Face it: you don’t actually believe in God

I’ve been meaning to do a post on a number of the awful things Christians have said about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but I think I’ll write about just one of them. This image has been all over the web, but I got this particular version of it from JT Eberhard:

To be clear, this guy isn’t representative of Christianity as a whole. Indeed he’s in the extreme minority. Most Christians probably find his statement utterly repulsive.

And yet, all Christians of a fairly orthodox sort believe in Heaven, which is supposed to be way better than life on earth. There’s some controversy on who gets into heaven but the consensus seems to be that God is fairly lenient about letting small children in. So probably most Christians would agree that the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting went to Heaven. At the very least, they got to go there early, and on some accounts they they dodged an adulthood during which their eternal souls would have been in great danger.

Though there are many examples of this, this may be the clearest evidence I’ve seen yet that most religious believers don’t really believe what their religion teaches. In particular, “they’re in heaven now” is supposed to be a lie that everyone tells each other to feel a little less bad about people dying, but you’re definitely not supposed to believe it more than 25% of the way. Believing it more than 25% of the way will make most believers immediately conclude you’re crazy or worse.

Not that believers are conscious of this. As Luke Muehlhauser once said looking back on his years as an evangelical Christian, “It sure felt like I really believed that stuff… But something’s not quite right with that.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    There’s some controversy on who gets into heaven but the consensus seems to be that God is fairly lenient about letting small children in.

    Even the Holy Roman Catholic Church has called into question its centuries-long teachings about “limbo” for children killed before baptism. Whether this is driven by theology or marketing, I will not address.

    • Darwinian Disciple

      Is there any proof that Renard is actually a Christians and not an atheist?

      I have caught local atheists posting as Christians on message boards.

      However, if you are going to blame all Christians for the actions of some I am going to blame all atheists for the actions of the ones who have hurt my family.

      Fair enough?

      • Patrick

        How about the fact that, vile though Renard may be, his words accurately reflect Christian doctrine?
        Its the way we know that you guys don’t actually believe. Your doctrine is wretched and hate filled, but most of you are kinda ok. If you believed in your religions in the same sense that you collectively believe in gravity, you’d be far more worthless.

      • Steven Carr

        Fair enough.
        That guy wasn’t a real Christian, and what he posted wasn’t true.

        So I guess that means those children must be in Hell, because it is just an atheist hoax that they are in Heaven.

        Which is it? Are they in Heaven (as an atheist pretending to be a Christian posted) or are they in Hell (as a True Christian would claim)?

  • James Thompson

    I felt the same way as Luke when I left the “bubble”

  • Yvain

    So do you think that rationalists who claim to believe in Many Worlds are doing something wrong when they get upset that their child’s measure was decreased by a small amount?

    It seems to me terribly obvious that people aren’t very good at letting their philosophical beliefs impact their real life, no matter what those beliefs may be. That’s why I have so much respect for people like Luke who start believing in singularitarianism and then *act like* they believe in singularitarianism instead of doing exactly what they were doing before while using the word “singularity” a few times in conversation. But Lukes are only a tiny percent of the population.

    • Ray

      Isn’t it enough to be sad you’ll never see the child again? That’s completely compatible with MWI

      • Yvain

        And with Heaven, if you replace “never” with “not for another thirty years or so, by which point he will have grown up and evolved into an unrecognizable spiritual being”.

        • Mark

          Are very elderly people less sad when their grandchildren die?

  • Dave Warnock

    I wonder if John Rennard and Tom Thompson are getting their kids the same wonderful Christmas gift this year. What a twisted theology

  • Steven Carr

    That was a pretty naive thing to tweet.

    What is needed is the view of a more Sophisticated Theologian….

    Say, an Oxford Professor of Religion.

    http://nd.edu/~jspeaks/courses/mcgill/201/swinburne.pdf

    ‘A particular natural evil, such as physical pain, gives to the
    sufferer a choice — whether to endure it with patience, or bemoan his lot.’

    We can only hope and pray that the children gunned down at least learned not to bemoan their lot as their life ebbed away.

    • http://delphipsmith.livejournal.com Delphi Psmith

      ‘A particular natural evil, such as physical pain, gives to the
      sufferer a choice — whether to endure it with patience, or bemoan his lot.’

      We can only hope and pray that the children gunned down at least learned not to bemoan their lot as their life ebbed away.

      I haven’t read enough of your comments to know, but I really, really, really hope you’re being sarcastic here…

  • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com J. Quinton

    “To be clear, this guy isn’t representative of Christianity as a whole. Indeed he’s in the extreme minority. Most Christians probably find his statement utterly repulsive.”

    The post has 45 likes…

  • Mark

    This may come out as a bit outrageous, but if Christians really really believed in what they proclaim to believe they would think what happened was in the overall analysis a good thing.

    Most of the victims would have been under the age of accountability, therefore they go straight to heaven. Now if the victims had actually lived to adulthood, there would have been every chance that some would have eschewed Christianity and ended up in hell after dying.

    So for most of the victims they end up with something infinitely good, heaven, whereas there would have been a very real risk of ending up some place infinitely bad, ie hell. So logically speaking, Christians should rejoice over these sorts of tragedies – afterall William Lane Craig makes a similar sort of point when trying to justify the slaughter of the Canaanite children.

  • kraut

    “Andrea Yates explained that, based on these doctrines, she murdered her five small children because she was afraid that if she let them grow past the age of accountability, they might not choose Jesus and might therefore spend eternity in torment. ”

    from your friendly neighbour http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/12/literal-hell-age-of-accountability-what.html

    that is what REAL Christians think. As for the rest who find those deeds abhorrent – you are right, they really do not believe in the literal representation of xianity as propagated in the gospels et.al.

    They are cherry picking as any decent human being would who is trying to reconcile a believe with few redeeming values (for whatever reason they hold onto that belief) with the crass reality of living.

  • Mark

    William Lane Craig on the fate of children killed:

    Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

    So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

    So based on his own words, Craig should really celebrate events like Sandy Hook. The shooter actually does the ultimate act of altruism by sacrificing his own chance of salvation and going to an eternal hell, in order to ensure heaven for the children he kills.

    • http://delphipsmith.livejournal.com Delphi Psmith

      Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

      I dunno, if you’re the mechanism by which a human is sent to heaven, shouldn’t you feel really good about yourself? I mean, assuming you believe in heaven and all that…

  • Pingback: A Catholic response to the “why don’t you consider dead kids lucky?” question

  • Steven

    Where did you find this, and who are these guys? Is it real?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X