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Until Hell Freezes Over

Re “Is Hell Dead?” [April 25]: Of course there is a heaven and a hell. Each of us live in one or the other every day of our lives. Both are a creation of mankind, and for the most part, the thought of reward or eternal damnation keeps us civilized. When we pass from this life, we return to where we all were before we were born–without cognizance. Any eternal life that is achieved comes from instilling a thought, an idea or a tradition (no matter how small) in another human being so that it may continue.

Ronald Ulinksy, DAMASCUS, PA.

Not only is he a loving God; he is also a perfect gentleman. He would never force anyone who hated him or his ways to spend eternity with him. Hell is simply the place where God is not.

Valerie Stevens, SOLVANG, CALIF.

I go to church regularly and believe in an afterlife. But for some time, I have not believed in a hell as we think of it. When people do wrong, I always say they must be in great pain to act so bad. When John says “eternal life” goes to “whosoever believes” in Jesus, I always interpret that as “believes in his message of love in how we should treat one another as the children of God.”

Bill Haas, ST. LOUIS

No wonder we can’t overcome the serious difficulties that plague our country. When Americans believe in imaginary, unproven concepts like heaven, hell, God and angels, they are ill equipped to develop the critical, independent thinking necessary to confront the challenging dilemmas we face. Heaven help us–or better yet, let’s use our reality-based imagination to help us solve real-world problems.

Arlen Grossman, MONTEREY, CALIF.

Believers shouldn’t be threatened by inquiry and knowledge. Whether a Christian comes to believe Rob Bell’s position is immaterial; what really matters is whether we think it’s O.K. to ask these questions for ourselves. And ultimately, do Evangelical churches believe that new ideas will help their members grow in faith or sabotage their authority?

Pam Brewer, SHERRILL, N.Y.

Having now treated the questions of both God and hell, you are overdue for a consideration of the existence of free will. My suggestion for a cover story: “Free Will: What if It Isn’t?”

Sergei Heurlin, CULVER CITY, CALIF.

Trimming a Trillion

Re “How to Save a Trillion Dollars” [April 25]: It’s time to rein in this weapon-building madness that uses Chinese cash loans for war preparations. Security comes not from accumulating weapons but from building trust and helping other nations. Slashing defense makes us a better nation while reducing our debt.

Mark Dorais, NASHVILLE

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