As a follow up to my post “Face it: you don’t actually believe in God,” I should point out Libby Anne’s post on the subject, which talks about what it was like for her as an evangelical to hear about how Andrea Yates murdered her children so they wouldn’t go to Hell.

You should read the whole thing, but a few quotes are worth highlighting:

I knew I found what Yates had done morally reprehensible, but, well, I couldn’t find a way to criticize her reasoning for doing what she did. My theology wouldn’t let me, because, well, her theology was my theology followed to its logical conclusion…

As evangelical and fundamentalist America jumped all over itself to condemn Yates’ actions, I wavered on an instant of doubt and then pushed it away…

When I had these thoughts as a teen, I didn’t know how to handle them, so I pushed them away rather than face their full implications…

My answer to this question is that evangelicals and fundamentalists who claim to believe in both a literal hell and the age of accountability must (a) not truly believe in one or both of those doctrines  (b) have never followed these doctrines to their logical conclusion, or (c) have pushed these thoughts under the rug as I did for so long…

  • MNb

    Let’s face it – according to her own christian belief system she was a heroin, saving her children from hell by going there herself. Saying this had nothing to do with religion is too easy; so is blaming religion for this.

    • Chris Hallquist

      You mean heroine. I hate to call out a trivial spelling mistake like this, but I find this funny in light of the “zombie apocalypse” thread.

  • Ryan

    I’m not sure that this is the “logical conclusion”. I mean, yes, it makes sense, but there are other moral rules often considered to be in place. Heaven is a nice thing, but it’s not the moral goal, the moral goal is a better relationship with God, and murdering children arguably thwarts that in some sense or another. At least because murder is sin and a violation of God’s ideal order.

    I’m not saying that Christianity is *sane* but I feel like they have a legitimate excuse on how to weasel out of this problem, even though I am more willing to say that they have problems in terms of dying in general, like your last post suggested. So, Christians aren’t supposed to leap to their deaths, but they don’t really have good reasons to think that dying(their deaths or those of another) are really a bad thing, and this is an absurdity. Even though arguably they have strong reasons to hate murder under their belief system.(Christianity isn’t consequentialist…. although God somehow is, which is another problem)

    • Patrick

      Yeah, that’s the apologetic. It has the interesting conclusion of rendering the murderer the only actual victim (in the sense of “a person who is ultimately worse off as a result of his actions), as his was the only relationship with God that was disordered by his actions.

  • Steven Carr

    William Lane Craig has spoken on this very subject

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