Why do some Christians not believe that hell is not a real place. Even in our Catholic church we have Catholics that don’t believe hell is a real place. The bible clearly describes hell as a real place - not to mention all the private revelation yet some people refuse to believe and want to come up with their own concept of hell. Jesus referred to hell as a place. When did this start happening and how can people contradict the bible. Does the church still believe hell to be a real place?I don’t think its changed, Is this a liberal view?

Hell is real, it is a real possibility for everyone. All who die in a state of mortal sin will descend into hell. The horror of hell consists not in it being a terrible place, but being a terrible state. It is, of course, a place of outer darkness. But in a certain sense we will make the hell.

So you don’t believe as it is described in the bible - correct - so is the bible wrong - its not a burning pit with sulfur raining down and so on with demons tormenting souls? How did you come to this conclusion - what is your source. I just want to know how the bible can be ignored and a different concept of hell can be believed in. Its a state and a place described in the bible.

The final place of torment is variously described as “furnace of fire…lake of fire…prison…abyss…tartarus” (Matthew 13:42; Revelation 20:14, 15; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 8:31; 2 Peter 2:4).

Here is some descriptions of hell

We mustn’t forget that the greatest pain of hell is eternal separation from God.

However, there are also pains of the senses, though whether these are best understood as literal fire is a question I’ll leave to theologians.

The Catechism is clear on this. (Of course, some theologians have speculated on an empty or near-empty hell, but these are just speculations, and run counter to the Church’s consistent teaching over two millennia.)

Hell is also the realm of the devil and all the fallen angels and they hate us because we are made in Gods image and will do all to try to destroy us - do you think they will just leave souls alone - not likely - Jesus says be afraid of the one who can destroy your soul in hell so its not just a state Satan and all the fallen angels can and will try to destroy souls in hell because of their hatred for mankind.

Remember, there are people that just want to pick and choose what they want to believe. There’s really no way of stopping people from doing that especially if they don’t believe in the authority of the Catholic Church. And the media is pretty good at finding ways to discredit the Church, which causes distrust in many people.

And of course, there are people that believe in God’s infinite mercy to the extent that they don’t believe He would ever send anyone to hell.

In Matthew 10, when Jesus tells us to fear the One who can destroy our souls in Hell, He is referring to God, not Satan. Satan can’t drag anyone against their will (much less God’s) into Hell. Read the NT passages that speak of Judgement, it is Christ Himself who will declare those most fearsome words “I never knew you, depart from me, into the outer darkness.”

As for the images of Hell being taken absolutely literally, I don’t think we have any absolute need to. Christ describes Hell in various ways to get the point across that it is a terrible place where we don’t want to end up. Whether or not their is a literal fire is of little import. There may be, there may not be. That wasn’t really the point Christ was making.

Very True. :thumbsup:

With demons tormenting souls? That is in Islamic and traditional Buddhist theology.

It’s not exempt from Christian thought that the fellow presence of the damned will be a torment to one another (just as the fellow presence of the glorified will be a blessing to one another) - Aquinas speculated on such a thing - but there isn’t a word in Christian scripture about demons administering torments to the condemned. We don’t necessarily know if the damned will even have any presence with each other at all. They may be in complete isolation for eternity, which is also a very tenable notion. If God is community, then anti-God is entirely the self.


Also - Hell is a place of punishment “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25), so it’s unlikely they’ll be sticking any pitchforks into us there. They’ll be too busy getting their own punishment. :slight_smile:

Perfectly sums up what my answer would have been too. :thumbsup:

Yes I did miss-intupred that bible line but I did not say Satan drags anyone against their will - thanks for correcting me. It still does not discount being in the same place as Satan and the fallen angels and the ramifications of their hated for mankind.
Yes we may not need to - but this is just a discussion - thats what these forums are for - we all understand Jesus point - doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it. It may be of little importance to you - so you don’t have to participate if its not important to you.I’ve seen a lot worse threads in discussion.

I will point out that in private revelation the demons are indeed torturing souls - but people don’t have to believe that - it is private revelation.

Don’t be so defensive. I never said it wasn’t worth discussing, I just wouldn’t overemphasize an overly literal understanding of the fires of Hell. Have you read Dante’s Divine Comedy? He represents the lowest levels of Hell as frozen and shows Satan, being the opposite of God, as impotent rather than as a powerful force actively tormenting sinners in Hell.

Yes I have - but I take it as a work of fiction - we have no idea where he came up with this story - if its fact please show me I would appreciate it. It was a hard read in its poetic form for me.

I’m about to read Paradise lost. Yes its in poetic form also and will be a hard read for me - I’m not use to reading material in poetic form with all the symbolizm.

Well this is the point of contention, isn’t it? Catholic theology certainly asserts that Hell is real, but can it properly be called a “place?”

The reason this is questionable is because demons, being spirits, are not spatial beings. They don’t have bodies, they don’t have extension in space. They can manifest themselves spatially, but that’s not what they are. Humans are different. We do have bodies, and at the end of time, our bodies will be restored to us, even if we’re are condemned to Hell. So, being corporeal, we will be somewhere. The same cannot be said of demons.

So the question then is, if Hell is a place, then in what manner do demons abide there? If Hell is not a place, but rather a state of separation from God, then where will condemned humans reside in their damnation?

If demons could cause torment to humans in Hell, the torment would be spiritual in nature, and would thereby be more painful than physical torment. So, the suggestion that the torment of Hell is something like being boiled alive in lava, or having spikes put through you repeatedly, or the like, is rather unlikely. Yet, how does one imagine spiritual torment? How do you depict in a visual way the loneliness of eternal isolation? Or eternal terror? Or eternal sorrow? Or eternal guilt? The only way you can visualize this is through physical depiction that correlates to the spiritual torment in some way. Jesus depicts Hell as Gehenna because Gehenna was a valley in Israel that was used as a garbage dump, wherein the fires never went out. He used this imagery to convey the permanence of Hell, the real pain that exists there (it is as real as the pain inflicted by fire), and the kind of soul that is sent there: garbage.

Jesus used imagery and parable all the time to convey deeper spiritual truth. Or, do you think that the Kingdom of Heaven really is a mustard seed that grows into a tree? Are we all going to be living in a mustard tree in Heaven?

It’s neither fact nor fiction, it’s allegory. Dante never really traveled through the next life (heck, he put Purgatory on a big mountain in the southern hemisphere!) and he never claimed to. But he isn’t just making things up either. He is representing theological truth in an allegorical fashion. Perhaps the best description of The Divine Comedy is The Summa in verse.

If you were confused by it, don’t worry - they say when you finish reading the Divine Comedy by are finally ready to start reading the Divine Comedy! I’d recommend Mark Musa’s translation. It has a ton of great footnotes.

As for Paradise Lost, read CS Lewis’ A Preface to Paradise Lost. Many people get more out of that than out of Milton!

Using the same argument that others have Heaven is not a real place but a state of being. I don’t believe that just to let you know. If Heaven is a real place then hell is a real place. So is heaven just a state of being also? I’m not trying to get in arguments I just want to hear what other have to say about about it.

While we’re talking CS Lewis, you might also check out his short book, The Great Divorce. All the theology isn’t right on the money (Lewis wasn’t Catholic after all), but it is a great reflection on the meaning of Hell.

And you might check out this article I wrote, it concerns Hell, as well. I seek to prove that the essence of Hell, must logically be, evil, dark, hateful, hopeless, and eternal death.


No, the Bible is not wrong. The bible uses imagery without meaning the imagery to be exactly literal. It is trying to convey something beyond what we could normally imagine.

In reality, Hell is a lot worse than the symbols used to represent it.

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