The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Children and Hell

So, I recently read through 19th century Catholic priest John Furniss’s (what a fitting name!) children’s book describing the torments of hell titled The Sight of Hell (thanks to Dick, I believe, for making me aware of Fr. Furniss’s work). The entire tract is basically in exercise is sadism, but one particular passage stood out as particularly horrifying:

:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Now, Fr. Furniss was obviously not writing at the highest theological levels, but this passage nevertheless led me to wonder: when, exactly, did Catholic and Protestant views begin to change about the fate of children in hell. I imagine Catholics and Protestants tackled this in different ways, especially since the former had the concept of “limbo,” if I am not mistaken. How was original sin dealt with, etc.?

What fun!
You can read it here:

i did hope for pictures :smiling_imp:

But yes, it’s a bit odd given that they had Limbo as an option! i did skip through a lot, and found a bit saying Jesus is our Creator, and made us not for torment but happiness. There’s a clue there to the author, if he’d just taken it up.

It’s really tiring to read, isn’t it?!
Such a strange caricature of God and the devil! How totally and utterly bizarre…

Ahh, yes, thank you for linking to it! I had intended to do that but must have forgotten. :blush:

I’ve found secondary sources that say Furniss published an illustrated edition of Hell Opened to Christians, a book similar to Furniss’s written by the slightly earlier Giovanni Pinamonti. The best I found was this, which does indeed have some illustrations, although I’m not sure it’s the Furniss edition.

Blimey! :astonished:
It really makes you wonder about cognitive dissonance and obsession with guilt!

The ironic thing, is that this is the kind of thing that should be written if one’s belief is infernalism. Instead you’ve got most churches being almost closet infernalists. At our church, hell is taught about or mentioned in sermons maybe a couple times a year. If its real it should be taught about every week and we should be passing out modern updates to books like this in Sunday School. :confused:

If its real it should be taught about every week and we should be passing out modern updates to books like this in Sunday School. :confused:

If the traditional view of hell were true then avoiding it s/b by far the most important thing to warn folks about every day. It’s actually beyond our ability to really grasp if it were true. :imp:


True. This illustrates my contention that no one really believes in Hell. Oh, people certainly have it running about on the surface of their minds, but it is not more than an intellectual toy. A genuine belief in never-ending Hell, were it possible, would lead to complete insanity.

I don’t have the quotation to hand, but George MacDonald (in one of his written sermons, I believe) mentioned that a man can no more believe in something false than he can eat something not food. Yes, you can put rocks in your mouth and chew on them and swallow them, but you aren’t really “eating”. You are merely swallowing rocks. Similarly, we can put false notions in our heads and play games with them, but we can never believe them.

The more I think about this the more sense it makes sense.

I teach AWANA (sparks, ages 5-7) and this year is going to be a struggle because I was asked to teach from the book. The book is all about indoctrination. I had a choice between three books and nearly all of them in the first few pages have so much to disagree with. These are children, and they are already being brainwashed into traditionalism. Now, I want to be clear, I don’t have a problem teaching kids the Bible, but some of these doctrines are ‘beliefs’ and ‘opinions’ and are trying to be sold as facts. I have always had a problem with that. We should teach children to think, not brainwash.

Just last Wednesday I put the Bible up and said “How do we know this is God’s word?” and the first kid said “We don’t” and I said, technically, you are right, but we believe it is God’s word!" the truth is, we cannot factually say it is. We can merely say that we believe it to be God’s word and that there is strong evidence that it is. But here is what AWANA wanted me to teach:

“How do we know God’s work is true?
Because Bible says it is and God never lies”

Huh? What type of reasoning is that? I am way to analytical to allow statements like that to go unchallenged. The truth is, we believe it is the word of God. Enough said.

Anyhow, I read the above quote and it angers me! Scaring children, terrorizing them… No wonder Hell is believed today, because people have been sold it since children. Surely there is post-mortem punishment, but that is a far different thing that what is being sold today…

You will be a great filter Gabe. I once had charge of a Church library - what a great opportunity toss out junk!