Originally Posted by raypcc
Question: If people were not afraid of hell, in particular, and death, in general, would people still cling to their religion?
Your question as asked, presupposes that people have come to, and remain Christians because they are afraid of hell, in particular, and death, in general.
Is this the position you find yourself in?
Anyone having come to Christianity because they were afraid of hell, and death, have come for the wrong reasons to begin with.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
We love him, because he first loved us.
Where is there room for the fear you speak of?
If this is the Doctrine you have been taught, it is a false Doctrine.
In the Old Testament, there is only one word used in Hebrew for (HELL) - (SHEOL) which to them was nothing more than a place of the dead, not a place of punishment for sin, as we understand it to be.
hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit.
The two words used in the New Testament being Greek, are in reference to the Hebrew words, they are difficult to explain easily, but which are descriptive of (Separation and Punishment).
The Greeks did not have a word for hell, as a place of separation from God and punishment, as we understand it to be.
G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell.
A primary verb; used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent, properly to see (literally or figuratively); by implication (in the perfect only) to know: - be aware, consider, (have) known (-ledge), look (on), perceive, understand,- a watching from a distance):
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Of Hebrew origin ([H1516]; valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - hell.
a gorge (from its lofty sides; hence narrow, but not a gully - valley.
So what we see is, whenever Jesus did use the words (Hades or Gehenna) they were specific to the context in which they were used. Hades being the separation from God where the person can see but not attain Heaven.
Jesus' use of the word Gehenna is, descriptive of the everlasting punishment of sinners.
We have to remember Jesus was speaking to the Jewish People, and they were aware of what went on in the Valley of Ge-Hinnom. (It was to them physically and visually descriptive of HELL).