I don't fear hell

Maybe I’m some sort of spiritual sociopath, but I do not fear going to hell. Not at all. Nada. Zip.

I see so many threads about people who seem to live in constant fear of going to hell if they do this or that, or whether they have committed a mortal sin by thinking this or that and should they abstain from Communion or what if they die before they make it to confession, I feel terribly for them.

You know why? Because I feel like I am at perfect peace with God. Just as with my own parents, I don’t do things to offend them, but it is because I want to do what is right and good by them – not because I’m afraid they’ll punish me. When I was little I did get an occasional spanking, but that’s not why I avoided doing wrong. I avoided doing wrong because I wanted to be good, and when I was little, “good” was defined by what my parents said was good.

Oh, it’s true I’ve had my day where I delighted in wrong. But those days are past.

I even have a rough time saying the act of contrition, “because I dread the loss of heaven and the fear of hell” or whatever, and then “but MOST of all because You are all good and deserving of all my love.” Seems to me it’s almost backwards. Why not make the most important point first? It’s like dread and fear are the first things we should be thinking about.

Honestly, if I understand my Church teachings right, and I’m certainly not a theologian, one cannot just “accidentally” mortally sin anyway. It has to be calculated and intentional.

What did Jesus say when he appeared to a room full of scared people? “Fear not.” What did angels say when the appeared to people? “fear not”

So why fear?

So am I perfect? no.

Do I do wrong things, or things I later regret? Yes, occasionally.

Do I claim to totally agree with 100% of Church teachings? No, not if all I’ve been told the Church teaches are actually what she teaches.

But does that bother me? Yes and no. I try to learn, and sometimes what doesn’t make sense now makes sense later, but some things just don’t seem right – can’t come up with a good example right at the moment but if I hear one I’ll call it, and I’m not ashamed to question things.

Do I mortally sin? I don’t know. I don’t try to or want to, so maybe I don’t – at least not for a few decades since I was on my “wild” binge away from the church.

Do I look forward to heaven? Absolutely. In fact, even in difficult times (and I am having one of them now – nothing like some people’s but for me it’s a bit of a challenge) I feel so much peace – unconditional peace – in my heart, I can’t even imagine what it must be like in heaven. :heaven:

But do I fear going to hell? No. I do my best, and if that isn’t good enough and God sends me to hell, then at least I can take comfort in knowing that He sent His own Son there, too – at least for a while.

If this is blasphemous, I’m sorry, but it isn’t meant to be. I just feel so bad for people who live in constant spiritual fear and turmoil – and frankly the way I was brought up in Catholicism I used to lie awake in bed, fearing whether the devil was tempting me or whether I would go to hell – so I perfectly understand how so many people can be that way, fearing hell so much that they can’t live in peace on this earth. Not anymore, though. Honestly, it seemed that the God some of my grade school teachers tried to show me was an ogre, just waiting for us dear little children to mess up so He could punish us forever. I just don’t believe that anymore.

I think Jesus came to bring us true, unconditional, everlasting peace – not to increase our fear of hell or to make us paranoid of stepping on a crack at any given moment and losing our salvation. And I’d like to think I know how to receive that gift. And it is a gift, not something I’ve earned – but have always tried to be open to. I feel like I have received peace and joy and some of the other fruit of the spirit, even if through no merit (though much seeking) of my own.

Alan

I’m with you, Alan

I am with you as well. I just don’t understand all these people who are so fearful and seemingly miserable here. It is like they are afraid of living, so they don’t.

God created many, many wonderful things, and I believe He wants us to enjoy them! When I get to heaven’s gate and God asks me what I thought of His creation, I want to be able to tell Him what I saw, what I noticed, what I enjoyed, that I thought a few of the mice and spiders he created were not really necessary, and not just say I thought the Church buildings were nicely constructed! Yes, worship is important and necessary, but so is enjoying and appreciating life and everything He created in it.

I’m not afraid of it in the sense of morbidly dreading it, or even thinking about it much. I suppose I’ve have too many indications God exists, and that at times He may even like me, despite the fact I don’t trust Him sometimes, and let Him know loud and clear.

However I did have the experience of my father turning up in my room the night he died. He started with an apology for 20 years of deliberate cruelty, we argued and conversed, but at the end he gave this truly horrifying scream and was obviously terrified of something that was coming for him. The fear he displayed as he shook from head to foot was so contagious that I started to scream.

Then he just disappeared.

I still remember the scream nearly 33 years later (33 years in January next year) and some of the things we said, including a few predictions by him. I’d hardly remember them if he hadn’t appeared.

Going by his scream, Hell is to be feared. But Alan is right in the sense that Christians should not go around dreading their own judgement. We will be judged, but we will pass through that judgement. There are things that I did in my non-Christian years that I’m not going to enjoy seeing played back in front of me, and even things I do now, but I also know that I’m forgiven.

Er, hopefully…

Well, we aren’t supposed to fear hell. We are supposed to do what is right because it is right and it pleases God.

However, we also shouldn’t fall off the other end of the horse: I can never go to hell because I am saved forever, maybe hell and the devil don’t even exist, etc. We are to never assume that we just get a free ride and that damnation is totally beyond us.

About your comment about the Act of Contrition’s phrasing: actually, that is the English language’s way to put emphasis on “but most of all because they offend you, My God”

Consider the following:

The building is made with clay, but it’s mostly wood.
The building is mostly wood, but it’s also made with clay.

While both give the same information, the first emphasizes the wood aspect while the second emphasizes the fact of the clay. So by adding “but most of all” at the end, it shows that the first things stated are merely to be acknowledged while of lesser importance.

Sorry, I’m a language nut :o

What a scary story. Do you think you were seeing your dad’s judgement? Did any of the predictions come true?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Perhaps those who can honestly say that they do not fear hell are approaching near perfect love…

As for me, today I have started to even fear purgatory…imagining being along in a room and not knowing how long it would be before I could get out…

I pray that my fears of hell and purgatory will soon subside…

:signofcross:

Those who do not fear hell are an inspiration. Thank you. :slight_smile:

I don’t live in fear but I do think if I’m honest with myself I can’t know for a fact where I am going or who goes where. It helps me to remember hell is possible…not only after but here, if we get suffocated in our own ego and cut off from the light/air that is Christ. But that just makes me want to help Jesus more.
I also freak out not wanting anyone to go to Hell and I pray a lot / do what I can. Bc so many don’t pray for themselves, or are in He’ll but domt realize it. :frowning: and fight if you want to help.

Oh my Gosh, My heart sank when I read that :frowning: I’m so sorry to hear that!

To the OP, I’m sorry but Hell is just so darn scary :frowning:

I with those of you who dont fear hell either. From a combination of having faith in Christ and His love and mercy to JPII’s exhortation “be not afraid” I know as long as I am sincere in my faith and striving, I have no reason to fear.

Bob, thank you so much for sharing that about your father. It’s important to hear that. It’s a reminder that yes, hell is real.

I don’t fear going to hell, either. :slight_smile:

Jesus’ own words:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world
gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled,neither
let it be afraid.

  • John 14:27

So I trust in God; my heart is not troubled, and I am not afraid! Jesus told us not to be afraid!

Taken from the journal of Saint Faustina:

Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is!
The kinds of tortures I saw; the First torture that constitutes hell is the loss of GOD; the Second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the Third is that one’s condition will never change; the Fourth is the fire that will penetrate soul without destroying it - a terrible sufferning since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the Fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the Sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the Seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.
These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin.
I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like.
What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. How terribly souls suffer there!
( Dairy of St. Faustina, 741)

I have trust issues so I am in the middle…I hope to make it to heaven, to be with Jesus yet fear that I would fall short and end up in hell. So yes, I have the feear of the unknown. I do go to confessionals on a regular basis.
Bob-I am so sorry about your experience with your father—hugs…

I fear hell alright. I just don’t fear going there, because of Christ.

Bob, it sounds to me as if your dad did a fantastic review of his life with complete and total remorse…maybe his scream was related to his difficult review and complete understanding of the implications of his sins. If so, then I suspect he actually was about to enjoy the delights of heaven!!! I know the best periods of confession I have been blessed with were preceded by feeling a horrible sense of the disgust of the sins I have commited. Many of the saints, such as Padre Pio was convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that he was one of the worst sinners ever. But this is what it takes to truly grow in life. Some people do this type of personal review early in life, like St.Augustine, and some people actually do it at the time of their death. How awesome your dad was able to talk to you about his sorrow…sounds like he already was permitted a huge grace at the time surrounding his death. Not everyone gets the chance to go to their loved ones and tell them they are sorry before they enter heaven. I have worked in bereavement for many years as a social worker, and things are not always the way they seem…everyone has their own way of dying, and to me, it sounds like your father was granted some major blessings at the time of his death, even though he may have had some difficult emotions at the time. Whenever I am missing my dad, who died four years ago, I just start yabbering to him, and then I start feeling close to him…talk to your dad! Tell him how that incident frightened you and that you need some peace related to it. He can intercede for you now!!!
Alan, I am with you on the same page! I think part of the issue is that we humans can’t really grapple with even a close approximation to the beauty of our Lord’s unconditional love. Unconditional love is what our Lord taught here on earth… As far as the topic of hell, I think lots of people have locked themselves and/or others in it here on earth…yes hell exists here and now…look at the unloved, the starving, the lonely, the angry, the violent, and the bitter, as a few starters… We will all be oh so pleasantly surprised when we meet our Lord face to face!!! Thanks for starting another great thread!

I was going to commit a sin against charity due to the title of this thread but then when I read it I realise you werent saying what I thought you were :stuck_out_tongue:

A few points though:

1)You wont take comfort knowing God the father sent Jesus to hell for a while as he didn’t. Jesus never went to hell, the phrase in the creed has always been taken as meaning the ‘limbo of the fathers’ and ‘purgatory’, the place where the dead were detained before Christ’s death opened the gates of heaven for them. That is why it is sometimes translated as ‘descended to hell’ and others ‘descended to the dead’
2)You should fear hell, a healthy fear in order to prevent us sinning and to inspire us to fervor both for our own salvation and that of others is a good thing. Hell is to be feared, it is in reality the sum of all fears.

Wow, I was kind of expecting either no replies or replies telling me I was all wrong. Thank you all who have posted. I appreciate every one, but I do want to make a few specific comments:

About letting Him know, the way I look at it is God is big enough that if you’re being honest, what more can you do? If you can’t ask questions or be honest with God, then whom can you trust?

About your father, that is really scary. I can’t imagine what sort of impression that made. If he did apologize, though, maybe that was worth something … ?

About “playing back” parts of your life … I can’t help but think of one of my favorite “old” comedy movies, “Defending Your Life.” (I don’t watch that many movies, so most of those I’ve seen are favorites. :wink: )

Thank you. I think I see your point and it actually makes me feel a little better, a little anyway.

And hey, I think being a language nut can be cool. I once worked with an engineering assistant whose wife was an English professor at Wichita State U. He convinced me of two things: 1) that language is not “dictated” by anybody, but the dictionary “captures” the language as it’s currently used, so it evolves – if a non-word becomes commonly used, it goes into the dictionary, and 2) it is OK to use “they” as a third person, non-gender specific, singular pronoun. I actually lost a lunch bill on a bet about that with him. I looked in the well-worn Webster’s near the front desk (and this was 15 years ago) and surely enough, it said “they” could be used as singular. Funny thing; I haven’t seen a dictionary since then that also had that. :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree… none of us know, and I would also like to think nobody should go because after all, I tend to think that both nature and nurture have to do with at least 99.99% of the decisions that people make with their God-given “free will.” I’m not saying they don’t have free will, but even people I’m most angry with or fearful about, I can usually see where they’re coming from and why they’re that way. So when I hear “God doesn’t make junk” of course that may not be theologically sound because if there is “junk” then who did make it? But I just don’t know … what purpose would be served by creating humans that You know in advance are going to go to eternal damnation? Human reasoning being limited, but just doesn’t make sense to me.

I know. I do know. When I feared hell I really did fear it greatly. I just don’t now. Maybe I’m numb or in denial, but I just found that living with that fear constantly on my mind doesn’t seem to serve any purpose. Emotional and mental issues I’m used to, but the idea of prolonged physical agony is beyond me and I admire those who suffer physical pain in dignity. Hell has to be much worse than all of that, if it’s what it’s cracked up to be.

Alan

Sorry but I got an important phone call while preparing my last post that lasted for over an hour, and I have to sign off for a while now and haven’t read the last several posts that came in since I wrote mine. So I promise, God-willing, I’ll get back to them.

Thanks again for all your input and advice.

Alan

Yes, I think I was seeing his judgement. Most of the time he was looking over my head with either an expression of awe, or trying to hide his face behind his hands with a real look of despair or disgust. The way I see it he was looking at either a divine or angelic presence with awe, and at the times he was trying to hide his face, I think he was seeing some of his actions reflected in the light of divine holiness and couldn’t stand it.

When he spoke to me he’d look at me briefly and then resume looking over my head.

When I turned around to see what he was looking at, all I saw was the wall.

When he gave the terrifying scream, I still only saw him. At that point he was looking to my left. At no time did I see a third party.

A couple of comments - I don’t he was doing a review, but simply seeing his life as it was. He also judged himself with phrases like ‘I can’t believe how cruel and stupid I’ve been!"’; “I’ve been an absolute mongrel to you!”; “There’s no hope for me! All I was expected to do was to look after my own family, and I didn’t even do that!”; “It’s too late for me…” etc.

This was completely out of character for the man as I knew him. If I’d spoken to him five minutes before he died, he’d he probably launched into a bitter tirade of vindictive taunts about me, and / or my mother and sister. Yet within a couple of minutes of death (I assume as I didn’t think to note the time), here he was condemning himself.

It reminds me of Christ’s statement - Matthew 12:37 (IV) “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

When I read that passage, I mostly get the impression that we’re judged on what we said (and did) in this life. But reflecting on the business with my father, I think we actually acquit or condemn ourselves **in our own words **when we’re judged. In other words, the judgement is set up in such a fashion that we judge ourselves, by the light of divine holiness. We will know the absolute truth about ourselves as God sees us, and we will also know that there is no possibility of error or appeal.

And Hell is to be feared. I still remember the scream, and as I said, some of the things we said. And it wasn’t a dream. I simply don’t remember dreams, yet I can still remember a good part of what was said, how he seemed to drift around the foot of the bed, the way I could both look through him or at him.

It took place in my bedroom, and even during the exchange I snapped at one stage “What is this? A dream or something?” to which he looked a bit bemused, and replied, “No, it’s not a dream. I died tonight.” And at another point, he exclaimed, “It wasn’t easy for me either you know, **and I didn’t have a chance to see something like this!” **

It was him.

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