I’ve talked to Christians several times about how their religion paints me as an evil person. This has, at times, provoked very strongly worded responses from me. Sometimes those responses include heated insults regarding their Bible, their Church or the one they call “God.” And almost invariably, Christians respond by saying that I need to be polite — completely ignoring the fact that they just said that my ass deserves to go to hell.
I remind them that saying I deserve to go to hell, no matter how you do it, is obviously more rude than anything I could possibly muster in response.
They usually respond in a couple ways. One is to say that the version of hell I believe in isn’t necessarily the one that exists. They’ll say that people have several different versions of hell. But the thing is — first of all, all those versions of hell are of a bad place that I supposedly deserve to go to — that’s really rude and insulting. And second, according to a 2013 survey:
…56% of Americans surveyed believe in the devil, 53% believe in hell and 43% believe in hell as “a place of suffering and punishment where people go after they die,” according to a recent poll of 1,218 Americans conducted over Memorial Day Weekend.
Harris Interactive conducted another poll in 2013, and found that 58% of Americans believe in hell — thus, giving a similar result. Furthermore, the largest demographic of Christians in the United States is not liberal Christians, but the Evangelical Protestants, who also have the most tenacious faith, according to the most recent Pew Forum Poll (other versions are leaving Christianity in droves, already). So if you’re going to criticize Christianity, they are the ones to criticize. In addition — often the person who brings up the fact that there are other versions of hell seems to personally believe that some of the worse versions are more likely, and are probably where atheists are going to go. Hell is a very rude concept, no matter how you slice it.The other is to say that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (or some version of Romans 3:23) — so it’s not personal that I may deserve God’s wrath. ALL of us do, including them, but God gives grace.
The problem with that is it makes the problem worse. Not only am I a terrible person — all of the humanity that I love is supposedly terrible and deserving of hell, too? That’s somehow more polite? I don’t get it. It seems rude. First of all — how dare they have the nerve to say that the beautiful world I live in is worth no more than eternal torture in hellfire.
And second — to say that this view has some respectability, that it deserves politeness and deference, is not just an insult to me. Because it’s indicating that the belief that they deserve eternity in hell is worthy of respect, it’s also extremely disrespectful to them, because it’s giving creedence to the erroneous and deeply offensive belief that they deserve eternity in torment.
As rude as you may think it is for me to say your religion is crap, it would be even ruder to to me and you to nod and say it’s a good thing to give dignity to the thought that, without God, we deserve eternity in torment.
Seriously. What worse insult to human dignity is there than to say that humanity deserves eternity in torment?
Saying your religion is crap is disrespecting what you believe. Respecting a religion that says you and I deserve eternity in torment is disrespecting who you are, all the way down to the core.
Seems clear to me. And that’s why disrespecting Christianity, for me, is absolutely essential to respecting the awesome fellow colleague of humanity you are.
In other words…I think you have dignity as a fellow human being, and any made-up God who says otherwise or thinks you OR me or anyone else, for that matter, is beneath Him can go fuck himself — or could, if He actually even existed.
Thanks for reading.