It’s not right that people would go to hell just for not believing in the right God. We all know a good and moral God would’t condemn people to hell just for not believing in him, would he? I hear this a lot, and it demonstrates a misunderstanding of the reason people are condemned in the first place.
It seems reasonable at first. But it makes two fundamental mistakes. First, no one goes to hell just because they believe in the wrong God according to the Christian worldview. According to the Bible, people go to hell for breaking the laws of God. God requires moral perfection for someone to spend eternity in his presence; anything short of moral perfection requires an eternal punishment. It’s a person’s sin which relegates him to hell, not wrong belief. For example, if a person lives a morally perfect life, they would not be condemned to hell even if they hadn’t heard of Jesus since they committed no sin.
I’ve offered an analogy in the past which may be helpful. You are walking down the street and a robber sticks a gun in your face and demands your wallet. After you surrender your belongings, the gunman steps back and shoots you in the chest and you die on the street. Did you die for lack of a surgeon or medical care? No, you died of a gunshot wound to the chest. The surgeon and emergency medical care would have been the remedy, not the cause of your death. In the same way, trusting in Christ is the remedy, it’s what saves you from hell, not the reason you go there. What causes someone to spend eternity in hell is their sin. Don’t confuse the lack of remedy with cause.
What else is wrong with this objection? Wouldn’t it be far more unloving and unjust for God to simply allow everyone an escape from the punishment they deserve? Reflect a moment. We have all committed moral wrongs against both God and our fellow-man. We’ve even violated our own conscience, our own moral standards. Most of these moral wrongs go undetected. Think of all the lies you’ve never been caught telling. All the hours of pay stolen at work by way of slacking off or extra time on breaks. Remember it’s not just rape and murder which count as moral wrongs against God. But what about all the unsolved murders, and child molesters who have never been caught. Without hell, they get away with it. How loving would God be to let evil such as that to go unpunished?
Why do people need Jesus in the first place? It’s only because they sin. If a person were to live their life completely free of sin, and also had never heard of Jesus, that person would not go to hell. Understand what that entails. No sin. People only need Jesus if they’ve broken God’s law. I don’t think an explanation of what is wrong with this objection will prevent skeptics from using it. It’s rhetorically powerful and emotionally compelling. But it’s grounded in a fundamental misunderstanding of the doctrinal details concerning hell and why people end up there.