Hell: When God Loses all Sense of Measure

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The most egregious of all Christian concepts for me is Hell. By far!
There is no honest and rational excuse for this demonic idea — the idea that those who don’t accept Christ, will burn in extreme torture for all eternity.

I will here, right now, debunk this atrocity.
I shall choose for weapons — Logic and Reason.


First, what is meant by “Hell”:

Hell is a place of eternal torment for sinners who have not obeyed the Biblical God*. It is the price for SIN.
* (The concept of Hell is found in Pagan religions too, much older than Christianity.)

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


What Purpose does Hell have?

Indeed, 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 redemption, regrets, no turning back.
It is a permanent punishment for a very temporary mistaken Life (according to the Bible).


Two Men, Two Outcomes:

Here is a simple argument against the morality of the Biblical God. Since you may have heard this, please take time to ponder on how this is in any way “Justice” for you.

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!

Meanwhile, Aadi is a good man. He is a sincere Hindu. He has been an exemplary father and husband his whole life. He helped his community, and even died saving someone from a fire. Christ is not even in his cultural reference. When dying as a hero, he wakes up in Hell — for eternity!
I repeat, for ETERNITY!

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


God, Eye for Eye, and forgiveness

Again, what we are talking about here is Hell, a place that BY DEFINITION is the very pinnacle of non-forgiveness — yet, this is the solution the Biblical God has for those “having missed the mark” in their very short life.
How is this wrong for any sane thinker?

Here’s why:
• It’s a matter of MEASURE:
In the OT, the logical yet unsubtle Law was “eye for eye”— and one must admit that it rings of a certain sense of justice and fairness, albeit unforgiving. If indeed a day for God is akin to one thousand years for us, then Christians are actually saying that their God punishes ad vitam aeternam for a life that lasted only a few seconds for Him!

This questions God’s sense of measure. It is so disproportionate that it boggles the mind!
One must also consider that Eternity is the same Eternity — both for God as for us.
Let’s think about that — he gives a sentence that only HE can grasp and we cannot even begin to fathom.

This also proves the total lack of empathy God has for his children. Who of us parents would so over-punish our kids for the mistakes they make — even when on purpose?

Not to forget that God’s Children are flawed. We are imperfect.


Torture and Objective Morality

Is there any doubt that Torture is ever morally acceptable? Our human collective conscience shudders at torture — even when there is the difficult choice to use it on one to save many. It’s a tough subject that separates our humane opinions.
But one thing is absolutely universal: Torture can NEVER be used for punishment, nor to impose a Religion or Political conviction. Hitler comes to mind…
How can anyone rationalize the superior morality of a God that will use torture — eternal torture at that!

Of course, all this is folklore. Thank goodness.
But, we are faced with a huge amount of people that actually believe and enjoy this ersatz justice. Of course, they hope for heaven — but it’s their lack of humanity  that hurts me — how they can love a Deity that is that evil and cruel.

To summarize:
• Hell is a punishment that has no teaching value whatsoever.
• Hell forbids any attempt at redemption, let alone forgiveness.
• Because of its permanence, God can no longer be called ‘perfectly all-forgiving’.
• The issue of measure: Eternity of torture for a split-second life in God’s eyes.
• Hell is the absence of empathy of the Father to his  admittedly “imperfect” Children.
• Torture can never be the tool of a Perfect God.

One must question God’s character here. There is no doubt that the punishment far exceeds the crime.
How egotistical and vengeful this God looks to us peace-loving People all over the world, with our different cultures and persuasions.

Sadly, I know many of you are too afraid of God to question Him about these things. That’s the beauty of Christianity: you drop the word “Apostasy”, and you have guaranteed your hind on the eternal barbecue. I will eventually write on that — the demonizing of enquiry and frank questioning.

Peace!

* Addendum:
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— Enforcing 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 would be “vengeance”, because it is a final execution.
             I was just trying to be agreeable… 

 

17 thoughts on “Hell: When God Loses all Sense of Measure

  1. Vince…

    What I read — if I understand you well — is that whatever God says and does is Moral, regardless of any judgement we humans can make.

    I would note my opinion in agreeing with you that this is one of the problems with certain strains of “conservative” or “fundamentalist” Christianity – it is lacking in objective morality. It’s all dependent on what God might say and God might say anything.

    In their view, murdering babies isn’t wrong simply for its own innate transgression against injustice and the harm done. It is wrong because God says it’s wrong. And, if God says (as a literal interpretation of the Bible teaches) that God wants people to go in and kill the men, women and babies of the enemy, well then, it simply is NOT wrong to kill babies in that case. Because God said so. By this line of reasoning, there is NO behavior that is entirely wrong, because there is no telling what God might want us to do. Rape isn’t wrong because of the great innate harm it causes. It’s “wrong” because God said so. BUT, if God tells you to go in and rape some women or children, then it is NOT wrong. Indeed, in their view, it would be wrong NOT to rape the children, IF God told you to do so.

    The problem with this (aside from how crazy irrational and amoral it is) is that, in my opinion, it is not even consistent with sound Biblical understanding. The Bible teaches that God will NOT tempt us to sin, so how could God both NOT tempt us to sin AND tell people to kill babies (which is “normally” a sin in their view)? Their answer to this in my experience has been to play the God card. “Well, if God commands it, is no longer a sin…” If this were the biblical “rule,” then it would render the “God does not tempt us to sin” teaching moot, as God would be unable to tempt us to sin, because anything God tells us is not sin.

    In that line of reasoning.

    In my opinion, these problems of “hell” (as conservatives see it today) and “sin” (as conservatives consider it to be found in the Bible) get back to a bad rendering/approach to Bible study. The Bible is simply not a rulebook for us to roam through and find all the right rules. It is a book of wisdom and truth, wherein we can find teachings helpful to learning and living a-right, but not rules. Indeed, one of the major teachings found in the Bible is a teaching against blind and graceless rule-following of the sort found in the Pharisees.

    If we approach the Bible as a book of wisdom whose ultimate message is one of Grace, then we can more easily set aside these (in my opinion) bad and unbiblical/irrational understandings on topics like hell.

    One man’s opinion.

    ~Dan

  2. Hello Vince, I have wondered over to your blog and am now a follower ; )

    I have so much to say but I guess I’ll start with “Two Men, Two Outcomes” for now. Hell isn’t logical unless you also accept God’s definition of right and wrong. At the heart of your objection is the fact that a murderer could be rewarded along with someone like you (who I am assuming has never taken a life but if you have you can be forgiven). Ironically even though Christ’s message was inclusive of society’s most hopeless it always offended those who weren’t the underdog.

    Therefore, then He came with a message of no hierarchy of sins. A murderer is the same as someone that rips the tag off a mattress. He levels the playing field irrespective of your past efforts, wealth, knowledge or pedigree.

    For me it is amazing but it will always offend man.

    • As it does offend me.
      Of course, I do not accept God’s idea of right and wrong.
      Let’s be honest — leveling crimes as equal sins is not normal by any stretch. Saying it’s unfair is putting it mildly.

      I do not know if you have children, but I can guarantee you without a doubt in my mind that you would instantly change your mind if your child was raped, tortured and murdered, and that the monster would get the same justice applied to him than another who shoplifted a pack of batteries.

      How Christians can shut off their obvious cognitive dissonance to accept from God what would horrify them in the deepest fiber of their moral values is beyond me!

      Life will changes us. We mature. What we rationalize today may very well wake us up tomorrow. I’m 55. I was a zealous Christian for over 40 years… until I couldn’t find excuses for God anymore.

      The key is being consistent. If you accept the morality you laid out above, I have made my case against the horrors Christians can accept in the name of their God.

      I mean this respectfully, yet heartwarmingly.

      • Vince, I understand what your trying to say. The problem is that our cognitive dissonance is unreliable and unfair. What God intended is a transcendent set of truth that spans cultures and time. I say that it is unreliable because the same pain felt by a loss of life or famine is experienced by us humans when we are at the pinnacle of success. “Pain” comes with excessive pleasure as it does with the absence of needs. There is reason why our rice first world country has men people depressed (the poor in spirit).Moreover what it despicable to us can be fine to another culture. The other problem with moral relativism is it gives leeway to ourselves while holding other people accountable. I like it best put in a movie : “You judge yourself by your intentions and others by their actions.”. Yahweh is judging everyone by their intentions and actions. You have to love someone in your heart and therefore you don’t murder them. Hate in your heart is the same as murder. It’s a tough standard. But it is coherent with the fact that we posit a supernatural being that isn’t locked into time and space. So supernaturally He will give power (Holy Spirit) to walk in His definition of right and wrong. This is not possible my our humanism alone. That’s why Jesus said with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.(Matthew 19:26)

    • It may seem ironic my friend, that I believe in more objective moral values than you — since your reference of morality is God, and his ways are moral whether it hinges on the well being and workings of society or not.

      What I read — if I understand you well — is that whatever God says and does is Moral, regardless of any judgement we humans can make.

      Of course, I must emphatically disagree.

      I’ve had this discussion before.
      For example, if you think that the story in 2nd Kings 2:23-25 is one of perfect measure of punishment from Yahweh, you must expect others like me to question your sense of justice. Bear (no pun intended) in mind that the original translation refers to “young children”, that the crime was teasing, and that the outcome was of outrageous proportions.
      I could give many examples like this, where Yahweh uses extreme and cruel violence to justify his admittedly jealous and vengeful nature — often, ironically in retaliation for violence and cruelty He claims precisely to hate (ex. Hosea 16:13).

      What apologists fail to accept, is that by condoning such standards from God while refusing them for mankind, they void all credit to objective moral values — doing this thru double standards and rationalizing thru rhetoric that has nothing to do with the reality of pain and suffering.

      May I respectfully invite you to read Part 1 of my ongoing series on this site “Objective moral Values and God”. (I’m almost done part 2 — very tough one to articulate, but I’m getting there).
      Just an extract, a syllogism:
      • If God is indeed the creator of Objective Moral Values, it follows that those moral values are Universally Perfect.
      • If God is Perfect, he must then be the embodiment of those moral values to the ultimate Perfection.
      • Therefore, if God does not conform to his perfect Objective Moral Values, it follows that he is not Perfect — or — if God IS Perfect and does not conform to his own Objective Moral Values, then these values are not objectively Perfect.

      We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

      Do you see why Christians who rationalize all of God’s actions lose all credibility for good judgement? Do you understand why if the basic fairness and well being is ignored to promote religious intolerance, others are justified in ignoring any claims about these God(s)?
      You say our “cognitive dissonance is unreliable and unfair”, if this is the case, on what basis can you be sure to know you are trusting the right source, in your position, God? On what basis can any judgement be made? This is the snake biting his tail: if our conscience and judgement is unreliable, what makes one think that it’s reliable in judging Christianity as truth?

      I would be curious to read your comments on my Objective Morals article. I will be digging deeper… but I would assume that Part 1 already gives much to think about.

      Thank you for your kind participation.

      • Vince I have to check out your discussion on morals. But I actually balance thinking and believing. Plus God has proven himself personally to me. Christianity is coherent and loving truth. And besides my objection to moral relativism. Relativism itself is also false. If someone says relativism is true they already contradict themselves by positing an absolute statement. The statement self destructs.

      • May I respectfully point out that your belief is the product of preexisting choices of trust. For you, it may be the Bible and the conviction your personal spiritual experience is external to your physical brain — and I have no wish to question your sincerity in that matter.
        I do question God’s selective choosing on who to reveal himself to — a whole other discussion I admit.

        As for relativism, no one can escape it. This however does not negate objective moral values, as I argue in my other article.
        I am curious to know what argument you have on relativism.

        I always enjoy your input. Thank you.

    • “Relativism itself is also false. If someone says relativism is true they already contradict themselves by positing an absolute statement. The statement self destructs.”

      Late to the discussion, but for those who argue that “morality” comes from “God”, they are ironically in the same subjective boat in which they like to put moral relativists. If God dictates what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”, then instantly we see that the concept of right and wrong is relative to what God says, and therefore, it’s not objective at all; it’s merely one individual’s opinion. Furthermore, to know whether or not what God might say is “moral” is actually “right”, one would need a preexisting standard of morality to measure against Gods judgments.

  3. I rarely come across someone who has come to a proper understanding of hell without using Scripture, but you have. I commend you for thinking it out to its logical conclusions. However, the beliefs you have articulated are not Biblical; they’re traditional. Most Christians don’t have a Biblical view of hell/judgment. I’d invite you to visit http://www.helltruth.com. The Bible is clear about hell. It’s not a place; it’s an event- one that hasn’t happened yet. And when it happens, it will end. Worshipping a God that allows suffering throughout the ceaseless eternal ages is unthinkable. You sir, are absolutely correct in your assessment of those hideously false beliefs.

    • Thank you Brandon.
      I totally agree with you that the Hell I describe is folklore that has nothing to do with scripture. My concern for this article was to argue the much misunderstood version of Hell, closer to Dante’s Inferno than the Bible’s.

      It seems utterly incomprehensible to me that good people would worship a being that would be this inherently evil.

      I will go to your link with pleasure, as I’m writing at this time Part 2 of my series “Objective moral Values and God”, and the issue of Hell comes up for a bit more.

      I correct myself as I discover more precise information, and I must say that this site has been wonderful. My Christian friends are respectful of my quest, and I must admit I have stood corrected on a number of opinions I held erroneously. Truth is Reality — there are so many vantage points that offer different perspectives to what we perceive to be reality… it’s a lot of homework for all of us.

      Thank you for your comment and kind words.

      Edit: Just looked at your link. Looks fantastic — great ressource. I totally agree with what I have skimmed thru. Of course, I’m an Atheist, but I totally agree on the premises here.

  4. I have read an article about this guy who died and went to hell. This “hell” wasn’t fire but it was totally without God and he felt all alone without any essence of love. It was a “hell”. It felt like a long time even though he was dead only for a moment. Maybe “eternity” means a very long time, maybe God wanted to get that across to us so that word was used but not to be taken literally! I am not He so, only He knows!

    About that guy you mentioned from India who never learned about God……….everyone who is born has the love of God in their hearts, if they accept it then they will go to heaven, if they abandon that love, that love will abandon them once they die. Now if they have an opportunity to know /learn about Jesus, then they are more accountable because they know the full truth! People aren’t punished for stuff they were never taught!

    This is what I believe and I feel that it is right. To me, God is love.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective, Bert my good friend.

      You do have a positive outlook on Hell.

      I do agree that Hell should not be taken literally — but I wonder how we can second-guess God in this case. I know you are not second-guessing Him of course, but you do have a hopeful explanation to Hell that is nonetheless subjective. It’s not based in scripture, correct?

      I also feel compelled to ask you how the Hindu father can accept Jesus if his whole background and culture doesn’t have any reference towards Him.
      I do realize some Hindus accept Christianity, but those are only exceptions that confirm the general rule. Granted, you explained that he would not be punished.

      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 “desire” 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.

      A lot to think about…

  5. It’s strange that for some who question the faith this is one of the first doctrines to go, and for others it lingers and lingers – even when they know that it logically makes no sense.

    I’m in the latter category. I know it makes no sense and that rationally there is no such place and have even spoken with a Jewish Rabbi on the subject since leaving Christianity. But every now and then it sneaks in there. Hell, fire and brimstone preaching is what I was brought up on.

  6. To be honest, this subject is depressing to me. I don’t believe in Hell and consequently have no fear of it — but people I love and admire are actually all enthusiastic about the prospect that there IS a Hell… and I must say, it’s a sobering thought that any one of them could have a faith crisis just before dying, or even die while sinning.

    Does anyone still have enough empathy for their own kind to question this God of vengeance? Anyone?

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