Thank God for hell

For all the protest from Atheists that a place such as an eternal hell exists, has it occurred to them that hell serves a good? It brings justice to those who commit evil.

Is that really a bad thing since I don’t think I’ve heard anyone complain that murderers, rapists, and child molesters might be in hell? In fact most people insist on it. The objections surface when the little old lady who baked cookies for the homeless but who also was an unbeliever might also be in hell.  But what makes her any better, why is she an example?  Would it be safe to say she too has led a life of moral imperfection?  Probably.  She’s lied, perhaps taken something that didn’t belong to her, or any other sins of the heart.

HellI get it. But should God sacrifice justice for love? What is God’s love; how does it manifest?  Is it loving to allow those who do wrong to go unpunished?  Should we expect less from an perfectly Holy Judge?

Consider this: if the Atheist’s belief in naturalism is true, all evil goes unpunished.  Even if we consider that wrong doers are prosecuted and punished in the here-and-now, the vast majority of crimes go unreported and unsolved — the majority of criminals get away with it.  This leads me to believe that complaining about those who trust in Jesus for the remission of their sins who don’t pay themselves is a bit disingenuous since no one at all paying seems even more unfair.  In other words, if you complain that some people get away with it, and on your view everyone gets away with it, you’re not in a position to complain at all.

At least on the Christian view all sin is punished. The believer’s sins are punished through God himself, while the unbelievers are themselves punished. Either way, no sin goes unpunished.

It might be the case that some individuals aren’t punished for their wrong because they have someone standing in their place. They took the out.  Whether you like that there’s only one out is irrelevant.  But if that’s not fair, how could everyone getting off the hook be any better?

For that I say thank God for hell.

Comments

  1. You can thank God for hell, but you will be thanking the pagan gods for creating hell. Yahweh never mentioned Hell in the Torah and the concept of both Heaven and Hell were borrowed by the Jews and Christians from the Greeks.

    For more information about this imaginary place called “Hell”:

    http://www.mercifultruth.com/the-real-hell.html
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080207021516AAJt4Cj

    For a description of Hell which predates any Jewish or Christian mythology regarding Hell, you can read Plato:

    http://www.jonathantweet.com/jotfigmentplatom.html

    Which you can read in its original context here:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.11.x.html

    So, however much you believe in Hell is however much you accept paganism. Christianity is very much a pagan religion, by the way.

    • David, you’re going to have to lighten up on the links and provide some content. Neither myself or others are going to sift through half a dozen links trying to search out your points. I’d like you to make your points.

  2. Hell is a strange concept to me.

    “It brings justice to those who commit evil.” Is it justice that even a lifetime of evil merits an eternity (FOREVER!) in a burning pit of fire? I don’t think that is justice.

    Also, how is it that an all knowing God created people, knowing we would fail and knowing that most of us would go to Hell, such flawed creatures. Does that mean God created some of us knowing full well that many of us would spend eternity in a lake of fire?

    That doesn’t seem just to me.

    • Atticus, I had kids knowing they would rebel but the blessing of their existence far out weighs their flaws.

      He’ll is eternal because of the authority the people violate, not for how long the crimes take. Remember murder could take a second to commit, and theft of $500 can take years and neither is punished based on how long they took to commit.

  3. Hello John,

    I cannot force any Christian to become educated about the origin of their own religion, much less read the Bible enough to engage in a simple conversation about what it actually says and where those particular myths & legends & lies originated.

    Christians claim that the Bible is infallible & true specifically so that they can remain ignorant about the Bible and most everything else (for example, science and such complicated subjects as pollution and climate change). I provide links so that you might actually learn about subjects which cannot be compressed to blog post length comments (there is a reason why education is a lifelong process and books are hundreds of pages long and libraries contain thousands of books).

    Here is the reality of the situation:

    1. Hell is absent from the Old Testament.
    2. The immortal soul is absent from the Old Testament.
    3. The final judgment is absent from the Old Testament.
    4. Heaven is absent from the Old Testament.
    5. All of these beliefs were borrowed by the Jews and Christians from the Greeks and Persians.

    So while you might take some meager satisfaction in the thought that someone else is going to spend eternity in hell, it isn’t going to happen. You might also take comfort in the thought that you will spend an eternity in heaven, but that isn’t going to happen either.

    Once you are dead that is the end of the story for both good and evil, Christian and Muslim, atheist and agnostic, human and dog, dolphin and mouse.

  4. paynehollow says:

    John…

    But should God sacrifice justice for love? What is God’s love; how does it manifest? Is it loving to allow those who do wrong to go unpunished?

    In dealing with the issue of justice, one neccessary consideration that must be taken is the concept of proportionality.

    We ALL understand this, even with our flawed, failed and imperfect human minds:

    If a seven year old son gets mad at his father for telling him that it’s time to go to bed, and the son yells at the father saying, “I hate you! I will NOT go to bed, yet! Mind your own business!!” The father might rightly consider this behavior wrong and bad. He might well punish the son, telling him, “You ARE going to bed now at 9pm – it’s your bedtime… and tomorrow night, you will go to bed at 8pm. And if you complain about that, you’ll go to bed at 7:30pm.” and enforce his punishment. We flawed and imperfect humans recognize such a response to such behavior as appropriate and necessary.

    BUT, if the father, instead says, “You talkin’ back to me, boy?! I’m going to kill you, but first, I’m going to torture you…” and the father then begins to torture the son until he’s dead, we ALL instinctively know that this is a horrible wrong. The response is CRAZY disproportionate to the “sin…”

    If someone lives a life of basic good, not stealing, not cheating, not killing, not raping… maybe the occasional lie and selfish moment, mixed in with acts of kindness and goodness… then to suggest that the punishment for “failing to accept Jesus as her Lord” is an eternity in torment in hell… such a proposal fails the basic proportionality test of justice.

    And, if God is a God of Love AND Justice, then we can reasonably think, “Well, it does not make sense that a God of Justice would act so unjustly…”

    That is the problem. It’s not that we disagree with the concept of Justice that we balk at that punishment… it’s BECAUSE we believe in the concept of Justice and such a reaction is patently unjust, even to our flawed, failed human minds.

    As Jesus notes (not speaking about hades, but on the notion of good behavior), “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask…?”

    ~Dan

    • Dan, that shows how little you know about the punishment of the command to honor your mother and father. It wasn’t for back talking. If you don’t know this, you aren’t qualified to discuss this. If you do know this you are too dishonest to discuss this. Either way, you offer little.

  5. Hello John,

    You say: “I too can’t force a skeptic to use reliable sources.”

    This is not an argument. You are merely refusing to interact with reality. Everything I have said about this particular subject (the myth of heaven, hell and the immortal soul) is fully supported by scholarship and can be verified easily enough by carefully reading the Bible.

    You should also know (since I have already said it) that I don’t regard the Bible itself as a reliable source. Yahweh is a tribal god of war and Jesus probably didn’t say half those things attributed to him in the gospels.

    Since Jesus was a faithful Jew and the Old Testament says nothing about heaven, hell nor the immortal soul it is extremely unlikely that he believed or taught about any of these things. Doubtless these ideas were attributed to Jesus by Hellenistic Christians, that is Platonic pagans who had converted to Jesus Christ in the late 1st century.

  6. Hello John,

    There is plenty of evidence regarding Jesus’ words in the New Testament not being his own. The gospels were written decades after Jesus died at a time in which there was no recording technology to preserve accurately the spoken word. His followers were illiterate, possessing neither the ability to read or write, and so they were not equipped to accurately preserve Jesus’ words.

    Those words in red type in your Bible weren’t spoken by Jesus, that much is certain. They are also not infallible nor are they inerrant. If they mention heaven, hell and a final judgment they are most certainly wrong.

  7. paynehollow says:

    John…

    that shows how little you know about the punishment of the command to honor your mother and father. It wasn’t for back talking.

    ?! I DID NOT SAY that my analogy was about any biblical text. My analogy was NOT about any biblical text.

    I was simply offering an anology to help illustrate the problem of proportionate response to bad behavior.

    So, rather than attacking me for SOMETHING I DID NOT SAY, how about responding to my actual comment. Do you agree that, in my analogy, that is a disproportionate response to the “sin” committed? Or do you think my analogy is somehow flawed? If so, say so, what specifically is wrong with the analogy?

    Do you agree in general that, when we are discussing Justice, we MUST keep in mind proportionate responses to moral infractions?

  8. Just another example as to why Trabue cannot be called a Christian. More cafeteria hermeneutics as he chooses what to believe and what not to believe.

    An unbeliever like David can be expected to spew his tripe as claims to serious scholarship, but Trabue claims to be a Christian all the while reducing the Bible to just-so stories.

  9. Hello John,

    Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)
    Acts 23: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+23

    • David, I hate to say this but if you don’t offer something other than speculation and assertions, I have to stop responding to you because you just aren’t offering anything.

  10. Hello John,

    I just quoted the books of Acts and the passage is directly relevant to the present argument. Would you care to explain how it is that the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, angels or spirits?

    Here is a mystery if the Old Testament actually talked about such things. But it isn’t at all a mystery for those who know that all of these ideas were borrowed, post-Biblically, by Jews and Christians from the pagan religions of the Greeks and the philosophy of Plato.

  11. wiley16350 says:

    David is correct that the idea of hell was taught in pagan religions originally. It was brought to Christianity through the Latin Vulgate translation which has affected most of the English translations. This is actually what makes the bible different from all other religions, in its original, inspired language, it does not teach an eternal hell of punishment. unfortunately Christianity has held so tightly to the idea of hell that you can’t convince them differently. Jesus and his disciples were preaching of the coming kingdom of God, to the Jews. This was the expectation of the Jews, that the Messiah would bring an unprecedented time of peace where the Jews would lead the earth in righteousness with God. Jesus said the kingdom would come if the Jews repented from their wicked ways and accepted Christ as their Messiah. If they did not repent they would endure wrath and the kingdom would be put off. They did not repent nor did they accept Jesus as their Messiah. This was purposed by God so that he could bring salvation to the Gentiles and in effect the whole world. The bible still declares that the kingdom the Jews were looking forward to come, will come but not until the full complement of the Gentile elect is brought into the fold. Paul then came on the scene to bring further revelation of secrets that had not yet been revealed. Paul talks about future resurrection of the dead, some to eonian life (first resurrection) and some to eonian correction (second resurrection). Paul talks about people being resurrected to immortality. Paul talks about the salvation of all, some are saved to eonian life due to belief, some saved to eonian life through the tribulation and some don’t receive eonian life but are saved through judgment and fire (lake of fire, i.e. second death).

    Things David gets correct and what he gets wrong
    1. He is correct that Hell is a pagan ideal that isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament, It’s not mentioned in the New Testament either. Gehenna-Fire is, but not hell.
    2. He is correct that there is no immortality of the soul mentioned in the Old Testament but Paul reveals that we receive immortality at resurrection and that it was a secret.
    3. The Old Testament does prophecy a time of judgment on the wicked, but not the way it is described in churches today.
    4. He is correct that Heaven is absent from the Old Testament, the Jews were looking forward to an earthly kingdom, the New Testament says the same thing in that there will be a millennial kingdom here on earth as promised to the Jews by God. That earthly kingdom is not the end. There will be a new heaven and earth at the consummation that will be our eternal destiny.

    Eternal punishment (torture) is not righteous justice. No matter how you want to candy coat it. Righteous justice is correcting wrongs and correcting the person from loving unrighteousness to loving God’s righteousness. God will achieve that in his time through his plan. Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just of those that believe. Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the world, not just for the elect. Stop focusing on sin. God doesn’t get justice by punishing sinners, he gets justice by getting rid of sin and righting all wrongs. He gets rid of sin by showing the sinner why he is a sinner and why it’s not good for him to remain as a sinner. God is capable of turning all of us from sinner to saint. It is his duty and desire to do so. The bible says that God wants all to be saved and it says that he will accomplish all his will. I am a sinner, Paul was one of the greatest sinners, we don’t deserve salvation more than anybody else.

    The idea of eternal hell has a lot of logical problems, brings a lot of inconsistency to the bible and is downright evil. There is too much to say on this topic and I have decided I’m not going to sit here and argue about it. People need to do their own research with an open heart for the truth. You’re not doing God any favors by holding to the idea of hell. All you’re doing is defending the creed of whatever church you belong to. I am not going to respond further, I have said my piece. You can do your do diligence by study or you can ignore me altogether.

    A Disclaimer- this is not traditional Christianity as taught by your local church, but I do believe this is what is taught in the bible. Don’t accept what I say as the last word, please do the research yourself. To atheists, don’t reject the God that actually loves you just because of how he is portrayed by the majority of churches today. The bible in it’s original language is the truth, the translations have error and you have to do a lot of study to have a real understanding of the bible.

  12. paynehollow says:

    So, John, having established that I was not speaking of any biblical texts in my analogy, I repeat the logical and biblical and moral problem your position faces:

    If someone lives a life of basic good, not stealing, not cheating, not killing, not raping… maybe the occasional lie and selfish moment, mixed in with acts of kindness and goodness… then to suggest that the punishment for “failing to accept Jesus as her Lord” is an eternity in torment in hell… such a proposal fails the basic proportionality test of justice.

    And, if God is a God of Love AND Justice, then we can reasonably think, “Well, it does not make sense that a God of Justice would act so unjustly…”

    That is the problem. It’s not that we disagree with the concept of Justice that we balk at that punishment… it’s BECAUSE we believe in the concept of Justice and such a reaction is patently unjust, even to our flawed, failed human minds.

    As Jesus notes (not speaking about hades, but on the notion of good behavior), “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask…?”

    Do you believe, John, that for a punishment to be Just, that it must be proportionate to the crime?

    If not, do you (and Glenn, you, too, and any of your defenders/comrades) understand how your position appears to be unjust and immoral to many people?

    ~Dan

  13. paynehollow says:

    Yes, John, I do. WHY? What did I just say that was heretical? I asked a question about the notion of proportionality as it relates to justice. HOW is asking a question heretical?

    Wow, indeed. There is NOTHING heretical about asking reasonable questions on important philosophical and theological matters. There IS, however, something rather immature and cowardly or lacking in intellectual courage in refusing to answer these reasonable questions.

    John, I love you, man, as my brother in Christ. I do NOT believe you are lacking in intellectual courage. So why not just answer the question instead of going on a crazy-sounding personal attack that has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand – the topic YOU raised?

    Come brother, let us reason together. Answer the question, please.

    Thanks,

    Dan

    • The Bible says just one sin of any degree is enough to be punished in hell. You don’t seem to believe that. You also say that our sins aren’t paid for by the blood of Jesus despite there being multiple verses stating just that. You have said Jesus didn’t need to die for our sins despite there being multiple verses stating just that. Not to mention your stating that the things God commanded Israel to do is evil and immoral thus making God evil for commanding it. Dude, you’re a heretic. Just embrace it and move on.

  14. paynehollow says:

    John, I’m not asking you about your opinion about what the Bible does and doesn’t say. I’m asking you yet another relatively simple question: DO YOU or do you not agree that, for a punishment to be just, there should be a reasonable level of proportionality? Yes? No? Some other answer?

    Just once, man, answer a question that is asked of you about the topic YOU have posted on.

    As to your off-topic ad hom and red herrings, I’ll gladly dismantle your reasoning there, dear brother. I hope you are man enough to admit it when I point out your demonstrable mistakes.

    John:

    The Bible says just one sin of any degree is enough to be punished in hell.

    No. It doesn’t. That line is not in the Bible. It is something you are reading into the Bible, but the Bible does not say that. Not. In. There. If I’m mistaken, it’s easily enough established. Quote the verse that says that. But, if you can’t, then admit your mistake and move on.

    Off topic, you go on an ad hom and say…

    You also say that our sins aren’t paid for by the blood of Jesus despite there being multiple verses stating just that.

    No one is debating that there are passages that say that. The question, John, is are they being literal or allegorical? IF literal, then tell me HOW does Jesus “pay” for our “sin” with his “blood…”? What does that look like? IF literal, then how is it that we are saved by Grace? It isn’t grace, but a blood sacrifice, you appear to be saying. I say we are saved by Grace, which is the orthodox Christian teaching. But I’ve asked these questions before and you were unable to answer them then, I expect you’ll still be unable to answer them now, so I don’t see how you can call me heretical for disagreeing with a point that you can’t even make or defend.

    John…

    Not to mention your stating that the things God commanded Israel to do is evil and immoral thus making God evil

    That I disagree with your take on a passage (again, one that you can’t even defend!) is NOT the same as me “stating that God commanded Israel to do evil.” I did NOT state that. I do NOT believe that. Those are YOUR words and apparent beliefs, not mine. (I say “apparent” because, again, you have not even begun to try to defend your position!)

    False, false and false. Now, man up and admit your error and move on, dear brother. For the Bible DOES teach that slander and false witness are wrong and I am confident that you do not desire to deliberately sin.

    Now, how about my question ON topic?

    ~Dan

  15. Question: Isn’t God unjust to punish persons forever for sins committed during a limited earthly existence?

    The following answer is by Paul Copan.
    “Those in hell have committed the ultimate, infinite sin–not simply a string of finite sins — in rejecting a relationship with the self-giving God. Also, hell is the logical outcome of a mindset to live life apart from God — not simply committing individual sins. The punishment fits the crime. You want no God, you get no God. There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done.’ (C.S. Lewis)”

    (If you don’t know who Copan is, take a look at Wiki’s short entry about him
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Copan )

  16. paynehollow says:

    Reasonable people – regardless of their interpretations of biblical passages – can agree on some basics of Justice. Are you entirely able to form an opinion without being told an answer by someone else?

    This isn’t that hard: DO you think a sense of proportionality is vital to a properly Just response?

    Or, look at an example (ANY example)… IF a man steals a loaf of bread from a store because his child was starving, he committed a crime, clearly. BUT, if the punishment was “You will have your hands and feet chopped off, in front of your starving child, and then we will torture your child while YOU watch…” can you agree that the response was not proportionate to the crime?

    I think nearly every living person can offer an opinion on this, John, it’s not brain science. Isn’t it obvious in that example that the punishment was NOT proportionate to the crime and, in fact, it was so DISproportionate as to be much more unjust than the crime itself?

    Can you agree that the concept of proportionality is vital to understanding Justice?

    Or is it your opinion that you are entirely incapable of understanding if something is just or not?

    ~Dan

    • I could agree that if I knew I’d get that punishment I wouldn’t steal. I’d feed my kid another way.

      We, as the sinners, don’t get to dictate what is just. GOD does.

  17. “Can you agree that the concept of proportionality is vital to understanding Justice?”

    If you are simply addressing “human” justice, I’d agree. However, as usual, I’m loath to attempt to apply a purely human construct to an area that is clearly left to God.

    Personally it seems like the issue is not how we as humans view things like sin and justice, but how God views them. I could agree that how God views proportionality is probably different than how humans view proportionality. Given that I guess I’d be inclined to leave thin kind of thing up to God, rather than to attempt to impose some human concept of proportionality on what is clearly Gods prerogative.

  18. paynehollow says:

    Okay, I’m just trying to establish a baseline, Craig. If EVEN WE who are poor, flawed humans prone to sin… if even WE recognize that a punishment can’t grossly exceed the crime without being unjust, then is not God’s justice (assuming a good God, which I do) that much more glorious and better than our meager understanding?

    Looking at it another way, I don’t think there are two notions of Justice (God’s and Humans). What is Just is Just. Period. If a horrible discrepancy in penalty – one disproportionate to the crime – makes the penalty unjust, then it is unjust.

    It sounds like to me that you all are arguing that we humans have justice as we understand it, but God holds another kind of idea – not “justice” as we humans understand it, but something else, let’s call it “Holy Vengeance” – that is how he deals with us. Not with Justice, as we understand it, but with “Holy Vengeance,” which is something we can’t understand. And God will hold us accountable by this “Holy Vengeance,” not by Justice, and since we can’t understand it, well, how can we abide by it?

    ~Dan

  19. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I could agree that if I knew I’d get that punishment I wouldn’t steal. I’d feed my kid another way.

    We, as the sinners, don’t get to dictate what is just. GOD does.

    Again, I’m not talking about your ideas about what God might think. I’m asking you YOUR opinion about justice: IF a punishment is disproportionate to the crime, is it no longer Just? If it helps, answer only from a human point of view.

    ~Dan

  20. paynehollow says:

    That’s funny, Glenn. “Dan didn’t acknowledge something I said…” Funny. Irony.

    Feel free to answer my question and I’ll look at your source, Glenn.

    ~Dan

  21. paynehollow says:

    My question is: Do you agree that if a punishment is grossly disproportionate to the crime, it isn’t just? Just from a human point of view, do you agree or do you disagree?

    ~Dan

    • Who gets to determine if a punishment is “grossly disproportionate to the crime”? I think execution is the proper punishment for murder, and I wouldn’t have a problem with capital punishment for rape, but I have a great feeling that you, Trabue, would say capital punishment is disproportionate to the crime.

  22. Dan,

    It seems as though in trying to establish a baseline, that you have chosen as your baseline what ” WE who are poor, flawed humans …recognize….”. I think that I’d be inclined away from what humans recognize and would lean toward what God has established. As ti your claim that God’s justice is somehow “much more glorious and better”, than our flawed understanding of justice, I’m not sure what you mean. Had you said something like “God’s justice is perfect.” or “God’s justice is perfectly just.”, I’d be inclined to agree with you.

    As far as your “Holy Vengeance” idea, I don’t think I’m saying that at all. What I am saying is that God has an entirely different view these things that we do. His justice is 100% just, since He is God, That would seem to be the baseline. God IS just. If we start there, then it would seem to follow, that if God IS just, then whatever punishment He chooses to mete out is by definition just. Whether we agree with that or not, if God IS just, then His punishments are just.

    “…since we can’t understand it, well, how can we abide by it?”

    How do you know that we can’t understand it? Are you suggesting that we have to be able to understand the things of God in order for them to be True? Are you suggesting that we are incapable of availing ourselves of God’s grace and avoiding hell currently?

  23. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I think that I’d be inclined away from what humans recognize and would lean toward what God has established.

    And WHO gets to decide “what God has established…”? We poor, flawed, sinful humans?

    I am of the opinion that we who have been created in God’s image, who are just a little lower than the angels, who have God’s Word and Law written upon our hearts and minds, who have our God-given reasoning… that we are capable of generally understanding a basic concept like Justice and the notion of Disproportionality, which is a vital concept when it comes to establishing a just punishment. Not that we understand or agree on it perfectly, nor uniformly, but generally.

    Are you thinking that you are not capable of deciding if a grossly exaggerated punishment is disproportionate to the crime? I’m not talking about a matter of small bits – that is, I’m not talking about “Is 4 years too little time to spend in jail for a simple theft or is 5 years too much??” – I’m talking about GROSS disproportionality – torture and death for stealing a loaf of bread, for instance, or for sassing your father.

    In my examples, just from a human point of view, can’t you concede that a grossly disproportionate punishment is, itself, unjust?

    Craig…

    What I am saying is that God has an entirely different view these things that we do. His justice is 100% just, since He is God, That would seem to be the baseline. God IS just.

    And God’s justice is SO perfect, that it SOUNDS like a gross injustice, to us? Is that what you’re saying?

    Craig…

    If we start there, then it would seem to follow, that if God IS just, then whatever punishment He chooses to mete out is by definition just.

    But now we’re back to human opinions about what the Bible says God’s justice is about. Some, like Glenn there, appears to think that a grossly disproportionate punishment is “just,” even when it sounds like injustice to us. But how does that make any rational sense?

    ~Dan

    • Some, like Glenn there, appears to think that a grossly disproportionate punishment is “just,” even when it sounds like injustice to us.

      Gee, can it be that Trabue misrepresented someone agains?!?!? Oh, he gets by with it, though, because he DID say “appears to”. What an ass.

      Where in the world did YOU, TRABUE, come up with that claim? What did I say that would lead you to think that I believe that “grossly disproportionate punishment” is just? All I did was ask you to tell my who it is that gets to make such a judgement? God gave capital punishment for the crime of murder – is that a “grossly disproportionate” punishment? Or do you perhaps think that this particular claim about God is misreading the Bible or taking an analogy beyond its intent, or perhaps it’s just a myth?

      Again, who decides what is “disproportionate punishment”?

  24. paynehollow says:

    Glenn, my question to you:

    Do you agree that if a punishment is grossly disproportionate to the crime, it isn’t just? Just from a human point of view, do you agree or do you disagree?

    Again, my example: A father tortures and kills his son for the “crime” of talking back, from a simple human sense of justice, do you agree that this is disproportionate and unjust?

    ~Dan

    • Trabue,

      I’m not playing your game of hypotheticals, because you always continue small little twists so you can say “gotcha.”

      I asked you a question which you didn’t answer, and then you decided instead to ask a question about a hypothetical situation. Why don’t you answer my question?

      WHO GETS TO DETERMINE IF A PUNISHMENT IS DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE CRIME? You keep promoting a standard of something being disproportionate, yet you don’t say who gets to make that determination. Am I correct in my statement that you think capital punishment is disproportionate? You didn’t answer that one either.

  25. And WHO gets to decide “what God has established…”?

    I guess, I’d say that God gets to decide. The fact that you seem to think humans get to is kind of why I’m asking these questions.

    “Are you thinking that you are not capable of deciding if a grossly exaggerated punishment is disproportionate to the crime?”

    No, I’m thinking that in terms of justice on a human level that you may have a point. However, while you may believe you are, I’m not nearly qualified to pass judgement on what God might or might not consider proportional.

    “…, just from a human point of view, can’t you concede that a grossly disproportionate punishment is, itself, unjust?”

    It shocks me when you act surprised when people get annoyed with you. In my very first comment on this thread my very first words were, “If you are simply addressing “human” justice, I’d agree.”. Why, since my first words on this thread were agreeing with you on this point, do you find it necessary to ask the EXACT SAME question again? Perhaps if you took the time to read peoples comments, you wouldn’t have to ask the same questions more than once.

    “Is that what you’re saying?”

    No. What I said was that if God IS just, the it follows that His justice IS perfect. If the underlying premise (God is just) is True, then it logically follows that His Justice is objectively perfect. The perfection (or lack thereof) of God;s justice exists no matter what our opinions or perceptions might be. Or to be blunt. It is entirely likely that you are wrong about your perception of God’s justice. It is impossible that God is.

    “But now we’re back to human opinions about what the Bible says God’s justice is about.”

    I’ve tried to specifically try to limit my comments to this “baseline” that you spoke of. As long as there is no agreement on the baseline, then there is no point in going any further.

    There is quite a divide between the baseline you seem to have staked out. What ” WE who are poor, flawed humans …recognize….”

    And

    God is just, therefore God’s justice is perfect.

    As long as the starting points are so diametrically opposed, I see no reason to move beyond the baseline.

    “Some, like Glenn there, appears to think that a grossly disproportionate punishment is “just,” even when it sounds like injustice to us.”

    Is your entire position really hinging on “sounds like injustice to us.”?

    It’d be disappointing if you are basing your understanding of God’s nature of what things “sound like” to “us”. Seems like a pretty subjective standard.

  26. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I guess, I’d say that God gets to decide. The fact that you seem to think humans get to is kind of why I’m asking these questions.

    And WHO gets to speak for God?

    Craig…

    However, while you may believe you are, I’m not nearly qualified to pass judgement on what God might or might not consider proportional.

    I’m not passing judgment on God, I’m speaking of others who presume to speak for God.

    Craig…

    God is just, therefore God’s justice is perfect.

    You and I agree on this, then. But the question is, “IF Glenn says God’s justice is to punish people for an eternity in a burning hell and Dan thinks God’s justice would not be disproportionate like that,” on WHAT do we base this or that idea as the closer one to reality?

    ~Dan

  27. My problem isn’t with those atheists who simply reject the idea of God, but rather, those who seem to consciously hope that God does not exist. To me, that makes no sense. Honestly, who would want to live in a world where evil goes unpunished, where victims get no final justice, and where our loved ones are never to be seen again once they or we die. Who would WANT to live in a world, in a universe, as disgusting as that?

  28. Dan seems to miss a basic point being put forth by Craig (if I am understanding Craig correctly). If God’s justice is perfect, it is based on HIS notion of not only justice, but of what requires that justice and what is grievous enough to be worthy of what might appear to us as disproportional justice. I am not prepared to judge God’s justice based on what offends my own sensibilities. I am, however, prepared to accept that God’s way is not my way and why He does what He does and how He does it might conflict with any human notion of justice or proportionality. It seems clear to me (and has for some time based on his many comments over the years) that Dan bases what is right for God on what God has commanded is right for us. Rather arrogant of him to dictate to God that He must follow the laws and commands He set forth for us.

  29. Hello Glenn,

    You ask, “WHO GETS TO DETERMINE IF A PUNISHMENT IS DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE CRIME? ”

    Certainly not God, however you might define god. God doesn’t exist, Heaven doesn’t exist, Hell doesn’t exist, and you don’t have an eternal soul so you can be quite certain that when you die you will cease to exist forever.

    Now the God of the Bible never promised Heaven nor threaten Hell upon anyone. Christians borrowed this sick idea from their pagan neighbors and it has served them well to scare the gullible and the ignorant.

    • David, just because someone held a concept first doesn’t mean it was borrowed.

    • David,
      All you are doing is making a fool of yourself by demonstrating your complete ignorance of the subject and your talking points which are passed around from atheist to atheist as if they have never been addressed and rebutted.
      And your primary claim to knowledge about God is nothing but an assertion that he doesn’t exist. All your claims are based on that one unfounded assertion. I’m really impressed with that! (NOT!)

  30. Hello John,

    The idea was borrowed, without a doubt, because the Christian god does not exist and therefore cannot serve as the originating source for any idea.

    The Bible is wrong about so many things that it is an embarrassment to Christians to even contemplate the meaning of the book, so they dogmatically insist upon infallibility so that they might never have to actually read the book.

    God is an idea which has outlived its usefulness. Humankind will have to learn to exist without a crutch.

    • More unsubstantiated assertion. You’re not very good at discussion and debate. At some point you’ll have to provide more than “without a doubt” to be given attention here.

  31. Hello Glenn,

    You say, “And your primary claim to knowledge about God is nothing but an assertion that he doesn’t exist. All your claims are based on that one unfounded assertion. I’m really impressed with that! (NOT!)”

    God Himself revealed his nonexistence to me. He said, “Sorry, David, but I cannot do anything about the horrors committed by Christians because I don’t exist. If I did exist I really would have solved this problem a long time ago. Don’t worry, though, because humankind will drive itself extinct and evolution will repopulate the planet with numerous new species to replace all those which have been lost. Evolution is good at this and has a longer history of success than God’s own sad history of failure. Now I’ll return to nonexistence and you can devote yourself to more important matters.”
    (Book of Revelation, addendum chapter 23:1)

  32. Hello Glenn,

    If you want to engage in a serious argument you will have to do some actual work. I’m not a socialist. We’ve got a free market of ideas at work here. You’ve got to exhibit at least a rudimentary intelligence and knowledge of whatever it is that you waste your time talking about.

    You’ve got to pull up your argument by its own bootstraps. Perhaps we can engage in a miracle contest such as that performed by Elijah against the prophets of Baal. Your God can still perform miracles, right?

    No. Of course not! That tale of Elijah is nothing more than a myth. As are all the other alleged miracles of the Bible. God hasn’t done a single thing on the Earth over the last 10,000 years.

    Evolution has done quite a lot over the last 4 billion years, though. Evolution provided a primate species with free will and self consciousness … that experiment hasn’t turned out well. God isn’t going to save humankind from itself, though. You can be quite certain that God isn’t going to do anything at all over the next 100,000 years.

    For that reason you need not worry about Heaven, Hell nor about the fate of your eternal soul. Humankind will go extinct just as the passenger pigeons, dinosaurs and Neanderthals went extinct. Too bad!

    • If you want to engage in a serious argument you will have to do some actual work. I’m not a socialist. We’ve got a free market of ideas at work here. You’ve got to exhibit at least a rudimentary intelligence and knowledge of whatever it is that you waste your time talking about.
      You’ve got to pull up your argument by its own bootstraps.

      Oh the irony of it all! How hysterical! And THIS is what David claims as his religion:

      Evolution has done quite a lot over the last 4 billion years, though. Evolution provided a primate species with free will and self consciousness … that experiment hasn’t turned out well. God isn’t going to save humankind from itself, though. You can be quite certain that God isn’t going to do anything at all over the next 100,000 years.

      This is the most unscientific claim I’ve seen for many days. EVOLUTION is a fraud and there is absolutely NO proof of it ever taking place. All you have are speculations and assumptions. Talk about needing “to do some actual work”!!! Talk about needing “rudimentary intelligence and knowledge of whatever it is that you wast your time talking about”!!!!

      David, you have proven that YOU don’t have “rudimentary intelligence and knowledge” of anything real about the Bible and the Christian faith; all you have are assertions, atheist talking points, and the ramblings of so-called biblical scholars who are rank heretics an not taken seriously by anyone who is of the true Christian faith, and who are denounced by REAL scholars.

      NOW you prove that you don’t even have “rudimentary intelligence and knowledge” about the pseudo-science of evolutionism!

      John, I’m done with this imbecile. You all have fun. This is another string I need to leave so as to use my time more wisely.

  33. Oh, I forgot one thing – the latest claim of evolution is that humans came about from a monkey having sex with a pig. Brilliant, just brilliant!

  34. Hello Glenn,

    The difference between evolution and — say, for example — the Bible is that evolution is supported by abundant evidence and scientific observation. The Bible is filled with errors too numerous to count (outnumbering the stars in the sky, as it were) and there is no evidence whatsoever that God is at all involved or even interested in humankind.

    Humans are animals just as monkeys and pigs are animals. Humankind isn’t so special as humans imagine, by the way. For example, the Universe could very easily lose humankind and in doing so it would lose nothing. The sun will keep on shining and rising long after no memory of humankind’s existence remains on the surface of the Earth.

    Evolution is perpetually active on the Earth (and it is occurring today) whereas God hasn’t done a single thing over the last 10,000 years. Trust whatever you wish, you are allowed to lie to your own self.

    • evolution is supported by abundant evidence and scientific observation.

      Priceless! Sorry David, you just demonstrated how brainwashed and ignorant you truly are. There is NO evidence for evolution, and no observation. It happened in the past – according to the religion of evolutionism – and you can’t observe what happened in the past. Claims of current observation are adaptions within a kind. No one has ever observed one species changing to another, such as a long trail of ape types suddenly turning human, or dinosaurs into birds and other just-so stories from your ilk.

      You assert errors in the Bible without proof, and you assert stuff about God with no proof. In fact, evolutionism is all about assertions, speculations, and assumptions.

      You’ve got nothing, dude. Absolutely nothing but abject ignorance of the Bible and evolutionism.

  35. I was supposed to be done with this moron, but again I forgot to unsubscribe! It is now done. Go ahead and rant David.

  36. Hello Glenn,

    Evolution is a presently occurring biological process on the Earth, available for direct scientific observation and experimentation.

    However, since you have (finally, thankfully) unsubscribed … I need not waste any time attempting to educate you.

  37. John, you have avoided every single question given to you.

    So I must ask you to describe sin to me. What you believe sin is.

  38. wiley16350 says:

    Natural Selection is a scientific observation that has been proven through experimentation. The improvement and enlargement of the DNA code from very simple organisms to more complex organisms is not observed and is supported by fantasy, deception and speculation.

    It is easy to convince someone the “truth of evolution” by telling them that experiments prove that bacteria can gain the ability of resistance to antibiotics. As long as they remain ignorant of what actually happens to allow for that ability. It’s also easy to explain it in a way that makes it seem like evolution is obvious. The problem is, what actually happens is never taught, because then it would be obvious that all that is happening is natural selection. Let’s explain.

    Normal bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics because the antibiotic binds to a certain protein and then is able to kill off the bacteria through the binding to that protein. Some bacteria have a mutation that doesn’t allow the creation of that protein, which means the antibiotic can’t bind to that bacteria since it doesn’t have the protein it needs to bind to it and kill it, allowing it to survive. So in the real world, it works like this; you have both bacteria types being produced (normal and mutated). In an environment without antibiotics the normal bacteria will thrive because they are better fit and superior to the mutated ones and can out compete for food, when the antibiotic is introduced and starts killing off the normal bacteria the mutated ones will start to thrive since the antibiotic can’t bind to them and kill them and there is less and less normal bacteria to compete against. Take the antibiotic away and the normal bacteria will start to thrive and the mutated one won’t. The points to understand is that there was no improvement of the genome, it was destruction of the genome that allowed for the mutated bacteria to thrive. The bacteria did not respond to the environment, the environment determined which one thrived and which one died, there were always mutated bacteria present. That is the case in all natural selection examples of so-called upwards evolution.

    I always use the case of canines to show the ridiculousness of evolution. Domesticated dogs are the descendants of wolves. Humans have used a lot of artificial selection to evolve dogs as much as we can. What we have achieved is a lot of variation of looks (size, shape, color, of certain parts, etc); but we have not achieved the ability to improve on the wolf. There is a lot of genetic mistakes, mutational load and defects that we have bred into our domesticated dogs. Domesticated dogs have many more health issues because of genetics when compared to the wolf. Through all of our directed “evolution” we have not improved the canine species. The wolf is superior genetically to domesticated dogs and has a much more diverse genetic variability. The fact is, through all of our genetic experiments, we see a trending of downward evolution because of less variability, mutational load and genetic defects. So the true observation of evolution is in exact contrast to the supposed upward improvement of the genome. To show this simply; the Wolf is superior to both it’s ancestors (original simple organism) and it’s descendants (domesticated dogs). If you can’t see the contradiction in that, then I can’t help you.

    Homo-logy means absolutely nothing, especially since there are plenty of differences and some of the same parts are made by different genes. Homo-logy is pure speculation and is in no way a factual or strong argument for evolution.

  39. Thank you for the prompt response!

    Well then, where does sin originate from at its very core?

    • Isaac I would say sin originates in our self centered desires. That is the desire to put oneself before God — ultimately. It’s not always a premeditated nefarious desire, I think often it manifests as a result of habit.

  40. Dan,

    I just want to be clear. You are agreeing with my proposal that the baseline from which we must start is “God is just, therefore God’s justice is perfect.”.

    I apologize for repeating this, but if we’re not in clear agreement, then anywhere we go after this will be problematic.

  41. Ok, so sin is our desires. Or at least comes from them. My desire to eat chocolate ice cream does is not wrong but it is also a desire. If God created all things, he also created our nature. Our nature, according to the Bible, spawns these negative desires (or temptations). Therefore it appears that God, in his “perfection”, created us imperfect. But instead of doing the moral thing and fixing the problem, he punishes us for his mistakes.

    Now I’m not a christian but this a little screwed.up.

    What’s more, you praise this deity as a moral being when according to the Bible, yet he’s killed millions. Satan tempted a couple of guys and offed one dude’s family (in a bet with God). So you can say anything you want about the christian god being moral and just and kind and loving, but I have yet to see it and you have yet to show us and prove your point.

    I don’t mean to be rough about your religion but you can’t expect to say these things about non-believers and atheists and not get at least a little heat. I do appreciate you are letting comments through and not censoring free speech as I’ve seen some christian YouTubers do. It’s a nice change. (:

    • Isaac

      I was pretty obvious where you were going, but your reasoning is flawed. God being a maximally perfect being could only create that which is less perfect. In the beginning man was created very good. Man, being in God’s image, has a freedom to make decisions. It is not a liability of God’s that we will not obey as we are commanded to. After all, you arent required to sin, are you? This is only a problem if you hold to strict determinism, which the bible makes no claim to.

      So God gives and takes life, so what? As creator he is free to do with his creation what he wishes. There is no hypocrisy or contradiction in this setting because the rule-giver is not subject to the rules he creates. The skeptic assumes that God occupies a position like that of a legislator. The legislator cannot commit crimes and then claim to be above the law because he wrote the law. This is so because the legislator is part of the class to whom the law is addressed and is controlling.

      God occupies a different position, because he stands above his creation. As the creator of life, he has absolute authority over his creation. Common analogies include the classic pot maker that Paul used and the more modern one of an AI robot, that I have used in past posts. If I build a series of robots that can work the mines or clean toilets, I can turn them on or off as I see fit. They would have no claim on me, by contrast, that I am being “hypocritical” if I order them not to turn off their fellow machines, or if I refuse to do the work I created them to do. They are not my equal; they are instead subject to me and my creative power. Because of that power, I retain that power and authority. Consequently, I can delegate that authority by, for example, ordering Robot 1 to turn off Robots 2 through 10. Nor would this be a contradiction, for the underlying rule is not “no one, including the creator, should ever turn off a robot.” The underlying rule is that “no robot shall ever turn off another robot.” When the creator orders that robots be turned off, he is not contradicting himself.

  42. If god cannot create things equal or similar in power to himself, he is not omnipotent, now is he? And this only leads to further questions and logical assumptions like something more perfect than god would have to create god. We could argue at that all day.

    Every decision that anyone has ever made is predetermined. God knows exactly where we are going when we die yet knowingly creates people that sin anyway. There is no free choice if the results are already predetermined. There is no freedom to make your decisions because those have already been made. We might not know what those decisions are but then that just makes god deceptive.

    If he is a truly just god, he MUST play by his own rules. Otherwise any argument you make about the justice of god falls apart and you cannot use the justice argument in your reasoning of hell.

    Sure, if you make a robot and that robot has no consciousness or empathy, you have complete control over it. But the moment that robot has these, it’s hands off because this robot is now a living thing. Now granted, it’s not clear yet if such technology is possible, but this would be the moral and empathetic thing to do in such a scenario.

    In Paul’s example, a pot has no will. A pot cannot think. A pot cannot express emotion. A pot has no empathy. A pot cannot even be programmed to do anything. It serves no purpose other than decoration or holding things. Smash the crap out of that pot. I don’t care.

    • “If god cannot create things equal or similar in power to himself, he is not omnipotent, now is he?”

      That is ridiculous. Youre complaining that God can’t do the logically impossible? I suspect that if it were asserted by Christians that God could do the logically impossible, you’d also complain that the belief violates the laws of logic. You need a better complaint.

      God knowing what will happen is not the same as actively causing the thing to happen. I know my daughter would choose ice cream over broccoli, but my knowledge isnt causal.

      Feelings and consciousness are gifts, aren’t they? Life is fuller and more meaningful with them than without. Pain too serves a function. Without it, we would probably injure ourselves and die rather quickly.

      In short, God gave us more by giving us these things. He made us more like him. So, what then is the objection?

      The earlier objection was that God was hypocritical or contradictory. I pointed out that recognizing that God occupies a level above us, having created us, confers upon him authority to do that which we cannot do. What does our feeling pain do to change that authority? Speaking for myself, I am perfectly content that he gave me feelings and consciousness because I can experience emotionally and intellectually the fulfillment promised in reuniting with him. But with these gifts, he also attaches a price. If I am entrusted with access to great power, is it not right that I am punished more (rather than less) when I abuse it? To whom more is given more is expected.

      I suspect that the objection is that this is not fair. God, having created us with feelings, must now “respect” them. He must not allow us to suffer any pain. But again, why should this be so? And if “respecting” our feelings means allowing us to have our way, and if our way conflicts with his perfectly holy nature, which “right” should prevail? God’s right to remain true to his character or our “right” to feel “good” all the time, to never suffer, even where that suffering is a natural and predictable byproduct of our conduct.

      Having given us so much: a will, feelings, motivations, etc., he expects something in return and the punishment that he metes out for our rebellion is substantial. But he has warned us, and he has provided us a means to reunite with him. What else does fairness require?

      The last part of your comment is puzzling, you complain that it’s OK to smash a pot because it has no will, and earlier you dismiss us as having no ability to exercise a will and omit that fact about us when complaining that God made us with a propensity to sin. Which is it?

  43. “That is ridiculous. Youre complaining that God can’t do the logically impossible? I suspect that if it were asserted by Christians that God could do the logically impossible, you’d also complain that the belief violates the laws of logic. You need a better complaint.”

    Right, it would violate the laws of logic. You seem to be under the impression that the universe requires a god and there’s absolutely no other way around that. This is blinding you to so many other possibilities. The concept of a god contradicts logic itself. I mean what trace do we have of his existence? I mean even an infrared signature would be something. Something we can see. Something we can detect. The fact is, there is no logic in asserting something that has never been seen or manifests itself in some way. You cannot invoke logic if there is no logic in your primary argument.

    “God knowing what will happen is not the same as actively causing the thing to happen. I know my daughter would choose ice cream over broccoli, but my knowledge isnt causal.”

    Did you create the circumstances that led up to her not liking broccoli? Because if god created everything, he certainly created the circumstances that lead to the invention of the computer. The birth of you and I. The conversation we are discussing. He certainly created all the circumstances that led people to sin if he created all the other circumstances in the universe.

    “The earlier objection was that God was hypocritical or contradictory. I pointed out that recognizing that God occupies a level above us, having created us, confers upon him authority to do that which we cannot do. What does our feeling pain do to change that authority?”

    This goes back to justice. If he’s just, he would certainly care about our suffering. I would expect him to at least be as empathetic as I and probably even more as GOD.

    “Speaking for myself, I am perfectly content that he gave me feelings and consciousness because I can experience emotionally and intellectually the fulfillment promised in reuniting with him. But with these gifts, he also attaches a price. If I am entrusted with access to great power, is it not right that I am punished more (rather than less) when I abuse it? To whom more is given more is expected.”

    Why would you want eternal life? That’s my big question. I mean sure a few hundred years might be ok. But given an eternity you will have done everything. You will know everything. But that’s just the beginning. Anything that’s possible will have been achieved. No new heights will be reached. There is nothing left to do. A googolplex years will pass. Yet you will have not even have started your eternity.

    Why would you want something like that? I mean isn’t it far better just to make the best of the short time here on earth and care about the people around you rather than hold off for a likely fantasy? I say likely because you still have all the other religious heavens and hells that could be true.

    I really just try to take a secular approach so I can do the most good and get the most out of life that I can. Because really, death isn’t a bad thing. It’s just part of life.

    “perfectly holy nature”

    Murdering people is not holy. Condoning slavery is not holy. Forcing rape victims to marry their rapist is not holy. Being a homophobe, racist (see “God’s chosen people”), and a misogynist is not holy.

    “Having given us so much: a will, feelings, motivations, etc., he expects something in return and the punishment that he metes out for our rebellion is substantial. But he has warned us, and he has provided us a means to reunite with him. What else does fairness require?”

    It still doesn’t change the fact that he placed the tree of knowledge in full view of adam and eve. DONT EAT THIS IM PLACING IT RIGHT HERE OK. I mean he literally could have placed it anywhere on the planet but instead placed right next to them. If that’s not temptation, I don’t know what is.

    “earlier you dismiss us as having no ability to exercise a will and omit that fact about us when complaining that God made us with a propensity to sin.”

    Playing the devil’s advocate. I was using your prospective on it to make a point.

    This is a lively conversation! I’m glad to get some fresh convo going. I’m glad you’re so patient with me aha.

    • Isaac

      You’re not offering anything but complaints. They aren’t really arguments. Most of them are based on some loaded assumption that is only partially based on a biblical truth. You make some unfounded leaps all of which to be addressed would make for an essay contest between us.

      How about you pick something to start with and we’ll tackle one thing at a time. Sound good?

  44. John

    No, I’m actually making points to show that God isn’t as moral as you make him out to be. So really, I’m not complaining. If you remember, I don’t believe a good majority of it. The “complaints” as you called them are simply there to make points. Nothing more.

    Now I think this a good idea. We can’t possibly hope to achieve any level of agreement if we post essays. Because if a single point is off it can be human nature to simply dismiss a good portion of it.

    Now I think a good place to start off is (and I hope you are ok with this), how do you know that the christian god is THE god? I’m not talking about whether a deity exists. Just the christian god. I hope it’s not too off topic.

  45. @John,

    I wrote a short post, somewhat in response to this post, and I’d like to get your thoughts:

    http://blogtruth.net/2013/12/04/religious-fallacy-the-absurdity-hell/

    • Ill respond over there later, but the pojnts are somewhat fallacious in some conclusions you make based on incomplete or misleading representations of the Christian view.

  46. vincedeporter says:

    This argument is unfortunately inconsistent with any moral value, as the subject of Hell never fails to demand. Please let me give my argument on Hell, and why it would prove God not only cruel, but an unbalanced mind to say the least.

    First, what we mean by Hell:
    A place of eternal torment for sinners who have not obeyed the Biblical God (and also pagan ones). It is the price for SIN.

    SIN (literal meaning) = “missing the mark”.
    It doesn’t have to be a crime for it to be a sin.

    Now here is the point I would like you to react on, my friend…
    Since there is no way out of Hell — what lesson is there to be learned?
    I will easily contend NONE whatsoever — since it’s a condemnation for eternity.
    There is no release for good conduct, no parole, no turning back.
    It is a permanent punishment for a very temporary mistake.

    I repeat in short:
    Hell is a permanent punishment for a temporary mistake with NO LESSON TO BE LEARNED.

    This is the most egregious idea in the Scriptures and the Religions that preach it.
    It has no value whatsoever. None.
    ~~~~~
    Now, here is a scenario for which the Christian answer always makes my jaw drop:

    I will take the example I already used with you of Roy, a serial killer on death row for murdering and abusing children all his life, who hurt everyone around him for his own wicked pleasure, Fully understanding what he has done, he finally accepts Christ. He still gets the chair, but he goes to heaven for having accepted Christ in the nick of time.
    YET, if that SAME man, dies in a shootout BEFORE prison; he goes to Hell for eternity.

    This would make the main problem a problem of timing.
    Bad timing = being tortured to infinity.

    Does that make sense to you? Is this Justice to you?

    Happily for Roy, the advantage of prison gave this man time to think and repent.
    (I will pass on my other example of Aadi the Hindu that goes to Hell for not “getting” Christ, although he led an exemplary life.)
    ~~~~~
    Again, what we are talking about is Hell, a place that BY DEFINITION is the very pinnacle of non-forgiveness — yet, this is the solution your God has for those either bad or good in their very short temporal life.
    In fact, if indeed a day for God is akin to one thousand years for us, then what Christians claim is that their God punishes ad vitam aeternam for a life that lasted a few seconds for Him!
    This questions God’s sense of measure. Eternity for us is the same than for him.
    Let’s think about that — he gives a sentence that only HE can understand and we cannot even begin to fathom. It is so disproportionate that it boggles the mind!
    ~~~~~
    To summarize:
    • Hell is a punishment that has no teaching value whatsoever.
    • Hell forbids any attempt at redemption.
    • Because of its permanence, God can no longer be called ‘perfectly all-forgiving’.
    • The issue of measure: eternity for a split-second life in God’s eyes.

    John, please — how do you rationalize this with your personal sense of moral values and measure?

    • I dont think every punishment need be for the purposes of teaching something. There is no moral liability in punishment being a punishment.

      The chance for redemption was rejected. It’s like complaining that after killing the gas station attendant and robbing the store that there’s no opportunity to be sorry and let off the hook.

      God is never described as all forgiving in the first place, so this isnt a liability at all. In fact he is described as forgiving of those who repent and trust in Christ for their redemption.

      The amount of time it takes to commit a crime has little to do with the duration of the punishment. Killing the gas station attendant and robbing the store can be done in mere minutes, but in many states comes with a life sentence. The reason for the eternal punishment is based on who was offended. Slapping a stranger gets you a lesser punishment than slapping the president. Same act, far different punishments. It’s because of against whom the crime was committed.

      • vincedeporter says:

        Well, I disagree. There is a sense of measure in Justice. My comment here prompted me to expound on this in a blog. I just posted it, if you are intersected.

        May I respectfully point out that your argument above is purely subjective. But I can’t argue Faith. If you have no problem, no cognitive dissonance with this, I have not much more to say I guess, my friend.

        Must I conclude that if YOU were God, your conscience would permit you to treat imperfect humans like that?

  47. Atticus,

    It’s a silly objection, in my view, if indeed it’s even partly responsible for your unbelief. You’re assuming “hell” is inconsistent with the nature of a loving and just God – and I don’t think this is the case. God offers salvation because He doesn’t want anyone to suffer in hell. But if they reject His salvation and continue their evil ways, they’ve brought hell on themselves. God cannot allow evil to go unpunished – otherwise He wouldn’t be just, now would He?

  48. vincedeporter says:

    Terrance, how can you say “if they reject His salvation and continue their evil ways, they’ve brought hell on themselves?”
    What evil ways? Different culture?

    I am truly hurt that ANY human can be so cold of another just because he made the “mistake” of not accepting Christ.

    Although I believe Hell to be nonsense, so I do not fear it the least — I am really shaking at this time at the thought — the THOUGHT — that other humans have NO problem with this obvious over-punishment of eternal torture!

    Please do not wonder how us atheist can despise such a Deity. Since I’ve been a father myself, God’s character in impossible to rationalize for me.

    Please read and feel free to comment on my more complete blog.
    http://vincedeporter.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/hell-when-god-loses-all-sense-of-mesure/

    • People go to hell because they sin. Just like people die from disease. People dont die because they didnt see a doctor, they die from what ails them.

      • vincedeporter says:

        You make it sound like it’s a choice to not sin.
        Because that is not what the bible says.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t quite see the analogy with the doctor thing.

        • People think you go to hell BECAUSE you don’t trust Christ. You go to hell because you sin.

          Likewise if a person has a disease they die from the disease, not a lack of a doctor.

  49. vincedeporter says:

    I have a question.
    If God is Almighty, and “desires” all to be saved — how is it that he is doing nothing to convince every person he IS? It would not guarantee everyone on board, but it would show some Love and concern to humans… no?

  50. Vince,

    What evil ways? Different culture?

    I don’t believe one absolutely must accept Christ in order to be saved. If someone lives in a place where the Gospel isn’t accessible or understood (as is the case in many parts of Asia), then a loving and just God would not condemn them to hell.

  51. vincedeporter says:

    //If someone lives in a place where the Gospel isn’t accessible or understood (as is the case in many parts of Asia), then a loving and just God would not condemn them to hell.//

    On what do you base this my friend? I do not remember God making that kind of exception with the pagan nations….

  52. Vince,

    I don’t understand your last point. It doesn’t make sense to me. If people only accepted Christ because He proved to them He exists, then where is the love or repentance? How would it have any meaning? It’d be like the would-be rapist turning around because he discovered – surprise – hubby is home.

  53. vincedeporter says:

    Do you think I’m incorrigible, John? Could you explain to my 15 and 12 year old why I will be in hell? Could you explain to them why mommy who accepted Christ and asked forgiveness to him for cheating on me and breaking up my our family will go to heaven, and why daddy who is still suffering the breakup will go to hell?

    • I doubt you are incorrigible. Ending up in hell isnt personal. You make it sound like you have to go to hell. You could accept redemption.

      We all sin. I’ve got sins in my past that are downright despicable.

      God is gracious enough that he gives us a way out of what we all deserve.

      • vincedeporter says:

        //You could accept redemption.//

        But what if my most sincere and deep understanding of all this prompts me to honestly reject this God?

        What then?

        Could it be that I’m stupid? Is critical thinking my sin?
        I really don’t know… all I can say is this subject of hell is a turn off instead of admiration.

        I can’t convey how depressed I am tonight. I need a break. Thank you though. Really.

  54. Vince,

    Pagans were condemned because of their evil ways. The Bible says there was no good in those people.

  55. vincedeporter says:

    What you both are doing is making a judgement call. I understand that this position is fueled by the bible… but I fail to understand the justice/Love involved. That’s all.

  56. Romans 10:17 reads, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (NIV).

  57. I’m making no judgments, Vince. I’m telling you what the Bible says.

  58. vincedeporter says:

    There is a huge weight of sadness for me to read any justification of this God’s idea of love. I think I have made a very honest presentation of the arguments in my blog. I try to understand, I really do. But this is the saddest, most demonic-like concept I have ever encountered in my Life.

    I do thank you guys for being honest about what you think.
    I just cannot in all good conscience agree with you. That is my sin.

    • Vince

      If you were in charge, what would you have in place, as far as a justice system with reward and punishment?

      • vincedeporter says:

        If God would simply make the sinners die, that would be more loving. The price of sin is death — even after Christ’s sacrifice. So be it. Why eternal torture?

        If it was me, I would use incarceration with a goal of redemption, or — slammer until death.

        As for a reward, the idea is strange to me. Why reward good behavior? Is the fruit of being good and a positive influence on our environment and friends not enough?

        I don’t do good for a reward! Do you? I’m sure not!

  59. Vince,

    And like our idea of love is any better? Look at what we do to one another, Vince. We put innocent children through war, make them suffer because of our greed or petty grievances. Honestly, I’m appalled that ANYONE thinks they’re “good enough” to go to heaven on their own merit. Nobody is! Thankfully, however, God gives us a way out of the fate we ALL deserve. Those who don’t accept it ABSOLUTELY deserve hell because EVERYONE deserves hell.

    Humans are not basically good. Not even close. And like Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

  60. vincedeporter says:

    Okay… this is not making me happy. I find all this “we deserve eternal torture” stuff more than unsettling. Torture should NEVER be a punishment, even for a Criminal against Humanity. This is a moral issue that cannot be disputed unless the life of many depend on the life of one (but this is not the debate).

    John says “The amount of time it takes to commit a crime has little to do with the duration of the punishment.”

    Yes, okay. That is a very good point. My argument falls a bit flat on that issue then.

    But friends! How can you justify such heinous vengeance!
    In my article, I argue that Hell serves NO purpose — except yes — God’s subjective thirst for vengeance. There is no other valid purpose. It produces NOTHING.

    In my blog I argue:
    “Roy is a serial killer on death row for murdering and abusing children all his life, who hurt everyone around him for his own wicked pleasure, Fully understanding what he has done, he finally accepts Christ. He still gets the chair, but he goes to heaven for having accepted Christ in the nick of time.
    Now, if that same man, died in a shootout before going to prison; it was Hell for him, and for eternity.
    For Roy, Heaven or Hell is just a matter of TIMING!”

    Does that make any sense to you?

    • I dont subscribe to the idea that God would allow for someone who WOULD accept him to die before he gets the opportunity. If the murderer would accept Christ given the right time and circumstance, God would not hinder that.

      However, I’ll let this go for now. I dont want you getting so soured that you close off. The subject of heaven and hell is a very emotional topic for most people. Maybe I have some unusual ability to separate my emotional feelings from an issue in order to get down to the brass tacks of the issue.

      Try to salvage the rest of the night, Vince.

  61. vincedeporter says:

    Will do John. :) Thanks.

  62. Why must “torture” in hell be as you understand it? Torture is a relative term.

  63. Hell does indeed serve a purpose. God would not be just if He allowed evil to go unpunished. Why is that an issue of contention? His salvation is freely available to all. People don’t go to hell for ignorance; they go to hell for sin.

  64. vincedeporter says:

    “Torture is a relative term.”
    Really? How so?
    Eternal “torment” synonyms:
    agony, suffering, torture, pain, anguish, misery, distress, affliction, trauma, wretchedness; hell, purgatory…

  65. vincedeporter says:

    //God would not be just if He allowed evil to go unpunished. Why is that an issue of contention?//

    It boggles the mind that anyone — ANYONE — can excuse eternal torture for “missing the mark” — while admittedly humans are a priori flawed, imperfect!

    I cannot for the life of me accept such cold self-righteousness. I’m sorry to use that term, but you are indeed clearly happy to expect a reward and see your fellow human punished so egregiously for not thinking like you. It is a matter that brings me to frustration and tears. How can you excuse this God? Is it fear?
    How can one side with that? Do you have children? Are you happy that your God will put them in hell if they decide to chose another philosophy in life — while giving of themselves freely to others, honoring the golden rule?
    Do you not SEE the big picture here?

    You support the God that will roast forever 2/3rds of Humanity, some of them your close family? Really? Why?

    I do not understand… and trust me, I’m trying.

  66. vincedeporter says:

    //His salvation is freely available to all.//

    That is EXACTLY my point. Muslims say the same thing for Allah… all religions have a saviour or god you must worship to be saved. So what next?

    I am on a journey to question if my atheism is the best answer — so in your view I need to accept your idea of the True God over the others. Do you really think this idea of hell is helping me see this one as the ultimate God of Love?

    To accept his salvation I must first believe him to be the one.

    As I have written in my article “Objective moral Values and God – Part 1”, I do not see this God to be in an way shape or form the author of objective moral values, in fact, I argue Bible in hand that he does not even respect those values himself. Then there is the problem of hell and eternal torture. Add to that his willful absence of evidence, even when he could do anything to help humans find him empirically. He can separate the Red Sea, but can’t offer a spectacle in the sky that would reveal his reality?

    If anyone can give me a reasonable comment, it’s you guys. But if you persist in dismissing the actions from God you would never dismiss from a fellow human, then you are using double standards. I need you to be consistant for me to make sense of your claims. Please.

  67. Vince,

    Really? How so?

    How does one “burn” without a physical body, Vince? It is figurative. Being away from God is a horrible thing – a tortuous thing, as it were.

    “…as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all…” Ecclesiastes 9:5

    “….The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” Ezekiel 18:4

    I do not believe the Bible is describing hell as a place of physical suffering, but spiritual.

    You don’t understand because you begin the conversation with too many assumptions.

  68. Let me elaborate. I believe “hell” is a literal place not to be taken lightly. However, I do not believe the torture and torment is physical. In fact, there is ample Scriptural evidence to believe all the this talk about “fire and brimestone” is little more than figurative language and hyperbole used to describe the seriousness of being separated from God.

    Sadly, for many Christians their caricature of hell has more in common with Dante’s Divine Comedy than the Bible itself. It is understood to be a place of piercing screams, boiling blood, venomous snakes, pools of excrement, and other awful things. This is no sense Biblical.

    It’s important to know that Jews often used the term “fire” for dramatic effect. For example, the Torah is supposedly written with “black fire on white fire” (Talmud, Shekalim 6:1, 49d). Is this literal? I doubt it. We also learn of mountains of fire, thrones of fire, angels of fire, lashes of fire, rivers of fire, and so on. But it wasn’t limited to the Talmud. In 2 Kings 2:11 we read that a “chariot of fire and horses of fire” carried Elijah to heaven. In Deuteronomy 4:24 we read that God is a “consuming fire.” In Daniel 7:9-10 we hear again about a throne “flaming with fire” and a “river of fire” coming from underneath. And in the New Testament we learn that Jesus has eyes “like blazing fire.”

    It’s clear to me these passages are not speaking of a “literal fire.” And I think there is even more reason to believe “hell” is not a literal fire full of physical pain and torment. For one, it contradicts Matthew 8:12, 22:13. 25:30, and 2 Peter 2:17, all of which claim hell is fire AND darkness. How can that be if we’re talking of a “literal fire”? Fire illuminates, does it not?

    Fact is, Jewish writers often used metaphors and figurative language for dramatic effect. Jesus Himself did it. Seriously, who honestly believes that Jesus is commanding us to cut off our hands? Gouge out our eyes? If so, how many have done it, I wonder?

    Clearly, this language is hyperbole intended to convey the importance of accepting God, loving God, and repenting of sins.

    And I believe “burning in hell” was also hyperbole. The audience would have put this into perspective much better than us. They would have been very familiar with the Valley of Hinnom, a place where children were sacrificed to the god Molech; a place where people would burn their garbage and use sulfur to ignite it. This place is where the word “ghenna” (hell) comes from. The audience would have been very familiar with this awful place – and so it was used to describe a place of eternal godlessness; a life without God.

    This place without God will be spiritual torment, not physical. It will be so bad that perhaps we are “conscious of nothing” other than our own spiritual pain and our “souls die.” There will be no good, no pleasure, and no hope. And there’s really no way to describe such a place without likening it to something we really can understand – like a painful burning fire.

    I think people who tell you that hell is a place of literal physical pain full of fiery lakes and boiling blood are more interested in winning arguments than truly understanding God’s word. It’s like I told you once before, faith is something you have to work for, and it’s not just about believing the usual lines of some particular denomination or group of people.

  69. vincedeporter says:

    I actually agree that what I am arguing is a concept that is much more literal than spiritual. So, I do agree on your argument here.

    But both you and I know that many, many others really believe in Dante’s Hell; a literal hell. THAT is what bothers me so much.
    Some Christian sects, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe that Hell simply means death. They also refer to the same scriptures that you have. And I for one see this as more logical that the idea of simple torture.

    Again, my article and argument is against those who believe in a literal Hell.

    There is an unarguable syllogism for a literal hell:

    1— Torture is objectively wrong.
    2— God uses unending Torture
    3— Therefore,God is wrong.

    Simple. Logical.

  70. vincedeporter says:

    Although I must add that eternal spiritual torment is torture nonetheless, even if just psychological and spiritual… so although I agree with your comment, I’m not sure it can escape the idea of torture.

    • Vince

      When you use the term torture, what do you mean by torture? How do you define the term?

      You’ve used the terms torture and torment interchangeably, but I think there is a difference between the two.

  71. vincedeporter says:

    John, in my article, I address the idea of literal torture — and as you know, most Christians do see it that way.

    However, when a Believer myself, I never thought it to be literal.
    I think TerranceH made an excellent argument that I ultimately agree with.

    But the idea of “Eternal Torment” still bothers me, because psychological torment may be even more horrifying than physical torment.
    ~~~
    * By torment, I understand the usual definition”
    tor·ment
    noun
    ˈtôrment/
    1.
    severe physical or mental suffering.
    “their deaths have left both families in torment”
    synonyms: agony, suffering, torture, pain, anguish, misery, distress, affliction, trauma, wretchedness;
    ~~~
    To summarize, I added the following addendum to my article:

    “I must add that even when I was a Christian, I always thought of Hell being symbolic, not literal.
    But eternal “spiritual torment” is torture nonetheless, even if just psychological and spiritual.
    So even this tamer approach to the idea of Hell still poses the problem of God’s morality.

    Here’s a syllogism to place it in simple logical terms:

    1— Physical and psychological torture is objectively evil.
    2— God uses torture without end.
    3— Therefore, God is evil.

    This is my problem with Hell, anyway you take it, it’s wrong… you know?
    I think overall my article needs to be argued on it’s premise. I’m open to be corrected.
    Just not opened to accept torture as a solution anytime. Let alone eternal torture.

  72. vincedeporter says:

    Gotta write sillier stuff as it is my job. Haha!

    I do appreciate this exchange. I really like you guys.
    Refreshing to discuss with people who have the same passion in the quest for Truth, and that know their own beliefs. Not a rampant occurrence as you know only too well!

  73. vincedeporter says:

    Just one more edit on my latest edit in my article:
    Please argue this point, and correct me if I’m wrong, WHY I’m wrong. Thank you.
    ~~~
    Syllogism Edit:
    1— Forcing physical and psychological torture is objectively evil.
    2— God forces torture without end, as punishment.*
    3— Therefore, God is evil.

    * “Punishment” is not the right word, because it conveys a sense of lesson and correction.
    The more accurate word is “vengeance”, because it is a final execution.
    I was just trying to be agreeable…

  74. vincedeporter says:

    Here is another comment I have made:

    “The problem of Hell has far reaching implications, as it denotes not punishment (which has a corrective and redemptive design), but vengeance, which is in itself objectively purposeless outside a particular need to return evil for evil. If God is returning evil for evil, then he is not omnibenevolent. How does one explain that without encountering strong cognitive dissonance?

    I am writing part 2 of my series “Objective moral Values and God.”
    I will address more extensively the problem of vengeance and its root intentions. It’s not good. Vengeance never is. Jesus makes that point often — ironically in full contradiction with the Father’s character.”

  75. Vince,

    The only thing to liken “spiritual torture” to is “psychological torture,” which is bad enough, I agree. But who is responsible? God or those who rejected Him?

  76. vincedeporter says:

    Understood — but how does this excuse the evil for evil question?
    The fact that God does not HAVE to torture forever is enough to question his character on this subject, no?
    How am I to be attracted to such a character, when as an imperfect human being I do NOT think vengence is a good thing, that promotes well-being, even for it’s author!

  77. vincedeporter says:

    Also John, you said above something that has been a splinter in my brain all day…
    You said: “Maybe I have some unusual ability to separate my emotional feelings from an issue in order to get down to the brass tacks of the issue.”

    How is that a good thing?

    How is being able to separate empathy from horror by shutting reasonable feelings out?
    Not that I compare to you — but I have read accounts of S.S. soldiers that tortured others under the nazi regime, and had left their conscience at the entrance, feeling nothing (and some even enjoying it).

    The unquestioned belief in a higher authority; God, Nation, etc… is responsible for the horrors our human history is crippled with.

    Do you not see a problem with your statement that you can turn off your humanism to excuse Godly acts you would otherwise condemn?

    • I think its a good thing, in some cases, because it doesnt cause an immediate unthought out reaction. Im not saying you dont think through things. But I thjnk sometimes the emotion gets in the way. For example in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Connecticut banned certain rifles. Some of the rifles that were banned are functionally identical to still legal hunting rifles. Essentially what was banned was asthetics. If it LOOKS like a military machine gun, it was banned.

      Another example, if I give my oldest daughter a list of chores to do in a certain time, say, empty the dishwasher and fold the towels from the dryer by the time I get home, she will lose the tv for the night. Now, for whatever reason, usually she thought she had more time, she didnt do it and gets the tv taken away. She views it as she cant watch tv becayse Dad wont let her. But thats not the whole story and doesnt represent the situation fairly.

      So when I think of heaven and hell, I simply look at the components.

  78. Vince,

    I’m going to address that a little later when I have more time. For now, let me say that the first proposition of the syllogism is deductively valid but the second one is not, thus the whole thing is invalid.

    As explained torture is a relative term. But even if we were to agree on the point, we still don’t agree that God forces it. People make their own choices.

  79. vincedeporter says:

    John, I understand, but if the result has an emotional impact regardless. The difference between us and robots are our emotional advantage. Empathy is an emotion. That is why our EQ is just as, if not more important, than our IQ.

    To judge something unemotionally can have it’s advantage, like a surgeon will cut thru a person’s flesh with a goal to save him. Too much emotional pull in this situation will not get the job done.
    But we are talking here about a greater good. Like the education of your daughter in your example.

    I contend there is no greater good for Hell. None. No learning, no place for correction.
    ~~~

    Thank you Terrance, I will look for your argument on my syllogism with most interest.

  80. vincedeporter says:

    Terrance, I already see the problem with my #2 proposition.
    The word should be “enforces”…

    It should read:
    1— Forcing physical and psychological torture is objectively evil.
    2— God enforces torture without end, as punishment.*
    3— Therefore, God is evil.

    * “Punishment” is not the right word, because it conveys a sense of lesson and correction.
    The more accurate word is “vengeance”, because it is a final execution.

  81. vincedeporter says:

    Maybe #1 should read enforcing too…

  82. vincedeporter says:

    A commentator on my article reminded me how unbiblical the Burning Hell idea is.
    I never believed it even when I was a believer, because the Bible has no such concept, except in the allegorical sense. My article clearly shows the total illogical problem it presents to a God of love. It makes no sense at all really.

    So here I find myself defending my stance, against a dogma I never remotely believed in. Hell, Sheol, Hades,… all f these are simply related to death, with Gehenna being the symbol of death with no chance of resurrection. The Dantésque idea of Hell goes back to the Babylonians, which were Pagan. It has never been hinted on in the OT, and in the NT the idea is an allegory, for obvious reasons.

    So why are we having this discussion, really? I can see some differences between John and Terrance… but do you friends really, truly, believe in Hell being an eternal thing?
    How can this be remotely consistent with a God of Love?

    • I thinks hell is dark, like blackout dark. I think we might not even be mobile, and we’ll have that frustrated anxiety of wanting out so bad it will make you gnash your teeth and cry out.

      The worst part is the real knowledge, after the white thrown judgement by God, that its all justified and could have been prevented by not rejecting the Savior that you knew about. Youll have a burning feeling of guilt, like someone who kills someone but no one knows but the guilt eats you alive.

      Its that kind of torment that will make it hell.

      Vince, I see you use the terms torture amd torment somewhat interchangeably. I dont think they’re the same. Can you define what you think torture is? Not examples of torture, but a criteria for what constitutes torture.

  83. vincedeporter says:

    Torture is “the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.”
    Torment is a synonym of torture. They can be interchangeable with the a subtle difference in that one is the action of inflicting pain (torture), the other is the experience of that pain (torment).

    Now, this being established, I have a pretty good idea of the many different interpretations of what Hell constitutes, and yours is clearly just as subjective, with no Biblical backup, am I correct?

    Furthermore, guilt, like everything, fades. I am feel no guilt for things I have done in ignorance or by mistake when I was younger. If I end up in that Hell you describe, I’ll be over with it in a couple of decades… especially since by sheer instinct of survival and knowing I’m stuck there, I will chose resilience rather than stress.

    There are so many illogical fallacies to rationalize what reveals to be very personal and different versions of what hell is, that the whole concept cannot be agreed on by any Christian faction. That in itself, dismisses the concept as reasonable.

    John, do you understand my perspective, even without agreeing?
    Do you not see that there is not really a version of hell that can be agreed on?
    My article on Hell addressed what MOST of the ones I talked with believed it was — and Terrance was right to point out the Pagan and Dantésque imagery that sticks to many Christians. In this search of mine, I have found almost one version of hell in each Christian I interviewed or talked with.

    If my reasoning is flawed, I do not see it myself. Please give me something I can question myself with, because so far, I’m very unconvinced. And I’m open to be.
    ~~~~~

    To recap, I have:

    • … given the definitions of torture and torment, and at what level I feel we can group those together.

    • … argued that all versions of hell so far (and there are many) fail to produce proof of a well balanced and Loving God.

    • …argued that it can be said that punishment with no hope for redemption is simple gratuitous vengeance — evil for evil — totally contrary to Christ’s teaching.

    • Therefore, the concept of Hell is not only contrary to moral values, but as confusing to Christians as it is to non-Christians. There is no unity of interpretation, making this concept crumble under its own weight.

    Where am I wrong?

    • I dont agree that torment and torture are identical even if synonyms. I could be tormented by a bratty kid in the neighborhood without being tortured by him. I know that sounds silly, but I just dont think the two are truly synonymous.

      I concede people have different views of Hell. The bible describes it as utter darkness. I take the “burning” uses of imagery to form my view of Hell.

      I dont think hell and a loving God are mutually exclusive.

      There isnt any reason to believe that for a punishment to be just it has to have some redeeming quality.

  84. vincedeporter says:

    I think I have made the case that although at times the 2 are considered synonyms, one is more an action and the other more a consequence. I do think we agree on the main definitions — your example with the neighborhood kid sounds right.
    Semantics really.

    I do think Hell and a Loving God is empirically mutually exclusive.

    I also think punishment demands a call for values lost. I strongly believe that if punishment is the finality, then it has no value whatsoever. It is fruitless. In life, anything fruitless is worthless, even gratuitous.

    But, we can amicably agree to disagree on this, my friend.

  85. vincedeporter says:

    Maybe empirically is an overstatement. LOL!

  86. Vince,

    You fixed your syllogism – but now there’s a new problem.

    1— Forcing physical and psychological torture is objectively evil.
    2— God enforces torture without end, as punishment.*
    3— Therefore, God is evil.

    It may be true that “forcing physical and psychological torture is objectively evil.” but as the second component states, God doesn’t “force” it; He “enforces” it. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it’s a huge difference. God doesn’t force anyone to sin, thus God doesn’t force “torture,” thus the conclusion is false.

    Now, if you change the first component so that it reads “enforcing physical and psychological torture is objectively evil,” then your premise is false. The argument is logically valid but has no truth value. Let me explain.

    Have you ever been in jail? For anything, even overnight? If so, you may think that being locked in a room for extended periods of time is a form of psychological torture. It certainly would be to me. So, what I’m wondering is if you think the guards who “enforce” that punishment are evil, even though they’re enforcing it against those who have committed a crime.

Any Thoughts?

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