Is it petty of God that he would condemn people to eternal punishment for the mere crime of not believing in the right God or adhering to the right set of religious doctrines? Now, I don’t lay all the blame on critics wgo think this is the case, per se, but it seems to be a common complaint regardless of how often it is addressed. The grievance implies that Christianity is some kind of exclusive club which non-members are kept at bay, while members look out upon those unfortunate souls who are not worthy of acceptance.
Theologically speaking, biblical Christianity is exclusive. Only by professing a salvific trust in Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your transgressions against a Holy God will one be saved from an eternal punishment for those transgressions. But as far as inclusion into the group, no one who wants inclusion is rejected. Critics charge that they and other non-Christians are just out of luck, as it were.
“But I can’t can’t believe”, says the skeptic. There isn’t evidence, or the evidence that is offered is uncompelling, or Christians haven’t been good enough apologists. However, For the past two thousand years, millions of people have trusted on the Christian message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus — and with far less evidence than is available today. They believed without textual criticism or philosophical argumentation. Since the genesis of Christianity, it has grown in the face of persecution, and in spite of the “lack of evidence”. Apparently the amount and quality of evidence is not the problem.
So what does this mean? I am inclined to believe the critics (and other religious adherents) are dissatisfied with the idea that they cannot believe what they want and behave relatively unrestrained according to their sensibilities and still be “saved”: I should be allowed to believe what I want and act as I wish and if God were truly loving, He would be OK with everything about me.
That doesn’t sound like someone who is interested in what’s right, but rather, what’s preferable. But even I can think of a more preferable reality. What is preferable isn’t the issue. What‘s true, is the issue — or should be at least. The skeptic can claim they and other non-Christians are getting the shaft, but it’s entirely self-imposed. Skeptics have the information, what they do with it is not God’s liability, it’s their own.