Did you know that not everyone believes in a literal hell? Hell is the subject of much debate. I was taught in church that hell is a real place, a place of eternal torment and is the logical and fair consequences of someone arrogantly rejecting God’s offer of grace. I believe that lost souls will exist forever in a conscious state in an actual place where they will experience misery and torment for their sins, especially the sin of unbelief. This article explains that there will not be a one-size fits all punishment in hell because God judges righteously. In reading that article, keep in my mind that those who have had their sins forgiven by grace through faith will not be in hell or be judged, they are considered righteous because of Jesus.
However, some churches are teaching other ideas about hell, such as, when you’re dead that’s it, there is no hell or that hell is a temporary torment or fire, but after a period of time you cease existing. These people claim that God would never punish someone forever in such a way. Evidently this belief in a kinder, gentler God is more popular than ever because of the growth of seeker friendly church methods that have removed the teachings of sin, judgment and hell. These churches focus on Jesus’s positive messages, living your best life now and working for social justice.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists are two sects (some say cults) that are known for their non-mainstream teachings on hell. The JW believe that you simply die, but they also believe in resurrection. Honestly I could not make sense of their beliefs because they are so different than orthodox Christianity. I looked up some articles about death, hell and judgment on the JW website and all I can say is they do not read the same Bible that I read. The Seventh Day Adventists teach that when believers die, they are dead until they are resurrected and unbelievers simply stay dead. They do not believe in the existence of the soul apart from the body. Considering the thousands of cases of near-death experiences in which people have described dying, leaving their bodies and seeing dead loved ones and then returning to their bodies, I would have to say that the SDA have some ‘splaining to do.
In my perspective if hell is not real or does not equal eternal suffering in a place separated from God, many people would be a whole lot less interested in being saved from it. But some seem to think that avoiding teaching about hell and judgment, and sin for that matter, is going to draw more people to Christ. I don’t see that happening. What I see actually happening is the replacement of belief in God with other worldviews such as scientism and nihilism and existentialism.
The unbiblical teaching of universalism is one reason for not teaching about hell. This view teaches that all people, regardless of whether they know and obey the revealed truth about Jesus and God, will be saved. If this is true, then throw out your Bible and get busy partying! We don’t have to do anything, study anything, pray, stop sinning, obey any commandments, or love God and our neighbor! And all those sacrifices, including the Lamb of God on the cross, were for just for fun. Whew, glad they figured that out. Not! These are lies straight from the devil. Remember back in Genesis? Satan told Eve (with a sly smile, no doubt) , “You will not surely die.” And then we all know what happened. Death! Destruction! War! Do not fall for his lies and tricks.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Jesus. John 14:6
If there is no judgment for sins, is there a need for religion? The world is dividing into religious and non-religious factions. Those who are religious must courageously examine their beliefs and be willing to defend them in the coming anti-religious culture. Christians must study and discover what the Bible actually teaches about important doctrines such as hell, death, and judgment and not rely on someone else to do their thinking lest they be led astray by false teachers. If God is who he claims to be, our creator, provider, savior and judge, we must get to know him better!
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The Judgment at Christ’s Coming
 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. ESV
What do you think? What is your belief about hell? Do you think teaching about hell is a good or bad practice as far as trying to save the lost? If you are not a Christian, what do you think happens after someone dies? Do people have souls? Is the world going to hell in a handbasket?