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Author Topic:   Why Would a Loving God Create Hell?
Rand Al'Thor
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 196 (65517)
11-10-2003 2:17 AM


Why would a god that created you and loves you send you into eternal fire just for not believing in him? Why is god so threatened by my disbelief that he would force me to experience eternal pain and suffering without any chance of redemption? Only a vindictive and tyrannical god would do such things.
So, what about freewill? Christian’s say that god gave us freewill to believe and do whatever we want. Yet if we don't follow the exact path god set for us we go to hell. How is this freewill? If anything it is the opposite of freewill. So unless god is very confused I don’t see how he can be both loving and caring and still allow for hell to exist.
Or am I missing something here?

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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 209 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 2 of 196 (65724)
11-10-2003 9:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rand Al'Thor
11-10-2003 2:17 AM


As Eddie Izzard said in his routine:

"So my choice is 'or death'?"

------------------
Rrhain
WWJD? JWRTFM!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rand Al'Thor, posted 11-10-2003 2:17 AM Rand Al'Thor has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6831
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 3 of 196 (65732)
11-10-2003 10:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rand Al'Thor
11-10-2003 2:17 AM


quote:
Why would a god that created you and loves you send you into eternal fire just for not believing in him?

I've always liked this reversal of "Pascal's wager" that I first read in The Mind's I by Hofstadter and Dennett:

If God is indeed a good and just god, then he couldn't send me into eternal damnation just because I don't believe in him.

If God is not a good and just god, then I have no assurance that he will keep his end of the bargain even if I do believe in him.

So there is no reason for me to worry about the consequences if I don't believe in him.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rand Al'Thor, posted 11-10-2003 2:17 AM Rand Al'Thor has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by zipzip, posted 11-11-2003 1:59 PM Chiroptera has responded

  
zipzip
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 196 (65845)
11-11-2003 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Chiroptera
11-10-2003 10:14 PM


"If God is indeed a good and just god, then he couldn't send me into eternal damnation just because I don't believe in him."

This assumes that you are not currently in a state of eternal damnation. In other words, are you being sent someplace new or simply refusing (through disbelief) to move from where you are already? The Christian idea of the fallen man presupposes that man has in fact already (willfully) left communion with God through sin --forgiveness/reconciliation is the path that God has shown us to return to him. It is difficult to accept a gift or instruction from someone you refuse to believe exists.

"If God is not a good and just god, then I have no assurance that he will keep his end of the bargain even if I do believe in him."

This supposes a definition of good and just that supercedes God -- that is, some "higher law" that exists outside of all creation and above God. In which case God is actually not God in the Christian sense, apart from whom there is nothing. This line of reasoning is therefore meaningless.

"So there is no reason for me to worry about the consequences if I don't believe in him."

This doesn't follow.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Chiroptera, posted 11-10-2003 10:14 PM Chiroptera has responded

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 196 (65869)
11-11-2003 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by zipzip
11-11-2003 1:59 PM


This supposes a definition of good and just that supercedes God -- that is, some "higher law" that exists outside of all creation and above God.

Yes, that's implied by the idea of a moral God. You do believe god is moral, right? No moral entity puts themselves at the apex of their moral laws. Only an immoral entity is not subject to their own morality.

You can't define God as good and then define good as anything God does. That's circular. If god is good, it's precisely because he follows a moral code of goodness that's above himself.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by zipzip, posted 11-11-2003 1:59 PM zipzip has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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MrHambre
Member (Idle past 449 days)
Posts: 1494
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 6 of 196 (65874)
11-11-2003 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by zipzip
11-11-2003 1:59 PM


More Judgmental Language from a Darwinist
quote:
Chiroptera: "If God is not a good and just god, then I have no assurance that he will keep his end of the bargain even if I do believe in him."

zipzip: This supposes a definition of good and just that supercedes God -- that is, some "higher law" that exists outside of all creation and above God. In which case God is actually not God in the Christian sense, apart from whom there is nothing. This line of reasoning is therefore meaningless.


I'm not sure why an informed believer would consider this meaningless. Maybe I'm giving you too much credit.

It depends on how you define 'good.' Is anything God commands good, regardless of whether we could consider it good independent of God's command? Or would God not command anything that were not good in an objective sense?

I'd say the latter is the only meaningful definition. A just God would only command something that were objectively good. An informed believer would agree, since otherwise anything could be considered 'the Will of God' no matter how reprehensible. That makes it easier to explain why I'm not a believer: there is 'good' even if there is no God.

------------------
America is like watching a symphony conducted by the tuba player. -Dow Mossman, The Stones of Summer


This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6831
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 7 of 196 (65895)
11-11-2003 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by zipzip
11-11-2003 1:59 PM


quote:
This assumes that you are not currently in a state of eternal damnation.

A moral or just god would have not have anything to do with "states of eternal damnation". "Just God" and "eternal damnation" are contradictory ideas. Unless you are going to claim that God is not omnipotent, that there are laws that even she is subject to and cannot avoid.

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grace2u
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 196 (65898)
11-11-2003 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by crashfrog
11-11-2003 3:15 PM


quote:
##################
You can't define God as good and then define good as anything God does. That's circular. If god is good, it's precisely because he follows a moral code of goodness that's above himself.
##################

This is not a circular argument since a good God is one of the presuppositions of the Christian view of God. This assumption of a good God is evidenced as well as pre-supposed. This assumption is made in the same way an atheist pre-supposes the laws of logic, or science are valid even thought they have never been proven appart from using a curcular argument. (using logic to prove the laws of logic are true).

The very fact that one would ask how that can be just, provides proof of Christianity. Given that it presupposes Christianity since it implies that there is some type of injustice possible in the world. "How can a loving God do this or that?" In an atheistic view of the world the most haneous crime imaginable would still not be wrong since there is no such thing as a universal right or wrong. Evil/right/wrong do not make sense in a world apart from Christ, who is the standard of goodness. He is that by which we attempt to compare everything else to. Again, presupposed as well as evidenced.

[This message has been edited by grace2u, 11-11-2003]


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Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Rei, posted 11-11-2003 6:37 PM grace2u has responded
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Rei
Member (Idle past 5349 days)
Posts: 1546
From: Iowa City, IA
Joined: 09-03-2003


Message 9 of 196 (65899)
11-11-2003 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by grace2u
11-11-2003 6:32 PM


quote:
Evil/right/wrong do not make sense in a world apart from Christ, who is the standard of goodness.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. That clears up what those nice guys in the Phalange militia were telling me. Now if you'll excuse me, being a godless atheist, I need to go cheat the poor and eat a few babies.

------------------
"Illuminant light,
illuminate me."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by grace2u, posted 11-11-2003 6:32 PM grace2u has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by grace2u, posted 11-11-2003 11:44 PM Rei has responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6831
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 10 of 196 (65901)
11-11-2003 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by grace2u
11-11-2003 6:32 PM


So many things wrong here....
quote:
The very fact that one would ask how that can be just, provides proof of Christianity.

What is the proof? Please complete the following syllogism:
premise: One would ask how that can be just.

(put proof here)

conclusion: Christianity is true.

quote:
Given that it presupposes Christianity since it implies that there is some type of injustice possible in the world.

First, "that" is not yet a given until you prove it. Second, being able to ask a question does not mean that the words used in it have any meaning or existence. Third, the existence of injustice does not presuppose Christianity.

quote:
In an atheistic view of the world the most haneous crime imaginable would still not be wrong since there is no such thing as a universal right or wrong.

I am an atheist with (obviously) an atheistic view of the world. I would never claim that the most heinous crime imaginable will not be wrong.

quote:
Evil/right/wrong do not make sense in a world apart from Christ, who is the standard of goodness.

Many cultures have a sense of right and wrong without being Christian.

quote:
Again, presupposed as well as evidenced.

Indeed, presupposed, but with no evidence.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by grace2u, posted 11-11-2003 6:32 PM grace2u has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by grace2u, posted 11-12-2003 12:48 AM Chiroptera has responded

  
grace2u
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 196 (65949)
11-11-2003 11:44 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Rei
11-11-2003 6:37 PM


####
That clears up what those nice guys in the Phalange militia were telling me.
####

In every philosophical system; Christian, atheist, muslim, agnostic, etc. there have been many evil and rotten people. In the same belief systems there have been many great and good people. This is irrelevent since my argument is NOT Christian are good people, therefore Christ is the standard of goodness. In fact some of the nicest people I know are agnostic or atheist. Each group has its own set of irrational,emotional,illogical, biased followers . Therefore the behavior of some has no revelance to the validity of the system in question.

#######
Now if you'll excuse me, being a godless atheist, I need to go cheat the poor and eat a few babies.
#########

Again, the very fact that you have brought up the concept that cheating the poor is wrong, demonstrates that there is a universal standard of right and wrong. I am not saying that Christians do not cheat the poor or eat babies. Likewise I am not saying that atheists do. I am simply saying that in the atheistic world, it doesn't make sense to have evil or good since there is no standard to measure these concepts by. THis is a perfect demonstration that these concepts exist. My point is that you can not account for them unless you borrow from the theistic interpretation, therby pre-supposing my world view. In a truly atheistic world,these concepts do not make sense and therfore atheism can not account for the realities of the world in which we live. Since God either exists or He does not, and the world can not make sense without God, God exists. Again one of many arguments for the existance of God.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Rei, posted 11-11-2003 6:37 PM Rei has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Rrhain, posted 11-12-2003 12:08 AM grace2u has responded
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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 209 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 12 of 196 (65952)
11-12-2003 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by grace2u
11-11-2003 11:44 PM


grace2u responds to Rei:

quote:
Again, the very fact that you have brought up the concept that cheating the poor is wrong, demonstrates that there is a universal standard of right and wrong.

That doesn't mean it was ordained by god.

Time to bring out the Monopoly example again.

Monopoly is a game created by humans for humans to play. The rules were created by humans and are administered by humans. They are completely arbitrary and can even change from one household to another. For example, a common variant is that all the money that is collected by Chance and Community Chest cards is placed under Free Parking and whoever lands there gets whatever money is there at the time.

You are confusing the concept of "universally accepted" with "cosmically ordained."

quote:
I am simply saying that in the atheistic world, it doesn't make sense to have evil or good since there is no standard to measure these concepts by.

Sure there is: Our own experiences, thoughts, desires, and philosophies are the standards. For example, one can easily get the concept of the golden rule from taking a purely selfish view: I wouldn't want this to happen to me, so I shouldn't do it to others and similarly, I'd like other people to treat me that way, so I should do it to others.

Just because I am the one that judges the actions and creates the standard doesn't mean those judgements or standards don't exist.

The rules of Monopoly are created by humans, but they still exist. And if you break those rules, you're cheating.

quote:
Since God either exists or He does not, and the world can not make sense without God, God exists.

The existence of atheists shows this to be wrong. The world is apparently quite sensible without god.

quote:
Again one of many arguments for the existance of God.

And one of the many illogical ones.

Why are you putting your stock in an illegitimate argument?

------------------
Rrhain
WWJD? JWRTFM!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by grace2u, posted 11-11-2003 11:44 PM grace2u has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by grace2u, posted 11-12-2003 1:40 AM Rrhain has responded

  
grace2u
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 196 (65960)
11-12-2003 12:48 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Chiroptera
11-11-2003 6:55 PM


Re: So many things wrong here....
######
What is the proof? Please complete the following syllogism:
premise: One would ask how that can be just.
(put proof here)

conclusion: Christianity is true.
#######

ok, here is a loosely compiled semi-formal proof of Christianity:
NOTE: This is one of many arguments that could be compiled to demonstrate how a reasonable, clear thinking individual, could believe the teachings of Christ to be true.

Theorem: The observed experiences of life demand that God exist.

1) It is impossible for God to both exist and to not exist in the universe in which we live.
2) If God does not not -exist, then He exists.
3) In an atheistic world, universal absolutes do not make sense since they can not be measured in a coherent and logical manner. Nor is there any basis for suggesting that they do exist.
4) The world we live in is filled with universal absolutes such as the laws of morality and the laws of logic.

Since universal absolutes can be demonstrated to exist in the universe, and it is impossible for them to exist in an atheistic world, it is impossible for God to not exist. Therefore God exists.

---------------
Now for the bridge to Christianity:
Theorem: Christianity is true.

1) God exists
2) If God exists, it is most likely that He wishes to be known and that He has left some evidence of His existence to His creation.
3) Of the many religions in the world today, one of them is the correct one, they are almost all mutually exclusive with one another.
4) Christianity provides more evidence than any other as to the validity of its claims.
a. fulfilled prophecies
b. Unsearchable riches and complexity of Gods word
c. .. n number of other arguments we've all heard before

5) The teachings of the religion that are the most coherent and grounded on fact as opposed to pure faith, is most likely the correct religion.

Since Chrisitanity has been demonstrated to be the most convincing of all the worlds philisophical systems, Christianity is the correct religion.

-----------------

#######
Second, being able to ask a question does not mean that the words used in it have any meaning or existence.
#######
I agree with your statement, however I would disagree with what your conclusion on the posing of the question implies -or fails to imply. The posing of this question and the many others that are presented to theists (evil in the world as another example) do not make sense in any other world. Posing the question demonstrates that the concepts do exist and that the one presenting the question has a fundemental internal struggle with the concepts being discussed. THat is, it demonstrates that even atheists can't escape the reality of the world in which we live. That reality is filled with universal absolutes(morality,logic,etc). The laws of morality are one of the more simpler to provide evidence for. On what basis do we have to suggest that a God is immoral in His actions.

######
Third, the existence of injustice does not presuppose Christianity.
#####
I would argue that it does. Injustice is allowed within the Christianity. On what basis can you judge injustice by apart from some universal standard? I will agree that it does not provide a single handed proof of Christianity, since other religions account for injustice in a similar manner ( a holy/just God), but at least within Christianity you can begin to discuss the alleged injustice in a logical manner since one of the presuppositions is that there is an absolute standard of justice, namely Gods actions.

###########
I am an atheist with (obviously) an atheistic view of the world. I would never claim that the most heinous crime imaginable will not be wrong.
############
I would never sugest that you or anyone else for that matter thinks that horrible crimes are not bad. The argument is not that atheists are bad or that Christians are good. The argument is that their worldview can not account for their beliefs. Again, you have just stated that the most heinous crime is wrong. I would ask on what basis can you make this claim. Please provide a proof similar to the one you asked me to provide. Saying it is so will not suffice. The proof in Chrisianity is quite simple. The moral absolutes we see and discuss reflect the charecteristics of a moral God. Again, Christ is the standard of goodness- a presupposition of Christianity.

#########
Many cultures have a sense of right and wrong without being Christian.
#########
Again, I would agree. But how can this sense exist apart from some universal standard of right and wrong. In fact, on what basis do you have to claim that many cultures have a sense of right and wrong. What is the exact definition of right and wrong. Within Christianity, the claim can be made that they have a sense of right and wrong as part of their being, and that this sense, reflects the nature of an all good God, and that His goodness is that by which we measure all goodness from.

Thanks for the reply...

Kyrie eleison


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Chiroptera, posted 11-11-2003 6:55 PM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Chiroptera, posted 11-13-2003 3:55 PM grace2u has responded

  
grace2u
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 196 (65969)
11-12-2003 1:40 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Rrhain
11-12-2003 12:08 AM


###
That doesn't mean it was ordained by god.
####
In and of itself you are correct. However this concept does not make sense in an atheistic world. It can be explained adequately to account for the realities of the world in which we live. More on this below....

####
You are confusing the concept of "universally accepted" with "cosmically ordained."
####
The laws of morality simply reflect the nature and character of God - a presupposition of Christianity. I would disagree with the statement that these laws are merely universally accepted. I will demonstrate why further down.

##########
Sure there is: Our own experiences, thoughts, desires, and philosophies are the standards. For example, one can easily get the concept of the golden rule from taking a purely selfish view: I wouldn't want this to happen to me, so I shouldn't do it to others and similarly, I'd like other people to treat me that way, so I should do it to others.
############

What we are arguing here is that I believe these laws of morality are God ordained, you believe they are conventions within societies. While this makes sense on a first glance, upon further examination, it is not a sufficient explanation for any number of cases I can throw at you.
1) In some ancient societies it was ok to sacrifice your first born to a God. In others (such as ours), it is not. According to your monopoly analogy, the culture that thinks its ok to kill there first born is simply playing with some modified rules and that their rules are ok since it's within their household. I would maintain that this is one more example of how the best explanation atheism can come up with, fails to deal with the realities of the world in which we live. Why is it that it is simply wrong to kill your first born? This transcends cultural barriers and is wrong because it violates Gods holiness and His moral absoluteness. It is wrong because in doing this, you would be behaving in a manner contrary to God.

2) A male might want to rape a female because it makes him happy -- and he may even think that it makes her happy. In fact he may wish that he could be raped (following the golden rule principle). However you would be hard pressed to say that the beliefs of one could justify the commission of a horrible crime such as rape. Again, atheism can not deal with these realities in a coherent logical manner. Further demonstrating that as a philosophical system, it is bankrupt.

######
The existence of atheists shows this to be wrong. The world is apparently quite sensible without god.
#####
Using only one argument, the existence of the laws of morality, philosophers have demonstrated how the atheist world view can not give a logical account. While it is true that atheists exist, that does not prove that the world is sensible without God. The atheist world view continues to suppress the truth about this, choosing to ignore rather than deal with the metaphysical realities of the world we live in.

######
Why are you putting your stock in an illegitimate argument?
######
This is one of many arguments that theists can provide giving reason to believe in a God. Of the 1000's of formal proofs presented throughout history, if one is proven correct, then the system is valid. I have found that most atheists are extremely intelligent yet they fail to grasp the more fundamental questions and can not deal with the realities of the world in which we live. The monopoly example is one more example of this in my humble opinion. It makes a little sense on the surface, but as you peel the layers away I find it extremely oversimplified and lacking in substance.

Thanks for the reply and sincerity in your response,

Kyrie eleison


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Rrhain, posted 11-12-2003 12:08 AM Rrhain has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rei
Member (Idle past 5349 days)
Posts: 1546
From: Iowa City, IA
Joined: 09-03-2003


Message 15 of 196 (65979)
11-12-2003 3:25 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by grace2u
11-11-2003 11:44 PM


quote:
This is irrelevent since my argument is NOT Christian are good people, therefore Christ is the standard of goodness. In fact some of the nicest people I know are agnostic or atheist. Each group has its own set of irrational,emotional,illogical, biased followers .

So, you acknowlege that one needs not use Christ as a standard of goodness to live a good life. You personally define Christ as a standard of goodness. Atheists do not, and use commonly accepted social norms to define a standard of goodness. They coincide. The particular "standard" is thus irrelevant - we use the same standard.

quote:
I am simply saying that in the atheistic world, it doesn't make sense to have evil or good since there is no standard to measure these concepts by.

Actually, it does. First off, there are social memes. Societies which turn to rampant crime and anarchy are self-destructive; they cannot compete with other nations, and cannot last in the long run. Humans achieve strength only through unity and (relative) order. Societies which encourage such behaviors, whether through a religion (of which there are many) or through state-codified laws (Hammurabi, and earlier) are more likely to survive.

On the individual level, there are consequences for actions. There are laws, and if you break them, you suffer consequences - often severe. These consequences go against instinctive human wants and needs.

On the mental level, there is a further issue: meaning. To pursue anything in life, you need a sense of purpose. A primitive creature may be able to simply consider whatever its desires are as "purpose", but in a highly social, thinking creature, who doesn't spend its life focused soley on subsistance, there needs to be meaning to life. Without it, why go on living? Each person has to define their own meaning in the universe.

If you believe in God, then you probably have defined the universe's meaning around your conception of "God's Plan". This may be quite different from many other people's perception of "God's Plan", but that's irrelevant - you have purpose and reason to exist. What about the atheist? An atheist must consciously accept the fact that whatever meaning they ascribe to the universe is irrelevant, and an arbitrary construct. This is the basis of existentialism.

You will find that most atheists simply choose the "easy" route and define things in line with the social memes. Typically, this aligns with the concept of "good". Some take it a step further, and choose "deliberate good". There is no promise of reward, no eternal benefit, but we choose things that are often of a detriment to ourselves for the benefit of others. These, such as myself, are a specific category of existentialists - humanists.

------------------
"Illuminant light,
illuminate me."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by grace2u, posted 11-11-2003 11:44 PM grace2u has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Prozacman, posted 11-12-2003 1:49 PM Rei has not yet responded
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