Hell is repugnant, good thing it’s ridiculous
Lil Jesus drawed you a picture
Hell, the Christian concept of unbearable torture for all time beginning after death for anyone who doesn’t make the grade of a particular god or gods is inherently repugnant to atheists and other good heathens and to many Christians as well. If Christians had no problems with the idea of hell, groups like Focus on the Family wouldn’t have to post articles with messages like this:
It’s refreshing that people would wonder about that.
Well Focus on the Family is ready to assure you that hell is most certainly real by citing some Christian heroes:
“Hell is not an easy belief to accept. Even a seasoned Christian like C.S. Lewis said of it, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.”
Support of reason eh? Well how about that. Well how about another Christian hero, cited nearly as often as CS Lewis:
“What surprises some who object to the doctrine of hell is the fact that Jesus had a lot to say in support of the belief. In fact, scholars have determined that he said more about hell than about heaven. Many other verses could be cited,2 but this excerpt from Matthew 25:31-43 (NIV) offers a representative example of Christ speaking about eternal hell”
You can read the quote from Matthew at the Focus on the Family page or in most American hotel rooms where you’ll find a copy of the book for your convenience.
Focus on the Family goes on to say that Jesus, who you’ll remember is his own father, wasn’t going on about hell to be cruel but rather to coerce, excuse me, guide people to follow him and so escape this horrible fate…which he and his dad-self supposedly created for them.
But even whole lifetimes of indoctrination and intimidation can’t destroy the humanity of many who find the whole idea an insult to their intelligence and to their dignity. There are groups of Christians who’ve gotten rid of the concept altogether or at least almost.
Annihilationists have been around throughout most of Christian history, they think that the wicked will be destroyed rather than tortured forever.
There is also Universalism, the doctrine that all souls will ultimately be saved and brought back to god.
Good ole time religionists think that annihilationism and universalism will significantly increase one’s chances of going to hell for all time.
The whole “avoiding hell” thing is pretty tricky, and not just for infidels and universalists. Some think you can avoid hell just by believing in Jesus or accepting him into your heart, after shrinking him down. But not so fast sister, there are thousands of Christian sects and that doesn’t count Islam, Judaism, or Jedi. Many of these groups are supremely confident that everyone in all the wrong buildings at the wrong times of the week are destined to roast eternally. There are millions of different Abrahammer gods, and many of them are itching to go all egg farts and flamage on heathens and the wrong Christians. So good luck with Pascal’s wager there.
Of course there’s no real world evidence for life after death, whether hellish, heavenly, or new car scent. Outside of garish books and the hysterics of preachers eternal torture and eternal boredom of the dead don’t exist.
Hell is a fairy tale used to frighten people and unfortunately it often works. It’s hard to say how many decent people have been haunted by the idea that they and those they loved were to be tortured forever after they died. To say that hell stories are in any sense moral, decent, or reasonable is to insult morality, decency, and reason.
Those who threaten trusting people with horror stories are not being a friend to anyone.
Greg Lammers is the American Atheists Missouri State Director. He works with freethought groups and individuals in the state and the region to promote secular values and godlessness. He lives in Columbia Missouri with his wife Katie and their young son Henry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at https://twitter.com/#!/GregLammers