Friday, October 31, 2008

Afterlife III

Real Live Preacher has finished posting the results of his survey on what the Bible has to say about hell, in the form of a four-part video series. No doubt his conclusions will displease a lot of conservative Christians, but his commitment to sticking to what the biblical record actually says places the burden of proof back on them.

I highly recommend taking the time to listen to all four parts, especially for those who have been steeped in any Christian tradition that uses fear of hell as a bludgeon to motivate proper belief and/or behavior.

Part 1 - Introductory thoughts

Part 2 - A survey of relevant New Testament verses

Part 3 - RLP's beliefs about hell

Part 4 - What really matters

In (very brief) summary:

-The Bible gives few details about what happens after the end of this life.

-Whenever Jesus talks about hell, it is always religious believers who lack compassion who get sent there, not unbelievers.

-Nowhere in the Gospels or Acts do we find Jesus or the Apostles worrying about the eternal destiny of the people they ministered to.

In other words, whether the evidence leads one to a universalistic position or some strain of inclusivism, it's clear that our primary mission as followers of Christ is to spread God's love by building relationships with others and giving sacrificially, not to obsess over who's going to end up where in the next life.

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