Unlike the God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament was not happy when his victims lay dead and broken before him. The Son of God has not only carried on the family tradition, but has exceeded the wildest expectations of the father.
The doctrine of eternal punishment - hell - is in perfect harmony with the savagery of the men who invented Christianity. It is in harmony with torture, with flaying alive and with burnings. The men who burned their fellow-men for a moment, believed that God would burn his enemies forever. If we are heartless enough to believe the Bible, we must believe the God of the New Testament pursues the dead into death. This God, we are told, has found a way to torture even those who have paid "the final penalty." The New Testament God has set up his torture chamber where there can be no escape, where death cannot be a welcome release. Everlasting torture, eternal burning; this terrible belief, this evil everlasting injustice, has become the heart and foundation of the Christian religion. This doctrine is as cruel as the hunger of hyenas, and is infamous beyond the power of any language to express.
Infinite torture for finite crimes? Injustice. You don't cut a child's limbs off for sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar. If hell exists its not like how they describe it. I imagine a separate place with equal opportunity inhabited by people who either needed guidance, needed no guidance or just didn't meet the criteria for heaven. I see neither place as better than the other- just a different scene for different people.
So this guy goes to heaven and St. Pete tells him their quota is filled for the day and he will have to go to hell but he has made special arrangements and the guy can pick which room to spend eternity. Guy takes the elevator down and devil shows him a room where everyone is standing on their head on a cement floor. No thanks he says. In another room, folks are standing ankle deep in sewer sludge but drinking coffee and eating donuts. Guy says OK to that one and signs up. As he is walking back into the room the assistant devil shouts, "OK break's over, back on your heads!"
The way I have been traditionally brought up to believe it, it is a real place but the Lutherans never really emphasized it. (About the only time we even heard the word "Hell" in a church service was when it was uttered in the Apostles Creed.) Later on, when I decided to become a HOLIER roller by attending more fundamentalist churches, that is when I learned a lot more about Hell in the traditional sense. However, when I was a young man, I often had a fascination with things of a dark or forbidden nature--Especially many forms of Heavy Metal music with it's diabolic/Satanic/sinister aesthetics or imagery. I even had a copy of The Satanic Bible though I never read it, I just had a copy because it looked "cool" or menacing. (Along with posters and records of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc.) CONTINUED IN COMMENT
I think it's a great place for the devil and his demons because that's who it was created for originally, not man kind.==============================?Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ?Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. (Matthew 25:41 NLT) =========================================?For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. ?There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God?s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God?s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.? (John 3:16-21 NLT)===================================For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:56 KJV)
The word “hell” is found in many Bible translations. In the same verses other translations read “the grave,” “the world of the dead,” and so forth. Other Bibles simply transliterate the original-language words that are sometimes rendered “hell”; that is, they express them with the letters of our alphabet but leave the words untranslated. What are those words? The Hebrew she’ohl? and its Greek equivalent hai?des, which refer, not to an individual burial place, but to the common grave of dead mankind; also the Greek ge?en·na, which is used as a symbol of eternal destruction. However, both in Christendom and in many non-Christian religions it is taught that hell is a place inhabited by demons and where the wicked, after death, are punished (and some believe that this is with torment).
The Bible does not indicate that the dead experience pain. (Ecclesiastes 9:5 & 10)
The soul, according to the Bible does not survive death so it does not go anywhere. (Ezekiel 18:4)