The impossibility of hell

Dear cyberphilosophers,

                          It seems that I have managed to get over my fear of hell. I have realized that God, the kind of God involved in the islamic threats of hell, cannot be reconciled with free. 

If free will does not exist, it is clear that no one can be punished for his “evil” deeds, because he was not the master of his fate. He can’t help doing what he did, what brought about the events was beyond his control, and knowing this, it would be fiendish to find him responsible for anything.

And why does God rule out free will? It is because God is said to be the Absolute, he whom nothing can influence. Nothing can act upon him from without. But it is impossible for a free deed to be known by God without him being acted upon from without.

There is no problem in saying that God knows himself, knows what he can do and knows what he does. But this very knowledge cannot be applied to free deeds without making them necessary. There is no way for God to know merely through what he is and what he does how free agents will react. To know what free agents do, God must do the same thing as we do: to observe. But to observe implies being acted upon. Therefore…

Either God or the free agents are the ultimate principle of what they do. If God, there is no room for free deeds on the side of creatures. God is the Great Puppeter or the Great Hypnotist.

If the free agents are the ultimate principle of what they do, they are in some sense autonomous, and thus they escape the control of God. This entails thay God must approach them as he approaches a stranger and learn from them. It is an a posteriori form of knowledge.

All that for saying that there cannot be both an Absolute and free agents. If there is just an Absolute, and no free agents, he can’t send us to hell, for only a fiend would do that, and islam tells us that God is not a fiend. If there is no Absolute, why to fear hell?

Therefore, the muslim hell does not exist. :smiley:

The Judeo-Christian concept of God does permit hell since he can make mistakes (or at least repent) and has been known to grant wishes to his favorites.

I have no concept of god that I’m particularly attached to and therefore fear no god’s wrath.

There is really nothing to fear in life, or death. Ever. I think hell and heaven have been greatly exaggerated, like many things in life.

What I’ve come to believe is this:
God is not cruel and such and such; though he will send you to hell for one good reason…

To me, God made the heavens for the good and the hells for the evil.
Now, hell may not be all fire and brimstone and such - to me, those are really overstatements. You probably dont get any punishment at all in hell.

To me, hell is simply a place for all the evil to go to once they perish so they may continue their evil for all eternity in the comfort of hell.
The good, well, the good go with the other good people who perished to heaven to continue with their good for all eternity in the comfort of heaven.

I think the exaggerations were made because quite simply; God doesnt want you to be evil. He wants you to be good - and as they say ‘fear is the best way to influence’, so hey, its not such a dumb idea making hell seem so bad in Gods point of view, is it?


When compared with whatever sins we may commit, I am struck with how few religious people have addressed the problem of “why would god go through that much bother?” What sin could be that horrific that a nontrivial god could could care that much about it?

I personally believe that the hell part of religion is morally equivilant to extortion and that it would not be unreasonable to gather all the hell-preachers into a court of law over it. I mean it! I doubt it would ever happen but to threaten someone with torture for an infinite ammount of time is technically a crime, no more or less than if they said “Look, it’s not us that’s going to apply fire to your flesh, it’s our boss who will! We are just his humble employees.” Actually they are worse than run-of-mill “Protection” rackets, they don’t want a mere portion of your income, they want your BRAIN! they want to spam your consciousness, take over your identity, and make you one of them. They do not want to do this with civilised discourse or even appeals to pathos but with threats!

What could be less moral?

Now, there are good things in religions but this Hell threat has got to go. As of yet there really is no organised persecution of these ruffians but perhaps that idea’s time has finally come.

If there is a hell, I would hope that it is reserved for those who preach it. For they are the ones who truly deserve to go there. But I doubt this is the case. Ahh well

But, ert, what if hell exists? I have made the point a couple of times elsewhere that I can imagine Hell as simply being a place (or state) of Godlessness. Why is that so hard to fathom or believe? Just suppose that one accepts that the good of the universe, the beauty and the wonder, is of God. Opposites exist. A is not non-A. Evil then exists, as dark exists to light, and might seem sufficient then as a way to describe those things that are not of God.

If one then also accepts that something of a person survives the death of the body, is it too far-fetched to believe that that something will arrive at a state either of God or a state of Godlessness? If, for example, the essence of a person is decidedly evil (think Hitler) and unconnected in any way with the good and beauty and wonder of the universe we associate with God, would that essence, in its final form (that is to say now beyond the brain-required abilities of reason and volition and therefore no longer alterable) be able to connect in any way with God? Or would that essence know no other state than that of Godlessness?

Maybe the descriptions of Hell (from the Bible as well as the poets) are merely metaphors, attempting to describe an otherwise unimaginable state of total Godlessness - a state, in other words, completely and utterly devoid of anything good.

Jerry, I suppose you have a valid point about the metaphorical hell and so… I will calm down and qualify my statement. My condemnation goes out to literal fire and brimstone hell preachers. Also, to those who believe that hell (in whatever form) is impossible for the man who has never heard of christ/allah/whoever to get to yet still go out and bring this terrible risk to those people.

Now, as for a theistic deity which I will assume could exist for the rest of this post…

If a being is that powerfull, it is entirely possible that his/her/it’s opposite does not exist. If such a deity created the universe as we know it, then god could also be responsible for the fact that logic seems to work so well. would the creator of all logic be bound by logic? Could that being be a member of the set of things with no opposites? If the entireity of the Theistic deity is inconcievable then the belief that logic applies to all concevable worlds is irrelavent since there is a large bit of existing inconcievability(sp?) where logic does not apply? once we have that, there could be a level at which exist/non-exist have no meaning…

I meander. I don’t really know anything about it and further, I have a hard time accepting that what we consider good is anything like what God would have to consider good.

Well once we begin trying to contemplate the ineffable nature of God I think we’re out of everybody’s league. I was merely postulating the possibility of hell and a way in which to explain its existence in some kind of philosophical terms. If God represents good, then evil might exist at least as a potentiality, made manifest by man perhaps by his turning away from God (good) as symbolized, for example, by the Eden story (another metaphor).

I rather prefer the metaphorical version of heaven and hell that apply to the living, breathing walking people. Why worry about the Wrath of Jehoveh after we die when Jesus said “Sufficient unto the day…” I actually think Jesus was onto something with the lifestyle and value system. But the whole “My way or the highway” approach turns me off.

The chance of a metaphorical version of Heaven and Hell (should they exist) would be more realistic in the sense that God being All-Knowing will know exactly what you will do in life and will know everyone who lives in this World down to the last detail. With this knowledge he would already know who would go to Hell and technically they would be condemned even before they are born. With this in Mind, why send these people to a place of eternal pain and suffering if they were just following Gods Almight plan for them? Instead the metaphorical version of Hell would be more than likely considering they have gone through life exploring the “evil” and would rather after death be in a place of “evil” or Sinful haven you could say.

Well, yes, but it’s not that they “would rather.” It’s that the choice would be gone. Their essences (evil or not of God) would simply be in a completely different state than a state where God and goodness exist.


 Thank you for clearifying my statement. Yes now that I re-read and thought on it some more your "revision" would be more likely.

But now we must take into account those who have never believed in God but have led a very ‘good’ life and have contributed to society and have led moral lives without God and are sent to Hell because of it.

For this I am inclined to lean more towards a metaphorical Hell that isn’t just a Sinful Haven but for those who have never had God in their lives. Hell for those individuals would be more like another Life leading a ‘Good’ life amongst those who have also led simliar or ‘evil’ lives, without the ‘Glory’ of God.

Or, it may be that we’re a collection of essences. The ones of God go to God. The ones not of God don’t.

Good Point Jerry, but if you die and you ‘Go’ somewhere… regardless of whether you believed in God On Earth… would you not then believe that God or some being created the place your ‘going’ to? This thread is sketchy as best because its a bunch of if’s and what’s and etc etc etc. But to myself and probably many others this Metaphorical Heaven and Hell would be more appealing and more likely.

I’m postulating that hell was not created by God. It’s not at all of God. It’s kind of an anti-God. It’s a state that exists wholly separate and apart from God.

Well how was Hell created? Certainly if there is a God then he must make /some/ place for the Non-Believers to go to. A Void of nothingness for eternity would be more painful than an Eternity of physical pain.

I’m probably just not being clear. I’m saying that God doesn’t “make” people “go” anywhere. We’re talking about states of existence. A state of Godliness and a state of Godlessness. Static states. Neither was created. God exists, the opposite of God exists. Now, maybe the opposite was only in a potential form until man came along and actually turned away from God thus making the state manifest. In death, the essence of a person, if said essence is evil, is prevented logically from “being” part of the Godliness state, thus rendering it instead part of the Godless state.


Much clearer Jerry. But perhaps another possible theory exists. One in which everyone goes to a “Personal Heaven” or ‘Eden’ in which regardless of belief in God you ‘go’ to a Personal Haven that you create in Death for yourself.

Perhaps. Or maybe more accurately, a personal heaven (or hell) that you create in life.

Sort of like Jacob Marley’s chain…

As well as I know, there are few theories about God and Devil. One of them is, that God has sent away the Devil in his ‘new’ kingdom - the Hell. The other is, that Hell doesn’t consist, that God and Devil live in the same place, so there are actually 2 places - the Earth, our world, and Their World - God’s and Devil’s. Anyway, I believe in the 1st theory, about our World, Heaven and Hell.
Btw I haven’t read this part of the Bible, so please correct me, if I’m wrong.
Also I’m christian.

You don’t even bother to address my argument. :confused: