June 16, 2007

Hell Has Cooled Off In Modern Times

More survey results are in and, well, they're really not surprising. According to LifeWay Research 70% of teens believe heaven exists. That may seem like a good start but remember you cannot assume we're talking about any kind of orthodox understanding of "heaven." Additionally, nearly 70% believe that Jesus is their way to heaven. Sounds but then the survey also showed that

That seems really encouraging until their theology comes to reveal itself for what it is. A little better than a fourth of them believe kindness gets them into heaven--certainly a popular notion and not just among teens. About another quarter believe that their religious practices will get them to heaven. Again-not uncommon among the general populace.

But now here is the conflict with understanding and belief. The 70% who say they believe they will go to heaven because Jesus died for their sins, 60% of them also believe they will go to heaven because they are religious and 60% because they are kind to others.

Alright it is confusing but supposedly the result so of the survey with cross referencing etc. shows that rather than nearly 70% believing in Jesus as the Way, truly only 28% believe that.

Honestly, I think 28% is grossly inflated as well but then I am normally a pessimist. What is more disturbing to me then the confusing figures is the revelation that about one out of five teens strongly agreed with the statement that they don't care if they go to heaven.

How could that be? It's pretty easy actually. It simply means that they understand neither the realities of heaven nor the horrors of hell. Again this is not surprising as many so-called "believing" adults do not truly believe in hell as a place of conscious torment.

Past of it is the day in which we live but the majority of it is simply bad teaching--or maybe better--no teaching! You see in the age of consumerism, talking about eternal torment doesn't exactly draw the crowds. So the fact is, as the late Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle wrote back around the turn of the century, "Heaven doesn't seem nearly as holy or hell as hot as they once were."

And there you have it. Not only do unbelievers not know the truth these days, even the so-called faithful are confused at best and willfully ignorant at worst. You can't change the rest but you can change yourself.


Blogger Job said...

But woe and alas!

Suppose, say some, that a man were to endure
the torments of hell as many years, and no more,
as there are . . .
sands on the sea-shore,
drops of water in the sea,
stars in heaven,
leaves on the trees,
blades of grass on the ground;
yet he would comfort himself with this poor thought,
"Well, there will come a day when my misery and
torment shall certainly have an end!" But woe and
alas! this word "Forever! Forever! Forever!" will fill
the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
horror and terror,
wrath and rage,
dread and astonishment!

Suppose, say others, that the torments of hell were to
end after a little bird should have emptied the sea, and
only carry out in her bill, but one drop once in a thousand
years--and so continue until the whole ocean was taken

Suppose, say others, that the whole world, from the
lowest earth to the highest heavens, were filled with
grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel
should come and fetch away one grain of sand--and
so continue until the whole heap were taken away.

Suppose, say others, if one of the damned in hell
should weep after this manner--namely, that he
should only weep one tear in a hundred years, and
these should be kept together until such time as they
should equal the drops of water in the sea. How many
millions of ages would pass, before they could make
up one river, much more a whole sea! And when that
were done, should he weep again after the same manner
until he had filled a second sea, a third sea, a fourth sea
--if then there should be an end of their miseries--there
would be some hope, some comfort that they would end
at last! But hell shall never, never, never end! The
eternity of hell--is that which sinks them under the
most tormenting terrors and horrors!
(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

4:47 PM  

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