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Interesting: If God is good and loving, why hell and fear?

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:56 pm
by email
I just don't get it.... if God is so good and about love.... why is everything we hear in church about money, creating fear and terror.... I guess that's man right?


Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:46 pm
by m273p15c
This a good question. Unfortunately, many people use religion as a means of exploiting others to heap up riches for themselves. The Bible contains many warnings about and against such people (I Timothy 6:3-5; Jude 1:10-17). We can identify these people by their failure to teach what the Bible says and by their hypocrisy, or failure to practice what they teach (Titus 1:9-11; II Timothy 3:1-9). They often pervert the gospel in a way that helps them (increase wealth, gather a following, etc.). This is just one reason why we must diligently study the Bible and learn the truth for ourselves - so we can fend off greedy, false teachers, who are seeking to exploit us (II Timothy 2:15-16; 3:16-17). To be straightforward, if all you hear from your local church is about giving more money under the threat of fear of hellfire, I would be gravely concerned and would suggest you find somewhere else to worship and work with the brethren. Remember, Jesus was essentially a beggar all His preaching life (Luke 9:58). The gospel contains no solicitations from Jesus for money.

Is God good and about love? Absolutely, He is! In fact, love is the only quality that is strictly identified with God:
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (I John 4:8)
So, love is a primary virtue of God's character. However, does that mean there is no warning in the Bible in regards to eternal punishment? No, in fact, more than any prophet or apostle, Jesus taught more about hell-fire, warning people to avoid it at all costs. For example, please consider this warning:
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30).
Sacrifice to avoid eternal condemnation was a prominent theme of Jesus' preaching; however, the application was always made to spiritual and moral points (avoiding adultery, lying, hating, hypocrisy, etc.). I know of no place where Jesus admonished people to give money under the threat of hell. In fact, Paul later tells us that God seeks cheerful, voluntary monetary contributions (II Corinthians 9:5-7). God and His New Testament disciples went to great lengths to avoid sacrifice by compulsion (Philemon 1:8-14). Now, Jesus did tell one man to go, sell all His possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and then follow Christ during His earthly ministry; however, this many had a severe problem with greed, and he had specifically asked Jesus to tell him what was keeping him from going to heaven, which was that he loved riches more than God (Mark 10:17-27; Luke 18:18-25). Even then, the money would not have gone to Jesus. It was to be given to the poor!

Good, gospel teaching will contain elements of warning, encouragement, and exhortation (II Timothy 4:1-5). It will step on our toes as well as give us the hope and strength to do better. So, in closing, God is ultimately about both. God warns us to avoid hell, while pleading with us to reciprocate His love, most clearly evidenced in the sacrifice of Jesus (John 3:16). Eventually, love is to be the primary motivating force for the mature Christian (I John 4:17-19); however, the fear of hell can help keep the younger, less mature Christian on the straight and narrow way. This is just like raising our own children. We use different techniques and motivations for a 2-year old baby versus an 20-year old child. Similarly, no matter what our frame of mind, God has a message to move us, if we will but listen.

Please be watchful and avoid those who pervert or overly emphasize any aspect of the gospel, whether it is God's justice or mercy. Such perversions cannot save, and we are strictly warned to avoid them:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)
I pray this helps. Here are a few articles and forum posts that examine the mercy, love, and justice of God in more detail: ... hopes.html

What do you think? Does this answer help? I look forward to hearing from you.

May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,


Re: Interesting

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:02 pm
by email
But its all fear creating. I figure that anything that man creates man taints.

Re: Interesting

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:36 pm
by email
AND.... the only reason why there is such a population of Christians is because it was forced upon so many


Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:49 pm
by m273p15c
Thanks for the response. Would you please consider these questions?

Concerning fear, why do you think fear is always bad? Have you ever avoided or changed something because you feared the consequences of sticking to your current path? Like, stopping smoking, avoiding a fatty diet, avoided stepping in front of a truck, etc.? If there is a legitimate and serious danger, then some level of fear is both warranted and advised.

Concerning guidance, how do you know there are changes to the Bible, omitted chapters, etc.? Did a man tell you this? How do you plan to stick with God, and take man out of the picture? Even if you eliminate every other man, how will you remove yourself from the equation? How can you know that you have not deceived yourself?

Concerning political Christianity, if some people abuse or exploit a person or ideal, does that mean the founding person or ideal was originally bad? Just because some people force their perverted version of Christianity upon a population, it would be unwise and unfair to assume that all Christians share the same mindset, motivation, and foundation.

The gospel offers two unique bodies of evidence. First, the appeal of Jesus' inherent character and teaching. Some people can read the text and just accept it. For others, like myself, God has offered powerful evidence towards His existence, the gospel, the inspiration of Scriptures, and the preservation of them. If you would like to discuss this further, please let me know. We also have some articles on these topics here: ... #evidences

Please let me know if you would like to discuss these articles or anything else that is spiritual. Or, if something changes in the future, please let me know. I am always happy to talk about the truth.

May God help us to have a sincere love of the truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),


Re: Interesting

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:23 am
by email
1) fear iis NEGATIVE you just proved my point

It could have been trust in God because its all about love and peace ect but instead its if you don't you'll go to hell

2) I'd rather deceive myself and do it with good intentions in my heart than let someone else do so not knowing where their head's @ I and college educated and read very well I don't need anyone else to interptret anything for me

3) I like the way you think powerful evidence is a good way to 'take in' the stories and apply them. Unfortunately I'm too literal of a person to accept the stories....

But I am wise enuff to know there is something more than me all the in between stuff ... I wasn't there can't speak for it

Thanks Your Pretty cool

"Never let your set of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov