Originally Posted by pattylt
I'm often amazed by how every religion condemns non-believers to some form of eternal punishment if they don't believe exactly as they do. Do they believe in god because of faith or fear of punishment? What is so wrong with "no longer existing" after you die? Do I only have the choice of eternity in heaven (sounds awfully long and boring) or hell (sounds awfully long and unjust)? I want another choice!
Actually, I have the vague impression that the hell of the Jehovah's Witnesses IS just non-existance. I could be wrong though.
I think most of them who gladly believe on their own (needed little convincing, etc.) believe because of faith. I think hell is there to motivate them to harass the non-believers.
The belief in hell is having an effect on my darling 5-year-old nephew. My sister has been teaching him to refrain from asking me to go to church and to read the Bible (which he used to do). I know he does it 'cause he doesn't want me to go to hell. This last visit, on our last day, he couldn't help himself and asked me "if [ I ] was a Christian yet." *grin* And because he is soooooo sweet and adorable and I love him soooooooooooooo much, I restrained myself from saying "are you an atheist yet?" (I just said "no.")
My friend from high school said she just likes to believe and that the church she and I went to (back in our high school days) made her into who she is today (and she meant this in a good way). I asked her about hell, and she said she read that in the Bible, rolled her eyes and simply thought "oh, THAT can't be true". So she believes just 'cause of faith, and even better, since she doesn't believe in hell, she witnesses to no one; not even to her own mother (and not to me! *happy dance*)