Christianity without hell

By Rob Phillips

John Shore recently authored a commentary for Patheos entitled, “What Christianity Without Hell Looks Like.” Patheos is a website providing information about various religions.

Reprinted in TIME Ideas and complete with a photo of a dove soaring in the sunlight, the article’s main point is that Christianity without hell “would allow Christians to point upward to God’s love.”

Shore is a popular Christian blogger and author, yet his column features a string of shockingly bad theological statements that nevertheless resonate well in today’s relativistic culture.

Let’s look at just four of his false statements.

1. Hell is not real

“The idea that the Bible declares hell a real and literal place is no more valid than the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.”

If Shore’s statement merely questions whether the fires and darkness of hell are literal, he might have a point. Many evangelical scholars argue that Jesus and the New Testament writers use figurative language to describe unbelievers’ post-mordem separation from God.

But clearly this is not Shore’s point. He denies the very existence of hell.

Further, he sloughs off compelling Scriptures that place homosexuality in the same category as other sexual sins such as adultery. By tying homosexuality and hell together as alleged false doctrines, he commits a double fault.

2. Hell is a fear tactic

“Over the centuries those in positions of power within institutions of Christianity have methodically, relentlessly, and with great art used the doctrine of hell to exploit the innate fear of death that is harbored by one and all.”

Here, Shore commits the logical fallacy of false cause, presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

While it’s true that some Church leaders and institutions have used the fear of hell to extort money and favors from the faithful, these shameful deeds do not disprove the reality of hell. The reality of hell has nothing to do with…


The Pathway – Christianity without hell