It’s possible for God to be real. It’s possible for hell to be real. But there’s only one way for both to be real. And that’s if we define God as either so powerless that he cannot prevent people from going to hell, or so cruel that he chooses not to prevent people from going to hell.
Uncomplicated, irrefutable logic dictates that if hell is real, then God must be either a sorry weakling or a cruel sadist. There is no third option there. [For more on this, see Christian and Atheist Argue About Hell (In a Starbucks). Atheist Wins.]
But of course that reasoning cannot work for hell-believing Christians. They need for God to be all-loving and all-powerful—and for hell to be real.
So they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. For how does one argue a case that reason itself mocks?
The way hell-believing Christians inevitably attempt to reconcile the inherent conflict between an all-loving God and the reality of hell is by first acknowledging that those dynamically opposed opposites cannot, in fact, be reconciled—and then asserting that that’s exactly how it should be.
“Of course we can’t make sense of such a thing,” they say. “Who are we to understand the ways of God? Yes, to our tiny minds it seems contrary that an all-loving, all-powerful God would allow people to suffer for eternity in hell. But that’s because we’re not God. We must trust that what seems wrong or confusing to us is somehow made right by God.”
To which I call bullshit.
You don’t get to claim that humans are made in the very image of God, and at the same time claim that God’s morality is completely different from human morality. Wrong is wrong, in heaven, on earth, and everywhere else.
To sentence to hell ninety-five percent of all people who ever lived for no other reason than that they died without being a Christian is absolutely and unequivocally wrong. It was wrong yesterday, it’s wrong today, it will be wrong throughout all eternity.
If it’s not wrong, then love has no meaning. Righteousness has no meaning. Justice has no meaning. Then no words, concepts or truths can have any meaning at all, since to God they must all mean something radically different from what they mean to us.
What pure, puerile nonsense. And how dangerous it is, to not just insist upon but teach and finally institutionalize the lie that God’s understanding of right and wrong is obviously and manifestly diametrically opposed to our own. Down that path lies the “biblical” justification for any and every evil. Always has. Always will.
Show me a Christianity that insists upon hell being real, and I’ll show you a Christianity that’s been terribly perverted by forces having nothing to do with God’s will, and everything to do with man’s.