Am I Afraid Of Hell?

Every so often someone asks me if I am afraid of going to hell when I die for debunking Christianity. Am I?

NO!

I am not afraid. I really am not. I do not believe there is a 3 in 1 God. I do not believe in an incarnation, nor an atonement, nor a resurrection, and I do not believe that an perfectly good God would cast me into hell. Period.

Someone may claim that less proof is demanded for a higher risk situation: "The greater the risk, the less proof is required." When a bomb threat is called in, the authorities don't need much evidence to justify evacuating the building. Here, the risk is Hell, isn't it?

The risk factor is based upon the Christian historical claims, is it not? And the Christian claim is a very large one and very hard to defend from historical evidence, as I argue. So, the amount of risk is mitigated by the meager evidence for the large claim.

Muslims claim that you will go to hell if you don't convert to Islam too, but you cannot be a Muslim and also a Christian. Both religions offer some evidence to believe. Christians think their faith has more evidence on its behalf than Islam. One billion Muslims think otherwise. According to both religions the other group is going to hell. So choose wisely. The risk is the same because a lot is at stake. Both are calling in a proverbial bomb threat. On the one hand, someone claims if you stay in a building you will die, whereas someone else claims that if you leave the building and go out into the street you will die.

What do you do at this point? You come to the best conclusion you can, and act upon it. This I have done.

I've previously dealt with this question here.

Besides, there are plenty of other alternatives after we die. When Dan Barker was a Blog member here he asked the Christian what if he was wrong?.

106 comments:

Vincent said...

I am not afraid of hell because if it exists, the way to avoid it is so unclear that no matter what I do, some large group of believers will tell me I've failed.
I no more fear hell than I fear taxes. The tax code is more confusing than the bible and nothing I can do seems to get me out of paying taxes.

Tommy said...

I am an atheist and I have zero fear of hell.

I look at it this way, if there is some supreme being watching over us, it is a rational being that would judge us based on our actions, not on what we believed. While I am not a flawless person, I like to think I am on balance a force for good in the world, and if that is not good enough for God, then God is an evil, petty and narcissistic creature that is not worthy of worship, love or respect.

Anonymous said...

For the athiest, this is as good as life gets, for the christian, this is as bad as life gets. It's all your choice and if you choose to defy God it's all you. You choose your fate and apparantely you have. For me, eternity in hell is not a place I would want to be.

Tommy said...

But anonymous, you are assuming that you really know what happens to us after we die. I have no knowledge of what happens. Therefore, this life is all I can be sure of what happens. It says a lot about the kind of person you are that you mentally divide the world between those who think like you and will be "saved" in some afterlife and those who will suffer in some terrible place for an eternity. I believe that our life here on this world is what it is and it is not some testing ground.

Anonymous said...

Then I truly am sorry for you, because that is a hard life to live. I believe that this is not a testing ground, rather a place that I CAN be saved instead of, what would make sense of your view of God, to kill us all now. We all deserve death for we have all sinned against God. But what kind of God would send is own son to die for us? This is the God I know. Only the truth can set you free, and its hard for me, knowing the truth, to try and explain it to you. Faith, believing in things that can't be seen is the best way to say it.

Anonymous said...

One more thing. Even if you don't fear hell, you fear death.

Kim said...

Anonymous,

We don't need your pity. If there should be any pity going around it should be for you for believing in such a ridiculous and insidious notion such as hell.

Hell in an invention of the human mind designed to keep the masses in line, and what a successful tool it has been. Look, it has worked on you!

Hell is the worst idea ever invented by man. It is the cause of untold human mental and psychological suffering for billions of people for over 2,000 years. People are terrified of this imaginary place, and yet no one has a crystal clear solution on how to avoid it. I know you think you do, but you don't. There are thousands of mutually exclusive solutions to the problem of hell. And if you pick the wrong one.....well the hell with you!

You tell us we need to have faith, but what if you put faith into the wrong solution, you are toast. So please spare us the tripe about faith. Lots of people have faith in things and your declaration of faith is meaningless. The next person in line who believes in hell will have a much different solution than yours. How is one to choose when the consequences are so serious? You have faith, but your faith is misguided because you will have chosen the wrong solution. Lucky for you that there is no hell, otherwise you will spend eternity there for your wrong choice.

Kim said...

Anonymous said

One more thing. Even if you don't fear hell, you fear death.

And so do most people who believe in hell.

Anonymous said...

I don't fear death, there is nothing to fear.

Kim said...

Anonymous said,

"I don't fear death, there is nothing to fear."

Good for you, I am sure everyone here is glad for you! The real test will come when you are actually contronted with the knowledge you are going to die. Let's talk then about how you feel about death, as any pronouncements you make now are meaningless.

As for me, I am concentrating on making the best life now possible for myself, my family and my fellow citizens. I dont need a man made religion to tell me how to be moral or how to be happy.

exapologist said...

All Christians who are parents should both fear and despise hell. For their children -- at least some of them -- are going there if it exists. What is worse, they'll have to praise and thank God for his wonderful grace and justice for separating them from their damned children there. I can just imagine the scene of judgement day, when they child is separated from their parent, and the parent, smiling with approval at God for the action -- much like Darth Vader smiling at the Emperor as he tries to send Luke Skywalker to his doom. Praise Jesus!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to death, in that I will meet Christ and be in heaven. However, this does not mean I commit suicide because I have a purpose here. To live is for Christ and to die is to gain.

Vincent said...

Anonymous said...
"One more thing. Even if you don't fear hell, you fear death."

Nope.
Same as taxes. I can't avoid it. Believe it or not, none of us is getting out of here alive. Why waste time being afraid of the sun coming up?
I don't want death. I will avoid death if I can, for as long as I can. I fear sharp pointy things that can cause death because I imagine death that way will hurt, and I fear pain.
But death? May as well fear being born.

marie said...

I am a very recent de-convert, so I have to admit that the idea of Hell is still present (as you all know, it is not easy to erase 22 years of indoctrination in 1 week). But in that, I am almost willing to accept it. IF God is real and christianity is true, and I am condemned for HONESTLY seeking God and concluding he doesn't exist, then I probably would not want to spend eternity with that God anyway.

And I dont understand why we DESERVE death for sinning! We did NOT ask to be born and put here in this world--so just because we happened to find ourselves here and we act in a wrong way, then we DESERVE eternal damnation? Since God is omniscient, then did he just create us straight for Hell?

i dont know

chris said...

It seems like your time would be better served working on some math equation rather than all this hypothesis. God doesn't need an apologist anymore than he is frightened by your twitty little rants. It certainly doesn't seem to be making you feel any better. Since God is a delusion just get over him yourself! Why try to force unbelief? Isn't that rather hypocritical? Shouldn't it be self evident if there is no God? Get a life!

Mark said...

Having spent a few days reading and discussing viewpoints here, I can make one conclusion with no reservation: There is not a single atheist here who should be surprised to end up in hell.

1) Those of you who deny the existence of God and his subsequent salvation have no logical grounds for staying out of the Christian God's hell.

2)Those of you who would rather stay in hell than be with a "monster" such as the Christian God will get their wish,a favorite sentiment of many atheists Ive read.

3)While denying the Christian God, you can relate to the merits of the god you all seem to wish existed, with all the tidy trappings of a deity-to-order, with absolutely no evidence of existence whatsoever. Upon death, should you NOT encounter this idealized deity, you will of course agree that it is fair that in whatever fashion, apart fom the vhristian God is where you deserve to be.

In summary- this has been a worthwhile thread John. I dont think a case for free will could be better made, and it vindicates biblical teaching about hell entirely. It couldnt be simpler, or fairer.

Your counterargument-what if Jesus wasnt God? Lots of evidence for a Christina position, NONE for the god the atheists here would prefer to worship. Millions of Islamists think their right too?Yes, but we cannot all be right-and their Mohammed died and stayed dead-my money is on Christ.

Either way, we're all going to find out sooner or later, arent we?

Yosei said...

Chris, your short rant was a lot angrier than John's. Grab a chill pill.

One Wave said...

Wow exapologist, those are some pretty strong perceptions.

I understand that hell is a historic Christian doctrine and even further back in some Jewish writings, but I don't give it much thought. I don't live in fear of hell whatsoever. I am absolutely sure that I will not be there. Even is what I believe turns out to be wrong in the end it won't matter because there won't be a hell.

I should have looked into this sooner...a few other things to do... and I will be. My children don't know much about hell either.

Is your comment about Darth Vader how you really see judgement day playing out? I would have to say that's twisted. I don't know how it will play out but I see in Genesis 6 that God was "sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in his heart." And this was after God saw that "every intent of the thoughts of his [man's] heart was only evil continually." Notice the word continually. Not only did God warn Cain that he was about to be tempted to do evil back in chapter 4, but He watched the degredation of man for a while before chosing to start over. That doesn't sound like the Emperor to me.

I understand that I am quoting from a book that you do not hold to be accurate or true, but since we are talking about the God of the Bible I figured I'd use the Bible. I believe that is one of the places in the Bible that would show God's heart.

I don't claim to understand why there is a need for hell, but I do see a reasonable need for punishment or to ostracize in some circumstances.

Just for interest sake...I was knocked unconscious in a car accident about 18 years ago. I am no longer afraid of dying in a car accident, or any other quick death, because I won't know that I'm dead until there is another reality to exist in. A painful death is a different story, like Vincent said.

exapologist said...

Hi One Wave,

Actually, I'm paraphrasing the evangelical philosopher, Thomas Talbott. The problem is that there's a dilemma. Consider some child in a Christian home, say, Suzie. Suzie is a wonderful girl who deeply loves her parents, and, being good Christians, her parents deeply lover her. There love is like the typical sort of healthy family love -- the joys and sorrows of each are inextricably tied up with the joys and sorrows of the others.

The problem is that one day, Suzie finds that she can no longer accept the Christian faith. Now by standard orthodox Christian interpretations of the relevant portions of the Bible, Suzie is going to hell, while the her parents are not. Now imagine that Christianity is true, and it is now some time after judgement day. Suzie is in hell, and her parents are in heaven.

Now suppose you are one of the parents, and Suzie is your daughter. What is your attitude toward God and Suzie? On the one hand, if you praise God for his righteous judgment against Suzie, and thus your eternal separation from her, then how can you be perfected in love, fulfilling the part of the greatest commandment to love her exactly as you love yourself? If you continue to love Suzie this way, then your joys and sorrows are deeply bound up with hers, in which case you will be in utter torment due to your separation from one another -- heaven itself would be hell for you.

On the other hand, if you despise God for eternally separating you from your daughter, then you fail to embody the other part of the greatest commandment, viz., to love God with all your being.

Therefore, either way, your separation from your daugher makes it impossible to fulfill at least one of the two halves of the greatest commandment.

Calvin said...

If my son was to go to hell than I will know that my Heavenly Father has judged fair and justly and I will be happy with my Father's Judgement. I will love Him all the more for His righteousness. We are to show common grace to everyone but there is a special grace that we show to each other as God's children and family. Just as God shows common grace to the reprobate but shows saving grace to His children. As Christians we need to praise God for His infinite Justice as well as His infinite grace. God shows His love to His children by his Justice and His grace. When you sin against a Being that is infinite in value and worth there are infinite consequences. Since Christ was the God-Man only He was able to substitute for the sins of His elect. Infinite Justice and infinite grace at the cross.

Anonymous said...

Calvin - I seriously hope you do not have a son! The callousness of your words scares me, quite frankly. You are the reason there are atheists...

florin_miu said...

Calvin, your comment really makes me think that there something evil in the Bible. Imagine you will face Jesus and you will be blamed for some people turning atheist because of your stupidity. Wouldn't that imply for you infinite consequences?

Kevin Parry said...

John Loftus wrote:
So the amount of risk is mitigated by the meager evidence for the large claim.

This is a very good point. Some Christians have likened belief in hell to the following scenario: imagine if you are sleeping in your room in a hotel, and you suddenly hear someone running through the corridors shouting that the building is on fire. It would make sense that you leave the building right away, even if you didn’t smell smoke or see any indication of the fire. The Christian would argue that we should do the same with hell.

But Loftus is right that the amount of risk that hell poses is mitigated by the meagre evidence of its existence. Rather, belief in hell can be likened to someone running through the corridors of the hotel screaming that killer tomatoes with sharp teeth are on the loose in the building, killing everyone. Would you leave your room then?

All the best
Kevin

Memoirs of an ex-Christian

Calvin said...

Florin miu,

You will turn to atheism for your stupidity and calling a Holy and righteous God evil as you have just done. His judgements are fair and just. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And I belong to Him. Now, why don't you imagine yourself facing Jesus and what this implies for your infinite consequences for trying to turn people away from Him.

Shygetz said...

Calvin, I can't speak for florin, but I don't think God is evil. I think God is a figment of your evil imagination. I will thank you for willingly exposing your feelings here, though, and I would request that you do so in your real life as well. That way, no parent will ever make the mistake of entrusting their children to your care, and intelligent people will cross the street when they see you coming.

Kim said...

Calvin,

You don't exactly inspire people here to like either God or yourself.

There quite a few Christian who post on here that while we might not agree with them, we like and respect them and would not even mind having a beer with them. Maybe you should try learning from your fellow Christians on how to be a better example for your religion. Your attitude and the way you talk only helps to reinforce the view that your God is pure evil.

marie said...

I don't understand why Christians believe that they can know God is fair and just. If his fairness is able to be seen on earth, there is little evidence for a just deity, but if his fairness is above our comprehension, then it is not fair that He would claim to be fair in front of us. Yet he does.

I tend to see these scenarios as "unfair":

I pray for a parking spot at the mall and miraculously, one appears 87 feet from the door (Praise God), meanwhile, a 9 year-old girl in Uganda endures her daily 20+ rapes as a sex slave for the rebel army. It is fair that God hears and answers my prayers, yet ignores the debilitating noises of that young girl's screams.

or it is "fair" that we are born unwillingly onto earth, given little to no shoddy argument for a real God, live our lives well, and then are sent to eternally suffer?

or is it fair that so many Christians are promised the gift of "eternal paradise", yet they work hard to live in luxury in this life as well...while many non-christians (who have no hope of eternal bliss) spend their limited days serving the poor and needy in other countries?


Maybe we can't comprehend God's "fair"...then it seems that not understanding God's "fair" might also mean not understanding God's "salvation" "judgement" or use of the word "believe."
just thoughts

Calvin said...

Kim,

I'm not here to get you to like me. You don't like me anyway. What I am here to do is to defend a Holy God. I'm just defending my Father's wrath. My God is not evil He is Holy. If going out and having a beer sets a good example for my Christian faith I think I'll pass.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

Calvin said,

"I'm not here to get you to like me. You don't like me anyway."

That is becuase you are heartless and cold. People here will not dislike Christians as a matter of course, but you earned it though your posts. You are a lousy representative for your religion. Many other Christians who come here are likable and their comments are generally more well received. Take a hint!

Calvin said...

Kim,

I'm not here to soften up the message of the Christian faith just so you will like me. I'm not heartless and cold either. It's because I believe in a Holy God that you call me such things. A man who cannot defend his family from an attacker is hardly a man.
Don't sit there and tell me you like Christians. You hate them and everything they stand for. Would it make you feel better if I just dropped the whole thing and joined your side? Maybe we could get together and sing "We are the World."

exapologist said...

Calvin,

Beyond revealing a breathtaking level of callousness, I think you missed my point. The goal wasn't to impale yourself on one of the horns of my dilemma, but rather to go between them. That is, the goal wasn't to *admit* that you can't simultaneously fulfill both parts of the greatest commandment when your child is thrown in to hell for all eternity (thus granting my point that the notions of eternal hell and fulfilling the greatest commandment are logically incompatible), but rather to show how these notions can at least coherently and plausibly hang together (thus showing that orthodox Christianity is at least logically coherent). My bet is that you won't be able to do that.

Tommy said...

I had Calvin so pegged on another thread and he only confirms my impression of him in his comments above.

And Calvin, you misinterpreted my last comments in the other thread where we had our exchange. I was not mocking you for having been a drug addict, alcoholic, inhaler, porn addict, or whatever your particular problem was. In fact, I am glad you are over whatever your destructive addiction was. And I would not even begrudge you the right to believe that your faith in Jesus Christ gave you the strength to overcome your addictions.

What I, and likely other here, object to is that people like you seem to believe that if belief in Jesus Christ changed your life for the better that it gives you some authority to tell us that we have to buy into your beliefs as well.

Well, we don't. I went through a serious personal crisis about a year and a half ago and I did not waver in my atheism at all. And you know what? The crisis abated and I got back on with my life.

Here's my take on people who claim that accepting Jesus Christ as their lord and savior for overcoming some tremendous difficulty in their lives. We live in a culture in which we know of Christian churches, Christian beliefs and so forth. Therefore, for many people going through difficult times, turning to religion is almost a default position.

It is quite common that most people require some external force to motivate themselves. How many times do we hear stories of guys who were undisciplined and without direction who joined the Army or the Marines and credited their military service with turning their lives around. Belief in a god or in Jesus Christ is a similar force. If one inculcates a belief that he or she is a sinner and is on the express train to hell for being a druggie, theif, prostitute, adulterer or whatever, and that belief in Christ and not engaging in things that the Bible says are sinful, then it can be a tremendously motivating factor. One might even get a certain "high" from the experience like some people get from going to Tony Robbins seminars.

So, adopting a belief in an external force to motivate you to make needed changes in your life is certainly a good thing. But for people like Calvin, they derive the wrong conclusion from the experience. Because his belief turned his life around, he now feels that it is his duty to hector and exhort everyone else to adopt the same belief as he does otherwise they will meet the same fate as he feared for himself.

It is interesting that no one has visions of Christ or the Virgin Mary who never heard of them in the first place. Just as you did not get people claiming, sincerely, that they were abducted by extraterrestrials and had medical experiments conducted on them until after UFO's had seeped into the popular culture through movies and books and newspaper articles about alleged sightings.

Belief is a very powerful motivating factor. But it thing believed in does not ultimately have to really exist, merely the believer's perception that it exists. And that's the real deal folks.

Kim said...

Calvin said,

"Don't sit there and tell me you like Christians. You hate them and everything they stand for."

HaHaHa, that is probably one of the funniest things you have said. How can you presume to know what I hate? Hate is a very strong and powerful emotion. I definitely don't hate you, I dislike you and I think you are quite cold and heartless. To hate takes a lot of mental and physical energy and I have a lot better things to do with my life then to spend energy on hate. Sorry Calvin, as much as you might want me to hate you, I can’t do it. BTW, I have quite a few Christian friends that I socialize with. My Christian friends are NOT heartless, cold and callous. My friends are great ambassadors for their faith and as far as I can tell they are filled with love for Jesus and their fellow beings. My friends and I certainly disagree on issues of religion, but we do not let that get in the way of a great friendship. Try for a moment to get your head around that concept.


"Would it make you feel better if I just dropped the whole thing and joined your side? Maybe we could get together and sing "We are the World.""

You really don’t get it do you. No one is asking you to join our side, as unlikely as that may be. You are not doing your God any favors here either. There are Christians out there who are much more eloquent than you and do not come off as cold and heartless. I can respect any person I disagree with they are themselves respectful of others. Just because we disagree with Christianity does not mean we hate them. But I guess in your worldview if someone is not in the faith then they must hate it. It is really Too bad for you that you think this way. What a small world you live in.

John W. Loftus said...

Calvin, if you want to continue here, please don't act like an idiot. I would be very surprised if you have any education beyond High School, with some of the things you have said. Please finish High School, take a few college classes, and then come back here. That's my requirement. This is not a place for High Schoolers. Sorry.

Calvin said...

Kim,

I'm not cold just because I believe in a Holy God. Those that go to hell deserve to be there. Like I said I don't care if you dislike me or not. I love my Father and He loves me. You don't respect me. Why? Because I dissagree with you and because I'm willing to tell you like it is. I know what you hate by reading your posts. When God casts sinners into hell I will be rejoicing in heaven just like the Bible says I will and if that makes you mad and causes you to not like me. So be it.

Tommy said...

It does not make us mad Calvin, rather it makes us sad. Because you won't end up in heaven rejoicing with God casting sinner and nonbelievers like us into hell. You will die, hopefully at a ripe old age surrounded by family and close friends, and your existence will cease to terminate. The rest of us will die one day too. That's it. End of story. So you can fantasize all you want about the afterlife, if that is really how you want to spend your time, but the truth is there will be no afterlife for you. So enjoy your twisted fantasy for as long as you can, because it will never get past the imagination stage.

Kim said...

"I'm not cold just because I believe in a Holy God"

You mean to tell us there are even more reasons why you are cold?

Calvin, nothing you have said on this blog has made me mad. Actually I find you quite amusing. You don't seem to know when to stop either. People are baiting you here and you fall for it every time looking quite foolish as a result.

exapologist said...

Calvin's attitudes are morally shameful and reprehensible -- like those of a Klansman or some other disgusting sort of bigot. Rejoicing in the pain of others -- even one's own children?!?!? That's not just deplorable, that's depraved. When a religion has morally absurd consequences, it's time to re-think one's religious beliefs. This is what we say to Branch Davidians, Jim Jones cultists, and Muslim extremists. It's no different here.

The NT talks about a time when the hearts of people will grow cold, to the point that even the natural bonds of affection between parent and child erode. How is Calvin's attitudes toward his/her children any different?

Heather said...

**Why? Because I dissagree with you and because I'm willing to tell you like it is. I know what you hate by reading your posts.**

Actually, Calvin, I think they're not respecting you because of viewpoints such as "Those sent to Hell deserve to be there" and you'll be watching all this while drinking a coke. It's a very similiar viewpoint to WWII, in that those who were killed in the camps deserved to be there. If someone espouses that the Jews deserved to die in that manner, then that person is afforded very little respect. Same with telling everyone they'll get sent to hell because they deserve to be there.

But does you holding that viewpoint make me hate you? Hardly. Why would I waste my time and energy hating that or hating you? Do you really think we'd let your actions or words have that much power over our lives?

Vincent said...

Mark said...
"Millions of Islamists think their right too?Yes, but we cannot all be right-and their Mohammed died and stayed dead"

Well, sure, Mohammed, but not the 12th Imam. He's coming back.
Before you make broad statements about the dogma of another religion, perhaps you should actually learn what their dogma is.

Mark said...

Vince

I dont recall Mohammed ever claiming to be God, or rising from the dead.

As for the 12th Imam...well, my understanding is in mid 900 ad a child from Mohammeds line went missing and is expected to return soon...I think Ahmadinejihad has sepnt about 20 million on the well he's going to come up from to establish the caliphate.It all sounds a bit different than the claims of Jesus to be God in my mind. My money's on Christianity here.

Mark said...

Heather

Im a little confused here.

You balk at the Christian God for sending anyone to Hell because they deserve it, yet want no part of heaven with the christian God! Lay off Calvin, he isnt sending you to hell, youve essentially asked for it yourself, and God's the one who made it, not Calvin.

Ive read many times..."If the christian God you worship exists, I dont respect him and Ill gladly go to hell" So whats the fuss? why blame Calvin when nobody is throwing you inot hell-youre asking for it on your own accord.

Calvin said...

Heather,

You don't seem to understand that people in hell will continue to sin and mock God by calling Him sick and twisted and continue adding time to their sentence. They are God haters who don't want to have anything to do with Him and never will. I will be happy when God throws the evil into hell.

exapologist said...

"Yeah! Thanks Jesus for throwing my demon-trash daughter into the bowels of hell for all eternity! Golly jeepers, you're the best!"

Anonymous said...

You guys don't believe in heaven or hell or any of that, I understand that. But, why do you care whether or not other people do or not? Why devote so much time to "debunking christianity?"

Kim said...

Anonymous,

Instead of rehasing all the reasons why people post here, why don't you read this post:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-is-my-motivation-in-debunking.html

Tommy said...

Anonymous, no, why do you care? You see, this is not a Christian blog. You are the one choosing to visit here and tell us that we are going to hell for what we believe in or do not believe in.

Heather said...

Mark,

When you say that something is done to someone else because that someone else deserves it, you are drifting into dangerous territory. Hitler felt the Jews deserved what they got. You and Calvin both say I will deserve what I get, simply because I don't subscribe to your viewpoint. When you start seeing most of humanity as something who deserves eternal torture, it is very, very easy to do horrible things to those people, because you see those people as 'other'. Islamic fanatacism is one such example. Same as Calvin having no problem if God happens to send his son to hell, and being happy about it. If that was said in any other context, would you not find the viewpoint obscene?

Calvin,

I know many people who don't hold your viewpoint who also don't hate God -- in fact, they hold a great love for God. I don't hate God at all. Like I said, why would I waste time and energy hating something? Hate is self-destructive. Ask anyone who has had to struggle through the process of forgiving someone for doing something horrible.

Yosei said...

"My money's on Christianity here."

Is this a rehash of Pascal's wager, except with Islam and Christianity?

One Wave said...

exapologist,

I think your example is too simplistic. God is not a math equation. Personally I beleive that we are in our infancy in understanding the universe. Mathematical equations and pure logic are only part of a bigger picture, in my opinion. Symbols standing for concepts cannot allow us to see 3-D so to speak...or should that be 30-D or more?

I don't believe that God is contained in the Bible, it's part of His revelation but complete enough to glean some of His actions in history and His character.

With that said, the logical example you gave leaves out the irrationality of love.

If on the day of judgement we are in a position of having to watch who is a "sheep" or a "goat", I can only imagine that it would be very sad. I would be sad to see anyone go to hell and right now I don't know enough about the doctrine of hell or whether I agree with it completely, that will take some time. I believe God would be grieving as He did in Genesis 6 when He sent the flood. (I believe in a worldwide flood, not the Mediterranean flood hypothesis.)

Judgement day is not equal to heaven from what I understand. In heaven God promises to wipe away every tear and that there will be no more sorrow. I will not rejoice, God will not rejoice and I would imagine that there would be many agonizing hearts on that day. When it's over, I believe God will take away the suffering in our hearts. I don't know how.

I wouldn't need to chose because God understands that it is heartbreaking. I don't have to be happy in God's judgement but I would not despise Him. I would trust that His judgement is fair and be sad at the same time.

We do it with doctors all the time. I personally stay away from the practice of medicne as much as possible but if one of my children got cancer, I would be helpless beyond changing thier diet and making them comfortable. I would be required to put some trust in the doctors who know more than I do. If they chose a treatment that didn't work and maybe another one would have, am I going to sue the doctor and despise Him?

That is not an equal illustration but my point is; if I am willing to trust a human being who knows more than I do to judge the proper care for my sick child, is it logical for me to become bitter or resentful toward that person?

I do love God with all of the being that I can and I work at loving my neighbor as myself but that doesn't mean I check my feelings and my brain at the gates or that I can make a choice for others.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Human beings are made in the image of God. Our capacity to love,to adore, to worship, and even to dislike or "hate," comes from the fact that we are made to have the freedom and ability to express that image in how we relate to others. But it is self evident that man has the ability to love in different ways and it is proper for him to do so. A man who cannot defend his wife and family from an attacker because he can only "love" the attacker is hardly a man. We do not respect such a person. There is a time to love and a time to hate just as there is a time for war and a time for peace. An inability to discriminate in such matters (as it seems in your case "hate is self-destructive") is a sign of sickness in you. We confine in prisons those who act warlike in times of peace. We despise and shun those who are cowards in times of war. We have no respect for those who cannot make sound and propper decisions in theese matters. The love God has for His own people is different than the love He shows to the creation in general or to rebel sinners outside of His grace in particular. The positive choice of a people in Christ Jesus is according to the kind intention of His will. The punishment of deserving sinners glorifies Him in the demonstration of His holiness and righteousness.

exapologist said...

Hi OneWave,

I don't think you've directly faced my point, viz., how do you consistently fulfill both halves of the greatest commandment in the "beloved but damned child" case?

However, I'd like to just focus on what I take to be your main point for the moment, viz., that God is a lot smarter/wiser than we are -- indeed, omniscient! -- in which case it makes sense to trust him (given, I suppose, that we have decent evidence of his existence and goodness) even in cases where what he's doing, commending, or commanding prima facie conflicts with our moral intuitions. I think your analogy with the doctor nicely illustrates your point.

My worry is that this leads straight into a worrisome form of moral skepticism if there are no limits to our use of this point. Even in the doctor case, there are limits to our trust, if the doctor does too many things that go against our better judgement.

Similarly, to say that there is *no* amount of evidence that would make us second-guess the goodness of God, on the grounds that he is omniscient and we are not, leaves us without the ability to assess the moral claims of *any* religion that ascribes omniscience to the Deity, let alone the deity of one's own religion. So, for example, a certain sort of Muslim, who is also a terrorist, could commit mass killings on the grounds that God commands or otherwise commnends it, and you would have no *moral* argument against such an action (whether you might have *other* sorts of arguments against that religion is not to the point here). For they would deploy the same sort of defense as you do here: "Look, if my religion is true, then Allah is omniscient and perfectly good. And, pretty clearly, we're not; indeed, our intellect are as nothing in comparison to Allah's. Therefore, if Allah has a morally sufficient reason to command me to commit mass killings, we shouldn't be surprised to be unable to discern what it is. Therefore, any *moral* criticism you may make of my actions are unjustified."

Surely something has gone wrong here, and I think it's clear that it's this unqualified use of the "God is omniscient, we're ignorant -- so who are we to question God's goodness?" defense. Thus, to avoid the absurdity of this troublesome sort of moral skepticism, we must grant that there are *limits* to how much God's actions, commands, or commendations can conflict with our moral intuitions.

But haven't those limits been crossed? God commands genocide over and over in the OT, even to the point of commanding the killing of little children and babies. He even commanded the Israelites to "keep the virgins alive for themselves", which amounts to forceable rape (would you willingly sleep with a person who just killed your people group, including your mom, dad, brothers, and married sisters?). On what principled basis, then, can we avoid saying that the limits have been crossed in the case of the God of Judaism and Christianity?

Sincerely,

EA

One Wave said...

Can you be more specific about the greatest commandment and where I am not adressing it adequately?

I'm not sure what your expectation of that commandment is.

The rest I'll get to after the weekend, those are huge issues.

Best Regards,
OW

Calvin said...

Heather,

The Bible also says very clearly that God's judgements and the existence of hell are good things, not bad, bringing glory to God; moreover, it says that in heaven no one will be embarrassed by the existence of hell, but instead will give praise and thanks to God because of it.

Heather said...

Calvin,

**An inability to discriminate in such matters (as it seems in your case "hate is self-destructive") is a sign of sickness in you. **

Actually, I would have a lot of theologians backing me up here. As well as personal experience. I've seen people too wrapped up in hatred that it really destroys their life. Hating something means that something has power over you, and it has power to affect your life.

There is a difference between defending one's self and hating the attacker. There is a difference between putting someone in jail and hating that person that one puts in jail. It seems like that you're equating my use of 'love' with weakness, or 'letting people do whatever they want.' If you do hate people, then I pity you. I really do. Because you're surrending so much control to that person.

**The Bible also says very clearly that God's judgements and the existence of hell are good things, not bad, bringing glory to God; moreover, it says that in heaven no one will be embarrassed by the existence of hell, but instead will give praise and thanks to God because of it.** You do realize that Jesus used to seperate words for hell, and neither meant the same location, correct? And that one use -- Gehenna -- was highly metaphorical? ANd, if I'm not mistaken, you're pulling much of your reasoning for the last paragraph from Revelations, which is in itself a highly allegorical book.

Calvin, I've got to be honest here. As you profess to be a Christian, shouldn't be you then be the best example one can offer in behavior? But in reading your comments, I have yet to really detect any sense of compassion. You seem very willing to condemn us, inform us that we'll be tortured in hell, and talk too much about hate. How are any of us supposed to be attracted to that? People flocked to Jesus because he listened to them and understood them -- rather than condmening them, he corrected their behavior and told them how to fix their lives. Instead, you seem to see everyone as gleefully inviting as much sin as possible into their lifes. Those who live a very 'sin-filled' life tend to be broken in a lot of ways, and trapped. I don't see Jesus in your words at all; rather, you're coming across as elitist. And if you say that everyone here is elitist, that's fine. But *you* are the one claiming to be Christian, and our primary technique of identifying Christians is the love s/he shows. Your behavior should shame us into being better people.

Calvin said...

I haven't condemned anyone here to hell. I was just talking about how hell shows God's righteous judgement against sinners and how it glorifies Him. Jesus talked more about hell than He did Heaven. When God throws deserving sinners into hell it will be a day of rejoicing. If it pushes you away because I believe hell brings Glory to God so be it. I wasn't trying to save anyone I was just giving my thoughts on hell. When I refer to hate I'm talking about making a distinction in how we love. We don't love everybody in the same way. Just like God doesn't love everybody in the same way. As Romans 9 says Jaccob I loved Esau I hated.

Heather said...

** Jesus talked more about hell than He did Heaven. ** That's a misleading statement and untrue, after one combines all the words Jesus uses in reference to God's kingdom, and in terms of the positive message Jesus promotes. Between 'Kingdom of Heaven,' 'Kingdom of God' 'life,' 'My Father's House,' 'Eternal life' 'my joy,' and 'Blessed are ...' they highly outweigh the uses of 'hell.'

And I ask again -- have you looked at the two words Jesus uses for hell? Sheol/Hades and Gehenna. Each was used in a particular context, and most usages were metaphorical, especially when one considers what 'Gehenna' modifies. In the Old Testament, 'Sheol' was used and in terms of referring to grave/pit/underworld. The concept of eternal punishment after death was a rather late development for the Old Testament.

** We don't love everybody in the same way.** Biblically, you are supposed to. It's one of the reasons why Christianity thrived among women, slaves and those on the lower end of the social scale -- because it showed no favoritism.

**Just like God doesn't love everybody in the same way. As Romans 9 says Jaccob I loved Esau I hated.** The same Esau whom Jacob said, "Just seeing your face has been like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me."

Calvin said...

God is glorified by His Justice and His Grace. Not just His grace.
Deut. 28:63: And as the Lord took delight in doing good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. Moses is warning of coming judgement on repentent Israel. We are faced with the inescapable Biblical fact that in some sense God doesn't delight in the death of the wicked, and in some sense He does. When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon them, he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Lord miserable. God is not defeated in the triumphs of His righteous judgement. They wil unwittingly provide an occation for God to rejoice in the demonstration of His Justice and His power and the infinite worth of His Glory.

Calvin said...

So you love your kids the same way you love your husband. And you love your friends in the same way you love your kids.

We are suppose to love God more than we love our parents.

The Love of God for plants and animals differs from His love for human beings. God "loves" nonhuman creatures in the sense of providing them food and life itself. In the human realm, God's love in manifest in many ways. Psalm 11:5 tells us that he hates those who do violence. If God's love is to have any reality, it must, as it is in his creature man, be joined with hatred of anything that harms the objects of his love. The reality of his freedom to love in different ways and with different kinds of love is so obviously taught in scripture that it cannot be denied. Are you seriously going to argue that God loved the Egyptian foot soldier crushed under the falling waters of the red sea in the same way he loved moses, who passed safely through the sea? That he loved the pagan Cannanite priest wiped out by the Israelites as they moved into the promised land to the same degree he loved Joshua? Indeed, did not Christ have a special love for His apostles, and even then, a special and unique love for John? And is Christ love for the church utterly unique in character? Will someone actually suggest that Christ loves the UN in the same way and extent that he loves the church? God loved Israel with an undeserved love that he didn't show to other people.
When Paul says we are to do good to all men, ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, we understand perfectly what he is saying. The love a mother has for her children is rightly different in nature and extent than the love she has for someone elses children. There is a special nature to the love she has for the fruit of her body. Surely a man is not to love anyone elses wife the way he loves his own. He is to discriminate in the kind of love he shows to his wife. This is right and proper. God shows common grace to all but special grace to His children.

Heather said...

Calvin,

Out of curiosity, are you going to answer my question about looking at the two words Jesus uses for hell? Especially given how often you mention that God is glorified by hell.

Calvin said...

Matt. 25:41 - Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels

Rev. 20:14 - Then death and hades were thrown in the lake of fire. And if anyones name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire.

Matt. 8:12 - While the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. Where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matt. 13:41 - The Son of man will send His angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and lawbreakers, and throw them into the firery furnace. In that place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Rev. 19 - Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgements are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servents.

The terms used to describe hell are symbolic but it is a real place of God's judgement. The purpose of the Bibles teaching about hell is to make us turn with gratitude to the grace of Christ that saves us from it. For this reason God's warning to us is merciful. There is a sense in which God doesn't delight in the death of the wicked but there is also a sense where he delights in his glorious justice. Without hell there is no need for salvation. Without salvation there is no need for sacrifice. And without sacrifice there is no need for a savior. In the sermon on the mount alone Matt. 5-7, Christ repeatedly
warned his followers of the comming judgement. Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom, was a trash dump outside Jerusalem where fires burned constantly. It was notorious as the location of human sacrifices by fire during the reins of Ahaz and Manasseh. It was a symbol of God's fearful judgement. According to scripture hell is unending (Jude 13; Rev. 20:10)

Tommy said...

Heather, someone like Calvin and his dogmatism is an example of what Sam Harris meant by a "conversation stopper." The Calvins of the world cannot be reasoned with and it is futile to try.

It is easy for a person of faith to say they love "God" more than their own parents, spouse, or children because that person will never actually put to the test where a choice will have to be made. But it is really pathetic to have such a mindset and to think that there is some supreme being ruling over us that demands that we love it more than our own families.

It's funny how some of these same radical Christians complain about the "guvmint" taking away their rights, but their model for the ideal deity is a Stalinist dictator that not only wants you to love it in deed, but in thought as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what God you're talking about but my God laid down his life for me that I might live.

Calvin said...

I aim to pursue joy in God so that the infinitely valuble objective reality of the universe, God, will get all the Glory possible from my life. I want to know the One, and the only One, who is in Himself all I have ever longed for in all my desires to be happy. We are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of Holy joy - a crucified and risen Savior who pardons all our sins, provides all our righteousness, and becomes in His own fellowship our greatest pleasure. We will love Him more than our possessions, more than our family and more than our own life. This is what it means to be converted to Christ. This alone is the way of life everlasting. It's like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then the shock of terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever. And then, faith - the confidence that Christ has made a way for me, a sinner, to live in His glorious fellowship forever, the confidence that if I come to God through Christ, He will give me the desire of my heart to share in His holiness and behold His glory.

One Wave said...

Exapologist,
I'm finally answering this part,

"I don't think you've directly faced my point, viz., how do you consistently fulfill both halves of the greatest commandment in the "beloved but damned child" case?"

with another analogy, this is the best I can do to communicate the understanding that I have.

I think we would agree that we live in a culture governed by some laws. The laws are in place to give uniform standards of behavior. Likening this to God's "laws" is a little off, in my opinion, because of this truth according to the Bible: Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they shall be My people." This is referenced in Hebrews 10:16 and this truth is found woven throughout the Bible. When God made man there were no laws, according to the Bible, men were in relationship not a legal contract. It wasn't until people consistently failed to live with hearts of love and fellowship toward God and each other that laws were given and even then they missed the point of the laws.

Anyway, here goes...

In this scenario the culture this family live in is governed by laws and they have corporal punishment.

There is a daughter who has been raised in a home with basic values of being kind to others, telling the truth, being respectful of other people's things and honoring her parents in return for the love and care they have given her.

As this daughter enters her adult years she choses to let go of those values and she kills her sister during an argument. She is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced.

The parents are, of course, very sad. They love thier daughter but they will not allow her to live in their house after her sentence is served because they are concerned for the well being of the rest of the children in the house.

The daughter becomes more involved in criminal activities like stealing and vandalism. One day she makes some friends, they hang out often and they come up with their own set of values. One day they commit a crime similar to the Tate/Manson tragedy.

She is found to be guilty on solid evidence and sentenced to death. (Whether or not the death penalty is a just punishment is another story.) Her parents are very sad, they grieve deeply in thier hearts and they wish they could save her and start over. They try every course of legal action but the evidence is solid and she is not remorseful so there is nothing they can do.

The day comes for her to be executed. Her parents go to be a support to her but she doesn't seem to care, her heart is hardened.

What do the parents do at this point? Can they cry that the legal system is wrong and their daughter should be set free? Maybe they can try to get her out of the room and take off but there would be no chance of surviving that situation. Didn't they love her as they love themselves by raising her in a loving home with healthy values and then coming to bat for her when she was in trouble? How could they have loved her more?

This is the best I can do with limited illustrations. In my case I would use a sister to sister relationship becuase the way I view my children is that they are my brothers and sisters in God's family and even though I will always be an advisor and friend I will not always have the role of parent in the protecting and authoritative sense.

I can't really include the love of God in there because I can't imagine anyone loving thier government as an institution like I would love God as a being, but I do think the parents would agree that justice was being served even if the justice was more harsh than they would accept if it were their judgment call.

Any holes?

Anonymous said...

What would happen if you die tomorrow. What was the purpose of your life? There is more to this life than me, myself, and I as the center of the world. Talk about ignorant, if you don't believe in God, than you are in the center of the universe. I don't understand how people can deny a free gift of life, free from sin and from death. God loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for us. The only thing we have to do is accept this and we get eternal life and freedom from sin. And please don't make the excuse about God making signs. It says in the bible that in the end times, men would rather hide under rocks then come to God, even after they saw all the signs in the skys. People hated Jesus face to face so people will always hate Christians.

Beautiful Feet said...

From my standpoint of being a believer, I feel those who are ex-believers here are more than worth my being maligned and/or impugned if it meant they might reconsider approaching God outside their interpretation of scripture. That is my hope - that those who are ex-believers will abandon the idol image of a distant, castigating deity who demands strict adherance to insensitive standards. It's my hope that ex-believers will abandon the notion of a deity that demands obedience to prideful authority. I am grateful I was an atheist so that I could be healed and set free from those past misunderstandings of God. Sin is suffering - it requires no punishment from God - He desires to save us. So our sin doesn't cause God to stop loving us, but sin blinds us and repels us from Him. Sin makes it hard for us to see, understand and love God in return. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great post beautiful feet!

One Wave said...

I agree, that is an excellent post Beautiful Feet.

I hope this doesn't detract from what you posted.

Back to Exapologist...
I thought of a hole. I can imagine you asking about good people. People who, for all intensive purposes, live good lives.

My husband would have fallen into that category and might still, I am not absolutely sure of where he is spiritually. Anyway, he is the best of men.

One of my favorite preachers, I am not going to put his name here or quote him because I am paraphrasing, said we need to be careful and remember it is not our place to judge the eternal state of anyone. What comes out of a person on a consistent basis, the fruit of their life - as you know, is all we can see. I'm too tired to look up references right now, but you know that there are several places in the Bible where the teaching is that God looks at the heart. I don't know how God works that but I trust His loving and just heart to be fair in His judgements.

I imagine, and that's all it is - my imagination - that when everything is laid bare and the judgments are made it will be an obvious justice.

What did you believe as a Christian?

Calvin said...

It would be vanity if we humans found our deepest joy by looking in the mirror. We would be vain and conceited and smug and selfish if we were like God in this regard. Only God should be self-relient. All the rest should be God-reliant. God is the most glorious of all Beings. Not to love Him and delight in Him is a great loss to us and it insults Him. But the same is true of God. How shall God insult what is infinitely beautiful and glorious? How shall God not commit idolatry? There is only one possible answer: God must love and delight in His own beauty and perfection above all things. For us to do this in front of the mirror is vanity; for God to do it in front of His Son is the essence of righteousness. The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on what is supremely valuble. The opposite of righteousness is to set our highest affections on things of little or no worth, with all the unjust actions that follow. Thus, the righteousness of God is the infinite zeal and joy and pleasure that He has in what is supremely valuble, namely His own perfection and worth. And if He were ever to go contrary to this eternal passion for His own perfections He would be unrighteouss, He would be an Idoloter. The Father's infinite pleasure in His own perfections is the fountain of our everlasting joy. The fact that the pleasure of God in His Son is pleasure in Himself is not vanity. It is the Gospel. There is only one fountain of everlasting joy - the overflowing gladness of God in God.

Shygetz said...

It would be vanity if we humans found our deepest joy by looking in the mirror.

See, Calvin, I think it is the height of vanity to claim to know the mind and will of a 3O being, as you clearly and often do. If I were still a Christian, I would say that you had made God in your own image, and were commiting idolatry in presuming to know God's judgement on matters beyond your realm.

However, since I am not a Christian, I will only accuse you of making God in your own image. And the result is not pretty.

Calvin said...

Shygetz,

There are ways we are suppose to be like God and there are ways we are not. This is one of those ways. Satan was condemned for wanting to be like God in the sense I described above. I don't know God's secret or sovereign will. I don't know who His children are. Also, I'm not to carry out His wrath against others. Vengeance is mine says the Lord. I will repay. Leave room for God's wrath. I place my trust in God to do that. All I know is that the Bible tells me that God will one day vendicate His children.

Shygetz said...

I don't know God's secret or sovereign will.

And yet you know that:

There is only one possible answer: God must love and delight in His own beauty and perfection above all things.

and:

The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on what is supremely valuble.

and:

The opposite of righteousness is to set our highest affections on things of little or no worth, with all the unjust actions that follow.

and:

And if He were ever to go contrary to this eternal passion for His own perfections He would be unrighteouss, He would be an Idoloter.

and:

The Father's infinite pleasure in His own perfections is the fountain of our everlasting joy.

In all of these things, you claim things God cannot do without justification outside of your own narrow view of theology. In doing so, YOU debase God and claim secret knowledge of His will.

But I assure you, in the event that we are both wrong, God does exist, and he is very displeased with you Calvin for presuming upon his nature, I promise you that I will not take delight in your eternal torture. It will make me sad and disgusted.

Calvin said...

The Bible tells us what God's main goal and purpose is. God's main goal and purpose is to glorify himself by enjoing himself forever. When I was refering to God's secret will I was talking about for instance what will happen in my life tomorrow. I don't know. God might decide to allow me to get hit by a bus and bring me home to be with him. God isn't displeased with me for believing in the nature that he has revealed to me in scripture and nature about himself. I will be rejoicing in heaven at God's righteous justice.

Calvin said...

The Bible clearly teaches that God is Holy. I really don't see why God is displeased at me for believing that. The Bible also teaches that there is a hell where deserving sinners will go. I don't see why God is displeased at me for believing that either. The Bible clearly teaches that God is a God of mercy, grace, truth, and justice. I see no reason why God would be displeased at me for believing that. If there is no hell and I am wrong then I don't have anything to worry about. I'll go to heaven regardless or no heaven.

Heather said...

Calvin,

**main goal and purpose is to glorify himself by enjoing himself forever.** You realize that if you used that sentence to describe a person, that person would come across as incredibly narcissistic.

**If there is no hell and I am wrong then I don't have anything to worry about. I'll go to heaven regardless or no heaven.** You really walk away from the Bible with the impression that it's only about who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell? Because this is right up there with, "If everyone gets to heaven regardless, then what's the point."

Calvin said...

Heather,

It would be vanity for humans to find their deepest joy by looking in the mirror. We would be conceited and selfish if we were like God in this regard. Only God should be self-reliant. We should be God reliant. God is the most glorious and valuble Being in the universe. God is infinitely beautiful and glorious. Therefore He must love Himself above all things. For Him not to do so would be a sin. The essence of righteousness is to place supreme value on that which is supremely valuble. The righteousness of God is the infinite joy and pleasure He has in His own perfections. For us to do this in front of the mirror is vanity. For God to do it in front of His Son is the essence of righteousness. The fountain of everlasting joy is the overflow of the gladness of God in God. For He has loved His Son from all eternity with the Spirit of love flowing between them. From this fountain flows all Grace in the universe.

Calvin said...

Be most satisfied in God because God is most satisfied in God.

Shygetz said...

The Bible tells us what God's main goal and purpose is. God's main goal and purpose is to glorify himself by enjoing himself forever.

Book and verse, please. I don't recall God ever stating that his goal is to glorify and enjoy himself forever, but maybe my Bible is defective.

Therefore He must love Himself above all things. For Him not to do so would be a sin.

And there you are again, sitting in judgement of God and declaring what would and would not be a sin for him. Book and verse, please, or admit your guilt of idolatry.

The fountain of everlasting joy is the overflow of the gladness of God in God.

Again, book and verse, or confession.

The Bible clearly teaches that God is a God of mercy, grace, truth, and justice.

I'll let this one slide as it is a matter of opinion, but many think that this is not so clear...

If there is no hell and I am wrong then I don't have anything to worry about. I'll go to heaven regardless or no heaven.

But you should worry about what if there is a Hell, but you're opinion about God is wrong. Then you go to Hell for idolatry and sitting in judgement of God. Good luck with that...

Heather said...

**Therefore He must love Himself above all things. For Him not to do so would be a sin. ** No matter how you describe it, it comes across as narcissistic, Calvin. Which you agree with, if the statement was applied to a person. And loving one's self above all things is selfish, if seen in a person. If someone's love and attention and glory is all turned inwards, would you really want to be around that person? Would you find that person attractive? Because this is the same type of attitude that leads to a lack of compassion and love and even justice.

Part of what attracted people to Jesus is that he didn't put himself first, but put his love for the world ahead of himself. Or that God put the love of his son ahead of everything else. And that is not the God you are describing.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Jesus put His Father first. The connection between God's delight in His name and His delight in me is when I take refuge in His name. When I take refuge in His name, He exults over me with loud singing. Seeking refuge in the name of God honors God, and when He is honored He rejoices. The Father bruised the Son so that sinners could take refuge in His name, and that the nations might glorify God for His mercy. If you humble yourself and seek the glory of God and if you hide your name in the name of God then your heavenly Father who loves His name above all things will reward you and exult over you with loud singing. The death of Jesus honored the Father and so vindicated the Glory of His name that God forgives all who stake their lives on the worth of Jesus.
Your sins are forgiven FOR THE SAKE OF HIS NAME. (1 John 2:12). Christ's name, and therefore God's name and God's honor is at stake whenever we fly to Jesus for refuge and bank on HIS WORTH instead of our own. The distortion of Divine love into self admiration is subtle. We claim to be praising God because of His love for us. But if His love for us is at bottom making much of us, who is really being praised? We are willing to be God centered as long as God is man centered. We are willing to boast in the cross as long as the cross is a witness to our worth. Who then is our pride and joy? All God's gifts are loving only to the degree that they lead us to God Himself. That is what God's love is: His commitment to do everything necessary (the death of His Son) to enthrall us with what is most deeply satisfying - Himself. No one goes to the grand canyon to enhance His self-esteem. They go for joy yes. But the soul health of happiness doesn't come from beholding a great self. It comes from beholding a Great Splendor. God gives the grace and He gets the glory. FOR YOUR NAMES SAKE, O LORD, PARDON MY GUILT, FOR IT IS GREAT (Psalms 25:11). HELP US O GOD OF OUR SALVATION FOR THE GLORY OF YOUR NAME, DELIVER US, AND FORGIVE OUR SINS, FOR YOUR NAMES SAKE (PSALMS 79:9). The glory of God's name is the goal and ground of everything we do and pray. God's love for His Son is the love that He has for Himself. That love spills over to the Saints. As God contemplates the image of His own glory in the person of His Son, He is infinitely happy. God is supremely and eternaly happy in the fellowship of the Trinity. God is unique as an all glorious, totally self-sufficient being. He must be for Himself if He is to be for us. If God should turn away from Himself as the Source of infinite joy, He would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of His own Glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He persues the praises of His name in the hearts of His people. The one thing that God could give us to prove that He is absolutely loving is Himself. The climax of His happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of the saints. The persuit of praise from us and our persuit of pleasure in Him are the same pursuit. This is the Gospel. He loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be known in loving and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings. If He is truly for us He must be for Himself.

Shygetz said...

Wow, Calvin, you persist in telling an all-powerful God what he MUST and MUST NOT do. You claim to know the will and nature of God outside of a clear reading of his Word. You try to use your limited human intellect to draw shaky inferences about the nature of God, and then trumpet you secret knowledge as fact.

Blasphemer. Heretic. Idolater.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Love is the overflow of the joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others. It is a satisfying experience of God's grace and then a doubling satisfying experience of sharing that grace with another person.

Shygetz said...

Calvin said:

Love is the overflow of the joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others.

Are you saying that atheists cannot love, as they have no joy in God?

Rich said...

OK, calvin I got to know, Is your computer on a pulpit with fist sized keys you pound when you comment here?

Calvin said...

hahahahaha

You're funny rich. That was a good one.

Calvin said...

Heather,

People don't see God's passion for His Glory as an act of love. One reason is that we have absorbed the world's definition of love. It says you are loved when you are made much of. The problem with this is when you apply it to God's love for us it distorts reality. God's love for us is not mainly His making much of us, but His giving us His grace to enjoy making much of Him forever. God's love for us keeps God at the center. God's love for us exalts His value and our satisfaction in it. God's love labors and suffers to break our bondage to the idol of self and focus our affections on the treasure of God. Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see and savor the Glory of God in Christ forever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God. Father I desire that they...be with me...to see my Glory. John 17
Divine love labors and suffers to enthrall us with what is eternally satisfying: God in Christ. Let us be like Christ and labor and suffer to lead as many as we can into this all satisfying love.

Anonymous said...

We love because God loved us first.

Aaron Kinney said...

Im almost afraid of hell as I am of heaven :P

Just kidding. I dont fear shit that doesnt exist. Or at least, I dont do that anymore now that Im an adult and stopped worrying about monsters under the bed.

Aaron Kinney said...

Calvin said:

I'm not cold just because I believe in a Holy God. Those that go to hell deserve to be there. Like I said I don't care if you dislike me or not. I love my Father and He loves me. You don't respect me. Why? Because I dissagree with you and because I'm willing to tell you like it is. I know what you hate by reading your posts. When God casts sinners into hell I will be rejoicing in heaven just like the Bible says I will and if that makes you mad and causes you to not like me. So be it.

This, is just disgusting. This is some of the most anti-human, anti-life crap Ive read from a Christian cultist in quite some time.

You may not make Kim mad Calvin, but you make me mad. Rather, your devaluing of humanity in favor of an imaginary space friend makes me mad. You are a total slave suffering from stockholm syndrome. Its horrendous.

Yet, I find much joy in the realization that your kind is going the way of the dodo. In addition, I also am encouraged by the knowledge that, when you write horrible trash such as this, you turn off others from your cult. Have you noticed that Chrisitanity is losing popularity in the Western world, notably in America?

Well, when Christians like you spout out things like this, it only increases the hemhorrage of faith that is bleeding the church dry, emptying pews, and closing down seminary training classes.

Why is it that there are 1000 xtian-turned-atheist blogs for every 1 atheist-turned-theist blog?

It is because of people like you, who do more damage to your own cult than outside atheists could ever do.

Have fun living your delusion and looking forward to the day you die. I hope you never change. Youre doing great work for atheism :P

Anonymous said...

I find the real hate from you Aaron, how you're so much "wiser" of a person than a christian. I would point out a passage from scripture but just about everytime I do it gets deleted. If atheists have nothing to fear, then quit deleting my posts.

Calvin said...

Revelation 19: Halleluja! Salvation and Glory and power belong to our God, for His judgements are true and just; for He has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of His servents.

Luke 18:7-8: Shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily? God's future justice for the opponents of His people is pictured as relief. Future justice for God's enemies is pictured as future grace for God's people.
Rev. 18: Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgement for you against her. The final destruction of the unrepentent will not be experienced as a misery for God's people. The saints will experience the vindication of Truth as a great grace. The saints do not rejoice in having their revenge glutted, but in seeing justice executed and in seeing the love and tenderness of God towards them. The future grace of God's justice is what helps us overcome revenge and bitterness towards others. I will repay says the Lord. The promise that frees us from an unforgiving, vengeful, spirit. If a Christian offends us we look to the cross. All wrongs done to us by Christians were avenged at the cross. All sin will be avenged either at the cross or in hell. What this means is that we have no right to harbor bitterness towards believers or unbelievers. The judicial predicament is broken.

John W. Loftus said...

Calvin you may believe this but it is completely stupid and callous to us here. You've made your point. Let it go. But before you do, listen to yourself. But let it go. No more from you about such a stupid and callous position.

Calvin said...

I don't think my positon is stupid or callous at all. What is stupid and callous is for you to call a Holy God evil, stupid, and callous. Before you continue, listen to yourself and how stupid and callous your position is. Let it go John.

Calvin said...

He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice
How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all the world will see
How great, How great is our God

Speedwell said...

I don't know what God you're talking about but my God laid down his life for me that I might live.

So did quite a few of your country's soldiers and policemen. Do you also worship them?

I am so sick of hearing that someone giving up their life is some sort of devastating, earthshattering last word in heroism. Many people do it every day. If I got killed tomorrow pushing a kid out of the way of an oncoming car, I might rate a two inch column in the newspaper. His children and his children's children from that day to all eternity would not worship me as a divine being just because I laid down my life to save their forebear without whom they would never have been born. Big fricking deal.

Speedwell said...

Oh, and Calvin, you dolt, for someone suppoosedly as devotedly concerned with his Perfect Image as your God is, He was certainly an incompetent nitwit when it came to the writing and editing of that huge self-marketing campaign manual you call the Bible, as well as a lousy, irresponsible manager when it came to the people who He entrusted with getting the word out. Any Hollywood agent could beat God in the image-selling business without breathing hard.

Adrian Miu said...

The chances that you are wrong are very slim. You have 50-50 chance of being a god or not being god(s) at all. When you split the 50% chance of being a god into all the religions of the world (Flying Spagetti Monster included). Christianity remains with around 5% chances of being right. Than you have 34.000 denominations and you get 1,5 to a million chance of betting on the right christian denomination. And to place this kind bet for one of these you have to give up your brain and your balls. But than again there are pretty good signals that if a God exists she din't give you a brain to gamble.

zilch said...

I don't know but I been told
Can't get to Heaven in a jello mold

maybeitsnonsense said...

i am glad to have stumbled upon this blog. it is refreshing- and even a bit scary. scary because i am on the path to deconversion, it seems.
i am afraid of hell- but i do not want that fear to control my thinking, to control my journey.
i do not want a fear of hell to stop me from questioning and facing the answers.

zilch said...

Hi maybeitsnonsense! Good luck to you, whatever you decide. It seems to me that you shouldn't let fear of Hell control your thinking, no matter whether you're an atheist or a believer. The idea of eternal torment does, understandably, have a way of commandeering the imagination: that's why it's such a successful meme.

Doesn't make it true, though- it is a natural consequence of the knowledge of our own death, and its usefulness in enforcing rules that help build societies. Divine carrots and sticks have evolved over and over.

Btw- I'd love to meet you all. If any of you are ever in Vienna, or the SF Bay Area, drop me a line, and the beer (or coffee, or whatever) is on me. That goes for you too, Calvin.

tiny tim said...

Wow, look at all those Bible references talking about hell. If the conversation revolves around a supposed Bible doctrine, then were are the references, for and against????

Hell as a place of eternal torment doesn't exist because the BIBLE doesn't suggest it exists (at least not in the sense of eternal suffering). Simple stuff.

Anonymous said...

This is to the poster who posted the following, and to any of you other unbelievers.

Im almost afraid of hell as I am of heaven :P

Just kidding. I dont fear shit that doesnt exist. Or at least, I dont do that anymore now that Im an adult and stopped worrying about monsters under the bed.,


So you don't fear things 'that doesnt exist'. Do you fear the fact that in your own belief, you will cease to exist? To all of you unbelieving scholars who think of themselves as educated (and I'm not denying that, I've read some of your posts), please describe for me what will happen to you when you die. Does your consciousness simply fizzle out? Does your capacity for thinking and feeling just go away into nothing? John Loftus, will you only live on through your books and this bloated blog? Just the thought of that would scare me. If that is what you believe and you are not scared, then you are more of a man than I.

Infinite Glory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris said...

Hell is Gods holy wrath to the people that were either idolaters,unbelievers,adulterers,liars or etc. this is to show no matter what you will glorify God and show he is a just God either in your brief lifetime or in Hell forever..You pick ,personally i know that im living for Christ because all the things of this world is passing away YOU CANT TAKE ANYTHING WHEN YOU GO..if you show compassion for your sins by getting on your knees and crying out to him he will reveal himself i promise you that.