Chapter 6: Benefit of Belief
Section I: Introduction
There are some who claim that there is a benefit from belief. They argue that, although there may not be supportive evidence to religion, that we ought to believe in a god(s) or a form of supernaturality for beneficial reasons. Some argue that we ought to believe in a god or a form of supernaturality because of the possibility of hell. Even for the mere possibility of a hell where we could die and burn eternally, we are told to believe in a god so that we will avoid hell. There are also those who believe that the emotional height of faith outweighs the emotional height of reason, regardless if the spiritual position is flawed by lacking evidence and proof. It is these positions that I will argue against.
Section II: The Doctrine Of Hell
Hell is a concept used by religionists, apologists, theologians, rabbis, shamen, priests, ministers, reverends, spiritual advisors, and other religious-oriented profession trades that wish to abuse their followers. To threaten with hell is perhaps one of the most sadistic things done to man. It is the imaginary place owned by the imaginary friend of certain individuals who may be labeled religious. I certainly do not believe in any hell whatsoever, and I am certainly not afraid of going to someone else's imaginary place when I die. The men who provoke thought and belief in hell are sadistic men. To quote Thomas Paine, "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." 
Charles H. Spurgeon was a Christian who advocated belief in hell and a vivid belief in hell. To quote him...
When thou diest thy soul will be tormented alone; that will be hell for it; but at the Day of Judgment thy body will join thy soul and thou wilt have twin hells; thy soul sweating drops of blood, and thy body suffused with agony. In fierce fire, exactly like that we have on earth, thy body will be, asbestos-like, forever unconsumed, all thy veins roads for the feet of pain to travel on; every nerve a string on which the devil shall for ever play his diabolical tune of hell's unutterable lament. 
Other religionists agreed with the position taken by Spurgeon. To quote Spurgeon again...
The world will probably be converted into a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which shall always be in tempest, in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day nor night . . . their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins and their vitals shall for ever be full of a glowing, melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements; also they shall eternally be full of the most quick and lively sense to feel the torments; not for one minute, nor for one day, nor for one age, nor two ages, nor for ten thousand millions of ages, one after another, but for ever and ever. 
Father Furniss was an English Catholic who wrote children's books. The purpose of these books was to teach children what would happen to them in hell if they were bad children. To quote one of his children's books...
The fourth dungeon is the boiling kettle. Listen: there is a sound like that of a kettle boiling. The blood is boiling in the scalded brains of that boy; the brain is boiling and bubbling in his head; the marrow is boiling in his bones. The fifth dungeon is the red-hot oven, in which is a little child. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire; it beats its head against the roof of the oven; it stamps its feet upon the floor of the oven. 
The love, compassion, and warmth are shown vividly in the words of this English priest. To quote him again...
His eyes are burning like two burning coals. Two longs flames come out of his ears...Sometimes he opens his mouth, and breath of blazing fire rolls out. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. But is it really a kettle boiling? No. Then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalding veins of that boy. The brain is broiling and bubbling in his head. The marrow is broiling in his bones. Ask him why he is thus tormented. His answer is that when he was alive, he blood boiled to do very wicked things. 
This English, Catholic reverend was full of piety for his god. To quote his children's story one last time....
See! on the middle of that red-hot floor stands a girl; she looks about sixteen years old. Her feet are bare. She has neither shoes nor stockings. She says, 'I have been standing on this red hot floor for years . . . Day and night . . . Look at my burnt and bleeding feet. Let me go off this burning floor for one moment, only for one single short moment. 
Father Arnall was another Christian preacher who felt compelled to ad to the currently existing volumes on hell. To quote him...
The torment of fire is the greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellow creatures...But our earthly fire was created by God for the benefit of man...whereas the fire of hell is of another quality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentant sinner... Moreover, our earthly fire destroys at the same time as it burns so that the more intense it is the shorter its duration: but the fire of hell has this property that it preserves that which it burns and though it rages with incredible intensity, it rages forever... And this terrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only from without but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundless fire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of these wretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brains are boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting, the bowels a redhot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming like molten balls... It is a fire which proceeds directly from God, working not of its own activity but as an instrument of divine vengeance...Every sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the Godhead. 
He felt that it was important to note all the pains and tortures of hell. Continuing his consistently brutal doctrine, he notes on the duration of hell...
Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun. 
Jack T. Chick is an American Evangelist. He writes small tracts, or comic books, known as Chick Tracts. The propaganda utilized by him is to sell these Chick Tracts to consumers and then the consumers distribute them to public places, such as dentist offices, phone booths, and other places that are frequented often. To quote one of his pamphlets...
Here is just some of what the Bible says about this horrible place.
A lake of fire. . . . . . . . . Rev. 20:15
A bottomless pit. . . . . . . Rev. 20:1
A horrible tempest. . . . . . . Ps. 11:6
A devouring fire. . . . . . . . Isa. 33:14
A place of sorrows. . . . . . Ps. 18:5
A place of weeping. . . . . Mt. 8:12
A furnace of fire. . . . . Mt. 13:41-42
A place of torments. . . . . La. 16:23
Where they wail. . . . . . . Mt. 13:42
Where God is cursed . . . . . Rev. 16:11
Where there's no rest . . . . Rev. 14:11
A place of outer darkness............... Mt. 25:30
Where they scream for mercy.................. Lu. 16:24
Where they can never repent ............. Mt. 12:32
A place of everlasting punishment ........ Mt. 25:46
Where they gnaw their tongues ........ Rev. 16:10
Where they feel the wrath of God ..... Rev. 14:10
A place of everlasting destruction ..... 2 Thes. 1:9
A place for the devil and his angels ..... Mt. 25:41
Where the fire never goes out ........ Mk. 9:48
A place of everlasting burnings .... Isa. 33:14
Where they don't want their loved ones to come ....................... Lu. 16.28 
Certainly, this list of what hell is appears impressive. It is completely resourced with scripture. However, although it is purely meant to give a meaning insight to what the Bible claims hell is, it is riddled with contradictions. How can hell have a flame (Isa. 33:14) if it is a bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1)? How can hell be a place where they wail (Mt. 13:42) when the people there have no tongues to wail with (Rev. 16:10)? However, the seemingly obvious and large amount of contradictions between what hell is certainly is not what I am trying to demonstrate. I am trying to demonstrate the vindictiveness of the concept of hell, and the cruelty manifested in it.
The Christian religion is not the only one guilty of instilling fear and terror instead of love and compassion. The Islamic religion is equally disgusting. To quote the Qur'an in regards to treatment of non-believers...
Believers, do not choose the unbelievers rather than the faithful as your friends. Would you give Allah a clear proof against yourselves?
Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrong-doers.
Believers, do not seek the friendship of the infidels and those who were given the Book before you, who have made your religion a jest and a pasttime...
The Jews say: 'God's hand is chained.' May their own hands be chained! May they be cursed for what they say!...
Remember Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them."
"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last day, nor hold the forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jiziyah with willing submission. And feel themselves subdued.
The Jews call 'Uzayr-a son of God', and the Christians call 'Christ the Son Of God'. That is a saying from their mouth; (In this) they but intimate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are decluded away from the Truth."
..He hurls his thunderbolts at whom he pleases Yet the unbelievers wrangle about Allah..
When you meet the unbelievers in the Jihad strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens.
The Qur'an also duly notes on what kind of hell their compassionate, "merciful, forgiving" god sends people to. In the eyes of this Atheist, I find the Islamic god - Allah - to be vile and revolting. To quote the Qur'an...
Those who reject faith shall be the companions of the Fire.
The curse of Allah is on the unbelievers... humiliating is the punishment.
As for those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are the heirs of Hell.
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet and alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, merciful.
Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate.
For the wrongdoers We have prepared a fire which will encompass them like the walls of a pavilion. When they cry out for help they shall be showered with water as hot as molten brass, which will scald their faces. Evil shall be their drink, dismal their resting-place.
..The unbelievers shall stare in amazement, crying: 'Woe to us! Of this we have been heedless. We have done wrong.' You and your idols shall be the fuel of Hell; therein you shall all go down.
Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they try to escape from Hell, back they shall be dragged, and will be told: 'Taste the torment of the Conflagration!'
...But for the unbelievers He has prepared a woeful punishment...
Do you not see how those who dispute the revelation of God turn away from the right path ? Those who have denied the Book and the message We sent through Our apostles shall realize the truth hereafter: when, with chains and shackles round their necks, they shall be dragged through scalding water and then burnt in the fire of Hell.
..The unbelievers shall endure forever the torment of Hell. The punishment will never be lightened, and they shall be speechless with despair. We do not wrong, themselves.
..The fruit of the Zaqqum tree shall be the unbelievers' fruit. Like dregs of oil, like scalding water, it shall simmer in his belly. A voice will cry: 'Seize him and drag him into the depths of Hell. Then pour out scalding water over his head, saying: "Taste this, illustrious and honourable man! This is the punishment which you have doubted."
..That is the Hell which the unbelievers deny. They shall wander between fire and water fiercely seething. Which of your Lord's blessing would you deny?
Ye shall surely taste of the tree Zaqqum. Then will ye fill your insides therewith, and drink boiling water on top of it. Indeed ye shall drink like diseased camels raging with thirst. Such will be their entertainment on the day of Requital!
Those who resist Allah and his messenger will be humbled to dust.
We shall say: 'Lay hold of him and bind him. Burn him in the fire of Hell, then fasten him with a chain seventy cubits long. For he did not believe Allah the tremendous, and urged not on the feeding of the wretched. Today he shall be friendless here; filth shall be his food, the filth which sinners eat...
The fire of Hell will pluck out his being right to the skull..
We have created the unbelievers out of base matters.
We have in store for the unbelievers heavy fetters and a blazing fire, choking food and harrowing torment: on the day when the earth shall quiver with all its mountains, and the mountains crumble into heaps of shifting sand.
For the unbelievers We have prepared chains and fetters and a blazing Fire...
Woe on that day to the disbelievers! Begone to the Hell which you deny! Depart into the shadow that will rise high in three columns, giving neither shade nor shelter from the flames, and throwing up sparks as huge as towers, as bright as yellow camels...Eat and enjoy yourselves awhile. You are wicked men..."
The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures.
To quote another reliable source in regards to the various hells of the various religions...
HELL ACCORDING TO LA CIVILTA CATTOLICA
God does not inflict pain "through angels or demons as is illustrated in many paintings or is read in the Divine Comedy," according to a Jesuit magazine in Rome, La Civilta Cattolica (July 1999). It "is not a 'place' but a 'state,' a person's 'state of being,' in which a person suffers from the deprivation of God. Hell's new makeover was supported by Pope John Paul II, who soon thereafter told visiting pilgrims that "more than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God who, the source of all life and joy." In other words, the Pope said, it is not a loving God who sends people to hell, but individuals who consign themselves to hell through unrepentant sin. That hell is real is true, the Pope appeared to be saying, but his interpretation differs greatly from that of philosophic naturalists. For the Pope, both hell and Hell are still real. Meanwhile, the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, disagreed with the Pope's stand, insisting that Hell is "A very real place of very real torment." In the Middle Ages, Jewish descriptions of hell include all sorts of terrible torments like boiling rivers.
Hell, for most Southern Baptists, is the place of punishment described in the Bible: outer darkness, fire, torment, isolation.
The Buddhist Hell, according to some of the varied Buddhist leaders, consists of eight hot and cold places, each hell associated with a particular type of suffering. The tortures that are described develop compassion for the beings there and also create an incentive not to engage in the nonvirtuous behavior described.
The Muslim Hell is described as a fire having seven levels, the lowest of which crackles and roars with fierce boiling water, scorching wind, and wailing, wretched souls.
HELL, ROMAN CATHOLIC
Hell, according to the Roman Catholic theology, is a condition of self-chosen, permanent alienation from God, who bestows all "blessings." 
In the older days, humans were very afraid of the possibility of hell. They feared eternal torment. They were fed these concepts of hell, eternal punishment, eternal burning, and these primitive humans were incapable of thinking otherwise. Men and women would fear through their whole lives, contemplating if what they were doing was the right thing and if it wasn't, they would be fearing hell. Hell, a concept so vividly described by these dogmatic and harmful religionists as well as so forcefully rammed down the throats of those who do not know any better, is a destructive concept indeed. So vividly preached by high ranking religionists, so firmly believed by the common, and so frequently and ardently dispelled by infidels; these are all things that the doctrine of hell are. It is with liberating words and beautiful language that the infidels have debunked the concept of hell, freeing and unleashing the minds of many from this horrible god who will torture you for eternity if you do not worship him.
To quote Epictetus (50-135 BCE) "Where are you going? It cannot be a place of suffering; there is no hell."  Many of the ancient philosophers fought against the concept of hell as they believed that it brought immense amounts of pain to people. It was vividly believed by the ancient Grecians who were fed religious lies and threaten with hell. Epicurus was one man who stood out among the rest when he fought against hell and he did so ardently. To quote him...
...Men, believing in myths, will always fear something terrible, everlasting punishment as certain or probable.... Men base all these fears not on mature opinions, but on irrational fancies, so that they are more disturbed by fear of the unknown than by facing facts. Peace of mind lies in being delivered from all these fears. 
It was obvious in all the works of Epicurus that he was a crusader for peace of mind, happiness, and clear thinking. A lover of life and his fellow brethren, he wished to liberate their minds from dogmatic superstition of hell. To quote him from his Principal Doctrines with his views on this subject...
Death is nothing to us; once the body and brain decompose into dust and ashes, there is no feeling or thought, and what has no feeling or thought is nothing to us. 
If the things which bring pleasure to licentious men and women freed them from troubled minds, that is, if such a life freed them from the fear of God, the fear of death and the fear of pain, and if those things further taught them how to rationally manage their desires, we would find no wrong with these men and women; they would have reached the height of pleasure and would be free of all bodily and mental pain, which is the beginning and the end of all evil. 
If there were no natural limit to pleasure, it would take an eternity to satisfy the infinite number of desires and wants that one could imagine and dream up. The mind, however, is able to discover the natural limit and height of pleasure; it is also capable of freeing us from all fears of any life after death so that we do not need, want nor fear eternity. Therefore, even if the time has come for us to depart from life, we can approach our final rest with the absolute confidence that we have enjoyed all of the pleasure that it was possible to enjoy. 
Democritus (460-370 B.C.E.) was another who fought against the doctrine of hell. Democritus was a member of the Garden, an Epicurean "church" and is held as the original father of the Atomic Theory. To quote him, "People who do not understand that death is nothing waste their lives in fear because of the many superstitions about life after death."  Diogenes of Oenoanda (412-323 B.C.E.?) was another Epicurean who fought against this despicable doctrine of hell. To quote him, "These are the root of all evil: fear of god, of death, of pain, and desire which goes beyond what nature requires for a happy life."  Lucretius (99-55 BCE) was an Epicurean poet who lived in Rome while it was still a succeeding empire. To quote him...
There is no murky pit of hell awaiting anyone.... Mind cannot arise alone without body, or apart from sinews and blood.... You must admit, therefore, that when the body has perished, there is an end also of the spirit diffused through it. It is surely crazy to couple a mortal object with an eternal.... 
Lucretius was a beautifully-written poet whose words would comfort mind and soothe the senses. In his lengthy and beautifully written De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of Things"), he has said...
Now come: that thou mayst able be to know
That minds and the light souls of all that live
Have mortal birth and death, I will go on
Verses to build meet for thy rule of life,
Sought after long, discovered with sweet toil.
But under one name I'd have thee yoke them both;
And when, for instance, I shall speak of soul,
Teaching the same to be but mortal, think
Thereby I'm speaking also of the mind-
Since both are one, a substance interjoined. 
From the ancient philosophers and thinkers, from whom developed the word "philosophia," we come now to the modern day infidels and heretics who have attacked the doctrine of hell. David Hume was among them. To quote him, "Why, then, eternal punishment for the temporary offenses of so frail a creature as man?"  Robert Green Ingersoll is perhaps the greatest Agnostic who has ever lived - given the name the Great Agnostic -, whose words are comparably the most beautiful constructed. It was Ingersoll whose sole purpose was to eradicate belief in a hell. To quote him...
Who can estimate the misery that has been caused by this infamous doctrine of eternal punishment? Think of the lives it has blighted-of the tears it has caused-of the agony it has produced. Think of the millions who have been driven to insanity by this most terrible of dogmas. This doctrine renders God the basest and most cruel being in the universe.... There is nothing more degrading than to worship such a god. 
Eternal punishment is eternal revenge, and can be inflicted only by an eternal monster.... Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal jailer hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. 
The idea of hell was born of ignorance, brutality, fear, cowardice, and revenge. This idea testifies that our remote ancestors were the lowest of beasts. 
The doctrine of eternal punishment is in perfect harmony with the savagery of the men who made the orthodox creeds. 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. 
Ingersoll freed the minds of men from this vindictive doctrine of hell. To quote Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), "Christianity supplies a Hell for the people who disagree with you, and a Heaven for your friends."  Certainly the pain and suffering of hell - simply the concept of it - is of vindictiveness and suffering. In this one life that we have, we may be fed the lies of the clergy, and the most greatest lie of them all - the one that has caused more suffering than any other - is the lie of a hell. To quote Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), "I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind." 
The numerous arguments that come from the divine defenders all fail, however, when they try to defend the doctrine of hell. It is not so much the doctrine of eternal punishment alone that needs defense (although evidence would help bolster belief in it), but the arguments attempt to reconcile a benevolent creator with eternal torment. There is no method for this reconciliation of hell and a benevolent god. A benevolent god would not send people to a hell for eternity. Such a concept is absurd. One may argue that a good god sends bad people to hell, just like a good cop sends bad people to jail, but a jail's purpose is not - or at least should not be - a form of punishment, but a form of protection of the public; the jail is used to keep harmful criminals from endangering the lives of law-abiding citizens. If a god is protecting good people by sending bad people to hell, I find this also ridiculous. Could not a god keep order and peace in a heaven with all souls coexisting? A god certainly could, otherwise he is no god; and even if a god could not keep bad people from acting bad in heaven, he could at least not make hell such a torturous and vindictive place. A good person would not torture, burn, or bake alive any conscious being.  If an individual would find it amusing to torture, burn, and bake alive a sentient being, then this individual is horrible, vile, revolting, and disturbed. If to torture one sentient being makes you horrible, vile, revolting, and disturbed, what should the verdict be of a god if he tortures, burns, and bakes billions of sentient beings for eternity in hell when their only crimes may be minimal or lack of belief? Only a rational man can give a rational answer: a cruel, torturous, and vindictive god who is beyond belief logically in regards to his compassion. I am not speaking of an evil god imprisoning people for eternity with ultimate torments; I am speaking of those who think god can be compassionate and can still punish people for eternity with torturous punishments. I can conceive of no being so utterly horrible, nor of any being so incomprehensibly destructive and evil. To quote Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), the famous Anarchist, "Even if God existed it would be necessary to abolish him!" 
There are some who believe that a benevolent god exists and also that this god created a hell full of tortures. However, their belief may stem from the concept that god does not send man to hell, but gives man a "choice." Whatever this concept of "choice" means, I am left in the dark. Perhaps it's some form of the dogmatic concept of Free Will, the doctrine that we animals may break the laws of physics to do our bidding. Of course, the issue at question is not between Determinism or Free Will, but whether this concept of choice still allows a benevolent god; and it certainly does not. If a god is responsible for creating everything, such as defined in chapter 1, then certainly, this created the possibility of going to hell and - if this god knew a large amount of data (if not all data) as a god would - then this god would know that by creating the possibility of hell, he is solely responsible for everyone who goes to hell. If god created man with a "choice" that inevitably leads to hell, then that god is responsible. The error with claiming that man sends himself to hell is that hypothetically, god created man. If a god is held responsible for creating everything in the known, natural Universe, which he is, then this god is responsible for all the happenings in this Universe. To claim that a man sends himself to hell is ludicrous, as that man's actions are governed his own design which is directly due to a god, be there one.
There are then those who claim that a hell and a god exist, but they say that a god isn't benevolent at all; he is a cruel, vindictive, and torturous being. They agree that a god created a hell to torture us for infinity and that he is truly a vindictive and cruel being. Suffering and pain are caused by god and nobody else. That is what one selection of religionists claim, and I cannot argue with them. However, I am simply attempting to find if a hell and a god are reconcilable, and two concepts are reconcilable if a cruel god is at work. There are also those who claim a god exists and is benevolent, but a hell full of tortures does not exist. Some state a hell exists in one of various forms, sometimes being a separation from god. Many people believe that a god exists, but they do not believe in a hell that is full of tortures. Although the majority believe in a god, not everyone believes in a place of eternal torment.
In this section, my aim was to show the history of the doctrine of hell. In this history we see the religious scripture of many religions advocate a form of eternal torment and punishment. With the religious scripture, we see the theologians, priests, and spiritual men advocating a form of eternal torment to minor crimes and nonbelievers. Alongside this line of history, we see mind liberationists such as Epicurus and Ingersoll fighting this revolting and vile doctrine of eternal punishment. The doctrine of hell is founded on scripture, but bolstered and emphasized through the words of their religious leaders. The importance of this is to examine exactly what a hell is before we are threatened to believe in a hell through some sort of possibility of a god existing. The doctrine of hell, it should be noted, is not prevalent within all religions. Now that I have made clear what hell stands for, I shall continue to examine how this ties in with a possible benefit from belief.
Section III: The Psychology Of Religion And Benefit Of Belief
Does the fact that you will not live forever in a heaven put a damper on your afternoon? I can understand why a deconverted Theist may find it to be depressing that they will not have eternal life as their religion has promised them. This is a perfectly normal emotion. The religionist was promised something that was long awaited for and possibly well prepared for. For this religionist to all of a sudden find out that their waiting and preparation was all useless is a detrimentally harmful psychological experience. However, I contend that the long term benefits of mental liberation far outweigh the benefits of religious dogma. It is by the sword of truth that we are to succeed.
The concept of immortality is perhaps the only happy concept that may be retrieved from the wreckage of religion. Ingersoll thought that immortality was "born of human affection" and was based on love. However, Epicurus stated the following in regards to immortality...
An immortal life would not provide an opportunity for any more pleasure than this mortal life does. A rational understanding of happiness makes clear the fact that the height of pleasure is attainable here and now, in this life, and it cannot be surpassed, even if one could live forever. 
I think the point that Epicurus was trying to demonstrate is that happiness should not be something measured in amounts, but something that ought to be continuous in our life as it changes frequently. I would think, however, that if someone can get more pleasure from more time, thus meaning more opportunities to exploit pleasure for one's self, then I would disagree with Epicurus. However, his opinion in regards to immortality measured against happiness are important, as it is the opinion of a nonbeliever in regards to immortality. Clarence Darrow, however, took a more aggressive position than Ingersoll towards the concept of immortality. To quote him...
Upon what evidence, then, are we asked to believe in immortality? There is no evidence. One is told to rely on faith, and no doubt this serves the purpose so long as one can believe blindly whatever he is told. 
The origin of the absurd idea of immortal life is easy to discover; it is kept alive by hope and fear, by childish faith, and by cowardice. 
I would not say that the belief in immortality is better than non-belief in immortality; however, the question of what is beneficial or not has nothing to do with actual truth. I am not bothered by the fact that my consciousness will cease at death, nor am I particularly afraid of ceasing to exist entirely at death (although the form death may take may definitely be scary). I see no reason for there to be an immortality, both in evidence and meaning. There is no necessity for a future life. I know and understand that I am alive today and that I ought to make the best of life for myself and the Earth's other creatures in this life; I understand that there is no future life, and thus no necessity to prepare for a future existence beyond death; and I understand that one day I shall die and cease to be conscious eternally. From dust I came and to dust I shall return. To quote Susan Ertz (1894-1985), "Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."  Perhaps the best person who captured my view of immortality was that of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). To quote him...
I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul. . . . No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life-our desire to go on living-our dread of coming to an end as individuals. I do not dread it, though. Personally, I cannot see any use of a future life. 
Perhaps another valuable quote in regards to the benefit from believe is from George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)...
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than as sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. 
Unlike the possibility of immortality being warm and soothing to the mind, the rest of religion can be regarded as painful, harmful, and full of suffering. There is nothing more detrimental to the happiness and mental health of sentient beings than religion. Happiness, in the form of food, sex, self esteem, and the other necessities of a happy life according to psychology, are taken away from the follower of religion. It is by following and believing the scripture of religion that a person can be torn apart inside.
Perhaps a great thing in the lives of all men and women is sex. Physical intimacy and sexual gratification are perfectly normal and desired things. I can see no reason why they would be considered evil, unless I was religious. In regards to sexual morality, I believe that it should not be considered anything in particular. As long as none are harmed, I feel that sexually we should be unlimited. However, all world religions are bent on restrictions, and especially so in regards to sexuality. Catholic priests, as well as many Christian church officials including monks, nuns, bishops, and higher authorities, must be completely celibate; the sexuality of these men and women is dead. Homosexuality is considered immoral and evil in the Old and New Testament. The verses that condemn Homosexuality are Genesis 13:13, Genesis 18:20, Genesis 19:1-29, Leviticus 18:22-23, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, 1 Kings 14:22-24, Isaiah 3:9, Luke 17:25-32, Romans 1:24-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, 2 Peter 2:6-9, and Jude 1:7-8. Divorce is forbidden in Mark 10:7-9. Also, to think of sexual desire is immoral and evil; Matthew 5:27-28 "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The same verse is also seen in Nehemiah 12:17-28. Lust, or sexual activity or thoughts, is one of the Seven Sins of Catholicism. Once during their lifetime, every Muslim must go to the holy city of Meccah and on this voyage they may not have sex (Qur'an 2:197). In the Qur'an, careless sex is considered immoral (Qur'an 4:24). The Qur'an 17:32 says, "And go not nigh to fornication; surely it is an indecency and an evil way." In the Qur'an 60:12, it compares careless sex with blasphemy, stealing, killing your children, and disobeying goodness. The Fourth Noble Truth of Buddhism includes restraining from sex. Sexuality is a sacred wrong as a rule of the Pancha Shila (Buddhist rules that apply to Buddhist monks and nuns). A Buddhist monk or nun must be completely celibate. Hinduism does not allow its followers to be sexual active or promiscuous in any way. In fact, according to Hinduism, you may not even think of sex or talk about it. Nor can you do anything that is arousing.
Another important thing for life - along with sex - is food and eating. To keep a fully nourished mind that is rational and logical, one must consume enough fruits, vegetables, and grains to keep them healthy. A healthy body will spur on a healthy mentality. Whereas the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic religions allow the consumption of flesh - something I would disagree with - religions in general are known to limit food intake. There are certain religious ethics that regard consuming particular fleshes as evil and other religious ethics that regard consuming flesh on particular dates as evil, however, I disagree with any action that causes suffering to a sentient animal. In Catholicism, Gluttony, or eating too much food, is a sin. The fact that you cannot indulge in food is ludicrous. In Islam, In the Qur'an 5:62, it says, "And you will see many of them striving with one another to hasten in sin and exceeding the limits, and their eating of what is unlawfully acquired; certainly evil is that which they do." Also, in the Qur'an 2:183, it says, "O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil)." Again, in the Qur'an 9:112, it says, "They who turn (to Allah), who serve (Him), who praise (Him), who fast, who bow down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and who keep the limits of Allah; and give good news to the believers." The Qur'an also suggests fasting in the Qur'an 33:35, Qur'an 5:89, Qur'an 2:185, and Qur'an 58:4. Ramadan is the sacred month of Islam. For the month of December, Muslims cannot eat any food during the day. They may only eat food during the night when the Sun has set. If you are a Buddhist monk or nun, the one of the rules of the Pancha Shila is that you must only have one meal a day - a practice that is horribly detrimental to your health.
Pleasure is a general concept accursed by religion in whole. In Buddhism, the one of the rules of the Pancha Shila is to avoid "substances which blur the consciousness." Alcohol and drugs are thus unethical. If you are a Buddhist monk or nun, the one of the rules of the Pancha Shila is that you avoid entertainment. Also, if you are a monk or nun, another rule of the Pancha Shila is that you must use a simple bed and a simple seat. Another largely effecting rule of the Pancha Shila is that Buddhist monks and nuns are not allowed to handle money. There are 227 rules for Buddhist monks and 311 rules for Buddhist nuns. Sloth, or resting luxuriously, is one of the Seven Sins of Catholicism. In regards to the joys that the Christian life brings, Robert Green Ingersoll has said...
Nothing can be more repulsive than an orthodox life -- than one who lives in exact accordance with the creed. It is hard to conceive of a more terrible character than John Calvin. It is somewhat difficult to understand the Puritans, who made themselves unhappy by way of recreation, and who seemed to enjoy themselves when admitting their utter worthlessness and in telling God how richly they deserved to be eternally damned. They loved to pluck from the tree of life every bud, every blossom, every leaf. The bare branches, naked to the wrath of God, excited their admiration. They wondered how birds could sing, and the existence of the rainbow led them to suspect the seriousness of the Deity. How can there be any joy if man believes that he acts and lives under an infinite responsibility, when the only business of this life is to avoid the horrors of the next? Why should the lips of men feel the ripple of laughter if there is a bare possibility that the creed of Christendom is true? 
Robert Green Ingersoll has spoken many words in many speeches and lectures. He was most noted for excellent speeches that held the ears of his listeners tightly. Still in regards to the happiness provided by Christianity, Ingersoll has said...
And if there is to be an acknowledgment of God in the Constitution, the question naturally arises as to which God is to have this honor. Shall we select the God of the Catholics -- he who has established an infallible church presided over by an infallible pope, and who is delighted with certain ceremonies and placated by prayers uttered in exceedingly common Latin? Is it the God of the Presbyterian with the Five Points of Calvinism, who is ingenious enough to harmonize necessity and responsibility, and who in some way justifies himself for damning most of his own children? Is it the God of the Puritan, the enemy of joy -- of the Baptist, who is great enough to govern the universe, and small enough to allow the destiny of a soul to depend on whether the body it inhabited was immersed or sprinkled? What God is it proposed to put in the Constitution? Is it the God of the Old Testament, who was a believer in slavery and who justified polygamy? If slavery was right then, it is right now; and if Jehovah was right then, the Mormons are right now. Are we to have the God who issued a commandment against all art -- who was the enemy of investigation and of free speech? Is it the God who commanded the husband to stone his wife to death because she differed with him on the subject of religion? Are we to have a God who will re-enact the Mosaic code and punish hundreds of offences with death? 
John Calvin (1509-1564) was the founder of Calvinism and today it is commonly associated with Presbyterianism. In Geneva, a Swiss city, Calvin took control of the city and instituted his own ordinances. To quote the ordinances of the city by Calvin himself...
Whoever shall have blasphemed, swearing by the body or by the blood of our Lord, or in similar manner, he shall be made to kiss the earth for the first offence ; for the second to pay 5 sous, and for the third 6 sous, and for the last offence be put in the pillory for one hour.
1. That no one shall invite another to drink under penalty of 3 sous.
2. That taverns shall be closed during the sermon, under penalty that the tavern -keeper shall pay 3 sous, and whoever may be found therein shall pay the same amount.
3. If anyone be found intoxicated he shall pay for the first offence 3 sous and shall be remanded to the consistory ; for the second offence he shall he held to pay the sum of 6 sous, and for the third 10 sous and be put in prison.
4. That no one shall make roiaumes [Referring to ordinances regulating the holding of religious services] under penalty of 10 sous.
Songs and Dances.
If anyone sings immoral, dissolute or outrageous songs, or dance the virollet or other dance, he shall be put in prison for three days and then sent to the consistory.
That no one shall play at any dissolute game or at any game whatsoever it may be, neither for gold nor silver nor for any excessive stake, upon penalty of 5 sous and forfeiture of stake played for. 
Games, dancing, music, and other joys - especially blasphemy - are completely taken from the hearts of men and women from this city! Once it may have been a city full of joy and laughter, but it was silenced and thoroughly so by the foolish and vindictively cruel theologian named John Calvin. The notoriety of Calvin has not slipped by Robert Green Ingersoll. To quote Ingersoll...
Calvin founded a little theocracy, modeled after the Old Testament, and succeeded in erecting the most detestable government that ever existed, except the one from which it was copied.
Calvin was of a pallid, bloodless complexion, thin, sickly, irritable, gloomy, impatient, egotistic, tyrannical, heartless, and infamous. He was a strange compound of revengeful morality, malicious forgiveness, ferocious charity, egotistic humility, and a kind of hellish justice. In other words. he was as near like the God of the Old Testament as his health permitted. 
Along with food, sex, and entertainment, self esteem is a very important thing to have. One must feel good about themselves. If someone is told that they are imperfect or horrible in nature, they will not feel well about themselves; and feeling happy about yourself and your accomplishments - a pride of sort - is necessary for a happy life. The concept of sin goes as far as to claim that all are sinners who deserve hell. In Mark 2:17, Jesus is reported to having said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." In Numbers 5:6-7, it says, "Say to the Israelites: `When a man or woman wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the LORD, that person is guilty and must confess the sin he has committed. He must make full restitution for his wrong, add one fifth to it and give it all to the person he has wronged." In the New Testament, the concept of sin is used to condemn or apply 275 times  and in the Old Testament, the concept of sin is used to condemn or apply 716 times , and in the Bible as a whole it nearly amounts to 1,000 applications and condemnations! In Qur'an 12:91, it is claimed that man is a sinner and in Qur'an 12:92, it claims that only Allah can forgive sins. In the Qur'an 20:73, it says, "Surely we believe in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and the magic to which you compelled us; and Allah is better and more abiding." In the Qur'an, the concept of sin is used to apply or condemn 60 times .
Perhaps one of the most observed characteristics of religion is the preaching of humility, or the lack of taking pride in one's accomplishments and being simple, not outstanding. Jesus asked us to humble ourselves, in Luke 14:11, "For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Pride is one of the Seven Sins of Catholicism, so nobody may be proud. Envy is another one of the Seven Sins of Catholicism, so no one may be envious. Greed is yet another one of the Seven Sins of Catholicism, so no one may be greedy. I do not regard envy or greed as sins myself, but I think they are largely natural emotions that happen to us as animals. Islam claims that the angels and heavenly beings do not show pride in the Qur'an 16:49, as it says, "And whatever creature that is in the heavens and that is in the earth makes obeisance to Allah (only), and the angels (too) and they do not show pride." Those who turn away from Allah of Islam are full of pride in the Qur'an 63:5, "And when it is said to them: Come, the Apostle of Allah will ask forgiveness for you, they turn back their heads and you may see them turning away while they are big with pride." Islam says that those who are patient and pray - basic traits of a good Muslim - are humble in the Qur'an 2:45, "And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones." Humble Muslims are rewarded in the Qur'an 11:23, "Surely (as to) those who believe and do good and humble themselves to their Lord, these are the dwellers of the garden, in it they will abide." Islam claims that the believers who are humble will succeed in the Qur'an 21:1-2, it says, "Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers." The followers of Islam are humble according to the Qur'an 25:63, as it says, "And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace." Perhaps the most long winded passage of the Qur'an that commands humbleness is the Qur'an 33:35...
Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember-- Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.
In Islam, you must pray in the direction of Mecca five times a day. When praying, a Muslim is in "submission mode;" They are bowing down. Not only can this be seen as degrading, but it is also done five times in a single day. To quote Arthur Schopenhauer...
Man excels all the animals even in his ability to be trained. Muslims are trained to turn their faces toward Mecca five times a day and pray; they do so steadfastly. Christians are trained to cross themselves on certain occasions, to genuflect, etc.; while religion in general constitutes the real masterpiece on the art of training, namely the training of the mental capacities-which, as is well known, cannot be started too early. There is no absurdity so palpable that one could not fix it firmly in the head of every man on earth, provided one began to imprint it before his sixth year by ceaselessly rehearsing it before him with solemn earnestness. 
In Buddhism, the first Noble Truth proclaims that all life is suffering and pain. The Eight-Fold Path continues yet to say that, in the Seventh Path step, wanting or trying to accomplish anything is also wrong. If you are a Buddhist monk or nun, the eighth rule of the Pancha Shila is that you must not take pride. You cannot be proud of what you have done, who you are, or what you are aspiring for. Hinduism also believes its followers should be humble. They should not try to gain too many material goods. A general humbleness is required by Hinduism. It does not want followers to be extreme extravagant or trying too hard.
To quote Jesus Christ, Mark 9:43-48...
"...if your hand causes you to sin, cut if off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."
In Matthew 5:39-41, Jesus is reported as saying...
"Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
Many Buddhist ministries practice self discipline. In such cases, you are watched over by a master and you must stay awake for long, long hours. If you fall asleep, you are beaten with a stick; or if you move just a little bit, in some instances, you are also beaten with a stick. The belief structure of Hinduism is founded on castes, or different social structures. When someone is in a caste, it is either the lowest - or the poorest -, the medium, the higher, and the highest. The chances of being born into a particular caste system, through reincarnation, is by how good you were in the previous life. Thus, to get to a better caste in your next life, you must live your life by good morals in this life. In the ancient times, members of the lower castes had to let members of the higher castes can harm the lower castes and abuse their right to liberty.
On top of the vigorously described concepts of hell, a nonbeliever is then faced with various other things to be afraid of. The Qur'an mentions and threatens with hell 96 different times.  I Corinthians 2:14 of the Bible states, "The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." In John 14:12-14, "Jesus said, '...he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it... if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.'" Matthew 17:20 says, "... if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." To quote John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." Paul struck a man blind for opposing Christianity in Acts 13:8-11. Paul wrote that "he who has doubts is condemned" in Romans 14:23. In Hebrews 10:28-31, "A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God... and outraged the Spirit of Grace?... It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Jesus Christ threatens us, in Luke 6:25, "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep." In Amos 3:6, "Does evil befall a city unless the Lord has done it." In the entire book of The Cow of the Qur'an of Islam, nonbelievers are heavily described as villains and they are discriminated against; they are sinners and worthy of no kindness. In the Qur'an 3:12, it says, "Say to those who disbelieve: You shall be vanquished, and driven together to hell; and evil is the resting- place." In regards to the infidels, in the Qur'an 3:197, it says, "A brief enjoyment! then their abode is hell, and evil is the resting-place." In the Qur'an 17:39, it says, "This is of what your Lord has revealed to you of wisdom, and do not associate any other god with Allah lest you should be thrown into hell, blamed, cast away." The Qur'an 36:63 puts it quite bluntly when it says, "This is the hell with which you were threatened." It goes on in the Qur'an 63:64 (the very next verse) to say, "Enter into it [hell] this day because you disbelieved." The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism threaten you; believe and practice Buddhism to escape suffering. In these verses, believers are rewarded and non-believers are punished either in the physical world or in a life hereafter.
The fact of the matter is that religion founded on deprivation. It deprives the body of food through religious fasting and other dogmatic policies. Furthermore, it limits the amount of entertainment as well as happiness that anyone can have. The highest joy - sex - is also significantly limited on many levels. On top of this limit of joys, the followers of these religions are told that they are sinners, when sin is defined as something considerably horrible and vile; they are told that they are horrible and vile. They are told not to be proud and to be completely humble. On top of these concepts, the religionists are then threatened with a hell that they shall suffer eternally if they do not do as their religion wishes and they will suffer greatly on earth also if they do not believe. A person with a low self-esteem who believes that they are worth little and follows all these pleasure-depriving mandates from heaven will unarguably find security and joy in a slave-master relationship, easily provided for by any of the world's major religions. 
Section IV: Pascal's Wager
The actual Pascal's Wager is actually three components, but what is actually referred to as Pascal's Wager today is a "bet" on god. It was a theological device invented by Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), who was also a mathematician. The reasoning he provides is that if god exists and we believe, we gain heaven. However, if god exists and we disbelieve, we lose and go to hell. If god doesn't exist, then it doesn't matter what we believe as we all return back to dust. To quote Pascal himself...
Let us weight the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate the two choices. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that He is. 
Pascal's Wager can be simplified, however...
If You Believe...
If God Exists - Go To Heaven
If God Doesn't Exist - Go To Hell
If You Do Not Believe...
If God Exists - Go To Hell
If God Doesn't Exist - Lose Nothing
It may seem somewhat reasonable at first, however, it must be noted that it does not even prove the existence of god. Even if it is logical, it only proves that we ought to believe in a god. The error with Pascal's Wager should be seemingly obvious. How do we know which god to believe in? After all, if someone is a Christian and Islam happens to be the correct religion, then the Christian and Materialists both will burn together in the hell of Islam. What of Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and the other mythological religions that threaten suffering? We ought to take those into consideration as well. In fact, I may even devise my own religion of an invisible, pink unicorn that threatens you to believe in it and just because it could exist, we ought to believe in it.
One may argue that there is only one god who would allow all believers in to heaven while sending all Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers to hell. However, even this assumes too much. Just like there could be a god who would send all believers to heaven, there could be a god who would send all believers to hell and would send all nonbelievers to heaven as a sick joke. God may punish believers and reward non-believers; it is simply a possibility, just as a god could punish non-believers and reward believers. I am not saying it is true, nor am I outrightly saying that it is false; I am simply stating that it is possible. One may argue then that it does not make sense that a god would punish believers or reward non-believers. However, in the realm of the argument of Pascal's Wager, making sense is not the highest issue. We are simply dealing with possibilities. If someone's intellect is so insecure that it may be scared to believe in god, simply because of the possibility of a god who rewards in heaven to his followers, then someone of an equally insecure intellect can be frightened into not believing in god, simply because of the possibility of a god who rewards in hell to his followers. Both scenarios, being equally possible, end up using the same reasoning, but concluding to completely different conclusions, thus making the reasoning invalid. Even so, I will not worry about a god who would punish believers or nonbelievers based on beliefs. If god was so tyrannical that he would punish someone because of what they believed, then I may believe in him if proof is brought to light, but surely, I shall never serve such a god.
Also, simply consider what is lost in the wager. After all, if you spend your entire life preparing for the afterlife, only to find out that there is no afterlife, then your life that exists here and now is forever lost. That is not to say that one's entire life is wasted because they had some sort of supernatural religion, but certainly, if god does not exist and time is used to prepare for the afterlife - such as church, prayer, fasting, and other religious oddities - then every ounce of effort and every second of time used is lost completely. With a more liberal outlook on religion, every second is not based on thinking of a god. However, every second with praise or fear of god in your mind, every penny used to erect a church or temple, and every ounce of compassion and love delivered to a god could have been used by us animals in love, affection, and compassionate treatment of each other. Not only is some of your life wasted when in preparation for the after life, but consider the large amount of self abuse, self deprivation, restrictions, and limits put upon pleasures and joys by religion. Consider the overwhelmingly large amount of guilt that is required to believe any religion in particular, as well as the tremendous amount of humility required. On top of that, we are bombarded with the constant threats of hell and eternal torment by theologians and priests. I, for one, certainly cannot believe one word of any religion.
Section V: Conclusion
In regards to a benefit from belief, we are first threatened with hell. This concept of hell is vividly described by the Bible, the Qur'an, and the other religious texts of the various religions. Hell certainly is a painful experience; torturous, unrelenting, painful, full of anguish, and absolutely horrid. The image of these hells of the various religions is reinforced by the numerous theologians and priests, including Father Furniss who wrote children's books about hell, Charles Spurgeon who described hell as every organ in your body on fire, and Father Arnall who spoke so lengthily on the torments and duration of hell. The concept of hell does not go by without being attacked by humanitarians. It was the life purpose of Ingersoll to remove that foul doctrine from the minds of men. And even thousands of years earlier in Ancient Greece, it was the purpose of Epicurus to help men lead happy and healthy lives through not fearing god, hell, or an afterlife. With the doctrine of hell, men and women are told much religious dogma in regards to morality. Sex, food, and entertainment are largely restricted among the world religions; this is all a supposed type of "morality." Furthermore, men and women are told not to be proud, to be humble, and that they are sinners; sin, being defined as a horrible and vile trait, destroys the self esteem of those who are condemned as sinners. The conjoinment of deprivation of happiness from earthly joys and lack of self esteem mold a perfect follower of the generic religion: an unhappy and miserable individual. In a last attempt to prove that we ought to believe in a god despite lack of proof, we are presented with the morbid Pascal's Wager. It claims that we ought to believe in a god because of the mere possibility of god and that we will be rewarded if we do so if a god does exist. However, Pascal ruled out the possibility of the other religions' gods and he also ruled out the possibility of a god who would punish believers, all things equally possible. From my conclusions and rigorous research in regards to the benefits of religion, I am unsatisfied in religion and can only conclude that it has does a massive amount of harm and nothing at all from religion is a benefit.
"When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life." - Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) 
1. The Great Quotations, by George Seldes, ed. (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1960).
2. Charles H. Spurgeon quoted in The Esoteric Tradition by G. de Purucker, chapter 17 ("Heavens and Hells"), in the footnote.
3. Charles H. Spurgeon quoted in The Esoteric Tradition by G. de Purucker, chapter seventeen ("Heavens and Hells"), in the footnote.
4. Charles H. Spurgeon quoted in The Esoteric Tradition by G. de Purucker, chapter seventeen ("Heavens and Hells"), in the footnote. Also as quoted in Atheism: The Case Against God, by George H. Smith, 1979 Prometheus Books, chapter 12, section I, page 300. Original Resource: The Sight of Hell, by Reverend J. Furniss.
5. As quoted in Atheism: The Case Against God, by George H. Smith, 1979 Prometheus Books, chapter 12, section I, pages 299-300. Original Resource: The Sight of Hell, by Reverend J. Furniss.
6. The Sight of Hell, by Reverend J. Furniss.
7. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, Chapter 3.
9. No Fear?, by Jack T. Chick, page 14.
10. Who's Who In Hell, pages 497-498, compiled by Warren Allen Smith (Barricade Books, 2000). Permission obtained from Warren Allen Smith to quote his book.
11. Views of Religion, by Rufus K. Noyes (Boston, L. K. Washburn, 1906).
12. The Best of Humanism, by Rev. Roger E. Greeley, ed. (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988).
13. Principal Doctrines, by Epicurus, statement #2, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
14. Principal Doctrines, by Epicurus, statement #10, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
15. Principal Doctrines, by Epicurus, statement #20, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
16. Ethical Maxims by Democritus and Diogenes, statement #30 of Democritus, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
17. Ethical Maxims by Democritus and Diogenes, statement #3 of Diogenes, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
18. The Best of Humanism, by Rev. Roger E. Greeley, ed. (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988).
19. De Rerum Natura, by Lucretius, book III, section "The Soul Is Mortal," first paragraph.
20. Views of Religion, by Rufus K. Noyes (Boston, L. K. Washburn, 1906).
21. Heretics and Heresies, by Robert Green Ingersoll.
22. Origin of God and the Devil, by Robert Green Ingersoll.
24. Crumbling Creeds, by Robert Green Ingersoll.
25. The Note Book, by Elbert Hubbard, 1927.
26. New York Times Magazine, September 11, 1955.
27. Thus raises the question: what of a vivisectionist, or practitioner of vivisection? Vivisection is an experiment on an animal, causing distress and suffering. Does a man learn anything - except how to be inhumane - by being inhumane to animals? Does society become anything less than revoltingly brutal when it consents to gross inhumanities? Do politicians and leaders become anything that is noble and virtuous by completely disregarding the interests of lower animals, when lower animals can feel as much suffering as any human?
28. Who's Who In Hell, page 70, compiled by Warren Allen Smith (Barricade Books, 2000). Permission obtained from Warren Allen Smith to quote his book. The phrase can also be heard in the KMFDM song, "Stray Bullet" (3rd minute, 12th second) which appeared on the CD "Symbols." Original Resource: God and State, by Mikhail Bakunin.
29. Principal Doctrines, by Epicurus, statement #19, translated in Contemporary Renderings by Ken Mylott, Epicurean guru.
30. Why I Am An Agnostic And Other Essays, by Clarence Seward Darrow, page 24.
31. The Great Quotations, by George Seldes, ed., (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1960).
32. Who's Who In Hell, page 566, compiled by Warren Allen Smith (Barricade Books, 2000). I have also found the phrase by Susan Ertz to be very popular and repeated often without reference. Permission obtained from Warren Allen Smith to quote his book.
33. Interview in the New York Times, October 2, 1910, section 5, page 1.
34. Quoted by Julian Hukley in Religion without Revelation (New York: Mentor Books, 1958), page 12.
35. Criticism of Robert Elsmere, by Robert Green Ingersoll.
36. God In The Constitution, by Robert Green Ingersoll, 1890.
37. Ordinances For The Regulation of the Churches Dependent Upon the Seigniory of Geneva (1547), by John Calvin, in Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History George L. Burns, ed., 6 vols., (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania History Department, 1898-1912) vol. 1, no., pp. 2-5.
38. Heretics And Heresies, by Robert Green Ingersoll, 1874.
Matthew (15): 1:21, 3:6, 9:2, 9:5, 9:6, 9:10, 9:11, 9:13, 11:19, 12:31 ,18:15, 18:21, 26:28, 26:45, 27:4.
Mark (13): 1:4, 1:5, 2:5, 2:7, 2:9, 2:10, 2:15, 2:16 (twice), 2:17, 3:28, 3:29, 8:38, 14:41.
Luke (33): 1:77, 3:3, 5:8, 5:20, 5:21, 5:23, 5:24, 5:30, 5:32, 6:32, 6:33, 6:34 (twice), 7:34, 7:37, 7:39, 7:47, 7:48, 7:49, 11:4, 13:2, 15:1, 15:2, 15:7, 15:10, 15:18, 15:21, 17:3, 17:4, 18:13, 19:7, 24:7, 24:47.
John (28): 1:29, 5:14, 8:7, 8:11, 8:21, 8:24 (twice), 8:34 (twice), 8:46, 9:2, 9:3, 9:16, 9:24, 9:25, 9:31, 9:34, 9:41 (twice), 15:22 (twice), 15:24, 16:8, 16:9, 19:11, 20:23 (thrice).
Acts (8): 2:38, 3:9, 5:31, 7:60, 10:43, 13:38, 22:16, 26:18.
Romans (59): 2:12 (twice), 3:7, 3:9, 3:20, 3:23, 3:25, 4:7, 4:8, 5:8, 5:12 (twice), 5:13 (twice), 5:14, 5:16, 5:19, 5:20, 5:21, 6:1, 6:2, 6:6 (twice), 6:7, 6:10, 6:11, 6:12, 6:13, 6:14, 6:15, 6:16, 6:17, 6:18, 6:20, 6:22, 6:23, 7:5, 7:7 (twice), 7:8 (twice), 7:9, 7:11, 7:13 (4x), 7:14, 7:16, 7:17, 7:20, 7:23, 7:25, 8:2, 8:3 (thrice), 8:10, 11:27, 14:23.
1 Corinthians (12): 6:18 (twice), 7:28 (twice), 7:36, 8:12 (twice), 15:3, 15:17, 15:34, 15:56 (twice).
2 Corinthians (6): 5:21 (twice), 11:7, 11:29, 12:21, 13:2.
Galatians (5): 1:4, 2:15, 2:17 (twice), 3:22.
Ephesians (2): 2:1, 4:26.
Colossians (1): 1:14.
1 Thessalonian (1): 2:16.
1 Timothy (8): 1:9, 1:15, 5:20 (twice), 5:22 (twice), 5:24 (twice).
2 Timothy (1): 3:6.
Titus (1): 3:11.
Hebrews (31): 1:3, 2:17, 3:13, 3:17, 4:15, 5:1, 5:3, 7:26, 7:27 (twice), 8:12, 9:7, 9:26, 9:28 (twice), 10:2, 10:3, 10:4, 10:6, 10:8, 10:11, 10:12, 10:17, 10:18, 10:26 (twice), 11:25, 12:1, 12:3, 12:4, 13:11.
James (9): 1:15 (twice), 2:9, 4:8, 4:17, 5:15, 5:16, 5:20 (twice).
1 Peter (8): 2:20, 2:22, 2:24 (twice), 3:18, 4:1, 4:8, 4:18.
2 Peter (3): 1:9, 2:4, 2:14.
1 John (27): 1:7, 1:8, 1:9 (twice), 1:10, 2:1 (twice), 2:2, 2:12, 3:4 (twice), 3:5 (twice), 3:6 (twice), 3:8 (twice), 3:9 (twice), 4:10, 5:16 (thrice), 5:17 (twice), 5:18.
Jude (1): 1:15.
The Revelation (3): 1:5, 18:4, 18:5.
Matthew (15) + Mark (13) + Luke (33) + John (28) + Acts (8) + Romans (59) + 1 Corinthians (12) + 2 Corinthians (6) + Galatians (5) + Ephesians (2) + Colossians (1) + 1 Thessalonian (1) + 1 Timothy (8) + 2 Timothy (1) + Titus (1) + Hebrews (31) + James (9) + 1 Peter (8) + 2 Peter (3) + 1 John (27) + Jude (1) + The Revelation (3) = 275
15 + 13 + 33 + 28 + 8 + 59 + 12 + 6 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 31 + 9 + 8 + 3 + 27 + 1 + 3 = 275
Genesis (10): 4:7, 13:13, 15:16, 18:20, 20:6, 31:36, 39:9, 42:22, 50:17 (twice).
Exodus (22): 9:27, 9:34, 10:16, 10:17, 16:1, 17:1, 20:5, 20:20, 23:33, 29:14, 29:36, 30:10, 32:21, 32:30 (twice), 32:31, 32:32, 32:33, 32:34, 34:7 (twice), 34:9.
Leviticus (100): 4:2, 4:3 (thrice), 4:8, 4:13, 4:14 (twice), 4:20, 4:21, 4:22, 4:23, 4:24, 4:25, 4:26, 4:27, 4:28 (twice), 4:29, 4:31, 4:32, 4:33, 4:34, 4:35, 5:1, 5:6 (thrice), 5:7 (twice), 5:8, 5:9 (twice), 5:10, 5:11 (thrice), 5:12, 5:13, 5:15, 5:17, 6:2, 6:3, 6:4, 6:17, 6:25, 6:30, 7:7, 7:37, 8:2, 8:14, 9:2, 9:3, 9:7, 9:8, 9:10, 9:15 (twice), 9:22, 10:16, 10:17, 10:19 (twice), 12:6, 12:8, 14:13 (twice), 14:19, 14:22, 14:31, 15:15, 15:30, 16:3, 16:5, 16:6, 16:9, 16:11 (twice), 16:15, 16:16, 16:21, 16:22, 16:25, 16:27, 16:30, 16:34, 18:25, 19:22 (twice), 23:19, 26:18, 26:21, 26:24, 26:28, 26:39 (twice), 26:40 (twice), 26:41, 26:43.
Numbers (60): 5:7, 5:31, 6:11 (twice), 6:14, 6:16, 7:16, 7:22, 7:28, 7:34, 7:40, 7:46, 7:52, 7:58, 7:64, 7:70, 7:76, 7:82, 7:87, 8:8, 8:12, 9:13, 12:11, 14:18 (twice), 14:19, 14:34, 14:40, 15:24, 15:25, 15:27 (twice), 15:28, 15:29, 15:30, 16:22, 16:26, 16:38, 18:9, 18:22, 19:9, 21:7, 22:34, 27:3, 28:15, 28:22, 29:5, 29:11 (twice), 29:16, 29:19, 29:22, 29:25, 29:28, 29:31, 29:34, 29:38, 32:14, 32:23 (twice).
Deuteronomy (13): 1:41, 5:9, 9:16, 9:18, 9:21, 9:27, 15:9, 20:18, 22:26, 23:21, 24:4, 24:15, 24:16.
Joshua (6): 7:11, 7:20, 22:17 (twice), 22:20, 24:19.
Judges (2) 10:10, 10:15.
1 Samuel (16): 2:17, 2:25 (twice), 3:13, 7:6, 12:10, 12:19, 12:23, 14:33, 14:34, 14:38, 15:23, 15:24, 15:25, 15:30, 26:21.
2 Samuel (6): 12:13 (twice), 19:20, 22:24, 24:10, 24:17.
1 Kings (28): 8:33, 8:34, 8:35 (twice), 8:36, 8:46 (twice), 8:47, 8:50, 12:30, 13:34, 14:16, 14:22, 15:3, 15:26, 15:30, 15:34, 16:2 (twice), 16:13, 16:19 (twice), 16:25, 16:26, 16:31, 17:18, 21:22, 22:52.
2 Kings (23): 3:3, 10:19, 10:29, 10:31, 12:16, 13:2, 13:6, 13:11, 14:6, 14:24, 15:9, 15:18, 15:24, 15:28, 17:7, 17:21, 17:22, 21:11 (twice), 21:16, 21:17, 23:15, 24:3.
1 Chronicles (2): 21:8, 21:17.
2 Chronicles (20): 6:24, 6:25, 6:26 (twice), 6:27, 6:36 (twice), 6:37, 6:39, 7:14, 19:10 (twice), 25:4, 28:10, 28:13, 29:21, 29:23, 29:24 (twice), 33:19.
Ezra (6): 6:17, 8:35, 9:6, 9:7, 9:13, 10:13.
Nehemiah (9): 1:6, 4:5, 6:13, 9:2, 9:29, 9:37, 10:33, 13:26 (twice).
Job (30): 1:5, 1:22, 2:10, 7:20, 7:21, 8:4 (twice), 10:6, 10:14, 11:6, 11:14, 13:23 (twice), 13:26, 14:16, 14:17, 15:5, 22:5, 24:19, 31:11, 31:28, 31:30, 31:33, 33:9, 33:27, 34:37, 35:3, 35:6 (twice), 36:9.
Psalms (58): 1:1, 1:5, 4:4, 5:10, 17:3, 18:23, 19:13, 25:7, 25:8, 25:18, 26:9, 32:1, 32:2, 32:5 (twice), 36:1, 36:2, 36:4, 37:38, 38:3, 38:5, 38:18, 39:1, 39:11, 40:6, 40:12, 41:4, 51:2, 51:3, 51:4, 51:5 (twice), 51:9, 51:13, 59:3, 59:12, 65:3, 66:18, 68:21, 78:17, 78:32, 79:8, 79:9, 85:2, 89:32, 90:8, 94:23, 103:3, 103:10, 104:35, 106:6, 106:43, 109:14, 109:15, 119:11, 119:113, 130:3, 130:8.
Proverbs (22): 1:10, 1:16, 5:22, 10:19, 11:31, 12:13, 13:6, 13:21, 13:22, 14:9, 14:21, 14:34, 16:6, 17:19, 20:9, 21:4, 23:17, 24:9, 28:13, 29:6, 29:16, 29:22.
Ecclesiastes (6): 2:26, 5:6, 7:20, 7:26, 9:2, 9:18.
Isaiah (40): 1:4, 1:18, 1:28, 3:9, 5:18, 6:7, 13:9, 13:11, 14:21, 22:14, 26:21, 27:9, 30:1 (twice), 30:13, 31:7, 33:14, 33:24, 38:17, 40:2 (twice), 42:24, 43:24, 43:25, 43:27, 44:22, 50:1, 53:12, 57:17, 58:1, 59:2, 59:7, 59:12, 59:20, 64:5, 64:6, 64:7, 64:9, 65:7 (twice).
Jeremiah (36): 2:13, 2:35, 3:25, 5:25, 8:14, 9:3, 9:5, 9:7, 11:10, 13:22, 14:7 (twice), 14:10, 14:20, 15:13, 16:10, 16:17, 16:18, 17:1, 17:3, 18:23, 30:14, 30:15, 31:30, 31:34, 32:18, 32:35, 33:8 (twice), 36:3, 40:3, 44:23, 50:7, 50:14, 50:20, 51:6.
Lamentations (11): 1:5, 1:8, 1:14, 1:22, 2:14, 3:39, 3:42, 4:13, 4:22, 5:7, 5:16.
Ezekiel (68): 3:18, 3:19, 3:20, 3:21 (twice), 4:4 (twice), 4:5 (twice), 4:6, 4:17, 7:13, 7:16, 7:19, 9:9, 14:11, 14:13, 16:49, 16:51, 16:52, 18:4, 18:14, 18:17 (twice), 18:18, 18:20, 18:21, 18:24 (twice), 18:26, 18:30, 21:24, 23:49, 24:23, 28:16, 28:18, 29:16, 32:27, 33:6, 33:8, 33:9, 33:10, 33:12, 33:14, 33:16, 36:31, 36:33, 37:23, 39:23, 40:39, 42:13, 43:10, 43:19, 43:21, 43:22, 43:25, 44:10, 44:12 (twice), 44:27, 44:29, 45:17, 45:19, 45:20, 45:22, 45:23, 45:25, 46:20.
Daniel (10): 4:27, 9:5, 9:8, 9:11, 9:13, 9:15, 9:16, 9:20 (twice), 9:24.
Hosea (19): 4:7, 4:8, 5:5, 7:1, 7:2, 8:11 (twice), 8:13, 9:7, 9:9, 9:15, 10:8, 10:9, 10:10, 12:8, 13:2, 13:12, 14:1, 14:2.
Amos (15): 1:3, 1:6, 1:9, 1:11, 1:13, 2:1, 2:4, 2:6, 3:2, 3:14, 4:4 (twice), 5:12, 9:8, 9:10.
Micah (8): 1:5, 1:13, 3:8, 6:7, 6:13, 7:9, 7:18, 7:19.
Zephaniah (1): 1:17.
Zechariah (3): 3:4, 3:9, 13:1.
Malachi (1): 2:6.
Genesis (10) + Exodus (22) + Leviticus (100)+ Numbers (60) + Deuteronomy (13) + Joshua (6) + 1 Samuel (16) + 2 Samuel (6) + 2 Kings (23) + 1 Chronicles (2) + 2 Chronicles (20) + Ezra (6) + Nehemiah (9) + Job (30) + Psalms (58) + Proverbs (22) + Ecclesiastes (6) + Isaiah (40) + Jeremiah (36) + Lamentations (11) + Ezekiel (68) + Daniel (10) + Hosea (19) + Amos (15) + Micah (8) + Zephaniah (1) + Zechariah (3) + Malachi (1) = 716
10 + 22 + 100 + 60 + 13 + 6 + 16 + 6 + 23 + 2 + 20 + 6 + 9 + 30 + 58 + 22 + 6 + 9 + 58 + 22 + 6 + 40 + 36 + 11 + 68 + 10 + 19 + 15 + 8 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 716
Qur'an - 2:81, 2:173, 2:181, 2:206, 2:219 (twice), 2:276, 2:283, 3:178, 4:31 (twice), 4:48, 4:50, 4:107, 4:111, 4:112 twice, 5:2, 5;3, 5:29 twice, 5:62, 5:63, 5:106, 5:107, 6:120 twice, 7:33, 12:91, 12:97, 20:73, 24:11, 24:29, 24:58, 24:60, 24:61, 25:31, 25:68, 26:222, 29:40, 33:58, 40:21, 42:37, 44:44, 45:7, 49:12, 52:23, 53:32, 55:39, 56:25, 58:8, 67:11, 68:12, 69:9, 76:24, 81:9, 83:12, 91:14, and 96:16.
42. Essays and Aphorisms, by Aurthur Schopenhauer (Baltimore: Pungein Classics, 1970), page 177.
Qur'an - 2:206, 3:12, 3:162, 3:197, 4:55, 4:93, 4:97, 4:115, 4:121, 4:140, 4:169, 7:18, 7:14, 7:179, 8:16, 8:36, 8:37, 9:35, 9:49, 9:63, 9:68, 9:73, 9:81, 9:95, 9:109, 11:119, 13:18, 14:16, 14:29, 15:43, 16:29, 17:8, 17:18, 17:39, 17:63, 17:97, 18:100, 18:102, 18:106, 19:68, 19:86, 20:74, 21:29, 21:98, 23:103, 25:65, 26:91, 29:54, 29:68, 32:13, 35:34, 36:63, 37:23, 37:64, 37:68, 37:163, 38:56, 38:85, 39:32, 39:60, 39:71, 39:72, 40:7, 40:49, 40:60, 40:76, 43:74, 44:47, 44:56, 45:10, 48:6, 50:24, 50:30, 52:13, 54:48, 55:43, 56:94, 57:19, 58:8, 66:9, 67:6, 72:15, 72:23, 74:26, 74:27, 74:35, 74:42, 78:21, 79:36, 79:39, 81:12, 85:10, 89:23, 98:6, and 102:6.
44. A similar, albeit somewhat different, observation is also made here: Atheism: The Case Against God, chapter 12, section II, page 308, by George H. Smith (Prometheus Books, New York: 1989).
45. Blaise Pascal, "The Wager," Philosophy of Religion, ed. Louis P. Pojman (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1987), page 383.
46. Quoted by Carole Gray, designer of the 1992 Atheist Desk Calendar and the 1993 and 1994 Women of Freethought Calendars, Columbus Ohio.