Why I’m *Really* Going to Hell (Or So I’m Told)

(I’m re-publishing this because I added an item. Hope you like it.)

Last year, I wrote a post joking about going to Hell based on a discussion thread I posted on Beliefnet.com. It was meant to lighten the mood on a normally-heavy debate board. It was mostly successful, but there were several people who didn’t appreciate my sense of humor and implied that God wouldn’t either; I *am* in the Bible Belt, after all. After reading a few responses, I figured I’d better write a something a bit more serious. According to some people, here are the reasons I’m going to Hell.

Having the wrong political views.

But Here’s 5 Reasons Why American Evangelicalism Completely Lost Me

I’m citing this post by Benjamin Corey because item #1 speaks directly to what I’ve experienced. The person I dated before my husband was a deeply conservative Christian. It ended for a lot of reasons, but I’m mentioning this because being with him got me sucked into the Evangelical culture and politics Corey mentions. It’s very disturbing how some people would judge your faith by whether or not you supported the Bush administration and/or the Republican party. It wasn’t as creepy as the movie Jesus Camp, but it still felt weird. As a then-Democrat, I learned very quickly to keep my mouth shut lest I be accused of “helping the Devil” or something like that. I can’t explain it any better than Corey does, but what got to me the most was that there really was a time when I thought God had abandoned me because of my beliefs. Before you scoff, consider that few things make you feel farther from God than the depression that comes along with untreated bipolar disorder. Why was it untreated, you ask? Well….

Seeing secular medical treatment. It wasn’t getting medical treatment that was the problem so much as the “lack of faith” that prompted me to seek said treatment instead of relying on God to heal me. In “Prosperity Gospel” circles (more on why it’s BS in another post), that can mean anything from having somehow lost my way to (gasp!) not being a Real Christian at all. The fact that I had gone back on medication after having tried the “supernatural healing” approach made it even worse because it was thought that I got sick again because I lost faith and God had taken away the healing. How this made sense to anyone I’ll never know, but it’s thoughts like this that can make someone already suffering from depression or something like it feel even worse. If even God doesn’t love you, you must be a piece of crap, right? I actually began to wonder if the “diagnoses” of me having an unclean spirit that needed to be cast out were true after all. Again, scoff all you want; When you feel like something else is inside of you controlling your thoughts and actions the way you would in “mixed state”, you’d believe it too.

Strangely enough, I never *did* lose faith. I still believed and sought God throughout all of this. Take that!

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Despite the fact that it comes right from the source , I haven’t heard this one as often as the others. The only reason I’m mentioning it is because no one can tell me what this actually *means*. Was it laughing when I saw, “I found Jesus-He was behind the couch” on a T-shirt? Was it playing Cards Against Humanity and giggling at some of the less-disrespectful cards? Some of them *do* mention God or Jesus. When I see a really rude one I’ll say “that’s just wrong” or “that’s sacrilegious”, but I don’t bow out of the game. Was it when I used to play with Ouija boards as a teenager? I won’t touch the damned things now; they creep me out. Was it when a boyfriend started exploring Paganism in college? When a Catholic one stopped going to confession? He said he’d been made to do the “church thing” growing up and was enjoying the freedom. Was it when my friend told God to “shove it” when her husband died shortly after their son was born?

The definition that makes the most sense to me is, strangely again, not the one I hear most often. The way my former Southern Baptist church explained it to me was that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an ongoing, willful rejection of God. It’s not something you do out of anger or youthful ignorance, nor is it related to your choice of entertainment; that’s another matter altogether. It was also said that it’s not something a Christian can do because, if someone is willing to completely deny Jesus, they probably weren’t saved to begin with. If you’re asking this question, you probably haven’t committed this sin because if you had, you wouldn’t care.

As for the aforementioned Catholic, he never left the church; as much as he liked sleeping in on Sunday, he realized pretty quickly that nothing can take the place of Jesus. I wonder if this minor “straying” was a way of showing him that.

I’m happy for my brother. Before you say “huh?”, let me explain. My brother and his now-husband live in a state (Hawaii) that, after years of debate, finally allows same-sex marriage. They have been together for nearly 35 years but, because of their genders, somehow their relationship is less “real” and worthy of celebration than celebrities who ask for divorce via text message or leave after six months because the “honeymoon phase” is over and it’s not fun anymore.

Some in the more conservative circles would say that homosexuality is an “abomination” and that, by being happy for my brother, I’m somehow “condoning sin” or, worse, participating in it. I think this is ridiculous because even if I did believe homosexuality was a “choice”-and the hell my gay friends went through in trying to “make themselves straight” tells me it’s not-, I’m happy that someone I care about is happy. Period. It would be one thing if this happiness hurt someone else, but it doesn’t. It’s just there for him, his husband and everyone they love to share in. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I’m a feminist of sorts. I think women are equal to men and should be treated as such. I don’t see why this is a big deal.

Not trying to convert everyone I meet. I’ve had friends of other faiths (or none at all) for a long time. This isn’t a problem for most Evangelicals, but I heard some pretty nasty comments about how I needed to “convert” certain people so they won’t go to Hell. I see two things wrong with this view: 1) I was under the impression that it was the Holy Spirit who converted people, I was just the messenger, and b) I know from experience that the harder you push something on someone, the more likely they are to push back. Harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your faith; in fact, I do it all the time. I’m not aggressive about it or bring it up in every conversation, but I love learning and talking about Jesus and religion in general. I wasn’t raised a Christian, so this is a big change. I just don’t know why I would need to be aggressive about it when the people who showed me to Jesus were anything but. They didn’t just talk about the Gospel-they lived it. Even if they didn’t say word one about God, you could see Him written all over their faces and in their lives. That is how I want to be. I want to bring people to God the way they did for me. Like I said, though, He’s the one who does the “saving”. I just want to lead people to the door. I suck at that, but that’s another post.

These are just a few of the reasons I’ve been told I’m going to Hell. I’m not saying that doing the right things isn’t important because it is, but I’m not sure if that’s really the “point” of Christianity. I don’t know; I just want to be like Jesus. Perhaps I need to be thinking more about *that* than what other people say. One day at a time.

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About theprozacqueen

30s, female, married, Georgia US, very opinionated, open-minded mostly, too nice for my own good, Christian, fairly liberal, friendly. I have a pretty big family and several friends and in-laws that might as well be family. I don't have kids, but I have five cats who think they're kids. I have a silly (and sometimes off-color) sense of humor. I'm a Christian so I'll try not to be nasty or use bad language in my posts, but I'm not making any promises, View all posts by theprozacqueen

11 responses to “Why I’m *Really* Going to Hell (Or So I’m Told)

  • thewritingoflife

    I too am probably going to hell, providing there is one. If I’m going it’s because I question, and even doubt, the justice of God. I can’t believe that the God (a loving, caring, just, fair, unbiased, etc.) we were told about for the first 18 years of our lives in Sunday school would allow things like mental illness stealing so much human potential, children dying from cancer, needless and pointless suffering and pain, war, morally just people living in dire poverty, and many prosperous people being psychopaths who actively flaunt how they don’t care about religion, decency, God, or justice. I just don’t get how it that so many good people suffer and so many bad people prosper if God really cares about us and our well being. Now, don’t give me any of this ‘we’re not righteous in the eyes of God’ nonsense. I can’t accept any God who would set a moral standard that is completely unobtainable. I do believe that there is a great power in the universe that people have called God for thousands of years. But I do not believe that this great power is like what anyone in a church, temple, mosque, etc. teaches it is. I believe that the basics of most religions (love God, the source of life, or nature, care about other humans and living things, and have respect for yourself) are good things to live by but most people fail in at least one of these bare basics. But the add ons like ‘you’re going to hell for not attending worship every meeting’, ‘you’re going to hell for not doing certain rituals,’ ‘life is not meant to be enjoyed and is only a testing ground for the afterlife,’ etc. make no sense to me and don’t have any real basis in any reality. I’m probably just wasting my breath, but these are all reasons why I am probably going to hell.

    Like

    • theprozacqueen

      No, keep going, you’re not wasting your breath at all. I understand what you mean re: how could a loving God allow those things to happen. I have no idea why He’s allowed certain things to happen in my life, but I’ve noticed that some of the worst ones were the ones that either taught me a lesson or turned me in another direction. I wish I could say the same for the larger problems in the world because I have no clue what can be learned by that…

      As for questioning…I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t questioned at least some of the things we see attributed to God in the world or in their personal lives…if they say they don’t, they’re either lying or they just haven’t gotten to that point yet in their lives. Either way, I feel bad for them.

      I hope I’ve understood you correctly. Thanks and keep in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

    • theprozacqueen

      Oh and something I forgot…I’ll bet you that at least some of the people who point fingers at those who don’t follow all the right rituals are the ones with much bigger skeletons in their closet.

      One thing I really like about my (Episcopal) church is that the liturgy only focuses on dealing with our own sins…the idea is that, if we spend the time and energy necessary to keep our *own* houses clean, we won’t have time to poke at anyone else. That makes a lot of sense to me…

      Liked by 1 person

  • sonofthemountains

    I asked the Tao once, “are you and God the same being,” and the answer I inferred was close to something like, “Different names, different forms, everything is connected, and the whole Universe is One.” If that’s not deep, I don’t know what is!!

    I am “not” going to Hell, even though I’m more guilty than you of all the stuff you listed (LOLz at the notion of degrees of guilt), because I understand now what it is to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.” I puzzled over that for literally my entire high school career. Then I got to college, and didn’t care anymore. After college, I realized the key — don’t capitalize “Holy Spirit,” like all the ultra-con and neo-con and super-fundies do, because the point of God, the true “spirit” of the Lord, is not to set Himself apart from people, so that they may never connect with him. The capital letters always seem to be used for things Holier-Than-Thou. That vision Peter had on some guy’s house’ rooftop was a revelation: the new way for “Believers” to behave is NOT to make grace unattainable for anyone, much less morality and forgiveness. I like your Southern Baptist notion of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, because it is pretty close to what I feel I discovered. Think of this: rather than treating the Holy Spirit as a separate entity, because come on, that Trinity theological debate is just confusing, interpret the words as such: The only thing which God cannot forgive someone doing is working directly against and lying about what the spirit of the Lord is, e.g. what one would do in the spirit of “Godliness.” The preachers who lead captive congregations from the pulpit, but molest children or teenagers behind closed doors, are most certainly blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. I, who will not set foot in a church these days for my own reasons, do not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, as it were, because everything I learned about what God works for, and what God wants, and whom God loves (everyone, obviously, it’s such a central tenant of Christianity that it Blows My Mind to see “Christians” treating people who aren’t exactly like them in every way as if those people are unloved by God. THOSE Christians are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.) I learned by listening to what He shows me and tells me. I hear it on the wind, in the trees, and in the words and emotions of others. We’re all in this together, and connecting the Universe is God, and naturally, the only possible explanation for existence is that God wants to improve existence, for all, and give all a chance. No one can refute that. The problem is, God is not necessarily as involved as many say he is. If that were true, the prevalence of famine, disease, and violence would be somewhat stemmed or limited. What is obvious is that God has firmly decided that humans must fend for themselves, physically, upon the Earth. diseases are naturally occurring in nature and genetics. Poverty, starvation and violence occur because some humans notoriously take advantage of and harm others, especially when they have something to gain from it. The thing is, though, if God just stepped in and fixed it all, humans would learn NOTHING (go look up all that wishy-washy back-and-forth bit the tribes of Israel did back in Elijah’s day and more, about “Yes we believe in the Lord!” then they would worship pagan gods when everything was fixed for them.), and continue to be terrible creatures. By forcing us to fix our own problems, maybe finally God has a way of getting people to do what He would want them to do — care for your fellow (wo)Man, make the world a better place, love fellow humans, and work toward the good of all. Those who go against this are the blasphemers, and they are just as prevalent within the church of self-professed “Christians” as out of it.

    Funny thing — “Christian” is supposedly a classifiable term, but it is literally impossible to accurately know what exactly is in someone’s head or heart….unless you’re God. It doesn’t matter what people “say,” it matters what they do and what they believe. We as persons can only prove one of those two factors. Christian, as a term, is meaningless, unless you live it all the time. And it has nothing to do with verbal evangelism, either. Literally, go MAKE the world a kind of place Christ would be proud of. Stop judging others and start caring for them. Is what Christ would tell the blasphemers.

    NB

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    • theprozacqueen

      I completely agree with you re: if God just fixed everything humans screwed up rather than letting us (sometimes) make our own mistakes, we’d never learn anything. I think a lot of us take Him for granted enough as it is-at least, I do.

      You mention that people who claim to be all Christian and then go and hurt people are the ones who really blaspheme the spirit…it kind of reminds me of something a friend calls the Aslan/Tash example…Aslan was the God figure in Chronicles of Narnia and Tash the Satan figure. When asked…well, pretty much this very same question, Aslan said that since he’s all good and Tash is all bad, any good deeds ultimately serve him regardless of whose name they’re done in. Same for Tash-he’s all evil so evil deeds ultimately serve him no matter what label is on it. Like you said, what they say doesn’t matter nearly as much as what they do.

      Have I understood you correctly? It’s been *that* kind of day.
      Thanks and come back soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • sonofthemountains

        Sounds like you may have understood me better than I did! Wonderful reply, and it’s been a pleasure to visit!! 🙂
        I will leave on this note, only as a joke — I don’t know if you watch or have ever watched Family Guy, but there’s a quick bit where Peter says, “Oh, wow, Thank you, Jesus!” just as a habitual phrase, and then it clips to Jesus in cloudy Heaven, standing next to the Hindu god Krishna. Jesus says “Uh, actually, this one was him…” and Krishna says, “Oh, it’s alright, I get that all the time.”

        All in good fun!

        Like

      • theprozacqueen

        LOL I thought that one was funny too. Krishna looked *pissed*!

        Liked by 1 person

  • betty

    Visiting from the A/Z Road Trip; I don’t think I made it to your blog during the challenge, so I’m trying to visit all that signed up for the road trip. I enjoyed reading your thoughts you expressed here. I totally agree with wanting to be like Jesus, to model him in how I live and in what I say. That I think gets people’s attention more than anything else.

    betty

    Like

    • theprozacqueen

      Thanks for stopping by! I’ve never joined a blog challenge like this before…so should I do the A-Z posts too, or am I too late for that?

      Like

    • theprozacqueen

      As for showing Jesus in your words and your life, I think that’s a very important thing we (myself included!) often miss. I think of the phrase, “You may be the only Bible some people ever read”. It’s true. I’ve dealt with a lot of non-Christians who either left the faith or are turned off entirely *because* of the behavior of Christians they’ve known. There have been times when I’ve wondered if I might be one of those Christians. It was the example of the Christian life my friends showed that made me want to come to Jesus-I just hope and pray I can be that for someone else.

      Again, thanks for stopping by! I checked out your blog, I’ll have to comment…I’m one of those people who reads more than they write.

      Like

  • Random Musings (@randommusings29)

    I was actually here looking for your A-Z posts and this post caught my eye! If the things you describe send you to Hell, then I’ll see you there 😉
    Popping by on the A to Z Road Trip
    Debbie
    http://www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

    Like

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