Search this Topic:
Oct 12 12 4:33 AM
Nov 13 12 5:32 AM
If I were the devil...If I were the prince of darkness I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate and four fifths of its population. But I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree: thee.So I’d set about however necessary, to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.” To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square. And the old I would teach to pray after me, “our father which art in Washington...”And then I’d get organized: I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and visa versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves; churches at war with themselves; and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellect, but neglect to discipline emotions; just let those run wild, until before you knew it you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing; I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls—and church money.If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want it, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old fashioned—that swinging is more fun. That what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.In other words, if I were the devil I would just keep on doing what he is doing.Paul Harvey, March 16, 1993
If I were the devil...
If I were the prince of darkness I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate and four fifths of its population. But I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree: thee.
So I’d set about however necessary, to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.” To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square. And the old I would teach to pray after me, “our father which art in Washington...”
And then I’d get organized: I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and visa versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves; churches at war with themselves; and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellect, but neglect to discipline emotions; just let those run wild, until before you knew it you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing; I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls—and church money.
If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want it, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.
I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old fashioned—that swinging is more fun. That what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words, if I were the devil I would just keep on doing what he is doing.
Paul Harvey, March 16, 1993
May 21 13 3:09 AM
May 21 13 3:13 AM
May 21 13 3:24 AM
There is a common misconception in our popular culture that sex sells. Throw in a little violence and obscenity and you have a popular and award-winning film. But nearly eighty years of experience and research prove that this is not true.
For about 33 years, when Hollywood was run according to the Motion Picture Code of Decency, enforced by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Film Office, the movie industry saw an unprecedented economic boom. That fiscal prosperity only began to wane when Christian churches pulled away from Hollywood in the 1960s and movies reached increasingly new levels of immorality featuring more and more graphic sex, violence, and obscene language.
Toward the end of this Golden Age of Hollywood, the movie industry was selling 9.43 tickets per person in the United States and Canada. Now, it sells about 4.1.
Movieguide®’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry finds that, on average, family friendly movies with no graphic sex, violence, or obscene language earn more than two to six times as much money at the box office as movies with such content.
The movie consumer has spoken, and Hollywood seems to be listening.
A recent study of foul language by three Brigham Young University professors focused on G, PG, and PG-13 movie attendance by teenagers, the most frequent moviegoers according to the Motion Picture Association of America. This study shows that 1980s movies averaged 35 obscenities or profanities per movie, but this decreased to 25 per movie in the 1990s and to 16 per movie in the current decade. This is in the wake of Movieguide®’s annual study, which began in 1991.
Indeed, a 2006 poll by The Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg found that most teenagers are offended by depictions of foul language and sex in movies and television.
In the last five years, movies with no foul language averaged nearly $51.48 million at the box office while movies with 26 or more obscenities or profanities averaged less than $24.20 million.
Thus, clean movies make more than twice as much money as movies laced with obscenity and profanity, and Hollywood pays attention to its bottom line.
Ironically, a study released by the Parents Television Council in 2008 revealed that the amount of foul language on Primetime Network TV has skyrocketed since 1998.
If profits are on the side of removing foul language out of on-screen entertainment, why do television networks pursue a bad business practice?
The answer is that television is not responsive to the audience, as are film studios, but to the advertisers and their agencies who may have a completely different agenda from the desires of the public, such as selling their edgy products to a small, niche group of consumers.
The movie industry, despite the decline in movie attendance in the past 40 years since the end of the movie production code of decency, still seems to be economically sound, while primetime television has noticed a significant decrease in viewers in the last 10 to 15 years.
Clearly, the depiction of foul language and obscenity in movies and television does not usually sell. Neither do graphic depictions of sex, nudity, and extreme violence.
In fact, clean family movies and clean action thrillers remain the most financially successful, not only at the North American box office but also internationally and on DVD and Blu-Ray.
This is true despite the huge success of an occasional foul-mouthed, raunchy R-rated comedy like THE HANGOVER.
Movie studios and their stockholders seem to have responded to consumer demand.
When will major television networks start paying attention to the public?
May 21 13 12:09 PM
A worker places bags filled with activated carbon as oil-absorbing materials to control diesel oil leaking from a pipeline on the Yellow River in Sanmenxia, Henan province,
. (Photo: Carlf Zhang/Reuters)
In the classic Paul Robeson tune, “Ol’ man river, he just keeps rollin’ along.” But not in China.
This past March, several startling reports about the country’s rivers came out one on top of another. First there were reports of over 16,000 dead pigsfloating through the tributaries of the Huangpu River—a source of tap water, by the way.
Then, 1,000 duck carcases were found floating down the Nanhe River in the country’s Sichuan province.
A few days later, Chinese authorities reported that about 100 human bodies were retrieved from the Yellow River—which runs in and near Lanzhou, the capital of inland Gansu province—each year.
While this all sounds like some sort of national nightmare, there’s even more bad news: The rivers themselves are actually disappearing.
Huge projects like the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze were constructed to generate power and to mitigate flooding further down the river, but at very large environmental and human costs.
And Chuck Howe, a water policy expert and emeritus professor of economics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, tells TakePart that while the North China Plain has been the breadbasket of China, it has also become increasingly dry.
“The Yellow River has delivered water from the Loess Plateau for centuries while carrying and depositing hundreds of millions of tons of sediment from the plateau—in the process building up the riverbed until it is nearly 20 meters above the plain,” says Howe. “I have the impression that the sediment problem has been mitigated to some extent but accompanied by diminished flows.”
But Howe adds that, “China has the capability to do whatever they want—technically and financially.”
Starting point: Find out what really happened to those 27,000 rivers.
Oct 23 13 5:32 AM
A key finding from this Index is that there are an estimated
According to the index, the prevalence of modern slavery is highest in…
However, when considered in absolute terms, the countries with the highest numbers of enslaved people are…
Taken together, these ten countries account for
of the total estimate of 29.8 million enslaved people.
* The Index provides an estimated range of the number of people in modern slavery, for each of the 162 countries covered by the Index. The lower range of the estimate is 28.3 million in modern slavery, and the upper range of the estimate is 31.3 million in modern slavery. The figure of 29.8 million is the mean of these estimates.
The Global Slavery Index provides a ranking of 162 countries, reflecting a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country. The measure is heavily weighted to reflect the first factor, prevalence. A number one ranking is the worst, 160 is the best.
Mauritania, a West African nation with deeply entrenched hereditary slavery, is ranked number 1 in the Index. This reflects the high prevalence of slavery in Mauritania – it is estimated that there are between 140,000 – 160,000 people enslaved in Mauritania, a country with a population of just 3.8 million. This ranking also reflects high levels of child marriage, and to a lesser extent, human trafficking.
Haiti, a Caribbean nation plagued by conflict, natural disaster and with deeply entrenched practices of child slavery (the restavek system), is second on the Index. This reflects high prevalence of modern slavery – an estimated 200,000 – 220,000 people are in modern slavery in Haiti, a country with a population of just 10.2 million. This ranking also reflects high levels of child marriage, and human trafficking from Haiti itself.
Pakistan, with its porous borders to Afghanistan, large populations of displaced persons and weak rule of law, is third on the Index. It is estimated that there are between 2,000,000 – 2,200,000 people in various forms of modern slavery in Pakistan, a country with a population of over 179 million.
Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom are tied with a ranking of 160 in the Index. This does not mean these countries are slavery free. On the contrary, it is estimated that there are between 4,200 – 4,600 people in modern slavery in the United Kingdom alone. The estimated size of the problem in Ireland and Iceland is much smaller, with Ireland estimated to have 300 – 340 people in modern slavery, and Iceland less than 100. An analysis of the UK response on this issue confirms much more can be done, as the Government response is fragmented and disjointed, and that there have been alarming systemic failures, including the loss of trafficked children from care.
The Global Slavery Index also provides insight into the estimated absolute numbers of people in modern slavery, in 162 countries. When the estimated number of enslaved people is considered in absolute terms as a single factor, the country ranking shifts considerably.
The countries with the highest numbers of enslaved people are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Taken together, these countries account for 76% of the total estimate of 29.8 million in modern slavery.
The country with the largest estimated number of people in modern slavery is India, which is estimated to have between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000 people enslaved. The India country studysuggests that while this involves the exploitation of some foreign nationals, by far the largest proportion of this problem is the exploitation of Indians citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labour.
The country with the second highest absolute numbers of enslaved is China, with an estimated 2,800,000 to 3,100,000 in modern slavery. The China country study suggests that this includes the forced labour of men, women and children in many parts of the economy, including domestic servitude and forced begging, the sexual exploitation of women and children, and forced marriage.
The country with the third highest absolute number in modern slavery is Pakistan, with an estimated 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 people in modern slavery.
Global Slavery Index will soon be available in French, Spanish and Arabic.
Got more questions?
20 Country Studies, for the worst 10 and best 10 countries by prevalence, are contained in the report. These studies describe the problem, government responses, and action needed to address modern slavery in these countries. Supplementary Country Studies are in development and will continue to be made available here.
Supplementary studies are in development and will continue to be made available here.
The Global Slavery Index presents a ranking of 162 countries, based on a combination of their estimated prevalence of modern slavery, levels of child marriage, and levels of human trafficking into and out of the country.
Not all the countries in the world are represented in the Global Slavery Index. The 162 countries that are included, however, represent nearly all of the world’s 7.1 billion people. These countries collect a sufficient amount of standardised data to allow comparison across countries and regions. While equally as important, for the most part, those countries that have not been included are those having fewer than 100,000 citizens.
Dec 2 13 5:13 AM
The evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter. Romans decorated their houses with evergreen branches during the New Year, and ancient inhabitants of northern Europe cut evergreen trees and planted them in boxes inside their houses in wintertime. Many early Christians were hostile to such practices. The second-century theologian Tertullian condemned those Christians who celebrated the winter festivals, or decorated their houses with laurel boughs in honor of the emperor:
"Let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple."
But by the early Middle Ages, the legend had grown that when Christ was born in the dead of winter, every tree throughout the world miraculously shook off its ice and snow and produced new shoots of green. At the same time, Christian missionaries preaching to Germanic and Slavic peoples were taking a more lenient approach to cultural practices—such as evergreen trees. These missionaries believed that the Incarnation proclaimed Christ's lordship over those natural symbols that had previously been used for the worship of pagan gods. Not only individual human beings, but cultures, symbols, and traditions could be converted.
Of course, this did not mean that the worship of pagan gods themselves was tolerated. According to one legend, the eighth-century missionary Boniface, after cutting down an oak tree sacred to the pagan god Thor (and used for human sacrifice), pointed to a nearby fir tree instead as a symbol of the love and mercy of God.
Not until the Renaissance are there clear records of trees being used as a symbol of Christmas—beginning in Latvia in 1510 and Strasbourg in 1521. Legend credits the Protestant reformer Martin Luther with inventing the Christmas tree, but the story has little historical basis.
The most likely theory is that Christmas trees started with medieval plays. Dramas depicting biblical themes began as part of the church's worship, but by the late Middle Ages, they had become rowdy, imaginative performances dominated by laypeople and taking place in the open air. The plays celebrating the Nativity were linked to the story of creation—in part because Christmas Eve was also considered the feast day of Adam and Eve. Thus, as part of the play for that day, the Garden of Eden was symbolized by a "paradise tree" hung with fruit.
These plays were banned in many places in the 16th century, and people perhaps began to set up "paradise trees" in their homes to compensate for the public celebration they could no longer enjoy. The earliest Christmas trees (or evergreen branches) used in homes were referred to as "paradises." They were often hung with round pastry wafers symbolizing the Eucharist, which developed into the cookie ornaments decorating German Christmas trees today.
The custom gained popularity throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, against the protests of some clergy. Lutheran minister Johann von Dannhauer, for instance, complained (like Tertullian) that the symbol distracted people from the true evergreen tree, Jesus Christ. But this did not stop many churches from setting up Christmas trees inside the sanctuary. Alongside the tree often stood wooden "pyramids"—stacks of shelves bearing candles, sometimes one for each family member. Eventually these pyramids of candles were placed on the tree, the ancestors of our modern Christmas tree lights and ornaments.
It also took a long time for trees to become associated with presents. Though legend connects the idea of Christmas gifts with the gifts the Magi brought Jesus, the real story is more complicated. Like trees, gifts were first a Roman practice—traded during the winter solstice. As Epiphany, and later Christmas, replaced the winter solstice as a time of celebration for Christians, the gift-giving tradition continued for a while. By late antiquity it had died out, although gifts were still exchanged at New Year's.
Gifts were also associated with St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra (in modern-day Turkey), who became famous for giving gifts to poor children. His feast day (December 6) thus became another occasion for gift exchanges. During the early Middle Ages, Christmas gifts most often took the form of tributes paid to monarchs—although a few rulers used the holiday season as an opportunity to give to the poor or to the church instead (most notably Duke Wenceslas of Bohemia, whose story inspired the popular carol, and William the Conqueror, who chose Christmas 1067 to make a large donation to the pope).
Like trees, gifts came "inside" the family around the time of Luther, as the custom of giving gifts to friends and family members developed in Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. Often these were given anonymously, or hidden. One Danish custom was to rewrap a gift many times with different names on each wrapper, so that the intended recipient was only discovered when all the layers were opened.
In the English-speaking world, the union of gifts, trees, and Christmas was due to the influence of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, a native of Saxony (now part of Germany). German immigrants had brought the custom of Christmas trees with them in the early 1800s, but it spread widely after Victoria and Albert set up an elaborate tree for their children at Windsor Castle in 1841. At this point, Christmas presents were usually hung on the tree itself.
German and Dutch immigrants also brought their traditions of trees and presents to the New World in the early 1800s. The image of happy middle-class families exchanging gifts around a tree became a powerful one for American authors and civic leaders who wished to replace older, rowdier, and more alcohol-fueled Christmas traditions—such as wassailing—with a more family-friendly holiday. This family-centered image was widely popularized by Clement Moore's 1822 poem, known today as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (which also helped give us our modern picture of Santa Claus).
As many of us make trees and gifts the center of our own Christmas practice, we would do well to remember that they are ultimately symbols of the One who gave himself to unite heaven and earth, and who brings all barren things to flower.
Sep 19 14 2:18 AM
A man diagnosed as being in a vegetative state has been able to follow the plot of a short Hitchcock film.
Doctors believed the 34-year-old Canadian was left entirely unresponsive after suffering a cardiac arrest 16 years ago.
But scans taken while the patient was shown 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' revealed brain activity linked to feelings of anticipation and excitement.
A man diagnosed as being in a vegetative state has been able to follow the plot of a short Hitchcock film. His brain patterns resembled that of the healthy participants (left), suggesting not only that the patient (right)was consciously aware, but also that he understood the film
The brain patterns resembled that of healthy participants, suggesting not only that the patient was consciously aware, but also that he understood the film.
'For the first time, we show that a patient with unknown levels of consciousness can monitor and analyse information from their environment, in the same way as healthy individuals,' said Lorina Naci, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario.
'We already know that up to one in five of these patients are misdiagnosed as being unconscious and this new technique may reveal that that number is even higher.'
The film was the 1961 'Bang! You're Dead' episode of the TV show Alfred Hitchcock Presents which had been condensed down to eight minutes.
It showed a five-year-old carrying a partially loaded gun which he thinks is a toy. The child shouts 'bang' each time he aims at someone and squeezes the trigger.
While watching the clip, brain activity of participants was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Participants, including the man who had been in a vegetative state for 16 years, showed similar patterns of activity in the higher cognition regions as well as regions involved in processing noise and images.
'This approach can detect not only whether a patient is conscious, but also what that patient might be thinking,' said Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario.
'It has important practical and ethical implications for the patient's standard of care and quality of life.'
Last year, Professor Owen's team was able to communicate with a patient who was thought to be in a vegetative state for the past 12 years.
The clip showed a five-year-old carrying a partially loaded gun which he thinks is a toy. The child shouts 'bang' each time he aims at someone and squeezes the trigger
In this study, the group also used a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to look at the brain activity while asking a series of set questions.
While inside the scanner, the patient answered several questions, such as 'are you in a hospital? by concentrating on the specific words, 'yes' or 'no'.
In this way, the patient reported that he knew what his name was and that he was in the hospital at the time of communication.
'This new technique takes communication with some patients who are assumed to be in a vegetative state to the next level,' said Professor Owen.
'It will make detecting who is conscious and who is not much faster and more reliable and for those who are conscious, communicating their wishes will be that much easier.'
Sep 29 14 2:40 AM
The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple
As we watch the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis) rampaging through the Middle East, tearing apart the modern nation-states of Syria and Iraq created by departing European colonialists, it may be difficult to believe we are living in the 21st century. The sight of throngs of terrified refugees and the savage and indiscriminate violence is all too reminiscent of barbarian tribes sweeping away the Roman empire, or the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan cutting a swath through China, Anatolia, Russia and eastern Europe, devastating entire cities and massacring their inhabitants. Only the wearily familiar pictures of bombs falling yet again on Middle Eastern cities and towns – this time dropped by the United States and a few Arab allies – and the gloomy predictions that this may become another Vietnam, remind us that this is indeed a very modern war.
The ferocious cruelty of these jihadist fighters, quoting the Qur’an as they behead their hapless victims, raises another distinctly modern concern: the connection between religion and violence. The atrocities of Isis would seem to prove that Sam Harris, one of the loudest voices of the “New Atheism”, was right to claim that “most Muslims are utterly deranged by their religious faith”, and to conclude that “religion itself produces a perverse solidarity that we must find some way to undercut”. Many will agree with Richard Dawkins, who wrote in The God Delusion that “only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people”. Even those who find these statements too extreme may still believe, instinctively, that there is a violent essence inherent in religion, which inevitably radicalises any conflict – because once combatants are convinced that God is on their side, compromise becomes impossible and cruelty knows no bounds.
Despite the valiant attempts by Barack Obama and David Cameron to insist that the lawless violence of Isis has nothing to do with Islam, many will disagree. They may also feel exasperated. In the west, we learned from bitter experience that the fanatical bigotry which religion seems always to unleash can only be contained by the creation of a liberal state that separates politics and religion. Never again, we believed, would these intolerant passions be allowed to intrude on political life. But why, oh why, have Muslims found it impossible to arrive at this logicalsolution to their current problems? Why do they cling with perverse obstinacy to the obviously bad idea of theocracy? Why, in short, have they been unable to enter the modern world? The answer must surely lie in their primitive and atavistic religion.
But perhaps we should ask, instead, how it came about that we in the west developed our view of religion as a purely private pursuit, essentially separate from all other human activities, and especially distinct from politics. After all, warfare and violence have always been a feature of political life, and yet we alone drew the conclusion that separating the church from the state was a prerequisite for peace. Secularism has become so natural to us that we assume it emerged organically, as a necessary condition of any society’s progress into modernity. Yet it was in fact a distinct creation, which arose as a result of a peculiar concatenation of historical circumstances; we may be mistaken to assume that it would evolve in the same fashion in every culture in every part of the world.
We now take the secular state so much for granted that it is hard for us to appreciate its novelty, since before the modern period, there were no “secular” institutions and no “secular” states in our sense of the word. Their creation required the development of an entirely different understanding of religion, one that was unique to the modern west. No other culture has had anything remotely like it, and before the 18th century, it would have been incomprehensible even to European Catholics. The words in other languages that we translate as “religion” invariably refer to something vaguer, larger and more inclusive. The Arabic word dinsignifies an entire way of life, and the Sanskrit dharma covers law, politics, and social institutions as well as piety. The Hebrew Bible has no abstract concept of “religion”; and the Talmudic rabbis would have found it impossible to define faith in a single word or formula, because the Talmud was expressly designed to bring the whole of human life into the ambit of the sacred. The Oxford Classical Dictionary firmly states: “No word in either Greek or Latin corresponds to the English ‘religion’ or ‘religious’.” In fact, the only tradition that satisfies the modern western criterion of religion as a purely private pursuit is Protestant Christianity, which, like our western view of “religion”, was also a creation of the early modern period.
Traditional spirituality did not urge people to retreat from political activity. The prophets of Israel had harsh words for those who assiduously observed the temple rituals but neglected the plight of the poor and oppressed. Jesus’s famous maxim to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” was not a plea for the separation of religion and politics. Nearly all the uprisings against Rome in first-century Palestine were inspired by the conviction that the Land of Israel and its produce belonged to God, so that there was, therefore, precious little to “give back” to Caesar. When Jesus overturned the money-changers’ tables in the temple, he was not demanding a more spiritualised religion. For 500 years, the temple had been an instrument of imperial control and the tribute for Rome was stored there. Hence for Jesus it was a “den of thieves”. The bedrock message of the Qur’an is that it is wrong to build a private fortune but good to share your wealth in order to create a just, egalitarian and decent society. Gandhi would have agreed that these were matters of sacred import: “Those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.”
Before the modern period, religion was not a separate activity, hermetically sealed off from all others; rather, it permeated all human undertakings, including economics, state-building, politics and warfare. Before 1700, it would have been impossible for people to say where, for example, “politics” ended and “religion” began. The Crusades were certainly inspired by religious passion but they were also deeply political: Pope Urban II let the knights of Christendom loose on the Muslim world to extend the power of the church eastwards and create a papal monarchy that would control Christian Europe. The Spanish inquisition was a deeply flawed attempt to secure the internal order of Spain after a divisive civil war, at a time when the nation feared an imminent attack by the Ottoman empire. Similarly, the European wars of religion and the thirty years war were certainly exacerbated by the sectarian quarrels of Protestants and Catholics, but their violence reflected the birth pangs of the modern nation-state.
Before the modern period, religion was not a separate activity, it permeated all human undertakings
It was these European wars, in the 16th and 17th centuries, that helped create what has been called “the myth of religious violence”. It was said that Protestants and Catholics were so inflamed by the theological passions of the Reformation that they butchered one another in senseless battles that killed 35% of the population of central Europe. Yet while there is no doubt that the participants certainly experienced these wars as a life-and-death religious struggle, this was also a conflict between two sets of state-builders: the princes of Germany and the other kings of Europe were battling against the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and his ambition to establish a trans-European hegemony modelled after the Ottoman empire.
If the wars of religion had been solely motivated by sectarian bigotry, we should not expect to have found Protestants and Catholics fighting on the same side, yet in fact they often did so. Thus Catholic France repeatedly fought the Catholic Habsburgs, who were regularly supported by some of the Protestant princes. In the French wars of religion (1562–98) and the thirty years war, combatants crossed confessional lines so often that it was impossible to talk about solidly “Catholic” or “Protestant” populations. These wars were neither “all about religion” nor “all about politics”. Nor was it a question of the state simply “using” religion for political ends. There was as yet no coherent way to divide religious causes from social causes. People were fighting for different visions of society, but they would not, and could not, have distinguished between religious and temporal factors in these conflicts. Until the 18th century, dissociating the two would have been like trying to take the gin out of a cocktail.
By the end of the thirty years war, Europeans had fought off the danger of imperial rule. Henceforth Europe would be divided into smaller states, each claiming sovereign power in its own territory, each supported by a professional army and governed by a prince who aspired to absolute rule – a recipe, perhaps, for chronic interstate warfare. New configurations of political power were beginning to force the church into a subordinate role, a process that involved a fundamental reallocation of authority and resources from the ecclesiastical establishment to the monarch. When the new word “secularisation” was coined in the late 16th century, it originally referred to “the transfer of goods from the possession of the church into that of the world”. This was a wholly new experiment. It was not a question of the west discovering a natural law; rather, secularisation was a contingent development. It took root in Europe in large part because it mirrored the new structures of power that were pushing the churches out of government.
These developments required a new understanding of religion. It was provided by Martin Luther, who was the first European to propose the separation of church and state. Medieval Catholicism had been an essentially communal faith; most people experienced the sacred by living in community. But for Luther, the Christian stood alone before his God, relying only upon his Bible. Luther’s acute sense of human sinfulness led him, in the early 16th century, to advocate the absolute states that would not become a political reality for another hundred years. For Luther, the state’s prime duty was to restrain its wicked subjects by force, “in the same way as a savage wild beast is bound with chains and ropes”. The sovereign, independent state reflected this vision of the independent and sovereign individual. Luther’s view of religion, as an essentially subjective and private quest over which the state had no jurisdiction, would be the foundation of the modern secular ideal.
But Luther’s response to the peasants’ war in Germany in 1525, during the early stages of the wars of religion, suggested that a secularised political theory would not necessarily be a force for peace or democracy. The peasants, who were resisting the centralising policies of the German princes – which deprived them of their traditional rights – were mercilessly slaughtered by the state. Luther believed that they had committed the cardinal sin of mixing religion and politics: suffering was their lot, and they should have turned the other cheek, and accepted the loss of their lives and property. “A worldly kingdom,” he insisted, “cannot exist without an inequality of persons, some being free, some imprisoned, some lords, some subjects.” So, Luther commanded the princes, “Let everyone who can, smite, slay and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisoned, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel.”
By the late 17th century, philosophers had devised a more urbane version of the secular ideal. For John Locke it had become self-evident that “the church itself is a thing absolutely separate and distinct from the commonwealth. The boundaries on both sides are fixed and immovable.” The separation of religion and politics – “perfectly and infinitely different from each other” – was, for Locke, written into the very nature of things. But the liberal state was a radical innovation, just as revolutionary as the market economy that was developing in the west and would shortly transform the world. Because of the violent passions it aroused, Locke insisted that the segregation of “religion” from government was “above all things necessary” for the creation of a peaceful society.
Hence Locke was adamant that the liberal state could tolerate neither Catholics nor Muslims, condemning their confusion of politics and religion as dangerously perverse. Locke was a major advocate of the theory of natural human rights, originally pioneered by the Renaissance humanists and given definition in the first draft of the American Declaration of Independence as life, liberty and property. But secularisation emerged at a time when Europe was beginning to colonise the New World, and it would come to exert considerable influence on the way the west viewed those it had colonised – much as in our own time, the prevailing secular ideology perceives Muslim societies that seem incapable of separating faith from politics to be irredeemably flawed.
The reign of terror plunged France into an irrational bloodbath, in which 17,000 men, women and children were executed
This introduced an inconsistency, since for the Renaissance humanists there could be no question of extending these natural rights to the indigenous inhabitants of the New World. Indeed, these peoples could justly be penalised for failing to conform to European norms. In the 16th century, Alberico Gentili, a professor of civil law at Oxford, argued that land that had not been exploited agriculturally, as it was in Europe, was “empty” and that “the seizure of [such] vacant places” should be “regarded as law of nature”. Locke agreed that the native peoples had no right to life, liberty or property. The “kings” of America, he decreed, had no legal right of ownership to their territory. He also endorsed a master’s “Absolute, arbitrary, despotical power” over a slave, which included “the power to kill him at any time”. The pioneers of secularism seemed to be falling into the same old habits as their religious predecessors. Secularism was designed to create a peaceful world order, but the church was so intricately involved in the economic, political and cultural structures of society that the secular order could only be established with a measure of violence. In North America, where there was no entrenched aristocratic government, the disestablishment of the various churches could be accomplished with relative ease. But in France, the church could be dismantled only by an outright assault; far from being experienced as a natural and essentially normative arrangement, the separation of religion and politics could be experienced as traumatic and terrifying.
During the French revolution, one of the first acts of the new national assembly on November 2, 1789, was to confiscate all church property to pay off the national debt: secularisation involved dispossession, humiliation and marginalisation. This segued into outright violence during the September massacres of 1792, when the mob fell upon the jails of Paris and slaughtered between two and three thousand prisoners, many of them priests. Early in 1794, four revolutionary armies were dispatched from Paris to quell an uprising in the Vendée against the anti-Catholic policies of the regime. Their instructions were to spare no one. At the end of the campaign, General François-Joseph Westermann reportedly wrote to his superiors: “The Vendée no longer exists. I have crushed children beneath the hooves of our horses, and massacred the women … The roads are littered with corpses.”
Ironically, no sooner had the revolutionaries rid themselves of one religion, than they invented another. Their new gods were liberty, nature and the French nation, which they worshipped in elaborate festivals choreographed by the artist Jacques Louis David. The same year that the goddess of reason was enthroned on the high altar of Notre Dame cathedral, the reign of terror plunged the new nation into an irrational bloodbath, in which some 17,000 men, women and children were executed by the state.
When Napoleon’s armies invaded Prussia in 1807, the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte similarly urged his countrymen to lay down their lives for the Fatherland – a manifestation of the divine and the repository of the spiritual essence of the Volk. If we define the sacred as that for which we are prepared to die, what Benedict Anderson called the “imagined community” of the nation had come to replace God. It is now considered admirable to die for your country, but not for your religion.
As the nation-state came into its own in the 19th century along with the industrial revolution, its citizens had to be bound tightly together and mobilised for industry. Modern communications enabled governments to create and propagate a national ethos, and allowed states to intrude into the lives of their citizens more than had ever been possible. Even if they spoke a different language from their rulers, subjects now belonged to the “nation,” whether they liked it or not. John Stuart Mill regarded this forcible integration as progress; it was surely better for a Breton, “the half-savage remnant of past times”, to become a French citizen than “sulk on his own rocks”. But in the late 19th century, the British historian Lord Acton feared that the adulation of the national spirit that laid such emphasis on ethnicity, culture and language, would penalise those who did not fit the national norm: “According, therefore, to the degree of humanity and civilisation in that dominant body which claims all the rights of the community, the inferior races are exterminated or reduced to servitude, or put in a condition of dependence.”
The Enlightenment philosophers had tried to counter the intolerance and bigotry that they associated with “religion” by promoting the equality of all human beings, together with democracy, human rights, and intellectual and political liberty, modern secular versions of ideals which had been promoted in a religious idiom in the past. The structural injustice of the agrarian state, however, had made it impossible to implement these ideals fully. The nation-state made these noble aspirations practical necessities. More and more people had to be drawn into the productive process and needed at least a modicum of education. Eventually they would demand the right to participate in the decisions of government. It was found by trial and error that those nations that democratised forged ahead economically, while those that confined the benefits of modernity to an elite fell behind. Innovation was essential to progress, so people had to be allowed to think freely, unconstrained by the constraints of their class, guild or church. Governments needed to exploit all their human resources, so outsiders, such as Jews in Europe and Catholics in England and America, were brought into the mainstream.
Yet this toleration was only skin-deep, and as Lord Acton had predicted, an intolerance of ethnic and cultural minorities would become the achilles heel of the nation-state. Indeed, the ethnic minority would replace the heretic (who had usually been protesting against the social order) as the object of resentment in the new nation-state. Thomas Jefferson, one of the leading proponents of the Enlightenment in the United States, instructed his secretary of war in 1807 that Native Americans were “backward peoples” who must either be “exterminated” or driven “beyond our reach” to the other side of the Mississippi “with the beasts of the forest”. The following year, Napoleon issued the “infamous decrees”, ordering the Jews of France to take French names, privatise their faith, and ensure that at least one in three marriages per family was with a gentile. Increasingly, as national feeling became a supreme value, Jews would come to be seen as rootless and cosmopolitan. In the late 19th century, there was an explosion of antisemitism in Europe, which undoubtedly drew upon centuries of Christian prejudice, but gave it a scientific rationale, claiming that Jews did not fit the biological and genetic profile of the Volk, and should be eliminated from the body politic as modern medicine cut out a cancer.
When secularisation was implemented in the developing world, it was experienced as a profound disruption – just as it had originally been in Europe. Because it usually came with colonial rule, it was seen as a foreign import and rejected as profoundly unnatural. In almost every region of the world where secular governments have been established with a goal of separating religion and politics, a counter-cultural movement has developed in response, determined to bring religion back into public life. What we call “fundamentalism” has always existed in a symbiotic relationship with a secularisation that is experienced as cruel, violent and invasive. All too often an aggressive secularism has pushed religion into a violent riposte. Every fundamentalist movement that I have studied in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is rooted in a profound fear of annihilation, convinced that the liberal or secular establishment is determined to destroy their way of life. This has been tragically apparent in the Middle East.
Very often modernising rulers have embodied secularism at its very worst and have made it unpalatable to their subjects. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the secular republic of Turkey in 1918, is often admired in the west as an enlightened Muslim leader, but for many in the Middle East he epitomised the cruelty of secular nationalism. He hated Islam, describing it as a “putrefied corpse”, and suppressed it in Turkey by outlawing the Sufi orders and seizing their properties, closing down the madrasas and appropriating their income. He also abolished the beloved institution of the caliphate, which had long been a dead-letter politically but which symbolised a link with the Prophet. For groups such as al-Qaida and Isis, reversing this decision has become a paramount goal.
Ataturk also continued the policy of ethnic cleansing that had been initiated by the last Ottoman sultans; in an attempt to control the rising commercial classes, they systematically deported the Armenian and Greek-speaking Christians, who comprised 90% of the bourgeoisie. The Young Turks, who seized power in 1909, espoused the antireligious positivism associated with August Comte and were also determined to create a purely Turkic state. During the first world war, approximately one million Armenians were slaughtered in the first genocide of the 20th century: men and youths were killed where they stood, while women, children and the elderly were driven into the desert where they were raped, shot, starved, poisoned, suffocated or burned to death. Clearly inspired by the new scientific racism, Mehmet Resid, known as the “execution governor”, regarded the Armenians as “dangerous microbes” in “the bosom of the Fatherland”. Ataturk completed this racial purge. For centuries Muslims and Christians had lived together on both sides of the Aegean; Ataturk partitioned the region, deporting Greek Christians living in what is now Turkey to Greece, while Turkish-speaking Muslims in Greece were sent the other way.
Secularising rulers such as Ataturk often wanted their countries to look modern, that is, European. In Iran in 1928, Reza Shah Pahlavi issued the laws of uniformity of dress: his soldiers tore off women’s veils with bayonets and ripped them to pieces in the street. In 1935, the police were ordered to open fire on a crowd who had staged a peaceful demonstration against the dress laws in one of the holiest shrines of Iran, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians. Policies like this made veiling, which has no Qur’anic endorsement, an emblem of Islamic authenticity in many parts of the Muslim world.
Following the example of the French, Egyptian rulers secularised by disempowering and impoverishing the clergy. Modernisation had begun in the Ottoman period under the governor Muhammad Ali, who starved the Islamic clergy financially, taking away their tax-exempt status, confiscating the religiously endowed properties that were their principal source of income, and systematically robbing them of any shred of power. When the reforming army officer Jamal Abdul Nasser came to power in 1952, he changed tack and turned the clergy into state officials. For centuries, they had acted as a protective bulwark between the people and the systemic violence of the state. Now Egyptians came to despise them as government lackeys. This policy would ultimately backfire, because it deprived the general population of learned guidance that was aware of the complexity of the Islamic tradition. Self-appointed freelancers, whose knowledge of Islam was limited, would step into the breach, often to disastrous effect.
Many regard the west’s devotion to the separation of religion and politics as incompatible with democracy and freedom
If some Muslims today fight shy of secularism, it is not because they have been brainwashed by their faith but because they have often experienced efforts at secularisation in a particularly virulent form. Many regard the west’s devotion to the separation of religion and politics as incompatible with admired western ideals such as democracy and freedom. In 1992, a military coup in Algeria ousted a president who had promised democratic reforms, and imprisoned the leaders of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which seemed certain to gain a majority in the forthcoming elections. Had the democratic process been thwarted in such an unconstitutional manner in Iran or Pakistan, there would have been worldwide outrage. But because an Islamic government had been blocked by the coup, there was jubilation in some quarters of the western press – as if this undemocratic action had instead made Algeria safe for democracy. In rather the same way, there was an almost audible sigh of relief in the west when the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power in Egypt last year. But there has been less attention to the violence of the secular military dictatorship that has replaced it, which has exceeded the abuses of the Mubarak regime.
Jun 8 15 2:02 AM
Sep 28 15 4:09 AM
The word "heaven" appears in the Bible hundreds of times. If "Hell" is the fate of those who do not accept Jesus as their Lord, how often do you think God should put it in the Bible Scriptures warning all the citizens of the world the consequences of failing to accept Jesus as their Savior? At least as many times as the word "heaven"? At least once in each book in the Bible? Thousands of times? The FACTS may shock you.
With most proper nouns for places in the Bible like Jerusalem, Babylon, Israel, etc., Bible translators typically transliterate, not translate. But not with the Hebrew and Greek words behind our English word Hell. Actually the word Hell is not English, it is German (Teutonic). The Hell of Teutonic mythology bears little resemblance to the Hell of Christian theology. Neither does it bear any real resemblance to Hebrew and Greek words of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.
Bible Translations Compared:
Number of times "Hell" appears in the text in English Bible Translations
"Authorized" King James Version
New King James Version
American Standard Version (Revision of KJV)
New American Standard Bible
Revised Standard Version (Revision of KJV)
New Revised Standard Version
Revised English Bible
New Living Translation
New International Version, first edition (best-selling English Bible)
New International Version (later editions)***
Wesley's New Testament (1755)
Scarlett's N.T. (1798)
The New Testament in Greek and English (Kneeland, 1823)
Young's Literal Translation (1891)
Twentieth Century New Testament (1900)
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (reprinted, 1902)
Fenton's Holy Bible in Modern English (1903)
Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech (1903)
Jewish Publication Society Bible Old Testament (1917)
Panin's Numeric English New Testament (1914)
The People's New Covenant (Overbury, 1925)
Hanson's New Covenant (1884)
Western N.T. (1926)
NT of our Lord and Savior Anointed (Tomanek, 1958)
Concordant Literal NT (1983)
The N.T., A Translation (Clementson, 1938)
Emphatic Diaglott, Greek/English Interlinear (Wilson, 1942)
New American Bible (1970)
Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976)
Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, Old Testament (1985)
The New Testament, A New Translation (Greber, 1980)
Christian Bible (1991)
World English Bible (in progress)
Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha [NT Only]
Original Bible Project (Dr. James Tabor, still in translation)
Zondervan Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1975)**
Int. NASB-NIV Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1993)**
A Critical Paraphrase of the N.T. by Vincent T. Roth (1960)
(* The KJV and the NKJV are the only two of the major translations in the list above to use "Hell" in the Old Testament with the exception of a single use by the NLT. Even the NKJV which was only supposed to modernize the English of the traditional "Authorized Version," the KJV, took a dozen Hell references out. (2 Sam 22:6, Job 11:8, Job 26:6, Ps 16:10, Ps 18:5, Ps 26:13, Ps 116:3. Is 5:14, Is 28:15, Is 57:9, Jonah 2:2). It seems even in the King James Tradition, the use of the word "Hell" is decreasing. The NKJV, RSV, ASV, NRSV, and NASB are all technically revisions of the original King James Bible. From 54 times to 32 and then to 12 or 13 times--who knows--maybe the next revision will bring it in line with the many Bibles which have eliminated the pagan word Hell all together. Also please note the numbers for the earlier translations may be a bit off since they spelled Hell in different ways like Hel and my search may have missed it. The point is, as scholarship is improving, Hell is shrinking. Hell never belonged in the Bible in the first place. As Christian Bible publishers get more honest, Hell will disappear entirely from Bible translations. The word Gehenna seems to be the last stronghold of Hell for the eternal damnationists.)
** A note about the Parallel Interlinears. I am referring to the word-for-word translations beneath the Greek in these works, NOT the English versions which are also in these reference works. Obviously the versions in these books (NIV, NASB, and KJV) contain the word Hell as many times as they normally would.
***The latest editions of the NIV have removed Hell from Luke 16:23, the Rich Man and Lazarus Parable to conform to transliterating Hades instead of translating Hades into Hell. Hell is shrinking as Bible translators and their publishers like Zondervan and Nelson publishing get more interested in truth and less in the almighty dollar. :-)
****Eugene Peterson's THE MESSAGE is a paraphrase created by an imagination gone wild. He use words like hellbound, hellbent, and hell-raisers in Bible verses no translator in the history of the Bible ever had the nerve to place hell. Based upon this paraphrase becoming the most hellish translation ever published since the Dark Ages, do you think Eugene Peterson actually believes in the traditional Hell of the Church? Email me, and I'll read to you a letter he sent me regarding his ideas about Hell.
As the reader can see, the contemporary Bible translations considered "orthodox" in traditional churchdes contain the world Hell only 13 times and most of them are in the mouth of Jesus. The first occurance of Hell in all these Bibles is usually in Matthew 5:22. Doesn't that sound suspect? Furthermore, of the 13 occurances of the word Hell, they are repeats of the same event being told by different gospel writers. So then there are only about three or four times in which the subject of Hell is brought up. For example, Matthew repeats the same story Mark writes about.
Occurances of the word Hell in most contemporary Bible translations: Gehenna: Matt. 5:22, 29, 30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47, 12:5; James 3:6. One occurance of Tartarus as Hell in 2 Peter 2:4 in reference to angels being locked up until judgment. That's it!
There are other translations like the Companion Bible King James Version, American Standard Version (1901), the Newberry Reference Bible (Still published by Kregal Publications), and the Riverside New Testament by Ballantine (1934) which contain footnotes, marginal readings and appendages which point out that several key Greek and Hebrew words regarding Hell have been MIStranslated by such Bible versions as the King James Bible. Please note that the above list of Bibles which do NOT contain the word Hell in the text is NOT exhaustive--we are discovering more translations all the time in which the translators did not feel justified in using the Teutonic pagan word Hell to translate the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek words Gehenna, Hades, and Tartarus.
Dear precious reader, carefully consider this point. In most Bibles translations considered by Christian pastors and church leaders to be the best translations, we find the Greek word Gehenna, which is a physical valley southwest of Jerusalem as the place of Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. This, church leaders say, is the place most of mankind will burn forever and ever. GEHENNA. But there is a HUGE problem with this. You see, this valley is spoken of more in the Old Testament than in the New and NONE of those Bible translators ever translated this valley as Hell in the Old Testament! If it's Hell in the New Testament, why isn't it Hell in the Old Testament? The reason why they don't translate the Hebrew name of this valley which is ga ben Hinnom to Hell is because it ,would make no sense! And that's just the point. The Hell of Christian theologians and Bible translators makes no sense.
Here are the occurances of the phrase "ga ben Hinnom" and a particular place within ga ben Hinnom called Tophet (Topheth) in the Old Testament. Tophet, within this valley is where Jews burned their own children as a sacrifice to a God they called Moloch (Molech). Ga ben Hinnom means "valley of the son of Hinnom." I've walked through Hell. Today it is a lovely park area. If this valley is Hell, why wasn't it translated Hell in the Old Testament? The answer is obvious. The traditional, mythical Hell of Christianity simply falls apart. Here are the places in which the valley is mentioned in the Old Testament: ga ben Hinnom: Jos. 15:8, 18:16; 2 Ki. 23:10; 1 Chron. 28:3, 33:6; Neh. 11:30; Jer. 7:31, 32, 19:2, 6, 33:35. Jer. 31:40 describes the location and calls it "Holy unto the Lord." Hmmm, Hell is holy unto the Lord? In Jer. 19:14, Jeremiah prophesies from Hell. :-)
Here are the verses which contains the word "topheth" where the Jews offered up their own children as a burnt sacrifice. As you can see, it was HUMANS that were burning people, not God: Isa. 30:33; Jer. 7:31, 32, 19:6, 11, 12, 13, 14. Well, dear reader, simply go to those verses in your Bible translation, it doesn't matter which one, and put the English word Hell in the place of "ga ben Hinnom" or "Topheth" and you will clearly see why Bible translators have chosen NOT to put their Hell there. Their Hell in the New Testament would simply fall apart. And that is exactly what is going to happen to the 13 places where money-making Bible publishing companies and their translators have placed Hell into Jesus' mouth. Their lies will fall apart and that will end their empire of fear.
The End of "Forever" in the Bible.
Another pleasant change which more Bible translations of the future will make deals with the subject of the words "everlasting," "eternal," and "for ever and ever." These words have been used in times past to translate the Hebrew word "olam," and its Greek counterpart "aion," and its adjective, "aionios." These ancient words should NEVER have been translated this way. Many modern scholars are beginning to cut against the grain of tradition and speak the truth which has been shackled by the chains of tradition long enough. It's time for light. The body of Christ has had enough of living in the shadows. It's time for pure light!
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a well-known Bible teacher, hailed as "the prince of expositors" wrote in his book "God's Method's With Men" on pages 185, 6, "Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how to use the word 'eternity.' We have fallen into great error in our constant use of that word. There is NO word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our 'eternal,' which as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end."
The above statement may come as a shock to the traditional Christian in the typical Church. It was certainly a shock to me. How could he make what appeared to me such a ridiculous statement. The Bible translations I had were FILLED with verses that spoke of things which were "eternal," "everlasting," and went on "forever and ever." How could he be hailed as a renowned Bible teacher and be given the honor of being called by the evangelical world the "prince of expositors" and yet make what appeared to me based upon my few Bible translations an utterly ridiculous statement? But when I decided to dig through my walls of tradition to see if what the famous Doctor Morgan said was true, I found MANY other well-known and respected scholars and Bible teachers had come to the very same conclusions to which Dr. Morgan had come.
And after doing some intensive studies comparing English Bible translations and noting great discrepancies among them, comparing translations to the original languages of the Bible and studying the teachings of the early Christian believers and leaders and aided by the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus promised to send His disciples, I came to the conclusion based upon solid facts that Dr. Morgan was correct in his assertions. The "traditional" teachings which I had consumed in the many churches I had attended over the years were false. This was a very painful discovery in one sense. It brought about division with some of my other Christian brothers and sisters who were not willing to look at these plain facts. They didn't want to rock the boat. They were comfortable being in the majority whether they were right or wrong. The fear and respect of man had gripped them and they didn't even know it. Jesus said that His word would divide, didn't He? Sometimes it even divided brother from sister, father from son, etc. Even though that brought sorrow for a season, the Truth shall make you free. The freedom I found after being set free of some "traditions of men" and "doctrines of demons" which had held me imprisoned is impossible to put in words. Truly God expanded Himself greatly in my life after the religious shackles which enslaved me came off. I pray that the rest of my brothers and sisters who are still enslaved to "majority rule" thinking be given the courage to look at the truth instead of bow down to the fear of man.
Today, many years after this shocking discovery, I can't believe I ever believed the "traditional" view. Today, the Bible speaks from cover to cover of a MUCH more glorious God than I had been taught in the traditional fundamentalist, evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic Churches I had attended. I wrote this brief article to serve as an introduction to a subject on which we have written and reprinted hundreds of articles, tracts, books, audio tapes, CD's etc. It is merely a tiny spark, a spark which I hope will set ablaze once and for all every single tradition the reader has been taught by men and women which are contrary to the true Word of God. This article will NOT answer all your questions-this article's purpose is to free the reader to begin to ask the RIGHT questions which, with diligent study and prayer, will bring the answers to the reader. At the end of this article are listed some Internet sites which contain literally hundreds of articles and books which will greatly expound upon the tiny spark which this brief article is. If the reader let's this spark take its course in their lives, I believe a real resurrection will follow-a resurrection from the death found in the "traditions of men" and the "doctrines of demons" and into the glorious light of the truly Good News of Jesus Christ which most of the world to this day has NOT heard especially in church.
Before reading the rest of this short article, I beg the reader to pray a short prayer something like this. Use your own words, of course: Dear heavenly Father, if I have swallowed traditions and doctrines which have made the word of God of no effect in my life (Matt. 5:15-6-9), then I ask you to reveal this to me, no matter how hard it may be for me to bear it. I want the Truth and nothing but the Truth. Please send the Spirit of Truth into my life. Make all my beliefs line up with the Truth found in Jesus Christ alone. Cause me to yield myself completely to the Spirit whom Jesus promised to send to His believers. Set me free from ALL traditions, rituals, doctrines, beliefs and associations which have NOT come from you. And Father, if the message in this article is indeed true and from you, then let it do its work in me. Use it as a spark which will burn up everything and anything which is NOT from You. Humble me, Father, that I might be able to receive your Truth found in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Send me Your Precious Holy Spirit, and reveal the Truth to me. Amen.
Now please take the English Bible translation of your choice and find the following Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. It would be helpful if you compared at least three English translations. Since the King James Bible has held sway over the non-Catholic and Orthodox Churches for the last 350 years, that should be one of the translations. Then find another one of the leading "selling" English translations like the NIV, NASB, NRSB, Amplified, Living Translation, etc. I emphasized the word "selling" because the merchandising of the Gospel is one of the leading factors which has brought corruption into our English translations. The third Bible to have at hand would be perhaps Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible published by Baker Book House, or "Rotherham Emphasized Bible" published by Kregal Publications (both publishing houses are leading well-established evangelical publishers). The last two translations can be ordered from just about any Christian bookstore or through their internet sites or via Christian Book Distributors, the largest discounter of Christian books. They have a large Internet site from which one can order directly. Also, used copies of the last two translations are readily available through used book internet databases like Bookfinder; their url is: http://www.bookfinder.com/
Now let's discover how long the "eternity" REALLY is in many leading "selling" English translations:
Sodom's fiery judgment is "eternal" (Jude 7)--until--God "will restore the fortunes of Sodom" (Ezek. 16:53-55).
Israel's "affliction is incurable" (Jer. 30:12)-until--the Lord "will restore health" and heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17).
The sin of Samaria "is incurable" (Mic. 1:9)-until-- Lord "will restore ... the fortunes of Samaria." (Ez. 16:53).
Ammon is to become a "wasteland forever" and "rise no more" (Zeph. 2:9, Jer. 25:27 --until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of the Ammonites" (Jer. 49:6).
An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord's congregation "forever"-until--the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3):
Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were "everlasting", that is -until-- they "were shattered" Hab. 3 3:6).
The Aaronic Priesthood was to be an "everlasting" priesthood (Ex. 40:15), that is-until-it was superceded by the Melchizedek Priesthood (Hebrews 7:14-18).
Many translations of the Bible inform us that God would dwell in Solomon's Temple "forever" (1 Kings 8:13), that is,--until the Temple was destroyed.
The children of Israel were to "observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant" (Exodus 31:16)-until--Paul states there remains "another day" of Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:8,9).
The Law of Moses was to be an "everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8) yet we read in the New Covenant the first was "done away" and "abolished" (2 Corinthians 3:11,13), and God "made the first old" (Hebrews 8:13).
The fire for Israel's sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put out. It shall be a "perpetual"-- until-- Christ, the Lamb of God, dies for our sins. We now have a better covenant established on better promises (Lev. 6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13).
God's waves of wrath roll over Jonah "forever"-until--the Lord delivers him from the large fish's belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1: 17); Egypt and Elam will "rise no more" (Jer. 25:27)-until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of Egypt" (Ez. 29:14) and "restore the fortunes of Elam" (Jer. 49:39).
"Moab is destroyed" (Jer. 48:4, 42)-until--the Lord "will restore the fortunes of Moab" (Jer. 48:47).
Israel's judgment lasts "forever"-until--the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Isa. 32:13-15).
So, narrow is the way to life and few find it-until-- and His church confiscate the "strong man's" booty, setting the captives free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke 11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor. 15:24-28).
The King James Bible, as well as many others, tells us that a bondslave was to serve his master "forever" (Exodus 21:6), that is,--until--his death.
God is now calling out "a people for His name"--an "elect" or chosen priesthood people who will represent and reflect His loving nature. Many are called and few are chosen--until--the small chosen priesthood people, by the Spirit, restore "David's tabernacle" so ALL mankind may inquire of the Lord. Thus we see that the church is the first-born, the beginning--until--in ALL (later born new creatures in Christ) our Lord will have supremacy (Amos 9:11-12, Matt. 22:14, Acts 15:14-18, Eph. 3:15, Col. 1 18).
All manner of sin will be forgiven in this AGE as well as in the AGE (not eternity) to come, except blasphemy against God's Spirit-until--such blasphemy finds pardon in the fullness of the times (or ages) when God unites all in Christ. For the Lord does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy (Matt. 12:32; 18:11,21-22, Eph. 1:9-11, Rev. 4:11; 5:13, Mic. 7:18-20).
God's wrath has come upon Israel "to the uttermost" (1 Thess. 2:16). So there is a gulf between "the rich man in purple" (Royal Covenant "Son", Israel) and the saved gentiles (Lazarus) which no man can cross--until--Christ Himself crosses it to bring His promised restoration. For again, Scripture promises that ALL Israel will be saved (Jer. 50:5, Luke 16:19-26, John 12:32, Romans 11:26-29).
Christ's fallen apostle, Judas, will be restored just as surely as fallen Israel (of which he is a member) will be restored. For the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, and He has purposed to unite all in Christ. For Scripture assures us that He who calls us is 'faithful". He will surely perform it. So Judas is lost-until--the Lord restores Him (John 15:16, 1 Thess. 5:24).
So, Christ will say to unrighteous NATIONS, "Depart from Me into 'everlasting' fire." And these nations will go away into "everlasting" (original language: age-lasting) punishment or pruning, that is--until--by God's severe mercy shown in judgment, ALL nations He has made glorify and worship Him. Thus God will fulfill His covenant with Abraham that in Christ all the families of ALL the nations will be BLESSED (Gen. 12:3, Ps. 62:12, 67:4, 86:9, Matt. 25:41,46). For according to Paul (Gal. 3:8), God's covenant with Abraham means that ALL will be justified and set right with God. So all flesh will bless His name forever and ever (Ps. 145:21).
Therefore, ALL scriptural references that speak of everlasting fire or judgment MUST be understood in light of God's (Love's) clearly expressed heart, promise, desire, purpose and will. They ARE "everlasting"; that is, they are continuous and on-going--until--God's judgments serve to accomplish His unchanging will and purpose to unite ALL creation in Christ. (Gen. 12:3, Romans 4:13, Heb. 6:17).
Truly God's judgments are in the earth-until-mercy shall triumph over those judgments. (James 2:13)
In Adam ALL died, that is,--until-in Christ shall ALL be made alive, but each in his own order. (1 Cor. 15:22) Paul reemphasized this important truth in Romans 5:18. "Through the one man's offense judgment came to ALL men, resulting in condemnation, that is,--until-through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to ALL men, resulting in justification of life." It is righteous AND fair that because all were condemned to death through Adam's one act of disobedience that God undo that unrighteous act and give us all life. We didn't ask to die and we should have to ask to live. God is God. We do we get mad when He becomes good to all just because He delights in doing good? There is a parable about some workers who worked all day yet were given the same wages as those who only worked a short while. Perhaps we, Christians, should learn the lesson of that parable. (Matt. 20:1-16) What is in us that doesn't think it's fair if God gives us all eternal life? After all, did we earn ours? Maybe that's where the real problem lies. Many of us have been duped into mixing law and works with grace thereby falling from grace and becoming unrighteous judges just like the Pharisees of old.
Gehenna's fires are not quenched and its worm does not die--until--the restoration of all things which has been spoken of by all God's holy prophets (Christ included) since the world began. For our Savior did not come to contradict His own prophets. Our Good Shepherd and Faithful Deliverer came to fulfill the law and the prophets! Thus our Lord does not cast off forever (Lam. 3:31-32, Heb. 13:8). He who taught us to forgive and bless our enemies will surely do the same for His. For every tongue will give thanks that in Him they have righteousness and strength. All flesh will bless His name forever and ever! For our Lord will not fail or become discouraged until He fulfills all of God's purpose, word and will. For He tells us that everyone will be "seasoned" with fire (Matt. 5:17, Mark 9:42-49, Acts 3:21).
Those who disobey the gospel and persecute Christians will be repaid with "everlasting" (that is, continuous) tribulation, destruction and punishment-until--by such persistent correction God shows them their need for Christ. So what is written in the prophets will come to pass, that ALL shall be taught of God, and everyone who has heard and LEARNED from the Father (eventually) comes to Christ. Thus, all the families of the nations will remember Him and worship before Him. And all will submit to Him and sing His praise. So God's promise will be fulfilled that ALL men shall reverence Him proclaim His works, and wisely consider His doing (Ps. 22:27-28, 64:4-5, 64:9, 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Paul the apostle understood the "forever until" principle at work in God's redemptive judgments. He knew the heart of God, and Paul also knew God's will, purpose and plan. His knowledge of God's character, will and purpose governed his understanding of Scripture. That is why Paul could appear to contradict the prophet David! Have a look at Romans 11:9-12 in the NIV translation, where David prophesies in Psalm 69:22:
"May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution to them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see and their backs be bent FOREVER."
And observe how Paul responds:
"Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? NOT AT ALL! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles (pagans, all who are spiritually unenlightened) to make Israel envious. For if their transgression means RICHES for the WORLD, and their loss means riches for the gentiles--how much greater riches will their (Israel's) fullness bring?"
Wow. . . ! In the next three verses Paul assures us:
that Israel's fall is the reconciliation of the WORLD;
that Israel's fall will be (for them and all the world) life from the dead! (Ez. 37);
that because the FIRST fruit (Israel) is holy, the whole world ("lump" or "harvest field") is holy.
Read all of Romans chapter eleven, and the Scriptures will clearly speak for themselves. Practice reading all of God's Word in light of His character, commitment, purpose and reliable good pleasure and will. Get God's "forever until" policy of judgment settled in your heart--and get ready!
The "forever until" principle should really more accurately be termed "present time until" principle, NOT "forever-until. As the reader can plainly see from the many Scriptures we quoted, the terms "forever and ever," "eternal," "everlasting," etc., are MIStranslations which appear in many of our leading "selling" translations, but they never appeared in the original languages of the Scriptures. The wages of sin have always been DEATH, NOT "everlasting" punishment, "everlasting" destruction" or burning in a lake of fire "for ever and ever."
Yes, death, which was IMPUTED to all mankind through the one unrighteous act of Adam, would send ALL of mankind to death-until-Jesus would overcome all His enemies, the last one being death itself. ALL death will be overcome by Jesus. The lake of fire is defined by the Bible itself as the "second death." (Rev. 20:14, Rev. 21:8) Death would reign-until Jesus overcomes it and then Jesus will deliver the kingdom unto God the Father, that He may be "all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28)
If one wants to get down right technical about it (which I don't particularly want to do in this article), many leading selling English Bible translations have just plain missed it when translating the Hebrew word "olam," the Greek word, "aion," and its adjective "aionios." These words simply should never have been translated by words which indicate an eternal state. Many leading scholars today readily admit that. I'll just quote one for this non-technical article just for the reader's sake.
Dr. R. F. Weymouth, translator of the "New Testament in Modern Speech" states in that work, "Eternal, Greek aeonian, i.e., of the ages: Etymologically this adjective, like others similarly formed does not signify, "during" but "belonging to" the aeons or ages." Many more scholars who make similar statements regarding these key Hebrew and Greek words may be found at the "Scholars Corner," at the following Internet sites:
You are about to embark upon a love affair with our Heavenly Father that will transform your life. His heart will heal and transform your heart! For of Him and through Him--and to Him--are ALL things! (Romans 11:36), yourself included. For again, we must remember, our Savior did not come to contradict the words of His own prophets. He came to fulfill them. God hardened all of us, that He might have mercy upon all of us. One can't give mercy to someone unless one is in need of it. And that is why God does not unharden and give mercy to all at once. WE must learn to be like God Who overcomes His enemies with His Love. How can we possibly practice becoming like Him unless He gives us hardened unbelievers who look like enemies? How can we love the unlovely unless He allows some of us to remain unlovely until He chooses to unharden them as well? Paul told the early church that those whom God hardened were to be won through the mercy shown them through us who had received God's mercy.
Concerning the Jews whom God hardened for a season that the gentiles might be grafted into the tree:
Concerning the gospel they are enemies FOR YOUR SAKE, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet now have obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. (Study Church history and see if the Church has shown this mercy to the Jews. Sad story indeed.) For God has committed (shut them all up in) disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 'For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid?' For of Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things to whom be glory forever. Amen.
The Father seeks worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The Father also implores us to reason with Him. Try to fathom the height, depth, length, and width of His Love. Imagine truly knowing the beginning from the end. Imagine being absolutely sovereign over all things, where NOTHING takes you by surprise. Imagine mercy which does not know an end. (Psalm 136) Imagine a judge who always delivers absolutely perfect righteous judgment. Imagine a God who is ever-present everywhere. Imagine a God who says all souls are HIS and that He fashions EVERY heart. (Ez. 18:4; Zech. 12:1; Isaiah 45:9; Psalms 33:15) This God is perfectly Holy. He is NOT a man that He should lie. He does NOT break His promises. He does NOT break His word. While He can get angry for righteousness sake, He will NOT be angry forever nor will He cast off man forever. (Lam. 3:31, 32; Isaiah 57:16) He is a God Who said He was going to overcome His enemies with love and commands us to do likewise if we want to be like Him. (Matt. 5:43-48) When some of Jesus' disciples wanted to pour fire down on some unbelievers' heads because they refused Jesus as Lord, Jesus responded to them, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did NOT come to destroy men's lives,but to save them. (Luke 9:54-56) How much is the spirit of the modern church like these two disciples' and so much UNLIKE the spirit of Jesus?
Imagine a Love that NEVER fails. (1 Cor. 13:8) Imagine a loving God for Whom NOTHING is impossible. (Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26) Imagine a Creator who made you in HIS image-one Who desires that you call Him Daddy, Abba. Imagine YOUR loving heavenly Father Who not only says that He loves, but Who says the He IS LOVE!!! Imagine this Love who said in one of His parables that He leaves the ninety nine sheep to find the single one that is lost and He does NOT give up until He finds it. Have you got all this in your mind and heart? It's really all too big, too wonderful, isn't it? That is why we will need a new spiritual body. Our natural bodies are simply incapable of handling all that our glorious Maker is. Hold all these attributes in your mind as well as you are able.
Now this heavenly Father, our Maker, has a Son. He sent His Son to the earth to accomplish a few things. He gave this Son all power and all authority to accomplish the Father's will and desires. Here are a handful of Scriptures which declare why God the Father sent His only begotten Son into this world:
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the worldthrough Him might be saved. (John 3:17)
Who comes down from heaven and gives Life to the world. (John 6:33)
The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56, KJV, NKJV)
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. (John 12:32)
As you have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. (John 17:2)
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35)
God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1,2)
His purpose is very clear: to reconcile all things back to His Father. (Col. 1:16-20)
According to Scripture, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, created all things, reconciles all things, is Heir of all things, has authority of all things, will have all men to be saved, His grace comes to all men, He takes away the sin of the world, He gives His flesh for the life of the world, He is the propitiation for the sins of the world, Whose gifts are irrevocable of which life is one of the gifts, He manifested to put away sin, He preached to the spirits in prison and holds the keys to death and hell, Who changes not, He is Lord of both the living and the dead, He will destroy all enemies of God the last one being death, Who made all things alive, Who completes the work the Father gave Him to do, Who restores all things, gave Himself a ransom for all, He takes away the curse and said He came to do the will and work of the Father Who wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth so that God, the Father may be all in all! I could lengthen this paragraph considerably, but I think the point has been made.
Now-think and reason with your Maker and the Son Who is probably in your heart. Is it reasonable that God should consign everyone who was ever born to endless misery burning forever in a literal lake of fire which will never be quenched considering the above nature and character of the Father and the purpose of Christ? Most of traditional Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Charismatic Christianity seems to think so. They all say one will burn in Hell if they don't make some kind of decision before they die. Is it reasonable and just to tell the world that if two people commit murder just before they die, if one says the sinner's prayer, he will escape punishment forever and if the other doesn't, he will burn in Hell forever without a chance of pardon? Is this really "justice?" Millions of church-going Christians are taught it is.
Now stay with me for a little while longer. How are people saved? Paul tells us through the foolishness of the preaching of the gospel.(1 Cor. 1:17-21) "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)
"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. 10:8-10)
Paul and Jesus make it quite plain that people are "saved" by hearing the gospel preached, responding to it by believing in one's heart that God raised Jesus from the death and confess Him with the mouth, they will be saved. The Bible also makes it quite clear there is no other name by which mankind can be saved except the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) There are a couple of verses they might indicate one needs to be baptized in some fashion or another as well. (Mark 1:8; John 1:26-33)
Dear reader, are you aware that 2000 years after the gospel was sent into the world, that there are literally thousands of languages in the earth today which do NOT have even pieces of Scriptures let alone an entire Bible? Do you understand that from Adam to the present day, probably well over 95 percent of the world never heard the one name under heaven by which men must be saved? Are you also aware that most of the world who did hear the name hear it from a Catholic priest who told them that Jesus was a piece of cracker which they had to eat in order to be saved? Are you also aware that most denominations of Christianity throughout the ages have added hundreds of other qualifications which potential converts also had to perform or rules one had to abide by in order to stay saved? The list is endless-it ranges from being a member of the "right" church or denomination to a certain form of water baptism to declaring a certain formula to having to speak in tongues, etc. Once a person is saved, there are literally hundreds of ways one can lose their salvation according to the thousands of different denominations which have formed around creeds, men, styles of buildings and worship, nationality, forms of church government, etc.
Let's face it, if we add all the things Jesus said about those who thought they knew Him but whom He would say to, "I never knew you,"(Matt. 7:23) and the many luke-warm who he would "vomit" out of his mouth (Rev. 3:16), surely there is scarcely a person who can really have absolute assurance they are truly saved. Contrast this depressing situation with the nature and character of our heavenly Father and His Son. Do you see a terrible discrepancy? As a matter of fact, the discrepancy is so great that many Christians have had to create other gospels remedy this great gap. Some Christians have invented the "age of accountability" to get the little ones out of the eternal flames. Surely they do it quite unscripturally. There isn't a shred of Scripture which supports such a cause noble as it may be. The Scriptures plainly state "there is NONE righteous, nay, not one." (Rom. 3:10-12) "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) No-the teaching that children are innocent until a mythical age of accountability might partially remove the black eye He suffered from the church's "good news" which is terribly bad for almost ALL of mankind, but it's not in the Bible.
Some well-meaning Christians try to justify God for sending almost all of mankind to Hell even though they never heard the name of Christ by stating Romans 1:20 makes it plain that all can see that there is a god just by looking at trees, stars, rocks, etc. Well, there were MANY heathens who believed in a god through nature. The nation of Israel was surrounded by nations who believed in gods of all kind because they saw something divine in nature, but did that save them? NO! They were called idolators! One does not find Jesus by looking at clouds and trees. One finds Jesus through the preaching of the Good News. No preaching, no salvation. Archaeology conclusively proves this fact. We only find Christian civilizations where the Gospel was preached. We do NOT find it in civilizations in which there were no Bibles or preachers of the Gospel.
To try to get some of those who never heard the gospel into heaven because they realize it isn't fair to send someone to Hell if they've never heard the gospel tell us that God will judge people based upon the condition of their heart. If they are good people, God will save them even if they've never heard the gospel. While that certainly makes God look a lot better than what traditional Christianity teaches, this teaching totally contradicts the Bible which plainly states "there is NONE righteous, nay not one." Furthermore, it negates the cross completely. If people can get saved outside of the cross, then there was no reason for Christ's death. Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell. But according to Scripture, there are no "good people" from God's point of view. When someone called Jesus good, Jesus said to them, "Why do you call me good? There is none good except God."
All these extra-biblical ways to try to get more people out of the traditional Hell and into heaven are because the traditional view has so grossly distorted the gospel and the character of God, that well-meaning Christians have felt the need to invent non-scriptural means to empty the traditional Hell some. The traditional concept of salvation, when carefully scrutinized, surely puts almost all of mankind into Hell. How can grace have abounded much more than sin with such pathetic results. Adam condemns all of mankind to death, Jesus manages to squeeze out a pathetic handful for Himself and then is compelled to send the rest of mankind to eternal tortures which would make Hitler's actions look like child's play.
Until the heart of God and the will of God become the foundational factors determining our understanding of Scripture, our "gospel" will be bad news--not good. "God is Love, but" is simply not the message the Holy Spirit is conveying to us in the Bible (1 John 4:10,14).
(Many of the above "forever-til" verses came from an excellent work entitled "Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ: Four Views of the Salvation of Our God" by Charles Slagle. The book may be ordered from Charles & Paula Slagle, P. O. Box 17419, San Antonio, TX., 78217 or phone at 817-685-7617. It is also on the internet at:http://www.tentmaker.org under "books.")
Listed below are some reference materials which will help the reader with the Truth side of Bible translations, how to push through the traditions of men which have found their way onto the very pages of the Bible. And there is also some material which will help the reader discover the real nature of the God of the Scriptures.
Some links are to brief articles. Others are to full and well-documented reference books. In addition, at the bottom of the page is a link to Bibles and concordances for the individual to do their own searches and also two links to Internet sites full of more books and articles on these most important subjects.
Truly the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth even as the waters cover the seas. Open your minds and hearts and let the Glory of God, our Father and Jesus Christ, His Son, shine upon you! The first few entries on this list deal with Hell and the Bible. The next few deal primarily with the mistranslation of the key words "olam," "aion," and "aionios," and a few other key Greek words followed by several works that show that the early believers closest to the original languages believed in the salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ.
These works show/prove that this teaching is perfectly consistent with the original Greek and Hebrew AND more importantly with the nature of the God of the Bible.
Hell is Leaving the "Bible Forever"The word "Hell" is disappearing from the pages of English Bible translations and HAS already completely disappeared from many of them. Even those leading selling translations which contain the word usually don't use the word more that a dozen times or so? Why so few times if indeed salvation is FROM such a terrible fate? Was God absent minded? Or is it NOT found in the original languages at all? Scholars are beginning to see that a few key ancient words should NEVER have been translated to mean eternal.
Hell is Leaving the Bible "Forever" (Updated and expanded version)Hell is leaving the Bible forever. Contains a Chart showing many Bible translations which DO NOT contain the concept of a Hell of everlasting punishment and many scriptural proofs that words like "eternity," "forever and ever," "everlasting" in various leading Bible translations are simply gross errors.
Bibles That do not Teach A Hell of Everlasting Punishment (also Entitled "The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail")This article is a comparison and list prepared by Gary Amirault showing that there are major differences among English translations regarding the teaching of Hell. Many Bible translations do NOT contain the word Hell nor the concept of everlasting punishment.
The Bible HellAn excellent short book by Dr. John Wesley Hanson detailing the history of the English word "Hell." He also goes into thorough detail discussing the Greek and Hebrew words, Sheol, Gehenna, Hades and Tartarus.
The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless PunishmentAn excellent well-documented full-length book by Thomas Thayer proving the teaching of Hell and Everlasting Punishment was added to Christianity centuries after Jesus walked this earth.
Analytical Study of WordsLouis Abbott spent 50 years combing the Greek of the Bible and related reference works. Once believing in Hell, his studies turned him away from such a concept because he could not find it in the original languages of the Bible. He quotes many outstanding scholars who have come to a similar conclusion...Jesus is indeed Savior of the whole world.
The Greek Word Aion/Aionios Translated Everlasting/Eternal in the Holy Bibleby Dr. John Wesley HansonSurely, the Greek word aion and its adjective aionios have been mistranslated in most Bible translations leading to grave misrepresentations regarding the length of punishment and Hell in the Bible. This book is probably the best one on this most important subject.
The Power of Life and Death in a Four Letter Greek Word: AionA short article by Gary Amirault that shows how important the correct translation of a single Greek word can be in truly understanding the God of the Bible. There is a REAL problem with how some leading selling English Bible translations have translated the word "aion" and its adjective "aionios."
Does ForeverS and EverS Make Sense to You?This article by Gary Amirault deals with the various double construct forms of the Greek word "aion" found in the Greek New Testament. The author shows that many leading selling English Bible translations have translated these constructs after the traditions of their denominations, NOT according to the Greek or correct English grammar.
Eternal Death; One Step out of Hell, One Step short of GloryThis work by Gary Amirault deals with the concepts sometimes called "Conditional Mortality," "Eternal Death," or "Annihilationism." The leading visible figure espousing this view is Dr. Edward Fudge. Many small groups of Christians hold such a view: The Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, many Bible Student Movement groups, etc. This work shows that the original languages of the Bible do not allow for such a view. This view would still make God out to be an utter failure, which He is not.
Olethron Aionion (Eternal Destruction)An excellent short note from "Word Studies in the New Testament" by Dr. Marvin R. Vincent. There are a few key passages in leading selling English translations of the Bible which have been mistranslated causing the God of the Bible to appear to be double-minded. This brief note examines one of those key passages.
Etymology of the Word "Damned"Most modern English translations no longer use that word. Why? Because this word has been changed by theologians to such an extend that it no longer even remotely means what it did when it was first used in the original King James Bible. Discover what it originally meant before "theologians" changed its meaning. By Gary Amirault (use attached article) Aion This small book by Dr. John Wesley Hanson is perhaps the complete treatment of a Greek work which has been mistransated by several of the leading selling Bible translations. He proves conclusively the word "aion" and its adjective "aionios" should NEVER have been translated eternal, everlasting, or for ever and ever. It's clearly a timely word.
Time and EternityAn excellent short book by G. T. Stevens examining the Greek, Hebrew, Latin words behind our English concepts of time and eternity. It traces how Hebrew words denoting time were changed to the idea of eternity through Jerome's Latin Vulgate.
Bible Threatenings ExplainedSome leading selling English Bible translations seem to teach both the concept of everlasting punishment AND universalism, that is, the salvation of all mankind. This book by Dr. John Wesley Hanson shows that those passages in SOME translations that teach Hell have been mistranslated or misinterpreted. Dr. Hanson analyzes each of those passages of Scripture which appear to teach endless punishment proving the original Greek and Hebrew taught something entirely different.
Early Christian View of the SaviorMany Orthodox scholars acknowledge that the early Church did NOT primarily believe in Hell, but believed in the salvation of all mankind. They termed their belief in Greek "apocatastasis," that is, the restoration of all things back to God. This work by Gary Amirault quotes some of those Orthodox historians as well as some of the early church leaders who taught universalism though Jesus Christ.
Universalism in the First 500 Years of the ChurchA well-referenced full length book by Dr. John Wesley Hanson proving that the message of Universalism, that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the entire world, was the majority view of the early Church and its leaders.
The Doctrine of Scriptural RetributionBrother of the famous Henry Ward Beecher, Dr. Edward Beecher traces the teachings of punishment after death to their original sources. He discovered this teaching does NOT originate from the original texts of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.
One Hundred Scriptural Proofs That Jesus is the Savior of All MankindA list of scores of Scriptures by Thomas Whittemore proving that Jesus Christ is indeed Savior of the whole world, not just a part of it.
Arguments in Favor of Biblical UniversalismThe twentieth chapter of E. E. Guild's book "Universalist's Book of Reference. The Scriptures implore us to "reason together" with God. This chapter reveals the reasonableness of Jesus Christ truly being the Savior of all instead of a few.
Bible ProofsAnother fine work by Dr. J.W. Hanson showing both the reasonableness of the Doctrine of the Salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ, but also it's scriptural foundation.
Just What Do You Man By "The Judgment?"Christians have been brainwashed to believe in a false and unbiblical concept of God's judgments. This book by J. Preston Eby brings God's judgments and punishments back into their proper Biblical places.
Bible Search ToolLots of Bible Translations and search tools. Compare your favorite translation with Young's Literal Translation or Weymouth's NT and see some MAJOR differences regarding Hell.
Hell ChartsIn-depth statistics and charts showing how all the Greek and Hebrew "hell" words have been translated by many different Bible translations. (This is the chart that's in the Hell's Encyclopedia)http://www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com/HellStudy/HellCharts.htmhttp://www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com/HellStats/hell.htm
There are many other well-researched articles on the subjects of Hell, everlasting punishment, and Universalism (Salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ at the following urls. Try the provided search engines on these sites to help you find specific persons, events, or passages of Scripture.http://www.tentmaker.orghttp://what-the-hell-is-hell.com
© 2017 Yuku. All rights reserved.