Image by “Zerig” [Pixabay / public domain]
I’m not interested in gloating over anyone who goes to hell (this is what a recent atheist thread claimed many Christians were doing; taunting atheists). I’ve devoted my life (as a Catholic apologist) to help prevent people from going there; so that they will want to, and will be able to go to heaven. I understand that many people (especially atheists and other non-Christians) detest hell. So do I. I don’t want anyone to go there.
Any “Christian” who does is barely a Christian at all. I would immediately question his or her status, if they exhibit such a heartless, cruel attitude. God doesn’t want anyone to go there, either. This is what a lot of folks don’t seem to get. He desires for all to be saved, but He won’t violate our free will. That was the whole point of Jesus dying for us, so we don’t have to go to hell.
God is like a Governor who gives a pardon to a prisoner who has a life sentence. All the prisoner has to do is accept it and walk out a free man. Atheists who complain about hell and hold it against God are like a prisoner who is pardoned and refuses to accept the pardon, then blames the Governor for their remaining in prison (!). Does that make any sense? Not from where we Christians sit . . .
If someone claims that “Christianity” teaches that God is predestining people to hell, that is not the view of the vast majority of Christians (Catholic Orthodox, Arminian Protestants, which are most of ’em).
It only is true regarding Calvinists, and even then it breaks down to infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism. The first term means that God predestines the damned after the fall of man, rather than before (which is supra). Most Calvinists today are infras, but I have argued that Calvin himself was a supra.
But if that is a reason to reject Christianity, it shouldn’t be. It’s only a reason to reject Calvinism, and in this instance, I agree in detesting the doctrine, because it makes God like a demon and the author of evil.
I’ve never believed in predestination to hell ever.
Almost all Christians believe in hell, of course, but they do not all delight in people going there, gloating over the thought of people being tormented and frying.
A lot of people don’t like the concept of hell.
I don’t see why either a Governor or his messenger ought to be despised because a prisoner turned down his pardon. That makes no sense to me.
It’s a place no one need go to. God has offered a way out. Folks don’t wanna take it. Then they blame Him because they spurn His grace or reject Him altogether.
Once having rejected Him, they blame Christians for continuing to believe the doctrine that we believe God revealed in His revelation.
I don’t see it as unethical at all. If God exists, we were made for Him, and find our ultimate fulfillment in union with Him in heaven.
If God grants us free will, there has to be such a thing as an alternate to being with Him in heaven. And that option is hell. It’s terrible to be separated from God. It was never meant to be that way.
So God offers a way, by His free grace, to avoid hell.
The objection seems to me to be based on this notion that God “sends” people there, as if this was a despicable arbitrary act of an utter tyrant and hateful entity.
The actual truth of the matter is that God allows us free will, even if it means that we choose to reject Him.
But I don’t see that God (within a Christian schema) can be blamed for the horrors of eternal hellfire, since He offers everyone the way to avoid it.
But what happens is that people don’t want to take the offer; don’t want to serve God (which requires difficult changes of behavior), and delude themselves into thinking that hell will be a great big party, with all the best musicians, thinkers, and “cool people” there.
They’ll be anything but “cool” there (in every sense).