May 24, 2011

Beware of Christian Hell

hell fire
In my experience, most Christians who want to persuade you to believe in their god or other aspects of their religious dogma will eventually mention hell. Some of the fundamentalist Christians will go there immediately in an effort to frighten you into sharing their beliefs. They regard the fear of hell as a powerful motivator. Other Christians may take some time to get there and may even seem somewhat reluctant to do so. It is almost as if they recognize how it sounds. But eventually, most do seem to get there.

One of these days if I find myself feeling sufficiently bored, I'll have to indulge the Christian a bit and allow this absurd argument to play out a bit longer than I usually do.

I imagine it going something like this:
Christian: You talk about wanting to be rational, but it seems far more rational to do everything one can to avoid hell.

Me: So maybe I should believe in your god in order to avoid hell?

Christian: Yes, but also because you want to go to heaven.

Me: If I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying that I should believe in - not just believe in but also worship - a god who would torture me forever simply for doubting that he/she/it exists.

Christian: No. You should believe in god because he loves you and sent his only son to die for your sins...

Me: And if I do not believe in your god, this god will torture me for all eternity in hell. If such a god existed, surely it would be my enemy.
Okay, that's enough of that. The point is simple: why on earth would I possibly want to worship something that has so little compassion for me that it would torment me forever just for questioning its existence? I wouldn't.

Christian morality appears to be based on fear and guilt. This is hardly a satisfactory basis for an ethical system, at least not one I'm inclined to advocate.