Friday, March 5, 2010

Let's face it: if hell exists, God hates us

Let's say we adopt the most defensible explanation for hell we can think of. (This is one that I've heard from plenty of Christians, so don't think that I'm making it up.) The idea is that the infinity of God's righteousness is of such a nature that such a payment for sin is demanded. In other words, hell is necessitated by rebellion against God's infinite righteousness. So the fact that Lucifer et al rebelled, and the fact that Adam ate the apple, together simply require that hell be in place to receive the unredeemed. So let's assume that hell does exist, and in the only form that I care about: something of "I" will suffer some less-than-entireley-desirable experience throughout all eternity. Some part of my consciousness, or my soul, some part of me that can experience suffering, will suffer, eternally.

Given that simply living forever is arguably a torment in itself, I reject the foul aspirations of Christian soft-pedaling that I've smelled before, along the lines that hell is not actual flames, but instead is the far less hideous-sounding "separation from God", from which exudes the noxious odor not only of denial, but also smugness: the certainty that they will not be there anyway, so they don't really have to think about it. This rich parfum is often topped with more than a hint of "sinners deserve it anyway, so callously rejecting Christ's love."

Let's assume, for the bible tells me so, that Jesus loves us. Most Christians do. But let's back up to Yahweh, the name we use in English to denote the God, the father of Jesus, who somehow is also Jesus. Confusing doctrine aside, we back up to Yahweh, because Yahweh is also Allah, the god of the Muslims. Muslim doctrine also says that there is a hell. Yahweh is also the god of Judaism (although they prefer not to name but to denote him in writing as "G-d"), but Judaism, while just slightly nebulous on the afterlife, is almost clear that there is no hell.

Two of the main religions in the world believe that there is a hell. All three believe that God, whatever we happen to call him, loves us. I can accept both of these propositions simultaneously. There is a very obvious prediction one could make on accepting these propositions as true: that God would have made a way for us to avoid going to hell. It would be impossible to accept the proposition that God loves us while simultaneously accepting that God created us for the sole ultimate purpose of throwing us into hell. I would venture to say that everyone in the world who subscribes to the doctrine of eternal damnation is still in full agreement with me. Surely God has given us a means of avoiding hell.

The point where I differ from everyone who subscribes to eternal damnation is here: in my estimation, the prediction can be made far more specific than simply that God will give us some instructions. Accepting hell and love as coexistent, I predict that God will make devastatingly clear, such that there is no question whatsoever, how to stay out of hell. I claim that if God doesn't make it so clear, then one of the other two propositions must be false.

If hell is a lie, then God is a liar. Christians and Muslims clearly believe that hell is real, so God is not a liar. The only conclusion is that God hates us. That is the only explanation for the convoluted, impenetrable instructions God has left us for avoiding hell. For every person in the world who would claim that he/she knows very precisely how to avoid hell, there is at least one other person in the world who could claim that the first claimant is dead wrong. Even if they piously intoned that they can't judge one another, and no one knows the heart of man but God, still, their beliefs about how to avoid hell are flatly contradictory. At least one of them is going to hell. Guaranteed. Think I'm exaggerating? Ask a Christian and a Muslim how to get into heaven. You will get contradictory answers. Neither one will have the courage to say that the other will go to hell (well, you could get many Muslims to say so, and maybe a few Christians).

So the instructions are obviously flawed. If God loved us, he would have given us instructions that would lead to everyone getting the same answer. It's simply not love to give instructions that can be misinterpreted by a sincere seeker. And there are plenty of sincere Christians and sincere Muslims.

1 comment:

  1. The only other explanation of the less-than-clear instructions "god" has left his followers is that he actually didn't know how to write clear instructions. But, "god" is supposed to be perfect, and should therefore be capable of using his perfect mind to write absolutely flawless instructions. Instructions that anyone could interpret, and as you said, arrive at the same conclusion. He either lacks motivation or capability to write clear instructions, meaning he's either not all-loving (lacks motivation) or not capable (he is not perfect). Is there any logic to what I just said? I think I confused myself part way through. haha