THE BURDEN OF HELL ON OUR CHILDREN
THE BURDEN OF HELL ON OUR CHILDREN
You may choose skip over this topic, but I have to put it here anyway. It’s important to me, and I believe it to be of the utmost importance to our children.
I talked with a young child a while ago who was literally scared to death of hell. She was petrified. She was scared of the dark, and of satan, and the devil. She was anxious and worried. This is not a fair burden for such a young child who has not yet had the opportunity to explore their own spiritual roads and experiences.
If you are a religious person, don’t you find it odd that you'll visit half a dozen car lots, test drive 15 vehicles, check Blue Book and accident history or CarFax, read Consumer Reports for vehicle ratings and argue with the salesman before buying a car, yet you've owned your infinitely more important religious worldview without so much as knowing who wrote the book of Genesis?
Christianity in particular, touts itself as a religion of love, peace, and joy; with a loving God and Jesus. Yet, the immeasurable load of fear and guilt placed upon its adherents is unfathomable. I know, because I use to be there. But, in the words accredited to Jesus … “you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.”
Satan and the devil are merely esoteric ego-based inner thoughts ... the opposition (ha-satan: the opposer) ... and not some evil being planning and devising a way to end the world and reign as god. Hell is a state of mind, or a place of suffering here in this Life … not the afterlife. Biblically, it was nothing more than the grave. And esoterically among the ancients, it was the underworld. Not underground, but UNDER the heavens ... HERE.
The Valley of Hinnom, “Sheol/Hades/Gehenna,” today is a park in Israel, but Gehenna was once where ancient Israelites sacrificed children as burnt offerings to the Canaanite god Molech. It was known as the most unholy, godforsaken of places. In fact, when Jesus refers to the fires of “hell” in the New Testament scriptures, the word He actually uses is “Gehenna.”
This location was also a trash dump outside the walls of Jerusalem where endless fires burned and animals had “gnashing teeth” fighting for leftover scraps of food. Elsewhere in the Bible, we find Sheol, Hades, and Tartarus. “Sheol” is usually understood as the Hebrew Hades. Yet, “Sheol” is used interchangeably with “pit” and “grave,” and suggests that Sheol is not a place underground but simply a euphemism for death.
Using their imagination, ancient writers created stories that are obviously not meant to be literally true, but, rather, convey Truths about how people should live – and people later considered the stories to be literally true. So true that countless people have been murdered for not believing them.
Hell is a state of ignorance and suffering from being subject to the forces and powers of the world. Ancient texts use metaphors of being a slave, being asleep in a nightmare, of being drunk, and even of being dead. Hell is a state of mind, and condition, which people experience as a direct outworking of their thoughts, beliefs, words, and acts. If one's mental processes are out of harmony with the law of man's being, they result in trouble and sorrow; mental as well as bodily anguish overtakes one, and this is hell.
Believe what you will, research, or don’t; that’s you choice. But please … please … do not teach your children about a place called hell unless you do your homework to find out what and where hell truly is?
Teaching impressionable children to fear Hell is a form of child abuse. You are betraying the trust of our youngest and most vulnerable. The nightmares that many of these children will carry into adulthood are on your shoulders. We MUST have better knowledge of what we speak, what we believe, and what we teach our children. This is of the utmost importance.
Just a thought ...
Justin Taylor, ORDM.