And quite apart from being “good news,” it sounds to me more like bizarre news.

  1. God is love.
  2. Christ died for all.
  3. God desires all to be saved.
  4. God’s mercy endures forever.
  5. Salvation is possible for anyone, even those outside of the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium).
  6. People are free to reject God’s love, and if they do, they will be punished forever by being banished from the presence of God to endure an everlasting prison sentence in a place called hell in which they will suffer and experience unending torment.

That is not a coherent gospel message. On the contrary, it’s a deeply disturbing message.


I definitely believe that hell is real. If it is not, then God is a sadistic monster and a tyrant.


Thanks. Such a person would be anti-Christ (the devil incarnate?) and also proof of free will. Therefore since I am not worthy of Heaven yet desire Heaven (to be with him) I ask God to forgive and fix me because he will not violate my free will. He provides the means on this Earth through his church and the sacraments especially the Eucharist.


You said Edmondo:
I ask God to forgive and fix me because he will not violate my free will.

a. Do you take the Eucharist Edmondo and do you desire heaven with your unaided free will?

b. Or do you take the Eucharist Edmondo and do you desire heaven with your aided free will with God’s efficacious graces?

Thank you for answer in advance, a simple a. or b. will answer the question.

With efficacious grace, man is able to resist the grace but does not, because the grace Aids/ Causes him to FREELY choose the good.

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