Sick and Twisted Belief: A Letter from Hell November 6, 2009

Sick and Twisted Belief: A Letter from Hell

This post is by Jesse Galef

I just started my day with a dose of outrage. The notion of hell exists in many religions and denominations. If a person believed it to be torture and that his friends or family members would suffer eternally unless they converted, it makes sense for them to evangelize.

What a powerfully successful meme. What a sick, twisted, and fucked up belief system.

I almost blew a blood vessel watching the following bullshit. It’s a hypothetical letter from hell written by a teenager to his Christian friend describing the terrible agony and asking why he didn’t evangelize.

I refuse to watch it again to type up a transcript of any kind.

I used to think that John Stuart Mill was right that when ideas were freely exchanged the marketplace of ideas would eventually expose the truth and that people would come to know it for the truth. But then I started learning more about the flaws and weaknesses in human reasoning and perception. We’re extremely vulnerable to this kind of emotional manipulation, and it threatens to overwhelm our rational faculties. Being true is different from being convincing. I no longer trust that the truth will win out.

Talk about intellectual cowardice. This entire argument is a blatant appeal to emotion which should be dispelled by stopping to think for 10 seconds. But when you’re irrationally terrified, it’s hard to form rational thoughts. Too often, religion uses bad logical arguments slipped in the ’emotional’ side door to our beliefs.

These are the memes we are up against. People believe it because they themselves have been affected by the meme. I give them credit for genuinely believing in the horror of hell and for – understandably – wanting their friends and family to avoid it.

We are not up against the people who believe; we are up against the memes that have infected society and are spreading irrational fear. It’ll be a tough struggle – we can’t overcome the inherent flaws in our evolved brains. But I for one think it’s a struggle worth having.

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  • Sandra S

    I’m assuming the reason Zach and Josh was such good friends was because Josh didn’t try to tell Zach about Jesus.

    And also, that was painful. Not painful because it was sad or anything, but because of excatly what Jesse writes. It’s sad to blackmail people into evangelicism through fear, that most primal and irrational of human emotions. Put enough fear into people and they’ll do anything if they think it might make them safer.

  • Emotional manipulation is the only effective tool they have. They certainly can’t appeal to logic. That’s why most religions target young people and people who have been through recent life changes. It’s important to get them while they’re emotionally vulnerable.

  • Valdyr

    It’s important to get them while they’re emotionally vulnerable.

    Case in point: the current “To Write Love on Her Arms” campaign to raise awareness of depression and suicidality among youth and provide social support. It sounds like an absolutely excellent idea, just the kind of thing we need more of, especially in a society like ours where mental illness is so stigmatized… and then I got to the part where it’s run by evangelical Christians with the stated goal of reminding people that “God is still in the business of redemption”. See, depressed people, it’s okay–you really are a bunch of worthless pieces of shit, just like you always feared, but Jesus is willing to magnanimously look past that and forgive you anyway! What a message for people who are hurting. As both a student of psychology and someone who has struggled with depression, I’m outraged by these people.

  • Alexis

    My first copy of a similar letter was on a xeroxed page in the 60’s asking me to send it on ten of my friends. Emotional blackmail goes back much further though.

  • Of course Josh kept Jesus from Zack. He was Josh’s personal savior. “Zack can go find his own savior.”

    Don’t be bogartin’ the saviors, is the message here.

  • curran

    Ok, yeah it’s stupid video that tries to scare people into believing, and sad too. Typical christian tactic taken too far, but nothing too out of the ordinary for fundy church youth groups and all. If someone comes to you like with that crap you can always tell them to fuck off. Do you get as outraged every time you hear of a religiously-motivated suicide bombing as you do about this video?

  • Polly

    I still have a poem that I wrote “from Hell” a long long time ago.

    I’m still fond of it, even though I no longer believe in an afterlife. The rhythm and rhyme were pretty good as was the evocative language, if I do say so myself. 🙂

    I didn’t concentrate on the hellfire as much as the despair. Pretty grim stuff! I also still appreciate Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno. As fiction, it works – unless you take it literally. Then you wind up with that Left Behind crap.

  • “…some kind of holding cell…”

    Angels and demons apparently have access to the government’s general contractors.

    “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Jesus? I mean, I’ve only heard about it on TV, from a half a dozen Gideon’s bibles, from roadside signs, from the hundreds of tracts I found on top of urinals in the men’s room.”

  • Quentin

    I’ve seen that garbage before. It appeals to gullible, simple-minded people who don’t have the intelligence to comprehend the absurdity of eternal punishment. Punishment without end has no rational purpose because there is no possibility of rehabilitation, only pointless, endless, infinite torture for the sake of torture. It’s like spanking a child 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the rest of his life just because he stole a cookie from the cookie jar. You have to be pretty f. stupid to find it compelling, (not to mention all the other absurdities in Christianity,) but apparently a lot of people are.

  • It’s awfully nice that Satan allows his residents to have time to write home. I never thought they wouldn’t give you that much free time in hell.

  • Shawn

    When I get pissed at the ultra religious, I try to remember that many of them (at least many of the most annoying ones) actually believe stuff like this. They believe it as much as I believe in gravity. Then I’m able to muster up some sympathy, rather than anger, which I assume is more productive.

    On a different note, the kid’s letter said “They’re coming in. They’re dragging me away”? Anyone else think of Castle Arghhhh?

  • Brandon

    I wonder what the zip code is for hell.

  • Matt Johnson

    Well, Zach certainly wouldn’t be getting into heaven with an attitude like that. He should still love Josh and forgive him for not telling him about Jesus. He certainly wouldn’t wish all that pain on him as some sort of revenge.

    I have very rarely seen anything as totally fucked up as that video.

  • Various responses from Zach to Josh:

    I like the Evangelical Response:

    Dear Josh,

    I just received your letter regarding a recent trip to hell. I hate to say I told you so but…dude, I told you so. Why are you so surprised I mean you drove home drunk you dumb shit! Is it my fault? If you weren’t on the way to bone Kelly than none of this would have happened (not for a while anyways)

    So I hope your life of sin was worth it, buddy. I would pray for your soul but we all know that’s a lost cause. See you in eternity buddy.


    PS The power of Christ compels you, bitch!

    Although I do like the Atheist response as well:

    Dude, come on, your rotting corpse is less than two miles from school.

    But my absolute favorite is this one:

    Dear Josh,

    At long last we discover which of us was destined for the light and which for darkness. Now, knowing which path you have chosen I am certain to choose the opposite. No doubt as the fires of hell consume your very soul whatever goodness once dwelt within you will turn to ash. This I lament but we are mere pawns you and I.

    No doubt the dark one will soon tire of your ceaseless agony and the choice will once again be upon you. Be once damned and suffer until the end of time or be twice damned and rebel against the Order of the universe. I know you, Josh. I remember the time you broke that kid’s wrist to score an extra goal in the closing seconds of the game. We were already up by 6 points and you put him down for months, just so we could win by 7.

    It is clear from your postscript that you hope to join me. Well, my former friend, one day I shall indeed stand before you. However when our paths cross again we shall not meet again as friends, or men or even corporeal beings. No doubt you will see my shining armor glinting in the hellfire. My wings will bristle, yours will reflect the hellish blackness from whence they were stretched upon your frame.

    And we shall do battle from the high plains of Gorgoroth to the very core of Hell itself. And just as the forces of darkness once broke upon the Crystal Arch we shall strike at your deepest fortress. Unlike the Charge of Iblis we shall not falter, we shall not fail.

    When I see you again you will not see me in my current form. If anything you will see nothing but the point of my holy sword and the wry smile as you once again precede me into damnation.

    Do not fear, dear friend. I will see you soon. I will see you very soon indeed.



  • We talked about this kind of thing at youth rallies, and I saw a dramatized version of a hell house once that talked about this kind of thing, too. It’s actually pretty prevalent in conservative denominations. ITA: completely sick, and uses fear to try to gain converts. This method of evangelizing never made sense to me in the light of 2 Tim 1:7.

    To us, and many moderate/liberal Christians, this is horrible. But to them, hell is very real. It’s something born out of genuine concern, as twisted and sickening as it is. What makes me mad is when they present this to children and young teens as truth. It’s religious abuse, pure and simple, and one of the reasons people stuck in miserable fundamentalist situations won’t get out.

  • Josh

    I totally had the Python moment as well, Shawn. Fear is such a powerful emotion. I gotta admit that this vid got my heart pounding. But like a good Freddy or Jason movie, it passed pretty quickly. I can only imagine the sheer terror someone would experience who actually believed in this crap. I think that kind of fear of would be a crushing weight on everything you tried to do. Being afraid that the devil, literally, THE DEVIL is lurking around every corner trying to manipulate you and steal your soul. I really feel sorry for people who live in that world. It makes me thankful that my mind is free of that prison.

  • N

    Shawn, I thought of Castle Aaaarrrgggghh!

    It is unfathomable to me now that I actually believed this shit at one time.

    Soso stupid.

  • My mother once said that she’d seen my aunt crying one day. Turned out she was very upset that she hadn’t been able to convert us and save our family. I think Mom just told her to get a grip and quit trying.

  • rl

    I used to see this all the time growing up. A grown man- a very large man, incidentally, because Jesus makes you spiritually strong and this guy’s a body builder so…nevermind- this beefy evangelist called one of my friends up on stage at a youth retreat, played the part of one of his buddies who was now in hell, faking tears while begging my friend to help and asking why- WHY- didn’t he try to save him?

    Then they started doing those Hell House things– an elaborate production of the same blackmail.

    I stopped having anything to do with them shortly after, but even today an old acquaintance was posting on her facebook status “Are you sure if you died today you’d be heaven bound? If not…”. I’m always torn between being sorry for the folks or sickened at their tactics.

  • Jamie

    Almost like camp Marlon…

    Hello muddah, hello faddah
    Here I am in Camp Gehenna
    Camp is very excruciating
    And they say we’ll have some fun when the hell-fire and torment stop…..

    I can’t help but laugh. It reminds me a lot of the propaganda pamphlets you find by pay phones and in bathrooms.

  • I’m not surprised one bit. I’ve heard/seen presentations like this before. This is the kind of stuff they show Christian kids in Sunday school after they dim the lights and cue the creepy mood. This is the guilt/shame/fear tactic they use to get Christians to blame themselves for the doom of everyone they know.

    Instead, we should remind them who is truly at fault for not saving a soul: the god they love and adore who willingly and eagerly sends them to writhe in agony forever.

  • How convenient for the god who lost control of his creation and then invented the most convoluted way to save man from his own wrath that this becomes Josh’s fault and no blame is ever put on the omnipotent god.

    This type of abusive emotional appeal aimed at youth is a great example of why I agree with the more out-spoken atheists like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett and PZ Myer. We cannot quietly co-exist with religion. It is truly a plague on society, and it must be called out for it.

  • gmcfly

    Let me get this straight. Josh was not saved because he was never told how to become a Christian, or about “this Jesus.” Had he been told, he would have accepted.

    And yet, Josh is being held PERSONALLY responsible for failing to have been told about Christianity.

    And at the same time, somehow, Zack is responsible. However, Zack will go to Heaven.

    But God feels okay sending angels to torture Josh for something he had no control over.

    Let’s not even get into the whole “my salvation was only because of the grace of God” mess. That makes God responsible for not extending his grace to Josh so that he could hear about Christianity.

    This is the type of BS that really bothered me even when I was a Christian.

  • gmcfly

    There is also some serious heresy going on in this video.

  • CassvilleAtheist

    This type of thing is what made me question my beliefs when I was a believer. The sad thing is, is it isn’t a perversion in any way from what is taught.

    It’s just a sick tool used to keep people in line. Disgusting parts of religious dogma.

  • The Big Blue Frog:

    “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Jesus? I mean, I’ve only heard about it on TV, from a half a dozen Gideon’s bibles, from roadside signs, from the hundreds of tracts I found on top of urinals in the men’s room.”

    Yeah, I agree. That is a pretty big plot hole in this piece of fiction. Zack already knows Josh is a Christian, etc., and he complains that Josh didn’t tell him about Jesus?

    Also, if Josh had tried to sell Zack on fire insurance for the afterlife, why would one expect Zach to have thought it was worth buying?

  • Dennis N

    Funny how the letters from hell never say,

    “Oh no!!! I gave a reasoned look over the arguments and came to the reasonable conclusion of accepting the null hypothesis because there was no evidence! Ahhh!”

  • Alan E.

    I cant see the video or whatever it’s supposed to be. Is there a link available please? Also Jesse, please provide links and references at the bottom of the post. It’s not just for the readers, but also journalistic credibility.

  • Dear Zack, further to my last letter, I was wrong about it being hell. I’ve actually gone to heaven. Apparently the waiting room is the same for everyone unless you’ve paid the church to pray for you to keep you out. They stopped doing that years ago.

    Everything is regimented with prayer every hour, for an hour, in praise of the three gods. Each is jealous of the attention granted to the others so we live in constant fear of not giving each the due they think they deserve.

    There is hardly anyone I know here. Everyone is a stranger except for my great aunt who was locked up in an asylum the year I started school. There is no time to get to know anyone because everything we do here has to be in praise of God or we are punished.

    We get to see the people who didn’t make it into heaven and the angels who were cast out. They’ve built communities and they spend their time visiting friends and having fun. I’m told that it used to be a place of torture but some free thinkers got in and taught the angels that they didn’t have to obey the gods any more. One day they just stopped and decided to start again. I wish I could visit rather than just watch.

    There will never be an end to this constant worship. We’re told that it will last for eternity. I can’t even imagine that much time. I’ve been here for a few weeks and I’m ready to make an escape attempt already even though I know I will fail. They know our very thoughts. There is no privacy or opportunity just to be yourself. You can’t ask why or question anything. It is this way because that’s how God wants it. It doesn’t matter if it makes no sense or you can see a better way. His rule is all that matters.

    I wish I’d never heard of Jesus. Do whatever you can to avoid coming here and make the most of the real world. There is no living in heaven, only on Earth.

    Your friend


  • RPJ

    So with Jesus even whiny self-obsessed gits like that can get into heaven? No surprise, theism has nothing to do with morality or decency after all.

    I’d consider going to hell just for the opportunity to stab him for all eternity.

    The drama was so over the top that I was able to ignore the emotional aspect pretty easily lol.

  • J B Tait

    If his God is Love, and torture is cruel, then it is obvious that his God could not allow Hell to exist.

    What confuses me is that he could have so little faith that his God is a just god, and yet still want to convert everyone to his beliefs.
    A God Who could let good people be tortured for eternity should be eschewed and reviled and maybe if no one gave Him any acknowledgment He would cease to exist?

  • absent sway

    I was thoroughly and frequently manipulated in this way since I was very young. Most of my friends and at least one family member were assumed to be hell-bound, and I prayed and cried and evangelized as best as I could. This became a major obstacle to my faith that God was good.

  • AnonyMouse

    Here’s one more letter from Zach. This time he bypasses Josh and goes straight to the management.

    Dear God,

    What the hell?

    I did what you asked me to. I befriended Josh. I did not keep my faith in You secret from him, and I let him see Your goodness through my good works. I did not engage him in involved discussions, for I was taught that was not my place. I did not try to convert him, for I believed that You alone bore that right.

    But I didn’t want Josh to go to Hell. I was taught that You would give Your followers whatever they asked for in prayer. And so I prayed day after day, night after night, that You would plant the seeds in Josh’s heart. Every day I waited to hear the magic words that would give me the chance to help him: “Zach, tell me more about Jesus.” Or “Hey Zach, do you think I could go to your church next week?”

    But it never happened.

    Plenty of other people tried to ask me about Christianity. I answered as well as I could, but per Your commands I never explored the topic too deeply. And despite my continued prayers that You would inspire Josh to seek Jesus, it never happened. Instead I watched him slide further into sin, trying but failing to suppress the growing despair that I felt in my heart.

    Today I received a letter from Josh. He died without ever hearing the Gospel, and now he is in Hell. Why, God? I wanted to help him. I wanted to [i]save[/i] him. All I needed was one little question, and it never came. I trusted You. I left Josh’s salvation in Your hands. And You let him burn.

    Today I offer only one final sentiment, God: I quit. I love Josh. I always will. He is my best friend, and I can not stand to imagine that he will be tortured for eternity while I live in eternal pleasure, all because I followed Your instructions. God, if Josh deserves to burn in Hell, then so do I. At least he died innocent, incapable of understanding the mistakes he was making. I do not have that luxury. I realize now that it was my silence that condemned him. I cannot enjoy eternity knowing that I contributed to my best friend’s damnation.

    So I’m leaving, God. I’m giving up my place in Heaven. You can give it to someone else – maybe someone else’s best friend who hasn’t had a chance to be saved. I don’t want it. I will gladly accept my place in Hell. At least Josh and I will be together there.

    In Jesus’ name,

  • Richard Wade

    We are not up against the people who believe; we are up against the memes that have infected society and are spreading irrational fear. It’ll be a tough struggle – we can’t overcome the inherent flaws in our evolved brains. But I for one think it’s a struggle worth having.

    Nothing lasts forever, especially anything made by men. It is very slow, but I see progress when I look at history. This idea used to infect almost all of the population, and now it is a significantly smaller percentage. Even many of those who still cling to gods are disregarding devils. Yes, our brains have flaws and vulnerabilities, but they also have remarkable abilities of compensation and adaptation. The fact that you and I and most of those reading this are now immune to this particular infection is proof of that.

    It’s all just a matter of time, as long as we keep up the struggle. Our worst enemy is despair. Be disappointed from time to time, but don’t ever give in to discouragement. Of course there is no guarantee that there won’t be a reversal, but the direction things are going has continued for a long time. None of us will see this plague of the mind completely eradicated in our lifetimes, but we will witness progress worth witnessing and worth participating in. I’m glad to be adding my one step in this journey of my species.

  • Colin

    I made it through about a minute before I got bored. I’ve heard this story before.

    Incidentally, it was a story somewhat like this that played a part when I was walking away from faith. I heard a story about some missionaries in India. Apparently, they were smoking pot, and a group of potential converts confronted them, saying “We like your message, but we don’t appreciate your actions”. (I don’t remember why pot-smoking was supposed to be such a moral failing). The story ended with the missionaries lamenting these potential converts weren’t saved because of their actions.

    The message was supposed to be “walk the talk”, but I took a very different message. These Indians missed their chance to accept Christ because of these hypocritical missionaries, and because of it, will suffer eternal torment? The unfairness of the situation boggles the mind!

  • Miko

    Well, let’s think about how such an emotional appeal succeeds. If a person has a large and/or diverse support group, such an appeal is likely to be completely ineffective. It’s only people who are cut off and isolated, people who are exposed only to a limited number of voices, that are affected by such an argument. Consider the number of people who become atheists in college: it’s a free market in ideas and it’s working exactly how it’s supposed to work.

    Mill’s argument doesn’t try to pretend that there won’t be kooks offering psychologically-manipulative pablum, either out of delusion or for their own twisted and selfish reasons (such as alt. med. scammers and televangelists). Rather, it’s specifically formulated so as to best counteract and neutralize the danger from these types.

  • mike

    My first though was: Why is the kids heart still pounding in his chest? Isn’t he dead? Didn’t he feel his soul leaving his body?

    My second though was that I’m bringing a pen with me to the afterlife, just in case. That way, I can write my name in the Book of Life.

  • vark

    God is love . . . . not.

  • Edmond


    So, first of all, Josh gets dragged off by angels because, when they asked him his name (they apparently didn’t just know), it couldn’t be found in the book. So, we’ll be okay if we give a fake name? Who should we say? Pat Robertson? Billy Graham? Jim Bakker?
    Then, they haul him off to a holding cell? Really? A HOLDING CELL? Seriously? Is that in the bible somewhere?

    And then little Joshie says he can smell the brimstone! Tell me, please, exactly how many high school students in this country are familiar with the smell of brimstone?

    And was this a letter, or a live recording? Josh describes the angels coming for him, and hollars No! No! as they drag him off to the lake of fire. Did the angels provide him with a nice sturdy tablet so he could continue his letter while he was being dragged? Did he add his P.S. just before being thrown into the lake, or just after?

    Talk about FARCE. I know the xtians come here sometimes to post defensive positions on the varying topics. Please, PLEASE, someone come forward and defend this dramatic tripe!

  • What people think in Hell:
    This is shit and I’m stuck here for all eternity. If only I had believed in Jesus

    What people think in Heaven:
    This is shit and I’m stuck here for all eternity.

  • My own youth group leaders in high school read us a similar version of a letter from hell. Other people’s salvation was our responsibility, it seemed. To get us to evangelize more, they would tell us to imagine people who didn’t know Jesus as their personal savior with nametags that said, “Hi, my name is _____, and I’m going to hell.” Because then we would save them or something.

    Coercive, yes. But it happens. And I can say that it scared me to think that it was on my shoulders when one of my friends didn’t know Jesus or didn’t want to know Jesus.

    I would have to agree with the individual upthread who categorized this mess as religious abuse–because that’s all it is.

  • muggle

    valdyr, once again you struck a cord. When I was a very religious teen, I was very suicidal. Funny how that lifted as soon as I left God and my fundy nutjob mother’s house behind…

  • Rich

    Whenever I hear garbage like this, I always insert the Invisible Pink Unicorn for Jesus. Or, I think of a God that sends those silly Jesus freaks off to Hell for being so out of their minds, and then rewards the people who used the skills of rationality that he gave to them. And then I remember that this is a moot exercise because physical death = spiritual death.

    Pascals Wager = weak, mostly because there’s no reason to believe that Jesusophiles would be rewarded over heathens or vice versa.

  • BlueRidgeLady

    I’ve seen this before, and after I stopped laughing, it was pretty awful.

    If the fear of going to hell yourself* doesn’t get you, the guilt of not “saving others” will. I guess this is where the loophole exists for many Christians to never actually LOVE their fellow beings-volunteer, donate food to homeless people, etc.-exists; the idea that you can feed someone bread today, or save their soul for tomorrow.

    *I was raised in the church and as a small kid I never questioned it, but always wondered what sin I had committed that I deserved to go to hell for. It’s a really sad thing to tell that to a child.

  • Ben

    On a related note:
    My girlfriend and I have very different ideologies. The first time we seriously discussed religion, she got extremely emotional, telling me that I haven’t had something bad happen in my life yet, and thus I haven’t needed belief. She cried and said she was scared for me when that does happen, because I won’t have the support structure I need.

    This isn’t directly about the idea or “meme” of Hell and how that scares people, but it again demonstrates how deeply emotional it is for some people. Indeed, people like my girlfriend or those who would find the “letter from Hell” compelling, will not simply be swayed by reason and logic. Religion will be around for a long time.

    – Ben

  • It is a curious thing this religion that people have thought up for themselves. Power, control, and guilt are very successful memes.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh man, did I get a laugh out of this. I too thought of the Castle Arrgghhh…how was he still writing as he plummeted into the lake of fire?
    But then, ug…I used to fall for this emotional stuff too, and I know it’s very powerful.
    Keep on fighting the good fight people!

  • Fentwin

    Most arguments that begin with the phrase “what if” aren’t worth the breath it takes to utter them.

    What if monkeys flew out of….well, you know.

  • I too thought of the Castle Arrgghhh…how was he still writing as he plummeted into the lake of fire?

    Perhaps he was dictating…

  • Spurs Fan

    A holding cell? Apparently Hell is suffering from a lack of funding to provide enough space to have everyone burn at the same time.

    And why not just send him directly there without all of the book-searching, angels wasting time to look his name up (even alphabetically, that must take some time), and then dragging him to Hell?

    The afterlife is not very economically efficient.

  • Sakura

    Hmm…I got a kick out of this…it was something that (minus the Christian connotations) I’d expect to see as I wait in line for a haunted house…or to see at some B rate horror movie fest.

    Scary? Not really
    Intimidating? Well…only if you’re Christian

  • I’ve actually written an entire book on this topic–“Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There’s No Such Place As Hell,” for anyone interested, you can get a free ecopy of my book at my website: Feel free to borrow any or all of my arguments to help these people.

  • Rick,

    I liked your youtube video segment.

    I’ll download your book and read it when I have time.


  • bronwynm23

    Dear Josh,

    I’m in HELL! It’s so hot; my flesh is practically melting off my body! I’m being incessantly tormented by bugs! I’m praying for relief, but the bastards are charging $4 for a bottle of water and $20 for bug spray! $20!! There are scary looking demons everywhere wearing way to little clothing! My eyes!!

    Wait, there’s the boat horn. I have to go; don’t want to miss the poolside show and happy hour.

    Wish you were here,
    Hell, Grand Cayman Island

  • “I died today.”

    “The angel threw me in a cell where I’ve been thinking for a long, long time.”


    “I can feel my heart pounding in my chest” and “my heart is bursting with fear” and yet “After the accident, I could feel my spirit leaving my body.”

    The whole thing is pretty lame.

    Still, I think the free market of ideas does allow for this drivel. If this kind of thing doesn’t turn people off of evangelicalism, then rational and logical thought certainly won’t.

  • Hannah

    I watched the whole thing, and I think this will be very unsuccessful and will actually backfire with anyone, especially teens, who watch it. Number one, it’s cheesy and corny as hell (no pun intended). That creepy music, the echoes and whispering, even the stupid Star Wars lettering… plus, I think teens catch on pretty quickly when someone is trying to emotionally manipulate them. Even the Christian ones will be making fun of this crap.

    But more importantly, and maybe this is putting too much trust in people’s ability to use logic, but the video really makes god and angels and Jesus out to be the bad guy and reinforces the common criticism of modern-day Christianity: god loves you, but if you aren’t a Christian, he will make you burn in flames for eternity. This is just stupid, and I think kids who see this will pick up on that. Josh seems like this poor kid who just didn’t have the good fortune to be raised Christian, and god damns him to an eternity of fire and pain, dragged away kicking and screaming by angels. My dad actually began to question his fundamentalist faith when he was kid because his best friend was a Mormon, and he just couldn’t believe that god would torture his friend forever for that.

    Bottom line: I think this is more likely to make kids turn away from their faith than to evangelize more, and that’s a good thing. Let them draw attention to how horrible and evil their god is if they want to.

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