First off I want this thread to be very tolerant of others and peaceful. No belittling others beliefs whatever that may be. Constructive thoughts and feelings. As some background I was baptized Catholic and wasn't a regular churchgoer as a youngster/nor am I now. I was petrified from a youngster to a few years ago about the threat of eternal hellfire/torture. I took a religious studies class about all of the different religions and beliefs and followed science as well. I had studied Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other minor religions. I had also followed science extremely close. Not to infringe or belittle anyones beliefs i'm just stating how I feel and I welcome everyone from all walks of life to insight me with their thoughts or add on to what i'm saying. I just found the bible to be very inconsistent and I couldn't buy into a lot of it. I believe earth was created long after the universe...universe being around 13.82 billion years old and earth being around 4.54 billion according to science. Humans can't even begin to comprehend how big the universe is. The universe is flat which allows for a near infinite universe. I just find it extremely hard to believe that there's not a ton of life on other planets. Some of which are billions of years more advanced than us and some that are behind us. I find it hard to believe that a deity sent Jesus to die for our sins and save us...out of the entire universe why planet earth? Maybe earth is the only planet with life in the universe but I just can't buy it 100%. I don't believe in miracles, etc. Eternal hellfire to me is a crazy concept. Why would a god create man with freewill when they didn't exist and know nothing before...no pain, no suffering, no thought, nirvana and either give them eternal life if they had faith or sentence them to eternal damnation for not. Sounds very egotistical to me like he should be worshipped and obeyed, etc. Like the universe is just a show of how powerful he is. In religious studies I was taught that hell was just seperation from god. From my reading of the bible I had taken from it that sinners and people who do evil will fade into nonexistence. "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Why would a loving compassionate god allow eternal damnation when he's all about forgiveness...only if you have faith. I believe there's nothing you can do in a lifetime that warrants eternal damnation...I can understand if people of faith go to heaven and sinners fade into nonexistence but I can't buy into sinners suffer forever and ever. Even hitler as horrific of things he'd done doesn't deserve to never be at peace. He should be punished for what he has done but eventually reunite with god as a changed better compassionate man. Or return to nonexistence. A lot of people think of hell as a metaphor but why push it as literal? Is it to scare people in to believing? To incite fear? To control people? If god was proven tomorrow I would serve him/her/it forever and ever. If god was disproved tomorrow and there was no creator i'd still be the absolute best compassionate/tolerant/loving person I could possibly be. Even if I fade into nothing I will be the best person i'm capable of being because it's what feels right in my heart. I look at the world with all of the suffering and pain and unfairness and I just can't believe that if a deity were to be that they wouldn't intervene. Why would a child get cancer and die painfully, why would people of evil be in power and abuse it, why are innocent people hungry, why is there murder, war, etc over religious ideologies and differences. I just can't believe that a god would let that happen. People tell me i've lost my way because I can't have faith. They think i'm less of a person. Maybe burning in hell forever because in my mind I just can't buy into it. They think I need to get educated and broaden my horizons and find Christ. I'm going absolutely crazy thinking about it. If someone were to survive cancer someone would say it was the prayers, yet if they die they'll say it was gods plan? I just don't understand. Is it a way for people to come to terms with things they can't control and find comfort? Is it just to scary to believe that maybe there's something after and maybe there's not? I look at the big bang and ask who/what caused that. I find it hard to believe that the universe was here the entire time and the big bang happened without some sort of creator...but then I question how'd the creator get there, etc. Maybe the universe was always here it was just empty space...maybe the creator was always there and created it...but I don't believe the creator intervenes. I look at the beauty of the universe, I look at flowers that are there for beauty, I look at the symmetry of my face, life is a gift..even with all the ups and downs. It is extremely hard for life such as ours to take place. There's estimated to be 20-25 thousand protein genes in humans...that's nuts! I personally do believe in a creator of some shape/form and I really hope there is something reminiscent to heaven but the thought of forever and ever and ever and ever is sort of overwhelming for me. Never ending...even with pure bliss wouldn't you get bored after a quintillion years craving some sort of stressor? Wouldn't you wonder what pain felt like after so long? You could travel the entire universe and know everything...then what? The nonexistence thing is scary as well. Never see family/pets again...that's hard to cope with. It'd be like it was in the 1800's...no recollection, feelings, pain, suffering, happiness....nothing. You wouldn't be aware of it so you wouldn't miss anything but it's still a difficult thought. Either way to me it's scary. I personally think that there's a creator and some type of peaceful afterlife because I have to...It'd be difficult for me if I didn't think that...but it's not a hundred percent. It's like 60-40 of believing in something and believing in nothing... I really wish I had 100% faith and didn't question things so much. It'd be so peaceful to fully buy into anything to give you some sort of peace throughout your life. You'd die knowing you'd see your loved ones again and if there was nothing you wouldn't know any better...and if there was something you'd be in absolute bliss. I know it's not good but the only thing I envy in other people is faith. Really wish I could have it even if its false. Again I meant absolutely no disrespect or intentional anything toward anybody on this forum. I welcome everybody from all walks and beliefs of life to give me their 2 cents. If you're christian/muslim/buddhist/hindu/agnostic/whatever I'd really like to hear from you. Maybe you have a different train of thought that I don't see. I'm really just looking for guidance. I believe if there is something after that it's much more due to how you are as a person than faith. Regardless i'm going to strive to be a better man every single day of my life and do good...because it's the right thing to do regardless and it makes me feel better about myself. If I was to spend an eternity in hellfire no matter what i'd still be a good person because it's right. I believe in tolerance and acceptance no matter what your walk in life. Age/Race/Gender/Sex/Sexual Orientation/Religious views...if you're good to me i'll be good to you..if you're bad to me i'll still be good to you. I just want peace and acceptance and it hurts me because I can't have 100 percent faith that i'm a horrible horrible person and I don't deserve anything...that's the way a lot of people make me feel. Anyway please keep this constructive and please don't make fun of anybody for their beliefs. I'm really sorry if I offended anybody that was in no way my intention.