Grace and eternal conscious torment

I’m blogging at Off the Page today with my fourth column on the ever-pleasant subject of hell as eternal conscious torment. Enjoy!

One week before my father died of cancer, I received an email from a family friend— we’ll call her G—wanting to know if he had been “saved” yet; the implication being there wasn’t much time left before it would be too late. By that point, Dad had succumbed to a comatose-like state, with occasional hallucinations and unintelligible ramblings. In other words, though technically still alive, he had already left us—and if this “friend” knew him at all, she’d have known he was never comfortable talking about religion.

That email sent me down a rabbit hole of anxiety, which I’m still wandering through, nearly two years later. Having been involved in evangelical church groups for years, I knew G probably had good intentions. In her view, the most loving thing a Christian could do was warn nonbelievers about their eternal fate, but her timing could not have been worse. As far as I know, my father died as the agnostic I always knew him to be.

Considering my entire family is Jewish, you would think the doctrine of hell would have kept me from becoming a Christian altogether. Indeed, it is one of the most exclusive, horrifying, and offensive aspects of the Christian faith from an outsider’s perspective, yet I never allowed myself to think about it. I was instead drawn to the person of Jesus, the radical Jewish teacher who flipped tables and pissed off the righteous gatekeepers of religiosity. He was a feisty mensch, like me. By my sophomore year of college, I had made the decision to count myself among his followers.

Read the rest here.


2 thoughts on “Grace and eternal conscious torment

  1. If you want some other stuff just read here: – I confess I’m not entirely sold on Annihilationism yet but I have to admit they seem very confident and their confidence is certainly merited (I read the entire post where you posted it and saw that this view is something you were considering) but anyway just some stuff (Many of these people are still quite conservative in their morals btw so this isn’t some liberal movement).



  2. I am sorry to hear about your dads passing 🙂 I know it’s really hard when someone you love passes away.

    I think it’s important to approach the subject like some of the Church Fathers and not become legalistic about God and his love.

    Instead throw ourselves in the mission of the church which is to love and be loved and hope that in the end hell is empty (L)

    My own view is when you go out and look over the ocean or the great forests. Or even take a look at the small creatures and the complexity of their lives you start understanding that in the glory of God and his new creation there is going to be a lot of amazement. We are all in for some awe-experiencing revelations about just how great and amazing God is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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