When I deconverted from Christianity in 2014, I still feared hell. I really feared hell. One of the principal reasons for this blog was to deprogram my brain from the indoctrination of fundamentalist Christianity, indoctrination which began when I was a very young child. And the most important teaching of fundamentalist/conservative Christianity which I knew would be the most difficult to deprogram was the Doctrine of Hell. I decided to use this blog as therapy to overcome my fear of hell.
It worked. (And it was a hell of a lot cheaper than a therapist!)
I can honestly say I no longer fear hell. Not one bit.
But for months and even years after my deconversion, there were many times when the following thoughts would suddenly pop into my consciousness: What if you are wrong??? What if the Bible is true! What if hell is real and your decision to abandon Christianity will cost you eternal torture in hell?
These thoughts were very disturbing, to say the least.
Something that really helped me to overcome these thoughts was to read accounts from other ex-believers who had experienced the exact same thoughts and fears of hell…and these people were ex-Mormons and ex-Muslims! Reading these accounts helped me to realize that many religions use fear of the the unknown, the unknown of what (if anything) happens after death, to intimidate people to remain in the religion. After studying the issue, I came to see that Islam and Mormonism both got their concepts of hell from Christianity, which got its concept of hell from Judaism, which got its concept of hell from the Greeks, who got their concept of hell from the Egyptians.
Hell is the invention of ancient, scientifically ignorant people. No modern, educated person should fear this place. It does not exist…except in the imagination of the superstitious.
These realizations helped me to counter the fear-invoking Christian admonitions that my nagging thoughts of “have I made a mistake” were nothing other than the Holy Spirit convicting me of my error. No, Christians. Those nagging thoughts were not the result of the magical powers of some spirit (holy or otherwise), but the natural reaction of my brain to years of fear-based indoctrination.
My name is Gary, and I was a member of a cult. And the name of that cult is: Christianity.
End of post.