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Is there a Hell? Yes, experts say, and it's awful
Monday 3 April 2000

Hell, recently downgraded to a state of "nothingness" by the Church of England, will make a comeback this week in a new report.

A group representing millions of Christians will insist that hell is all too real and sinners consigned there will face unimaginable torment.

The strongly worded study by a working party of five - including an Oxford theologian - argues that the level of punishment meted out to the wicked will be linked to the severity of their sins in life.

And while it warns against a literal interpretation of biblical images of lakes of fire, undying worms and the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it says that they are symbolic of the true horrors awaiting those who reject the teachings of Christ.

The study urges church leaders not to shy away from teaching the realities of Hell to their congregations, although "fire and brimstone" sermons are discouraged. At the funeral of someone whose relationship to God has been "unclear" or even hostile, for example, the report cautions against "explicit pronouncement on that person's eternal destiny".

The 140-page report, The Nature of Hell, was drawn up under the aegis of the Evangelical Alliance, which represents a million Christians, including many Anglicans.

Its working party included an Anglican theologian from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, a Baptist academic and a senior lecturer at the London Bible College.

Its conclusions are in sharp contrast to a Church of England report approved by the general synod in 1996 that criticised traditional images of hellfire and damnation and said annihilation was a more accurate picture than eternal torment.

The new study, which was welcomed by spokesmen for the Roman Catholic Church yesterday, concedes that many find the doctrine of Hell "indefensible and obsolete", but it was an uncomfortable truth.

"Hell is more than mere annihilation at the point of death," the report said. "As well as separation from God, Hell involves severe punishment. Scripture depicts this punishment in various ways, using both psychological and physical terminology.

"Although this terminology is often metaphorical and we should be wary of inferring more details about Hell than scripture itself affords, Hell is a conscious experience of rejection and torment.

"There are degrees of punishment and suffering in Hell related to the severity of sins committed on Earth.

"We should, however, be wary of speculating on how exactly the correlation between sins committed and the penalties imposed will operate."

But the report does concede that there are differences among evangelicals over whether those in Hell suffer eternally, or whether the unrighteous are "destroyed" after a period of torment.

The Reverend David Hilborn, the convenor of the working group, said the Church of England's report was "lacking in fullness". He said Hell consisted of three elements - privation, separation from God and punishment - and the Church of England's report failed to emphasise its punitive nature.

"When people talk about the likes of Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, they often say they want him to `rot in Hell'," said Mr Hilborn.

"That shows how deep the idea of divine justice is in our language. The same is true of people such as Hitler, Stalin and Attila the Hun.

"From all the evidence of their lives, it is possible to infer that they will be in for a pretty rough time.

"There are indications in the Bible that there are gradations of punishment but no one can second-guess God."


I table this article to fan your paranoia. It infers you're probably in for a pretty rough time...,gradually, er..., by degrees, er - Celcius!

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (, April 03, 2000


So what happened to the forgiving God? I think there are an awful lot of people who are in a living hell right now. Some caused by themselves, some caused by their gov't, and some caused by nature and other events in their lives. Try watching your child die by degrees from starvation. Could hell be any worse? Just some thoughts. I personaly feel that we all go to the same place and work through our problems. Obviously some have more work to do than others. I believe that we come back again, and try it again, and will do so until we get it right. I am sure I have a few trips left in this old soul!! Taz

-- Taz (, April 03, 2000.

taz, you want to come back? geesh. i think my single go round is sufficient. especially when, if you don't behave properly in this life, you might come back in a lower state. no thanks. i am taking my free ticket out of here.

god didn't want hell and it did not originally exist if you look at the bible. god created "hell" (or some part of hell) when lucifer fell and took a third of the angels with him. it seems that there has to be one or more parts of "hell" to hold 1) the angels that were so bad they were immediately bound when they fell (must have been pretty bad), 2) souls that did not believe in god or acknowledge him (after all why would they want to be in his presence if they don't believe in him?), 3) at the end, a "lake of fire" to abolish the devil and his forces at the very end of time.

again, if people don't believe in or love god, why would they want to spend eternity with him in "his place"???? his place will not be a democracy. i can't picture a non-believer wanting to be there.

i personally believe in a fairly literal translation of the ways in which the bible describes hell. in revelation, john was carried into another realm and it says that he was seeing these events with his own eyes. i think he was just doing the best he could to describe the fantastically surrealistic sights.

-- tt (, April 03, 2000.

...I have it on good authority that everyone in Hell acts and sounds like Andy. Every few seconds someone shouts in your ear "BUY GOLD!"

-- Y2K Pro (, April 03, 2000.

This earlier thread shows that there is Hell on Earth

-- Risteard Mac Thomais (, April 03, 2000.

LOL Pro. You have no room to talk with your endless cut and pastes of loony tunes predictions.

-- haha (, April 03, 2000.

What's up with these deep philosophical questions? I'm still looking for someone who can vouch for Idaho's existence. Oh sure, it's on the map, but have you ever MET anyone from Idaho? Have you ever seen an Idaho license plate? Not saying that it's a hoax, but I'm gonna need a little more evidence than a name on a map....

-- FactFinder (, April 03, 2000.


I understand that this is simply anecdotal, but I've BEEN to Idaho. It resembles Montana in many ways, but skinnier and taller. They grow the beef in Montana and the potatoes in Idaho, and THAT's why folks like meat and potatoes. Of course if you live in the East, you must drive through IOWA to get to Idaho. The view from a car window in Iowa can be compared to watching paint dry. If that sounds corny, it's because it is....Iowa, I mean.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), April 03, 2000.


I've met someone who claims to have been *raised* in Idaho, but for all I know he's a lying, NWO agent. Come to think of it, Most of the planes I've been on seemed to be travelling in large, slow circles. I wonder if anywhere else exists?


-- Someone (, April 04, 2000.


My buddy from Boise would like to know if you exist? He lives a long stone's throw from J.R. Simplot's place, where the American flag that Simplot flies is bigger than most people's concrete driveways.

Don't bad-mouth Idaho too loudly, or Simplot's private militia might hear of it. Also the guys in Hayden Lake send their regards.

-- potato head (potatohead@frieswith.that), April 04, 2000.

Ok Anita, potato head, I guess I should fess up, I did drive through the south (eastern?) corner of a place that had a sign that said "Idaho", it was beautiful, rugged mountains, etc. I just never saw a city, "Boise" or otherwise, and really can't remember seeing any other vehicles. But I'm with Frank on this one, anyone can put a sign up....I coulda been in Kansas for all I know...

Now as far as dreadful places, have you tried driving west out of Fargo, North Dakota? Now Fargo was ugly itself (except for near the campus), but going west, drive as fast as you can, straight flat road for 100 miles or more, nothing to see here folks, 'til you hit those maginficant badlands...

-- FactFinder (, April 05, 2000.

Fact Finder, it can't be as bad as Kansas. Driving from Missouri, across the entire length of Kansas, to Colorado by the straightest route, is my version of hell on earth. Endless nothing; the monotony is only broken by the overwhelming, gawwwwd awful stench of feed lots, all right next to the highway. One place had a sign that said Scenic Overlook, and it overlooked a non-ending cattle feed lot. Had I been a meat eater, that drive would have cured me forever.

-- gilda (, April 05, 2000.

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