This weekend I watched Netflix’s new docu-drama, Come Sunday, about the true story of an evangelical preacher who comes to the realization that hell is not only a false doctrine, but that it’s emotionally harmful.
What resonated for me in this presentation, was just how viscerally the congregation responded to their pastor’s epiphany when he stood up in the pulpit for his next sermon and dropped this little bombshell. Completely ignorant of the history of the doctrines they have whole-hardheartedly believed their entire lives, the parishioners reacted with overt hostility to this new information which ran counter to their brainwashing. You would think they might be relieved to hear that hell is a fiction of the early church; alas, no. People are strange creatures, and anything new, truthful or not, that contradicts a deeply held worldview, is perceived as a threat.
During my own debate with a Baptist preacher (2016) on this very topic, I was asked, “Are there any people of faith I do respect?” Sure, the ones who are honest about all the nonsense that has become blindly accepted as truth in religious doctrine. I can now add Carlton Pearson to that list, along with retired Bishop John Spong, who said:
Religion is always in the control business… It’s in the guilt-producing, control business… And so, they create this fiery place, which has, quite literally, scared the hell out of a lot people throughout Christian history; and it’s part of a control tactic.
Recently, the Pope was (mis?)quoted as stating that hell doesn’t exist. One overlooked tidbit in the Vatican’s spin control, was this quote:
There’s nowhere in Catholic teaching that actually says any one person is in hell. ~ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
While Catholic doctrine states hell is a literal place, honest Catholic priests will tell you they are not required to believe anyone is actually there.