In this episode, we take our first phone call from a loser, discuss middle America, and whether losing hell is a good idea or not.
I don't know if there is a heaven or hell. I used to be certain there was, but these days I am not so sure. After reading the scriptures in context more than ten times, I don't see it speak of a heaven, but of a recreated earth, and there doesn't seem to be a hell, but more of an existence apart from God. Which for many of us reading this post, probably sounds pretty good.
I don't claim to be a theologian, but I used to. I don't claim to be well educated, but I used to think I was. I have already been labeled a heretic by my old church, received hate mail and fighting messages from pastors, all while joyfully accepted my apostate reality, but am I going to hell? I don't think I should care anymore. At least, I don't want to.
I have recently come to the conclusion that trying to live like there is a hell is of no help to the fulfillment or joy to be found in my life. It only makes me wonder who is in and who is out. So fuck it.
A fellow Loser sent me this to me after his therapy session he just finished,
"I had an insane therapy breakthrough today. We talked about the podcast and my time at Mars Hill the whole time. The two mind-blowing bullet points: 1 - Literally no one has authority over you, there are only people who try to exert power over you, and 2 - It’s perfectly acceptable to be pissed off, and I quote my therapist, 'to tell all those motherfuckers to fuck off forever.' "
One place we know the doctrine of heaven and hell works to control and manipulate is in religion. It keeps people, contained, controlled, and pliable to the institutions needs and desires. It keeps people coming to church and inviting others with them. The more and more distance my life has from "church" the freer I feel, and the more clarity I feel I have. I am free to explore, to live life on a journey of discovery, and to enjoy the journey's of others, without judgment.
Hell as an Invention of the Church
John Shelby Spong retired Episcopal bishop from Newark, N.J., interviewed by Keith Morrison on Dateline, NBC, August 12, 2006.
DATELINE NBC: To Hell and Back, Parts 1-4
After learning Greek and Hebrew to read the original manuscripts of the scripture, then famous evangelical megachurch pastor Carlton Pearson began to find discrepancies. He soon became to disbelieve in the doctrine of hell and began speaking about, what he called, "The Gospel of Inclusion." He lost everything because of it...