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Self Moderated Without the fear of hell, would Christianity be as successful as it currently is?

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DS86DS

DS86DS

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Life was back breaking and short for many.
Ignorance was the way of things.
Religious belief gave a semblance of hope.
Just not in the here and now!
Indeed, before the rise of modern science during the Age of Enlightenment, people looked for all of the answers concerning nature and existence within the realms of the supernatural. What today we understand in scientific terms would be attributed to an angry deity in ancient times (plague, volcanic eruptions etc).
 
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Personally, I can't imagine any thought in the whole of the human imagination more terrifying than that of eternal damnation and unending suffering. The thought alone is an uncomfortable one and most would naturally prefer not to even think about it for the most part, a perfectly understandable stance for who really wants to dwell on the thought of a place of unimaginable horrors and torment that one can never escape from, and worse yet - that you may very well end up in yourself after death if religious dogma is to be believed. Perhaps the concept of a hell was a necessity to begin with, for it is doubtful Christianity would go from being a small sect within the Middle East to being a major world religion within such a short space of time and remaining so to this very day without it.

Had the early missionaries talked only of the promise of heaven and all of it's unending delights, our pagan ancestors most likely would have laughed it off and dismissed them as crackpots. But, bring hell and the menacing threat of eternal damnation into the equation and you are bound to get the attention of the audience. I'd imagine that the original missionaries spreading tales of fire and brimstone must surely have led to so many taking hede of the warning and converting, if only to be on the safe side. To this very day, it wouldn't be too unbelievable to assume that a large proportion of Christians remain in the fold simply out of the lingering fear of where they may end up when they pass into the afterlife.
Most of the world's population is not in any form of Christianity, never has been and unlikely to be so statically given that it's a dying religion.
Even the Catholic church in this country will tell you mass attendance extremely low.

Since most of world not Christian, approx two thirds, how real can be the context of organised religions like Christianity . The idea of an exclusive path in life that if not adhered to results in some sort of punishment. The rest of the world must be going to hell by default then.

There are still indigenous tribes throughout the world that wouldn't know the difference between a bag of sugar and a Jesus candle. Simply of the fact of never heard of or seen either.
 

ShumanTheHuman

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Perhaps the concept of a hell was a necessity to begin with
Currently reading Tom Hollands excellent Dominion and from that I would say that the later Christian concept of Hell was not quite the same as in the early centuries. Hell in the New Testament is along the lines of Hades. When Christendom expanded in Germanic lands they encountered the Norse concept of Hel. The merging of these two, not alien but different, concepts led to what became Hell.

So I don't think a fear of Hell had anything to do with the early development and expansion of Christianity if the concept was the same as much of the rest of the Pagan/Pre Christian Mediterranean . Hell was just another facet of belief that was modified and enhanced by absorbing Pagan concepts and ritual
The promise of Salvation and the concept of Brotherly Love were far more important
 
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Currently reading Tom Hollands excellent Dominion and from that I would say that the later Christian concept of Hell was not quite the same as in the early centuries. Hell in the New Testament is along the lines of Hades. When Christendom expanded in Germanic lands they encountered the Norse concept of Hel. The merging of these too, not alien but different, concepts led to what became Hell.

So I don't think a fear of Hell had anything to do with the early development and expansion of Christianity if the concept was the same as much of the rest of the Pagan/Pre Christian Mediterranean . Hell was just another facet of belief that was modified and enhanced by absorbing Pagan concepts and ritual
The promise of Salvation and the concept of Brotherly Love were far more important
Ever since those pesky Greeks started to observe and explain the natural world around them.
Rational thought meant without empirical evidence God's were bogus.
No God's or afterlife and the constructs of eternal bliss/ hell mean nothing.
Therefore you can do whatever in the here and now.
That's the rational for organising a religious belief system.
Keep the plebs from going mental.
 

ShumanTheHuman

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Ever since those pesky Greeks started to observe and explain the natural world around them.
Rational thought meant without empirical evidence God's were bogus.
No God's or afterlife and the constructs of eternal bliss/ hell mean nothing.
Therefore you can do whatever in the here and now.
That's the rational for organising a religious belief system.
Keep the plebs from going mental.
I don't accept that Human reason is capable of proving either way the existence of God. I wouldn't argue with you about the use of Hell in the long run. But this thread is about the early Church. So I stick with my original point and say that Hell had basically nothing to do with the expansion of Christianity in the early years. Aristotle, one of those pesky Greeks, was fundamental to Christian thinking all the way from the early Church through the Middle Ages. Reason was key to Christian Philosophy and why the Scientific Method emerged in the West because of the Christian Church not in spite of it like New Atheists types would like you to believe.
Keeping the plebs, like you and me, from going mental? Maybe. But not key imo
 
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SwordOfStCatherine

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I don't accept that Human reason is capable of proving either way the existence of God. I wouldn't argue with you about the use of Hell in the long run. But this thread is about the early Church. So I stick with my original point and say that Hell had basically nothing to do with the expansion of Christianity in the early years. Aristotle, one of those pesky Greeks, was fundamental to Christian thinking all the way from the early Church through the Middle Ages. Reason was key to Christian Philosophy and why the Scientific Method emerged in the West because of the Christian Church not in spite of it like New Atheists types would like you to believe.
Keeping the plebs, like you and me, from going mental? Maybe. But not key imo
Human reason is capable of proving the existing of God which is why I never argue with atheists. What type of God though? That is a different question.
 

ShumanTheHuman

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Human reason is capable of proving the existing of God which is why I never argue with atheists. What type of God though? That is a different question.
Hang on! Human reason not being capable of proving the existence of God is why I don't argue with atheists! :unsure: Have you got some pointers in this regard?
 

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What does the acronym 'God' stand for in the religious sense.
I see lots of stuff on the web, but which is the real one ?
 
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