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Monday, November 3, 2008

There is No Hell

A Saskatoon firefighter turned author has written a book, explaining to Christians and scholars where the concept of Hell came from.

Six years ago, Jim Brayshaw began questioning his faith and particularly the concept of Hell as a physical plane. According to him, his church officials told him not to discuss the matter with them or the rest of the congregation. However, he did speak to some, and he did write the book - all of which led to his receiving a registered letter asking him not to return to the church without a written invitation from the preacher. Church officials dispute this particular series of events, though admit he is only allowed back in church conditionally.

According to Brayshaw's book, Hell is based on the Greek myth of Tartarus, a subterranean world of fire where unsavory souls went to be punished when they died. The imagery was more specifically based on the "garbage heaps" of Gehenna, which lay outside Jerusalem. That is where the bodies of criminals were burned and it often became an actual "lake of fire."

Satan is from the Hebrew word "sawtawn," which actually means "adversary" or "accuser." In the Old Testament, Satan was a minor figure who was actually a part of God's court. It was not until the New Testament that the figure became more prominent. Still, many argue his role is misconstrued by poor interpretation: the figure is meant more as a "prosecutor," of sorts, who tests peoples' faiths and illuminates their sins.

While many have branded him a heretic, Brayshaw's research is backed-up by scholarly knowledge, leading many less zealous (and far more knowledgeable) people to support his findings.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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