How and why would anyone choose Hell if they are given the option to live eternally In Heaven with a loving God forever?


#1

Ok, I’m new to this website so if I’ve made any mistakes posting this I’m sorry!

I’ve been Catholic for a while and am quite familiar with the faith. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my question across clearly, but I will try. Recently I’ve been wondering (and also felt quite distressed at this thought):
If someone is given the option to live forever in Heaven with God and knows fully that Heaven is good, why would they choose Hell? I have heard that there are souls in Hell. And I know that in order to attain Heaven, you must freely choose God. 1. In order to wholly love someone, don’t you need to fully know them? And 2. If someone fully knew and understood the goodness of Heaven (and God, if that is possible), why would they choose Hell?

I know that people go to Hell because they choose it over God. But anyone in their right minds (which is required to make a good/bad choice, right?) would choose good. So if there are people that live with an un-Christian lifestyle and don’t fully understand the concept of Heaven/Hell, would they still go to Hell? Wouldn’t your responsibility for doing something wrong be less? I have heard that we can’t fully know God. So how can we fully choose him?

I apologize if my question was lengthy, hard to understand, or jumbled into a bunch of smaller questions. I also apologize if any of the things I said were wrong. Please correct me if they are.

(I recently was very distressed at the thought of being separated from God forever or being in Heaven but having my family member(s) be in Hell. That’s when I wondered how and why someone could choose Hell, especially if we humans can’t possibly love God wholly and choose him. If I am wrong, let me know. This is just stuff I’ve heard from other sources. I am trying to understand and come to terms with my fears.)

Once again, thank you very much to anyone who read all of this, and sorry for the length of if I posted to the wrong place, etc. Prayers would be much appreciated for me and my family! :heartpulse:


#2

Lots of people in full possession of their faculties chose what is not best for them.

The rising epidemic of obesity in wealthier nations in spite of all the attendant health problems is a good example.

People who cheat on their spouses risking the loss of their marriage and families, people who would not give up drugs, or drive drunk which can kill themselves or another.

In short, people choose what is objectively bad because of sin.

My priest once told me that true freedom is the ability to choose the good over the bad because this means sin will no longer have power over us.


#3

I don’t really think people choose Hell, they choose that destructive behavior (although to them it feels good) that consigns them to Hell. I think people think something like, "sure, I’ll cheat on my wife with my secretary (adultery), and not, “Gee, I think I want to go to hell, uh, Madeline (the secretary) what are you doing later?”
Sin, especially that which permanently divorces one from God for all time, seems really sweet and satisfying at the time.


#4

There are people who say that they are in the right frame of mind, which is why they do not choose God. So, what can we say?

The problem of not living the Christian life is that one is ignorant of sins or thinks that sin is not a big deal. Those who think it is somehow wrong may not think it is sufficient enough for them to repent, which is a one hundred and eighty degrees about turn in life. So one will be burdened by the weight of sin in one’s life.

The gravity of sin is less if we do not know that it is not sin but not always. Obvious sins are almost always known and therefore committing them would be not choosing God.


#5

It’s enough to not want to be a servant of love. Nobody wants to go to hell, but some people really don’t want to go to heaven either.


#6

They don’t “choose Hell”. They reject God.

You see people on this forum every day rejecting God for one reason or another. Some of them cannot understand God logically so they reject Him. Some of them have a problem with Church rules, Church teaching, religion in general, and they see God as part of that. Some of them cannot get past the “problem of evil”, in other words “if God exists, why does He allow little children to suffer” or “if God exists, why did my loved one get cancer and die” or “If God exists, why didn’t He stop the Holocaust” etc so they reject God. Some people just have huge egos and cannot seem to make room for God.

We don’t totally know when or how for a specific person this might end up in a rejection of God that would send the person to Hell forever. God is very merciful and wants to save people, so if there is the slightest chance He can do it, then He will.


#7

People choose to go to Hell by refusing to follow God’s commandments. He gave them to us so that we would know, and remember, the difference between right and wrong. Some people just see them as “rules and regulations” that take all the “fun” out of their lives. That’s because they just want to do whatever makes them happy at the time. They don’t see that God gave them to us because He loves us, and wants us to be with Him, forever. They’re meant to protect us from falling into the devil’s traps. Sin causes chaos in all of our lives and in the whole world, because it grows like a fungus that spreads everywhere and distorts everything it touches. But, too many of us don’t really see it that way until it’s too late. In the end, we love sin more than we love God.

The thing that many people don’t seem to understand is that God loves every single one of us as if we were the only person on the entire planet. He just wants us feel the same way about Him. God IS Love! When you truly love someone, you naturally want to do whatever makes your loved one happy, because that makes you happy. That’s what true love is all about. That’s the way we should look at following God’s commandments. He gave them to us to help us, not to hurt us. So, when we finally stand in front of Jesus for judgement, we will either run straight into His arms because we love Him and tried our best to do what He asked us to do, or we’ll run away in fear because we never really knew Who He was. It really is our choice. Do we really love God, or do we love our sins, more than we love God?


#8

Because we are given a free will of whether to accept God’s free Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ or to reject It.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8


#9

It has been posited that the sin of Satan was pride. and the same applies to anyone who chooses sin over heaven.


#10

Not to mention the demonic influence that is especially strong at the hour of death.


#11

They surely don’t choose it. Nobody in there right mind would. However obviously tons of people don’t think it’s real.


#12

I think there might be a few oddballs that would. Some people might also have a bad perception of hell.


#13

There is an excellent short novel by C.S. Lewis, titled The Great Divorce, that addresses exactly this question: how is it possible that people in their right minds would choose Hell over Heaven? Lewis had encountered, in his voluminous reading, a concept from Medieval philosophy called the Refrigerium. It was the idea (theoretical, of course) that the damned souls in Hell are periodically allowed a sort of field trip to Heaven in order for them to see whether they like it there. If they do they can stay, and if they don’t, they are free to return to the Inferno. We meet several of these lost souls throughout the course of the book, and it is amazing how many of them do indeed decide to return to Hell. What’s more, the reasons they give for not wanting to remain in Heaven have the ring of truth, and may even sound terrifyingly familiar to some of us. I have read this book many times over the past thirty years, and I always find new food for thought with each fresh perusal. It is well worth your time and effort.


#14

Watch YouTube vids? How often do you say to yourself, “What were they thinking???”

There’s your answer. Freedom to choose.

As the old man in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade said to Indy, “Choose wisely.”


#15

Non-Christians don’t choose to go to Hell. They don’t reject God (although it would be accurate that they reject the concept of the Christian God).

The real answer is that non-Christians don’t see Christianity as plausible. For some they see another god or gods as plausible. For others they don’t see any god as plausible. Now it’s important to note that non-Christians may be wrong, as could Christians. I say it over and over again on CAF: Religion is both unprovable and unfalsifiable. With that in mind people will come to different conclusions, but no one chooses Hell.


#16

@XAnonymousX , I don’t know that .


#17

I’m not sure about the examples you give regarding rejecting G-d and therefore, possibly, going to hell. It seems to me every one of them, except perhaps having a huge ego, involves using one’s reason to reject G-d. Do you think, and does the Church believe, that not understanding G-d and therefore rejecting Him, or reasoning in terms of the problem of evil, or having a problem with organized religion, mean that one is likely, if not absolutely, going to hell? Why would G-d give us the power of reason and then punish us for using it (even if we use it incorrectly)?

I think the rejection of G-d that may land one in hell is more likely the outcome of our behavior in the world and our interactions with others than a lack of faith based on reason. Maybe this is not the way the Church sees it, but, to me, this is a more reasonable approach.


#18

Not even in terms of one’s behavior toward and with others, apart from religious belief or lack thereof?


#19

What specific behaviors towards others would you say qualifies as either choosing Hell or rejecting Yahweh?


#20

Let’s say unrepentant bad behavior such as human murder, rape, theft on a large scale. These, I believe, are considered universal wrongs with no moral or cultural relativism attached. Also there are no mitigating circumstances such as being “insane” at the time the behavior is committed.


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