Origins of Hell
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22-11-2013, 08:10 AM
Origins of Hell
Alright, so this has been gnawing at me for a while because there is so much ambiguity on the subject, so what are the current historical perspectives of when a literal hell became a thing?

The reason why I ask is because the Bible itself, while using terms that describe what we perceive a literal hell doesn't really make an explicit claim to it, or describe it in any real detail and I remember reading (I think it was in Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God" or one of Karen Armstrong's books that the actual concept of hell came along with Catholicism as a tool to control the masses by fear.
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22-11-2013, 08:17 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
"Hel" is the Norse Goddess of the Underworld. That combined with the Roman and Greek myths of the underworlds and the dead (the very animated dead I might add) -- added with the Persian God Mithras' story (which predates Christ by 2500+ yrs) yields the Christian concept of Hell. In 350AD when the Bible was compiled certain controlling factors VERY much played a part - A scary hell for bad behavior being one. If you wish to know more about how HELL came about read Kirshr's God Against the Gods.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Against-The-Go...0142196339

Single greatest book I've ever read that explains HOW religion happened and why.

"Presumably man with hair on fire can be used to cook eggs and bacon..."MorondogLaugh out load
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22-11-2013, 08:18 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
I'm thinking in about the late 4th century CE...when those who actually wrote parts of what is now called the bible, had the alleged jesus using "hell" to threaten the rich.

Certainly, the OT does not make use of the term or the idea...at least so I surmize!

"People don't go to heaven when they die; they're taken to a special room and burned!" Evil_monster
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22-11-2013, 08:20 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
As far as I know, the concept of Hell as a place of eternal punishment for non-believers didn't exist in the Old Testament.

Wikipedia Wrote:She'ol (/ˈʃiːoʊl/ SHEE-ohl or /ˈʃiːəl/ SHEE-əl; Hebrew שְׁאוֹל Šʾôl), translated as "grave", "pit", or "abode of the dead", is the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible's underworld, a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol

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22-11-2013, 08:23 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
From what ive read of the bible, it is a metaphor for a volcano.

"Fire, lake of fire,sulphur, throw them into the fiery furnace, fire, more sulphur more fire, wine of god, anger in a cup of wrath, gnashing of teeth (could be the noise). "

Be a good prop for early cult leaders, there is your hell muthafukers!!.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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22-11-2013, 08:23 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
I understand that the concept of hell (as well as everything else) predates Christianity, however I'm fairly confident that there's no real descriptions of hell (or anything hellish) throughout the old testament and that Judaism didn't really hold to the threat of hell like Christians today do.

From what I have read, hell does not seem to be intertwined with biblical writing except maybe in the vaguest sense so it had to be developed somewhere along the line.
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22-11-2013, 08:39 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
(22-11-2013 08:23 AM)TheKetola Wrote:  I understand that the concept of hell (as well as everything else) predates Christianity, however I'm fairly confident that there's no real descriptions of hell (or anything hellish) throughout the old testament and that Judaism didn't really hold to the threat of hell like Christians today do.

From what I have read, hell does not seem to be intertwined with biblical writing except maybe in the vaguest sense so it had to be developed somewhere along the line.

Hell became a far more interesting topic when Jesus happened along. After all you cannot really have a good guy (Jesus saves us from hell) unless you have a bad guy (enter Satan stage left). So..........yes it's the NT where hell takes more a front seat. If you study the period of the mid 300's you'll understand better why Hell became part of the NT, by whom and why. They did Not mess with (rewrite) the books of the Old Testament to specifically Not mess with Jews........... again....political climate being what it was in mid 300's.
The bible was compiled for political purposes as much as it was for religious ones.

"Presumably man with hair on fire can be used to cook eggs and bacon..."MorondogLaugh out load
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24-11-2013, 10:23 AM
RE: Origins of Hell
It is very important to remember that Jesus and his followers were Jews. It is no coincidence then, that the term that Jesus uses for Hell is Gehenna. Many people are aware that this term means Valley (of the Sons) of Hinnom. Tradition speaks of this Valley being used to burn trash and bodies during the Roman period and further back to child sacrifices by both the Canaanites and Jews to the gods Molech and Baal (and Yahweh cf. Ezekiel 20:25-26, Exodus 22:30, Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, and 32:35) all the way up until Josiah's religious reforms (cf 2 Kings 23:10) just before the Babylonian exile; Some also say that this valley is the infamous 'Potters field' bought with the blood money that Judas received for betraying Jesus (cf. Jeremiah 19). What I find most interesting about Gehenna is the early Jewish and Canaanite beliefs about this Valley. A key term that gives us insight into this Valley in both Jewish and Canaanite literature is Rephaim.

Judges 12:4 "and King Og of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei..."

While a gloss in Deuteronomy 3 describes the rephaim as a race of giants (possibly the offspring of the Sons of God and the daughter of man like the Nephilim), rephaim is used 25 times in the Hebrew Bible and is alternatively translated as shades or ghosts. A prime example, and in proper context, is in Isaiah 14:9-11

NRSV "Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades (rephaim) to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. All of them will speak and say to you: "You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!" Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering."

This of course is Isaiah speaking of the coming demise of the Babylonian King. What follows in verses 12-21 of Chapter 14 is very interesting in that it utilizes Canaanite imagery and mythology to forecast the downfall of a Babylonian king. In fact, this segment is paralleled from Canaanite myth; the failed attempt of Athtar to rise to the throne of Baal at the Mount of Assembly on the heights of Zaphon.
In Canaanite literature (KTU 1.108:2-3), as in the Hebrew Bible, we find the rephaim dwelling in the cities of Ashtaroth and at Edrei the seat of the cthonic deities mlk and r’pu. In another funerary Canaanite text, KTU2 1.161, we find that king Niqmaddu of Ugarit, like the king of Babylon described in Isaiah 14, is greeted by kings of the past referred to as rephaim. In short, Jews, like other West Semites, believed that the rephaim, or the deified dead/eternal souls/shades/ghosts, dwelled around the cities Ashtaroth and Edrei, which according to the Hebrew Bible were holdings of King Og of Bashan in the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna).

The punishment described in Isaiah 30:27-29 for Assyrians is given in the imagery and terminology of the mlk sacrifice and lends the imagery of a fiery hell.
"See, the name of the Lord comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up the neck to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray." This punishment is commanded to be greeted with "29a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, the Rock of Israel...33 For his burning place (Topeth) has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king (mlk), its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it. "

Take careful note to YHWH’s role in this text; he is the zealous recipient of the mlk sacrifice. Contrary to popular Christian theology, in this text Yahweh is zealous receiver of the mlk sacrifice. Just as Yahweh’s abode is a physical place, Mouth Zion, so too is the abode of the dead, Gehenna…Ashtaroth and Edrei. For more on the Topeth and the practice it entails see Exodus 22:31, Jeremiah 4:4, 7:31, 19:6; 2 Kings 16:3, 21:6, 23:10, 2 Chronicles 33:6, and Ezekiel 20: 27-30. For the firery imagery of Hell as it pertains to Gehenna see Job 10:17, Isaiah 10:17, 11:4, 30:28, 31:9, 34:9, 66:15, Matthew 5:22, 5:29-30; 10:28;18:9; 23:15, 23:33; Mark 9:43, 9:45, 9:47; Luke 12:5; and James 3:61


Thus we have the origin of the place associated with the dead and the addition of the fiery imagery. To be fair, child/human sacrifice is a scary thing that they did eventually turn away from and its horrors are what animate the concept of Hell. The pieces have been in place since at least the Late Bronze Age, but many subsequent reformulations have occurred.

Great resources for this topic include: Neil Forsyth's The Old Enemy, Mark S. Smith's The Early History of God, Jon Day's Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, Bernard Batto's Slaying the Dragon, Michael Fishbane's Bilblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking, and Jon D Levenson's Creation and the Persistence of Evil[i], Richard Clifford's The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament, the literary work by Milton, Paradise Lost, and a commentary on that text by Niel Forsyth The Satanic Epic.

When talking the Origin of Jewish and Christian beliefs, never-ever forget the importance of Ugarit.
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24-11-2013, 02:20 PM
RE: Origins of Hell
The origin of hell is a bad marriage.....

At least that's what it feels like.

I simply cannot imagine it for an "eternity"!!

"People don't go to heaven when they die; they're taken to a special room and burned!" Evil_monster
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24-11-2013, 09:43 PM (This post was last modified: 24-11-2013 09:48 PM by Free.)
RE: Origins of Hell
YOU'RE ALL GOING TO HELL!


Yes it’s true. Every last one of us is going to hell, and it doesn’t matter if you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, or if you belong to any faith at all.

Hell will be our final resting place.

So what the hell is “Hell” anyways? According to both Christian and Muslim resources, Hell can be described as a place of eternal damnation where sinners are tortured in an eternal fire for all of eternity.

The Christians arrive at their concept of Hell according to their literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation in the Holy Bible. They arrive at this conclusion based upon a few specific scriptures which seem to identify a place of eternal torture as Hell.

However, most Christians are actually very uneducated in regards to ancient scriptures and ancient forms of writing. The serious student of ancient scripture will recognize the Book of Revelation as a Gnostic writing, with all the typical connotations of that genre. During the time of Christ, and for centuries afterwards, the Gnostic Christians produced hundreds of writings very similar in writing style to the Book of Revelation.

The religion of the Gnostics was known as gnosis which means “knowledge.” Their writing style was exceptionally appealing to the mind, as they used a stunning method of graphical expression with words. Ripe with allegorical and figurative descriptions, the Gnostics carved out a path for themselves in the ancient religious monochrome of ancient Israel and the Roman-Greco Empire of the 1st to the 4th centuries A.D.

For those of you interested in learning and understand more regarding the Gnostics and their writings, you may wish to view their works within the ancient codices known as The Nag Hammadi Library, which can be viewed online Here

Yet, was it really the fault of the Gnostics whereas modern Christian literalists managed to interpret Hell as a place of eternal damnation in a fiery grave? Also, is it the fault of the ancient Christian literalists from whom Muhammad borrowed the concept of a fiery eternal damnation known as Hell in which he has now terrorized hundreds of millions of Muslims for 1400 years with his Quran?

Well, let’s take a look at the origins of Hell and find out for ourselves.

According to the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the earliest reference to Hell is given in Deuteronomy 32.22. The word which was translated from the Hebrew to the Greek, and then onto the English was sheh-ole, and it carries the meaning as such: “world of the dead; a subterranean retreat, including its accessories and inmates:--grave, pit.”

In the King James Bible, the Old Testament term sheol is translated as hell 31 times. However Sheol was also translated as "grave" 31 times. Sheol is also translated as "pit" three times. The KJV translates Hades as Hell 10 times, and as grave once. Hades is traditionally the Greek word used to mean sheol.

Therefore, according to the oldest reference to Hell, all it means is that it is the grave or a pit for the dead. The description of Hell here is that it is but a prison for those whom have passed away. It is never described as a place of eternal damnation where sinners are subjected to torture forever.

Even in the Gospels, Jesus is not recorded as ever saying that Hell was a fiery place of eternal torture and damnation. However, he does make indeed make statements in relation to hell and fire in Mat 5.22, Mat 18.9, and Mark 9.43 etc. But what did he mean by those statements? Let’s investigate …

In the Gospels the word Hell comes from the word of Ghenna, pronounced gheh'-en-nah of Hebrew origin; valley of the son of Hinnom; ge-henna, or Ge-Hinnom, a valley of Jerusalem, used figuratively as a name for the place or state of everlasting punishment.

You’ll be interested to learn that we already know where this place is, and it is not an ethereal place where Satan dwells, but actually the Jerusalem city dump. The actual place referred to is Hinnom, a deep, narrow ravine separating Mount Zion from the so-called "Hill of Evil Counsel" to the southwest of Jerusalem .

Hinnom is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8: “And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward.”

It was formerly the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive as a sacrifice to Moloch and Baal. A particular part of the valley was called Tophet, the "fire-stove" or furnace, where the children were burned. After the Exile, in order to show their abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the receptacle of the refuse of the city. As with refuse, in those times it was burned to keep down vermin, the obvious offensive odors, to maximize space, and a fire was kept constantly burning there.

Excavations carried out at this site from 1975 to 1980 by an archaeological mission turned up remains of nine burial caves around the ravine. In earlier excavations of the actual dump, it was found that the fire was still smoldering after centuries. More info about this Hell can be found Here.

So now that we have nailed down the history of the Christian concept of Hell, how far would it be to make a jump to the Muslim concept, which is almost identical? Actually, we don’t need to go too far at all.

It is without doubt that Muhammad borrowed much from the Torah and Gospels when he constructed his Quran. Although most Muslims like to deny it, the fact of the matter is there is evidence in existence that Muhammad was influenced by both Jews and Christians during his time. One such Christian is spoken about in the Hadith. His name was Waraqa bin Naufal. There are two very interesting Hadiths regarding this man:

Narrated 'Aisha: Volume 4, Book 55, Number 605: Sahih Al-Bukhari

“The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospel in Arabic …”


As you can see above, Waraqa bin Naufal used to read the Gospel in Arabic. How did he get a gospel in Arabic? That is answered in another Hadith:

Narrated 'Aisha: Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3: Sahih Al-Bukhari

Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write.


So here we have Waraqa bin Naufal with a Gospel written in Hebrew, and who used to write from this Gospel, and then we suddenly have him reading from a gospel written in Arabic? Was there an Arabic gospel floating around in the time and place of Muhammad back in those days? Apparently, there was.

One such possible Gospel was known as The Arabic Infancy Gospel. Upon reading this gospel we find two outstanding similarities to certain verses within the Quran. Both the Arabic Infancy Gospel and the Quran have Jesus speaking as a baby, and also have Jesus making birds of clay, and then instructing them to fly. Modern scholars agree that the dating of this gospel was sometime in the mid to late 6th century, right around the time of Muhammad.

According to the analysis of textual criticism, the text was originally written in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic which itself was based upon the Hebrew alphabet. The text became translated into Arabic, probably around the time that Christianity began to spread into the Arabian Peninsula. The narrative of the Arabic Infancy Gospel, particularly the second part concerning the miracles in Egypt , can also be found in the Quran. According to some critical scholarship, its presence in the Quran may be due to the influence the Gospel had amongst the Arabs.

More information on this gospel can be found Here.

So now we have a link between specific verses in the Quran and specific verses from a gospel which was accessible to Muhammad during his time. This tells us clearly that Muhammad was indeed influenced by Christian theology in Arabia during his time, especially when the Hadith clearly shows an Arabic gospel within his very grasp.

My English version of the Quran mentions hell almost 100 times. Due to its graphical description of Hell, the Quran repeatedly characterizes Hell as a fiery place of eternal torture and damnation. This Quranic description of Hell is almost identical to the orally propagated beliefs of the early century Christians whose descendants have continued this tradition into the modern age, along with Islam.

Yet, this description of Hell as a place of eternal torture just doesn’t jibe with the actual history of what Hell really is. Because of this, we find billions of Christians and Muslims being subdued and controlled by a man-made myth for almost 2000 years.

The real Hell is not some fiery place of eternal torture and damnation. We could even say that the real Hell is not even the grave. But damn few of us can say that when we look at all the hatred, wars, killing, and other tragedies befalling the human race today that Hell does not exist, for it certainly does exist.

Hell exists, and it has been running rampant upon the face of the earth for far too long. You can see it in the eyes of the suicide bomber, airplane hijackers, and through the actions of those who behead the innocent in the name of Allah.

It’s time for the human race to tell Hell … to go to Hell.

How can anyone become an atheist when we were all born with no religious beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were ...
BORN THIS WAY
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