The absurdity of this argument just compels me so much to call it out. It seems that the only thing the threat of hell seems to be saying is that if you don't believe that there is a hell to go to after you die for not believing in hell while you are alive, then you will go to hell. Or, to put it another way, if you don't believe what we believe in, then you will get punished in the way which you don't believe you will get punished in... but you will! Or still more absurdly, believe in what I believe in or you will suffer. How? Well, you'll have to die to find out.
It would be giggle-worthy if we didn't actually have to deal with people who think like this and actually threaten us with going to hell for thought-crimes, that is, not believing in the same delusions to which they have fallen prey. Particularly when it comes to children. The thought of threatening children that they will go to an imaginary place for not believing in said imaginary place and for not subscribing to the same fairy tales and fantasies that give rise to such a monstrous place angers me. As if a child could immediately realize the farcicality (I think I just made up a word) of a creator-god who punishes his creations for how he made them.
Hell is at the center of the mind-fuck called religion. If you undo the whole religious nutiness, it all starts and ends with hell.
I've told a few people to go to hell, lol. To me that is just a saying, not an actual thing. I love the "free- will" part of religion, but if you don't believe you're going to "hell." Did they Google "free-will"?
"We have to believe in free will. We have no choice." (Can't remember who said it.)
Oh my goodness, Melinda, you open a can of worms by looking for what others say about free-will. I guess the quarrel has been going for centuries and it continues. Read one person and it means an individual has the ability make choices from among many alternatives; another will say the body sends out instruction over which one has little control or awareness, they claim there is no such thing as free-will. Another will spout Jung who said our "collective unconscious" determines our choices, not the cognitive brain.
So, set up a dart board, pin up the different options, turn your back to the board, and throw the dart. That is about as close as one can get to an answer.
As for myself, I know there are impulses and instincts in me that influence my action until and unless I get my cognitive brain functioning ... then I make a choice.
Joan, I think using your cognitive thinking and making your own choices is the best description of free- will!
I know one thing for sure......I can't consciously do anything cognitive until I've had my coffee.
Oh Yes!, with a nice dollop of Agave Nectar and fine cream.