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Incredibly, it seems to be so... There are Atheists who fear hell!

[patheos.com]

jeshuey 8 Feb 11
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28 comments

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7

I know it sounds strange but this is why FFRF was formed because it helps you to recover from religion. Some people "suffer" in or out of a religion while others do not.

7

Of course there are Atheists who fear hell.
The fact that you can see that as odd shows me you never suffered deep indoctrination.

That is why [recoveringfromreligion.org] was formed--(many thanks to anglophone for this repair)

It is an irrational fear from indoctrination similar to PTSD
They don't believe anymore, but they have nightmares, or terrifying thoughts "what if I'm wrong?" which then activate much used neural paths trained to react via the religions dogma.

That link goes to something that looks not quite right. Did you mean [recoveringfromreligion.org] ?

Brilliant contribution πŸ‘

I was a preministerial student in the Methodist Church. I was as indoctrinated as anyone but my recovery was complete.

@anglophone did I put >com?
Thanks for the repair πŸ™‚

6

Atheists who fear hell. Its an oxy moron

5

My last marriage was hell & it scares me.

I had one like that!

@BirdMan1 Only one!

@Atheist3 That was fucking enough, thank you. My current marriage, of 36 years, is solid and wonderful.

5

Not surprising. Some atheists are former Christians and some of those had hellthreat drilled into them for years. You can't just shut that off because you intellectually know it's BS.

I came from a relatively mild evangelical group and never really bought into that as a personal concern. But I've met plenty of people who are truly tormented by it.

I had the Fear of God and the Fear of Hell put into me at age 10. It terrified me at the time. It was at age 30 that I realised that my tormentor was an evil liar. He was also my headmaster.

I am one of the lucky ones: with the intellectual realisation that I had been lied to my fear of hell "went to hell" (sorry for the dreadful joke) and ceased to exist. If that headmaster was still alive today, I would reduce him to a quivering wreck in two minutes.

5

Anyone who fears Hell is not a very devout atheist.

4

Technically they are not atheists then. Rather agnostics or in denial fearing to commit.

4

The concept of Hell is nothing but a fairy tale just like the existence of a god. Sometimes I wish there were a hell, as there are some "special" politicians I'd like to know have gone, while others are will be going there.

4

Ridiculous.If they fear hell then they are not really atheists.

Totally agree!

4

I don't fear what doesn't exist.
But I guess that's just me.

3

I couldn't read the article because of their adblocker requirements but I can imagine that most people have some sort of boogieman that they fear. Since many atheists were programmed at an early age to believe in a boogieman called Satan then it stands to reason that there could still be an irrational fear, much along the same lines as werewolves have for some people in spite of the fact that there is no evidence that werewolves exist.

I was never religious. Neither were my parents.
But everybody knows the werewolves are nonsense.
Its the Mummy you should be afraid of. And we know they exist!

@PondartIncbendog Mummies do exist, I have seen them many times in museums, but do they walk among us? πŸ˜‰

3

I guess if you’ve never been indoctrinated in the first place it’s hard to grasp that fear of hell is so deep rooted that it persists after belief in god goes. Scary stuff indeed!

2

Atheists fearing hell seems to be an artifact of having that drilled into one's head. I think, in time, most will come to realize that they don't have to fear that which does not exist.

The idea of there being a hell was something that always bothered me when I was a believer. Letting go of that belief was one of the first things that I was able to do as an atheist. It was such a great feeling, knowing that good people were not going to be tortured for eternity by some psycho god.

I think the best we can do when we encounter an atheist who still worries about this, is to use the Bible to show them that hell is a fabricated place. The Jews didn't, and don't, believe in hell; and not even all Christians believe in it.

If this god created hell, why did he wait so long to threaten his creation with it? Hell as we "know it" is a Christian invention, and it is a despicable one! That Jesus supposedly believed in this place of eternal punishment for flawed, finite, beings, shows that he was not all that wonderful after all. No being full of immeasurable love could ever create such a place.

2

Then they aren't actual Atheists.

What one lacks a belief concerning, and what one FEELS to be true can vary independently. I've seen it. It's operant conditioning, and it's brutal.

@mordant If you don't 'feel' it to be true, you don't truly believe it, IMO. It's like people who say they're not superstitious but still knock on wood to deflect bad luck.

@sterlingdean You give credit to humans for being more logical and self-consistent than they actually are.

I suppose one can make a technical argument that a person with this irrational fear is Not a True Atheist but I don't know what purpose it serves other than to exclude them and fault them for something they don't have complete and instant control over. Learned and conditioned beliefs do not go away instantly for most people just because they change their conscious thinking.

@mordant Part of becoming and Atheist is usually a gradual realization that all the shit they told you to be afraid of is not real. For Me, it never really was so I've never feared hellfire and damnation. I can't fathom how anyone could. once they know the facts of the world.

@sterlingdean Understandable. I think the problem is that most theist claims are inherently non-falsifiable, rooted as they are in the "supernatural", about which actual data is unobtanium. As such, while there's no reason to think any of their gods or other claims, including hell, are real, there's no way to disprove them either in some absolute, objective sense. Since eternal perdition is a pretty consequential claim, which in the vulnerable indoctrinated from the cradle often produces a deeply existential dread, the only thing that would immediately relieve it is absolute proof that there is no hell (or at least, no supernatural). But it's non-falsifiable.

The thing that DOES relieve it over time is just what you're talking about ... new "ruts" get worn in the brain and it stops compulsively thinking about what is essentially asserted evangelical torture porn.

A complicating factor is the social cost of deconversion, which can cost a person the only support system they have ever known, including often the partial or complete rejection of immediate family (and the loss of status and respect in the wider community, if you live in the Bible Belt -- it can even render you unemployable). So you can't easily avoid all the innuendo and guilting and social pressure to "come around" and stop talking this atheist nonsense, and this is a terrible double whammy. Not only do you have to process a great deal of intellectual change, but also the grief and loss cycle associated with the social cost, and you have to go it alone in many cases.

2

Religion has so much baggage it is often very difficult to rid oneself of it all. I still find things that I believe that are rooted in my Christian indoctrination as a child. As I discover each one I ask myself why do I believe this. If I can not come up with a rational reason, i no longer hold that belief.

2

People are afraid of a lot of irrational things. My daughter is so afraid of spiders that she won't step on one, she'll scream for me to come do it. People are afraid of harmless species of snakes. People are afraid of cats or dogs.

You say, "But all those things exist"? So what? It's the irrational fear we're talking about. People can have an irrational fear of a serial killer coming after them, just because they saw it on the news... in another city.

Being afraid of a place of which you were taught to be terrified, all your childhood- I get that. Especially since I wistfully think sometimes, "Hey, if there were an afterlife, here's what I would like it to be..."

If I see a spider, I get my shotgun and pickup truck and run that ungodly thing over and shoot it.
I should have removed it from the bedroom first..........

Why the hell would you want to step on a spider ? Leave the poor thing alone. They do a lot of good .How would you like it if Monty Python's giant foot squashed you into the ground.

@Moravian I leave them alone outside. I'm encouraging natural selection for spiders who stay out of my house.

@Paul4747 Somehow I'm not sure if it works that way πŸ™‚. I let them be or maybe put them outside. Same with wasps ,flies etc. Can't understand why people kill wasps, particularly gardeners considering the good they do.

@Moravian If they come into the house, I let them alone. I live in a mosquito heavy area and they provide some food for the spiders. So, they work for me and I let them stay. Better than my lazy cats.

@Moravian A doctor told me Wasps are worthless. They are pollen distributing insects just like bees.
They all work for us in a way. Unless a stinging insect is in the house. I can't take a chance of being stung.

@PondartIncbendog wasps eat aphids and other small insects which are harmfull to plants. They rarely sting unless their nest is disturbed. Live and let live I say.

2

I still fear hell. But I quit that job 21 years ago........

1

many atheists and agnostics have yet to adopt a new narrative so their mind still compares things to their old one. thats why it's important not to stop at this phase. it leads to ill will. you need a new narrative.

1

Many--perhaps most of us--have some irrational fears (=phobias). However, if I feel 99% sure that the Christian's God does not exist I still don't see how it would be irrational to fear hell out of the 1% uncertainty remaining--especially since failure to believe is a sin for (many of the ) Christians.

Maybe technically a 99/1 percent disbeliever would still be an agnostic, but I usually think of agnostics as disbelieving/believing around 50/50, or 40/60 percent. Otherwise Christians would be agnostics because they all pray, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief," don't they?

I don't adhere to percentages when it comes to my beliefs as an agnostic but the more evil I see being done by people who profess to be christians the closer I get to atheism. I think if I may speak for us as a group you really can't slap a percentage on things other than we 100% believe that you can never really know anything with 100% certainty and even that could be questionable...

@Slartibartfast I agree, but I do find in myself stronger and weaker beliefs (and doubts) and I used percentage-language as a convenience. Hope it was not too misleading. And even if percentages could be accurate I suppose the needle that gauges my beliefs would quivver from moment to moment and probably take pretty wild swings according to my current moods, thoughts, experiences, etc.

1

Silly article.

1

narf

1

Why it's the fun place

bobwjr Level 10 Feb 11, 2020

In heaven one is a slave, in hell one is at least free.

@DavidLaDeau and the fun sins

1

This one's easy . According to the Bible , God created angels . One of the Angels was Lucifer , which means bearer of Light . Lucifer revolted against God , so God cast him out of Heaven . Lucifer / Satan was cast into Hell . If God created Lucifer / Satan . but God does not exist , then he could not have created Lucifer . Therefore Hell does not exist . Therefore ,only those who believe in God , can go to Hell , because it does not exist for the non-believers . Sleep tight , Honey .

That oughta do it.

There is a Hikarious series on Netflix called "Lucifer"... he has daddy issues!

0

Hell is a religious concept .
Anyone who believes in hell cannot be a true Atheist

0

Your god is dead, and no one cares.
If there is a hell, I'll see you there.
NIN (Trent Reznor)

and for good measure:

you give me yours
i'll give you mine
cause i can look your god
right in the eye
Tori Amos

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