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?

 


Chapter 12, Hell
 

The Handbook of Christian Apologetics devotes chapter 12 to defending the doctrine of Hell. The doctrine alleges that those who die estranged from God will suffer and sin for all eternity in the misery and loneliness of Hell.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says

If there is no eternal damnation there is no free will

 

Reason replies:

 

That is too strong.  Free will does not mean that even if somebody can go to Hell forever and stay there forever freely that anybody will do it.

 

Free will is all about the power to change your mind.

 

The handbook says that there needs to be a final sentence to Hell for your choice has to have infinite value.  But giving you a final choice is only doing that if you have to give a last chance.  God does not need to give anybody a last chance.  Hell is not about protecting anybody from the damned.  So there is no need.

 

The last chance thing means that even if you do decide to leave Hell you cannot.

 

Vindictive people always tell themselves that the other person asked for it.  That is what the Christians are doing.  If they want to be damned they are doing a better job of getting damned than the sinners they say are going to Hell.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Those Eastern religions that do not believe in Hell do not believe in an objective morality.
 
Reason replies:
The implication is that you have to believe in eternal Hell in order to believe that morality is real.
 
As long as the Eastern religions believe in behaving themselves on earth who gives a damn? And lots of people deny Hell and do believe in objective morality.
 
And if people do good and do not believe in an objective morality then does their belief matter? People who think morality is mere opinion and is not objective can still do marvellous things.
 
Buddhism does believe in objective morality - its absolutely wrong to take life in Buddhist thought. 

 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
The same page then starts answering objections to Hell. It agrees with the objection that Hell is against the love of God but says it is not Godís fault or God's doing.
 
Reason replies: 
The Bible never says that God has nothing to do with it and neither does tradition. It is only theological opinion that it is not God sending people to Hell. For these men to tell us that he doesnít and not confess that it is just an opinion is pure whitewashing deception.
 
If you tell people that Hell is entirely their own choice and their own creation, then they do not need to fear God sending them there. People do not fear their own choices but only not being in charge. If God does send them to Hell then they are in trouble!
 
If it is a mystery how a loving God can send people to Hell forever then those who do not believe it is a mystery do not understand God. Whoever dies adoring a false image of God will not be able to enter his presence and have to go to Hell.
 
Punishment is defective if the punished person does not feel punished or does not agree with the punishment. If you have a debt to pay, you have to believe you should pay it and not be forced to pay it. If you are forced, then you have no intention of paying the debt and justice is not served. Jesus said hell was eternal punishment - surely God of all beings would ensure that if people have to go to Hell that they regret the choice that put them there forever? This implies that they get a choice and cannot reverse it. It would actually be cruel to make people suffer for a crime while not caring if they regret it or not. The punishment needs to be fundamentally based on regret.
 
Hell has to be God's doing.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The second objection answered is that the punishment does not fit the crime. It says it does fit the crime for it is what the damned want.
 
Reason replies:
Nobody is so evil that they would choose to suffer forever. It is a total insult to human nature to challenge this. Even when we do wrong we only do it because we misperceive it as a good. Nobody commits murder because they want to go to jail or choose jail.
 
You do not say that murdering a person who wants to be murdered is right. You do not say it fits the crime for it is what they want.
 
Nobody believes that even if we have free will that our choices are totally unprogrammed. People believe that they are partly programmed. Thus nobody can choose Hell 100%. God has to give them the benefit of the doubt, "Maybe if they were totally free they would not choose it" and refuse to punish them to the extent of putting them in Hell forever.
  
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The third says that God could have done more to stop people getting into the situations that caused them to choose Hell.
 
Reason replies: 
The Handbook's silly answer to this is that this would be doing away with free will. It says the bad situations are our fault not Godís. Even if this is true on earth it need not be true when we leave the earth for God could put us on another world that will give us a better chance of turning to him forever.
 
And besides if God gave us better influences on earth we would choose better. There would be nothing wrong with that for we have influences on us all the time anyway.
 
Religion says that all you can do is assume that God has done all he can. If he is not doing enough then he is evil and it is evil to condone him having people suffer in Hell. It is unfair to ask people to guess that God has done his best. The matter is too serious. You don't guess that people have cancer. Guessing about Hell is far worse.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The fourth and fifth objection answered says that nobody would choose Hell. The reply answers that nobody can understand why or how people could do that but says that they do. Then it blames it on choosing to be insane.
 
Reason Replies:
It admits that insane people are not responsible but adds that if you choose to be insane it is different. Most people would be disgusted at that suggestion for it means that God is justified in allowing the person to become mad by choice and lose free will for in Hell you cannot change. A God who really respected free will would give us more free will not less and ignore the choice. And nobody deserves to be punished while they are insane even if they have chosen it because it is not them anymore. They are not themselves. The Christians insult insane people to maintain the credibility of Jesus. 
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The answer to objection six which says that Jesus would have been immoral if he taught Hell says that he was right to for he was only warning us. The book says, "If there is no Hell, Christ is not only a deceptive teacher but a wicked one for he terrifies us needlessly, falsely and harmfully."
 
Reason replies: 
But he never said he saw Hell so what business had he doing that? He hadnít even proved by his resurrection that he had come from God at that stage and he was making outrageous statements like that. He was not warning but causing trouble.
 
At least the answer is willing to recognise that if Hell is fiction then Jesus was indeed immoral. This implies that they think that if Hell exists then it can be justified and if it does not then it cannot be justified. That is as odd as arguing that if you get fined in court its just and if you don't then its unjust. It shows the believers are willing to have Hell declared just even if it is not!  
 
The book says that a suicide tries to get away from life and ends up realising that he lives on after suicide and has to endure life and God forever and this causes great suffering. It softens this appallingly insensitive doctrine a little by saying that not all suicides are sane and responsible. But think of the torment parents undergo just because they don't know if their abducted child is dead or alive! The authors of the evil handbook want to extend a similar but worse torment to the families of suicide victims. The book even goes as far as to say that though the damned suffer and are alive they are not really persons any more. The book denies that Hell is like annihilation so they are like living corpses. This is an excuse for holding that they endure eternal punishing but are not worthy of our concern for they are not proper persons!
 
Not only are we expected to accuse unknown people of getting punished forever and deserving it just because Jesus said so but also we are expected to impose this further doctrinal indignity on them!
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Objection seven says that Hell is a bad doctrine for it scares people and makes them feel hatred and despair. The answer says that the doctrine leads to a healthy fear and that only bad teaching makes Hell lead to despair and hate.
 
Reason replies:
But the authors surely know that lots of people would not agree with their solutions to the problem of a Good God allowing a place like Hell to exist so what do they expect? Their solutions are not dogma or necessarily correct. They are only their opinions and could be wrong. People still have reason to worry. The Bible speaks a lot of the wrath of God so nobody can deny that he would cut somebody off from his help and so that they are left to the overpowering temptations of sin and damned forever.
 
If you get a temporary depression from guilt see then how the thought of Hell affects your mind. It will not bring a healthy fear to a person who suffers from depression or bad self-confidence. The only persons who can be happy while believing in Hell are those who only kid themselves that they believe in it or who are smug and happy because they think they are going to Heaven and are enjoying the thought of others going to Hell.
 
Also, even if the authors arenít too upset about Hell because of their arguments and understanding of Hell, what about people who have a worse view of Hell than they do? The authors cannot condemn them for disagreeing with them for they do not claim to be infallible.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Objection eight says that if your loved ones go to Hell you canít be happy in Heaven.
 
Reason replies: 
The answer is that you should pray for your loved one if you canít stand heaven when they are in Hell. But people have prayed for the salvation of the world and all people and still some go to Hell so what use is that for consolation?
 
The answer is not an answer. It dodges the problem. If you pray for people and they go to Hell while you are in Heaven then surely the more you have prayed the worse your pain at their suffering will be.
 
The answer encourages people to fear their loved ones going to Hell. It is cruel. People suffering on earth worrying about the eternal fate of others is a reality. No religion should be followed that encourages or embraces that fear.
 
The answer is vicious when some people have a tendency towards depression.

 

People have prayed for the salvation of the world and all people and still some go to Hell.  Prayer is meant to be what you are not just what you say.  Thus you cannot be happy in Heaven when  you want everybody there and they are not there.

 

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says:

Objection nine says a lot of things - that hell would be over-populated.  That its only fit for Mao and the likes so ordinary people can't go there.  "Jesus overdid its danger and spoke too much about it."  A good God would not make a world where most go to Hell.

 

Reason replies, God could take care of the population.  Jesus said evil was banal and is usually more subtle than what the likes of Mao would have exemplified.  He told the ordinary people they were evil though they know to give their child bread not a scorpion.  The argument that God should not make an overly hell-bound world is true.  Christians get around by blaming us.  But innocent until proven guilty is the law so that is not acceptable.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
Objection ten that says that Hell means that evil will exist alongside good forever meaning that God failed to destroy all evil is answered as follows. It says that scripture says that God will one day triumph over all evil but says that Hell will still be everlasting but it does not know how the two doctrines can be reconciled and that it is a mystery to do with time and eternity.
 
Reason replies:
But we know what time is like and eternity so when we are not given an answer there is no answer. How could there be? Heavenly happiness is as everlasting as hellish torment so we see here an attempt to obscure a contradiction. The answer is that devious and nasty thing called a copout.  
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
Objection eleven says that Hell cannot be true for it serves no good purpose. The answer admits that Hell is useless but says that since God made souls to be immortal he cannot end it by destroying them.
 
Reason replies: 
 
So if God made souls to be immortal then he needs Hell to put them in so it does have a use after all! Christians say it is useful and then useless. They cannot make up their minds.
 
Also why didnít God make the souls conditionally mortal? They seem to be implying that by making the soul immortal God was promising it that it would live forever. Wasnít that irresponsible of him? They say that making is not promising so perhaps he is innocent of that charge. But he knew what people were like. He is said to know you better than you could ever know yourself.


Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
Page 309 responds to the suggestion that those who preach Hell are being self-righteous and telling others they could go there while thinking that they themselves are too good for that at least in their present condition.
 
Reason replies: 
Christians admit that all sin is rooted in pride and when they say that they are all sinners let us take their word for it that pride motivates their preaching about Hell for a heart given to pride cannot issue humble acts but only acts that superficially appear humble.
 
The response given is that all preachers of eternal Hell must realise that it could happen to them. But anybody who takes precautions can afford to be self-righteous. Surely if you are smug you can be smug because it can happen to you and you don't think it will?
 
Born again Christians are self-righteous for they say they have chosen Jesus which is a righteous act in their opinion and that those who do not do as they have done are going to rot in Hell forever and ever. Their claim that God does all the work but they cannot mean that.
 
Catholics who go to confession and communion often are taking all the best precautions and can be fairly confident that they will go to Heaven. When they warn about Hell they think themselves to be more sensible and righteous than those who need that warning. They think that they have more right to walk the earth than them. The authors of the book know fine well that self-righteous people cannot be made as humble as they ought to be by the thought that they could be damned so their saying that preachers knowing they could be damned means they are not self-righteous when they preach to sinners is utter nonsense. Itís a desperate cover-up but it fails to mask how vicious and self-righteous and pompous the Hell doctrine is.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
There are two kinds of punishment. Natural law punishment and positive law punishment. A promiscuous homosexual who gets AIDS and dies got a natural law punishment. He did bad and brought AIDS on himself. A positive law punishment is one you choose yourself such as when you break a law and have to be fined or jailed for it. Hell is a natural law punishment for the sinner refuses God's love and suffers through resisting it.
 
Reason replies:
 
This is nonsense. The Bible never speaks of Hell as being that kind of punishment.
 
Punishment is based on the concept of retribution, making a person pay for having done wrong. It must then be intentional as far as God is concerned. Natural law punishment then must be just another way of giving out positive punishment.
 
The homosexual who sleeps around did not intend to get AIDS and if he did he didnít do it to pay himself back for his ďsinsĒ. What about the man who would be promiscuous if he could? He could be the worse sinner in his heart. Only a vindictive God would set it up so that the homosexual suffers for doing what is in his heart while somebody with a blacker heart gets away with it.
 
Hell is retribution from God. If God punishes you by putting you in jail (positive law) or by making sure you will get a disease if you commit certain sins (natural law) it is only the style of the retribution that is different. Both are still intended by him as punishment.
 
Is the saint who dies of doing good works undergoing a natural law punishment?
 
Living sinners donít necessarily suffer through rejecting God. God has the power to make sure this doesnít happen dead sinners so he makes sure they suffer. It is vindictive retributive punishment. And to lie that it is not and blame the sinner is vindictive too. There can be no doubt that this whitewashed book in saying that most of our pain is caused by mental pain which is caused by selfishness and sin, is blaming the victims of any suffering on earth or in Heaven. They say that before the fall, Adam would have felt only physical pain not mental pain if he stubbed his toe against a rock. After the fall he became prone to sin and so his pain was made worse. Mental pain exaggerates physical pain. This is a vile teaching. But it is quite consistent with the Bible which says that suffering came in only with the fall of Adam and Eve when they sinned against God and made sinners of themselves and their descendants.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Page 292 criticises the notion that Hell puts justice before love by saying that justice is simply a way of loving. Then it launches into an attack on the Calvinist doctrine that God makes some people and schemes to land them in Hell.
 
Reply: But if the authors are honest they will agree with Calvinist theology for God is the only explanation of the change in a sinner who dies from one who is in sin but who might repent given the chance to one to whom repentance is impossible. He is the only explanation of the change in a sinner who dies from one who is in sin. The first cannot repent and the second can.  God did something when all the sinners fit for Hell who die never repent.
 
And besides, God choosing some sinners for going to Hell is not as much of a problem as him causing them to STAY there. It is the STAYING! The Catholics cannot complain about the Calvinists having a God who has people destined to stay in Hell when their own is no better.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
We inflict our punishment in Hell and shut God out but he does not shut us out. The shutting out of God is the reason Hell is painful it says for God alone can give joy.
 
Reply: We can find joy on earth without thinking of God or believing. The Bible never says that the loss of God is to blame for the suffering of Hell. This is an invention of trendy Christians who do not want to believe that God created a torture chamber and who wish to distort the Bible teaching that he did exactly that!
 
God by definition would be our deepest need. But many of us do not have that need. Thus it follows we know by experience that there is no God.
 
Minds do not have nerves. Spirits do not have nerves. So God must put nerves in them to make them suffer!
 
FINALLY
 
The Handbook contains the kindest interpretation of Hell possible and it is still vindictive. It proves more than any other book that Hell has to be scrapped. The kinder the doctrine is made to appear the worse it gets. The more people end up evilly defending the indefensible. The more they end up worse than those who defend what Hitler did. If you invent a religion that is about control, then you will warn of dreadful torments in the afterlife and make out that God is love.  So you use fear and you cast guilt trips on your victims.  Christianity has those tell-tale signs of manipulation.