“Why, oh WHY, Mr. MonT-SteR, would you write about such a morbid and terrifying subject?”
Well, friends, I have to confess that I don’t really like doing it. As I mentioned in my last post, I feel compelled to do so. You’ll see why as you read on.
I need to begin by first relating a conversation I had in college with someone who found herself increasingly at odds with the Christian faith she had grown up with. For the sake of this post, I’ll refer to her as Mona. Mona’s boyfriend at the time was an ardent atheist, and a very bright one at that. No doubt his questions and points of disagreement with Christianity seemed insurmountable to her, and so Mona teetered between belief and apostasy.
A chance meeting between the two of us in the hall of our dorm gave us the opportunity to chat, which in turn brought up matters of faith (or the lack thereof). Eventually, Mona confessed that she was nearly prepared to chuck her faith altogether.
“Really?” I asked, with an alarm I couldn’t hide. “How come?”
“Because there are things about Christianity that I don’t think are right,” she said. “For example, I just don’t believe that a good and loving God would send people to Hell.”
We both had classes to attend, so time didn’t allow for any further discussion on the matter until later. But I knew enough to understand that Mona’s objection was ill-formed — it didn’t accurately reflect a Christian understanding of judgment and punishment of the wicked.
“Well,” I replied, “I have to say that I disagree with you on that. If you’d like, we can talk about it later.”
Mona said she’d like that, and we went our separate ways.
I’m sorry to say that a combination of busyness and shifting social circles made our parting that day a permanent one. I never did get to talk with Mona about Hell or any of the other Christian doctrines she was struggling with. But our short conversation serves to illustrate what a stumbling block the notion of Hell can be to belief in Christ. Millions of people ask Mona’s question every day: How can a good and loving God allow people to suffer unspeakable horrors in Hell for all eternity?
But tMR readers asked another question at the beginning of my post: Why write about this of all things? Well, I actually pretended that 1) tMR actually has readers, and 2) said pretend readers actually asked that question. Pathetic as that may be, here’s my two-part answer:
- I want to explore the biblical case for the reality of Hell. Is it solid, tenuous, or inconclusive? Through that process, I hope to present an accurate picture of Hell that may serve to remove an obstacle to belief in Christ for some who read The MonT-SteR REPORT.
- I am embarking on this project because I recently had two extremely vivid and disturbing dreams about Hell. I belong to the camp in Christianity that believes God still chooses dreams as a means of communication that is both secondary and subservient to the record of Scripture. Hence, I feel that the dreams I had may reflect the reality of Hell in some measure. But I only want to discuss them in light of what the Bible has to say on the matter, since it is the authoritative standard for Christian faith and praxis.
You want to know what my dreams were, don’t you? Hey, I’m not gonna show all my cards at once. I’ve got to give you folks a reason to come back!
Stay tuned for Part II….
aka The MonT-SteR