Watch: Michele Bachmann said she spent Christmas telling her 3- and 6-year-old grandkids that the "eternal fires" of Hell await them

I feel bad for former GOP Congress member Michele Bachmann. She really believes that non-Christians will spend eternity roasting in Hell even though no one has ever provided credible evidence of its existence.

Nevertheless, Bachmann felt it her duty to pass along her unsupported belief to her young grandchildren on Christmas. Here she is on a podcast called Lions & Generals, explaining how she told the youngsters:

I was with two of my grandchildren this week, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. And I just felt compelled to talk to them about when we die, it's judgment. It's appointed on to man to [unintelligible] and then the judgment. So what happens is at that moment, the decision is made, you're either going to Heaven, or you're going to Hell. We talked about what Heaven is, we talked about what Hell is, and that Hell is just as real as Heaven. And in Hell, there's eternal fires and damnation, and it's a real place. We do not want to go there. That's where the wicked will go. And then I explained how they don't go — that they receive Christ, they confess their sins, they receive the Lord, He cleanses them, and because of his righteousness, they go to Heaven. And so my little granddaughter immediately started saying, "I don't want to go to Hell; I want to go to Heaven." I said, "Bella, Can I pray with you? Let's pray. Do you want to pray?" We prayed, and we'll continue to speak to her about all of this. And I think, why miss an opportunity? This is the moment to speak to our children, our grandchildren, our friends, our neighbors. Don't wait.

In Bachmann's view, Trump is the model toward which Heaven hopefuls should aspire: a liar, adulterer, cheater, con artist, and racist. In 2020, Bachmann posted a video praying for the reelection of Trump, asking God to find enough votes in Georgia to give Trump the edge. "Lord, would you deliver these races in Georgia? O Father, would you deliver various local and state races, Father, that they aren't stolen? Would you give us a true vote? And, O God, I personally ask, from myself, Michele Bachmann, Lord, would you allow Donald Trump to have a second term as president of the United States?"

Bart D. Ehrman, a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of Heaven and Hell, would likely disagree with Bachmann's description of Hell and what you need to do to avoid ending up there. From his essay in Time:

In traditional English versions, he does occasionally seem to speak of "Hell" – for example, in his warnings in the Sermon on the Mount: anyone who calls another a fool, or who allows their right eye or hand to sin, will be cast into "hell" (Matthew 5:22, 29-30). But these passages are not actually referring to "hell." The word Jesus uses is "Gehenna." The term does not refer to a place of eternal torment but to a notorious valley just outside the walls of Jerusalem, believed by many Jews at the time to be the most unholy, god-forsaken place on earth. It was where, according to the Old Testament, ancient Israelites practiced child sacrifice to foreign gods. The God of Israel had condemned and forsaken the place.

In the ancient world (whether Greek, Roman, or Jewish), the worst punishment a person could experience after death was to be denied a decent burial. Jesus developed this view into a repugnant scenario: corpses of those excluded from the kingdom would be unceremoniously tossed into the most desecrated dumping ground on the planet. Jesus did not say souls would be tortured there. They simply would no longer exist.