by gisel flores
Christianity among other religions has been a gateway to spiritual salvation in the lives of many people since the beginning of time. By promising an endless amount of love and support from its followers and Jesus himself, Christianity hopes to extend their beliefs to as many people as possible. One of these conversion methods is by scaring children in horrific ways with their seasonal attractions, Hell houses. Hell Houses are Christian versions of haunted houses, combining theater and scare tactics that often reenact real-life scenarios, pushing certain viewpoints in order to literally scare people into converting to Christianity.
Hell houses act out graphic scenes of murders, suicides, rape, abortions, homosexuality, gun violence, and more. One of the most well-known Hell house being the Trinity Church Hell House, which recreated the 1999 Columbine Shooting only six months after the massacre happened. This church’s Hell house portrayed the two shooters as “agents of Satan” as they had never devoted their souls to God with the goal of slaughtering Christians. The victims of the shooters were sent to heaven because of their Christian faith and the two shooters were dragged down to Hell. Reverend Tim Ferguson, pastor of Trinity Church, claimed that the message of this scene was that “if you don’t accept Christ, there are consequences to that in a real place called Hell.” However, with some simple research into the two Columbine shooters, you’d find that in no way is there any evidence that has it ever been mentioned that it was a hate crime towards Christian believers.
These Hell houses also show the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community as being “lustful sinners,” and oftentimes show them horrifically dying of AIDS. In one instance, a Hell house in Chicago named “The Room: A Journey to Hell,” got shut down for planning to recreate the Pulse nightclub shooting that happened back in 2016. As something that was so traumatic for those who were present in the Pulse shooting, or any shooting, young children going through a recreated version of those events. On numerous occasions, people have broken down in tears from walking through these Hell houses, especially with common traumas like drunk driving accidents, suicide, and depression. The method that these Hell houses teach about sin by relating it to the real world leads to such a narrow-minded view on social issues. Participants that go through Hell houses are shown horrific scenes that claim are directly caused by Satan taking hold of that person because without the help of Christ, everyone is doomed to a tragic ending.
Scaring people into converting to a religion is unnecessary, especially when recreating graphic and shocking scenes that display false information about events that have previously happened. Hell houses allow all ages to participate, but mostly encouraging parents to bring their young children. These young children that are brought through these Hell houses are brainwashed at such a young age into believing that the devil and demons exist by using horrific scare tactics with the intentions of possessing those who do not attend church and allow Jesus into their hearts, and then dragging them to an eternity in hell once they die.
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