To me, one of the fascinating topics in the Christian faith is hell. It’s relationship to the preoccupation of most Christians, sin, is so tight they are virtually one and the same.
There is a new movie which explores the faith’s attitude toward hell, Hellbound. In the attached trailer, the two competing views of hell are discussed. One view is hell is the necessary punishment for sin. The other the faith needs to focus more on the rewards that come from forgiveness.
The article, and perhaps the film, discuss reasons hell is a more popular topic to Christians than forgiveness. The one that I think puts hell in the driver’s seat is its simplicity and absoluteness
The gospel, the story of someone dying for sins of people he doesn’t even know is far fetched and rather incomprehensible. On top of that, the rules don’t make sense.
The rule, as I interpret it, you just have to believe and your sins are forgiven. That rule has nothing in common with rules in the western world. If you commit first degree murder you can’t just say, “I believe”, or, “I’m sorry”, and go free.
That being the case, it’s a lot easier for the public to just believe there is hell for the bad sinner and heaven for the sinner lite. As far as which is which, the rules allow everyone to judge for themselves. People like that judgement system.
In practice, Christianity is about sin and hell, not about the Christ character.