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Title: Hell : a practical theological enquiry
Author: Stoddart, Eric
ISNI:       0000 0001 0770 6506
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2001
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The starting point of this inquiry is the experience of hell-believing Christians whose deceased loved-one might be heading for torment. A methodology of inquiry combining Groome's model of shared praxis and the cultural-linguistic perspective of Lindbeck is developed. A quantitative survey of Scottish clergy establishes the extent of exclusionary eschatology and its tendency to not feature in its proponent's own pastoral praxis. The doctrine is set within a contemporary cultural context. Symbolic interactionism provides a vehicle for interpreting how the doctrine can operate by dehumanising 'the lost'. Bauman's framework of mortality survival strategies is adapted to interrogate further how the hell-believing Christian community copes with the horrific dimensions of its beliefs with special exemptions for loved-ones. By exploring the experience of inhabiting the texts of exclusion the biblical material is found to serve as a means of community differentiation alongside its traditional use as explanations of destinations beyond death for either the saved or the lost. A postliberal theology of hell is proposed in which the language of eschatological exclusion serves as a Christian way of saying 'No'. The pastoral responses of the conservative evangelical community to its own doctrine of hell are found to be wholly inadequate in that they give no voice to the pain of bereaved people who wonder if their loved-one is in hell. Proposals are made to establish support networks both for clergy questioning this belief and for Christian believers who are exercised by its impact on their own grieving over a loved-one. Such recommendations for enhanced praxis anticipate the subversive function of the stories of people in pain that might call the conservative evangelical community to attend to the relationship between its own belief and praxis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hell Philosophy Religion