Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Final choice - is choosing against God at death the reason Hell is everlasting?

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Christians would say that explains why people go to Hell and stay there.  It does not for they argue that divine grace can fix a bad character rapidly if the person consents.  And the teaching about mortal sin does not talk about your character.  You can be good and commit adultery and go to Hell - its because the sin deserves it.  Christians tell lies to defend the Hell doctrine.

Christianity is based on the notion that Jesus came to suffer and die on the cross to open the door to Heaven for us and rescue us from an eternal destiny in Hell. If you refuse his offer of salvation from Hell you will never see Heaven.

Psychologically, the notion that Hell is eternal turns into something that if it's a billion years or one second it is the same. It does not sound in any way relevant to our experience. That is probably why the sinner does not really fear it but believes it is bad for other people. It is easy to project eternal damnation on to others.

Why does nobody going to Hell ever change and get ready for Heaven?

It is argued that there is no justice if you can keep changing your will for better or worse forever. So it is argued that eternal punishment is needed. Justice is why it is called punishment. If God is fair then it is only right for God to make sure you cannot change for the better any more or repent or reform. But why this should start at death is not clear. It seems to fast track when commonsense says a person needs perhaps 1000 years or more to get so ingrained in badness that there is no hope for them.

It is insulting to dung on the graves of the dead and say it starts at death. It is cruel and arbitrary. It is simply trying to make people fear death. It is trying to take advantage of their fear.

It follows that no law of the land is really about justice for there is no justice unless there is a Hell and no chance of being truly fair unless you know about Hell being real.

Why then is it so unjust to let a sinner repent and get out of Hell just in case he or she will never sin again?

Christians then drop the justice angle and turn to C. S. Lewis.  Lewis agreed with, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Back to Lewis who wrote, “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature.” Here it is made not about punishment or reward but about choice. So you go to Hell not because you deserve it but because you have made a choice.

This denies the justice of God for it means that if it were not for their choice they would be in Heaven. It is not justice when somebody won't enter your cafe for a lovely meal. It is choice. They deserve the meal but won't avail.

Suppose you turn into a demon the way he said. Usually what happens is the person does not realise what they have become until it is too late. But as nobody knows anybody like that they will not take Christianity seriously and it will seem that everybody goes to Heaven. Jesus' mission then looks pointless.

It does however turn sin and turning against God about being a person. So you cannot say, "I love John as if he never did sin x but I hate sin x and want it judged and hated and punished." It turns love the sinner and hate the sin on its head.

If God does not forgive unrepentant sinners then they are forcing him to judge and condemn them forever. His problem with them is never appeased. So if there is a God, then hurting a person is not about how terrible it is to hurt them. It is about how terrible it is to insult God’s love and refuse to let it flow through you. It is about how terrible you are to force such a loving God to judge and condemn. That is a lot of judgement. It is enough to keep it person to person but to bring God into it is just passive aggressive judgemental hypocrisy. If there is a God fine but that is not certain enough to justify all that judgement. Innocent until proven guilty please!

Hell may be horrible for Heaven is horrible too! Being in a bad place is worse if the alternative is not great either and paraded as great!

There is no way you are going to want to go to never mind stay in a Heaven where happiness requires that you accept that your parents who would have starved and died for you should be in Hell for shoplifting or sexual sin. There is no way you are going to spend eternity with a Jesus who asks to be put first and thus in principle means that if you have a choice between crucifying him or your fragile grandmother it should be her.

So it is argued the answer as to how Hell can be fair is that endless duration of separation from God or punishment if you like is only fair if your will is allowed to harden itself or if God does it. But will is about change. And a prisoner’s sentence in jail will continue no matter how reformed she or he is. It is not about her will now but about what she has done. Yet Christians oppose the notion of God refusing to let reformed damned people out and seek to blame the person themselves for staying in Hell and say they lock themselves in.

It is certain though that for Christians, everlasting and perpetual bad consequences for sin is linked to the integrity of free will and justice. So if it is unjust this religion only imagines it is about free will and justice and in fact is not.

Free choice supposedly demands that we believe in Hell and even want to believe in it for we want to believe in free choice as real thing. If you sin and that is choosing Hell then why do sinners not at least often miraculously just drop dead? Death comes in a partly controllable way for many. Death looks more nature than God trying to respect your choice for Hell by getting you there.


The notion of sinners being forced to go to Heaven and that being worse than Hell for them and thus that it is compassionate for them to be allowed to go to Hell is an obscene notion. It is absurd as saying that a prisoner who keeps ending up in jail is better off there than on a holiday to Blackpool. So what about the saints who do not want the bad people in Heaven? What about treating saint and sinner the same way? To say a sinner chooses Hell and its not down to God at all is saying God treats sinner and saint the same way so there is no justice anyway. Peter Kreeft writes, “Scratch freedom and you find Hell. Everyone wants there to be free will and no one wants there to be Hell, yet if there is either one there must be the other. For life is a game, a drama, not a formula.” The fact remains that those who make Hell out to be your own creation are saying God is unfair for he treats sinner and saint the same but the trouble is he cannot get the sinner to take what he offers. Thus Hell for the Christian is not really about justice at all. Its revenge hiding in the cloaks of justice.

Why not put the damned out of existence? Some say that eternal punishment does not mean endless punishment but effectual punishment which will be final and forever as in annihilation. That is illogical. So to execute Dr Crippen is eternal punishment? What was he before he was born? Punished? Non-existence is not punishment. Capital punishment is only punishment if your body is killed but somehow you live on to suffer its loss. It’s dualistic.

Theologian Gary Habermas says annihilation is not an option because a person and their choice has such value that making the wrong choice and abusing your existence does not justify God ending your existence. You have intrinsic value so God cannot annihilate you. As you reject God’s love, you reject him not existence so God respects that. He has to quarantine you in Hell. But surely he would agree that if Hell is torment forever that existing cannot override living. Do you really want to believe that existing is enough? There is more to life than just existing. Quality matters. That is what we want to exist for and should exist for. It is said that non-existence is not better than existence ever. No matter how terrible your existence is it is good if you have a chance of a bearable existence. This does not make sense for an unbearable existence is the lot of many. Would you really call a terrible existence bearable?

A similar argument is given against God making the damned semi-conscious so that they are anaesthetised.

Far from God putting those who are never going to Heaven out of existence he even resurrects them! The gospel of John has Jesus say he will raise the wicked.

When God raises the bodies of the damned it is clear he does so to see them tormented forever thus Hell is a torture chamber. He could give them some powers so that they feel loss and so on but no. He gives them bodies with nerves and illnesses and so on. The argument that the Bible images of Hell are inconsistent – eg darkness and fire is rubbish. The Bible says it is darkness and fire but it can be both just like earth is both darkness and fire. It is called a dump and a bottomless pit but why can’t it be both? Everything in the Bible is in the eyes of Jesus literally true but that does not mean everything is true literally. A literal Bible will tell you when it is using metaphors. No hint is given that Hell or anything to do with it is a metaphor. Jesus indirectly taught Hell and by implication in his main doctrine that is in Sermon on the Mount. Checkout Matthew 5:13, 18, 19, 20, 26; 6:15; 7:27; 6:30).

Jesus described the terror of Hell both to inform us and deter us. That means it would be unfair if it is an okay place in any sense. He meant what he said. It is a fact that the vast majority of Christians took and take hellfire literally and that has driven them almost against their own will to take extreme action against heretics and sinners. If hellfire is real then its not extreme. Oddly the Church says hell is worse than fire but that does not have the same effect. Annie Besant said, "Hell has driven thousands half-mad with terror, it has driven monks to the solitary deserts, nuns to the sepulcure of the nunnery, but has it ever caused one soul of man to rejoice in the Father of all, and pant, “as the hart panteth after the water-springs for the presence of God”? Religion offers a God who condemns sin so severely and warns about the punishment of Hell and this causes the victims to assimilate the notion of their guilt. They end up believing and feeling that this abuse is somehow warranted. In some way even if they say this is wrong they end up believing in it. Ferocious attacks on "bad" people tend to have that effect. Where are all the people in Saudi Arabia rebelling against women being stoned?

Does the multiverse imply there may be worlds and dimensions where people do not suffer or die or dimensions that are pure Hell? The atheist believing in the multiverse is opening the door to Heaven and Hell. Or is that what he or she is doing? But it is not a Heaven where the one true God is and a Hell where he is absent. They cannot be real Heavens or Hells. They are just paradises and torture chambers.

Christians say that somebody like Hitler will have a worse Hell than say a slothful but harmless person. But they say God is merciful even to the damned so how do they know that? They say that Hell is about justice not torture. But do images of eternal fire really convey justice? No. Torture. And torture would be justice if there is no other way. As Hell is seen as being so terrible for even God can do nothing about it and is seen a a mystery it could be that the only or best way to let justice be is for it to be a place of torture. If we had no humane jails but only volcanic caves to put murderers in we would have to do it. See the point? The image is of rubbish burning. Christians present Hell in such a way that you would think they are trying to trick you into ending up there! They talk about how it is justice and not torture for example as if they want to water down how bad it is.

We hate people talking about Hell and warning people about it for our instincts tell us the doctrine is evil and its followers are passive-aggressive. Reason shows our instincts are damn right!

When a parent is truly wise and truly kind and truly diligent there will be little need for constant forgiving and discipline. God is useless if there is a Hell. No parent could be that bad.