Monday, 8 December 2014

The Absurdity of hell

I've said before that there are pretty much as many versions of God as there are people who think gods are real. Same goes with Christianity. How many times to you hear 'Well they're not *real* Christians*? It is, as you most likely know, called the No True Scotsman fallacy.

Hell, however, is pretty consistent in my experience. The most popular is the lake of fire, burning for eternity, torture kind of hell. The other I hear a less often, but often enough, is that hell is simply a separation from God.

When I discuss hell with Christian believers they tell me that God doesn't send me to hell, that it's my choice to go there. As though anyone would *actually* choose to spend eternity being burnt and tortured. They say the choice is this - love their god, worship it, believe in Jesus, repent, and end up in heaven or don't do these things and end up in hell. 

Of course God wants the former and not the latter, they tell me. But, and here's the catch, God can't prove himself to me, I have to believe of my own free will. It's all about 'faith'. 

They seem to forget here that this is a condition that God himself imposed. And it's a condition, given his omniscience, that he knows I cannot meet. 

You see I'm not an atheist by choice. I am incapable of believing any god exists, let alone the biblical one, because the claims do not reach a level of evidence that I can accept. I can no sooner believe a god exists than you, my reader, can believe that I'm 9 metres tall, have blue skin, 12 pairs of arms, and enjoy a weekly one-on-one meeting with US President Barrack Obama in the Oval Office. No matter how many times I asserted the above to be true you could not force yourself to believe it. (right?)

The same is true of me and the god claims I've heard. I have been told a god exists and that if I do not find salvation I will burn in hell. I have been told this with such conviction that I must, and do, accept that the person telling me believes what they are saying to be true. But no matter how they may state their position, without good evidence, *I* cannot accept it to be true. 

And God knows this. Well....if he was real, he would. 

This is where the absurdity lies. I'm expected to believe in a god which will send me to hell for not believing in him, even though he knows in advance that I can't believe in him. It's such a preposterous suggestion that I really can't understand how it has any credibility at all. Seriously, how can anyone accept this to be true? 

A being worthy of the status 'God' would know what it would take for me to avoid hell and end up in heaven with him and from what I'm told this is his major goal. Achieving this goal would be a trivial matter for anything deserving of the title God. But for reasons that he put in place himself, he refuses to do it. 

So here I am, an atheist who, according to some versions of theology, will end up in hell for the 'crime' of being unable to believe in a god who knows I am unable to believe in it. If there is a single person who genuinely believes that I deserve such 'punishment' I would be extremely surprised. The idea is horrific.

On top of this, the theists in question will tell me that this is the plan of a god who loves me. 

Yes. A god who loves me is going to allow me to spend eternity in hell. Of course this gets back to "He doesn't allow it, you send yourself." But it's an ultimatum. Believe in God/Jesus OR burn in hell. When you are unable to fulfil the first part of an ultimatum it's not a choice, you're not doing something 'yourself'. And to reiterate the god in questions KNOWS this is what's going to happen. 

When I left Christianity, Hell was one of the hardest things for me to give up. The idea of a god watching everything you do, judging you every minute of every day was so ingrained that long after I gave up the idea of 'god' the idea of hell lingered. It's a truly terrifying thing to believe and borders on child abuse to make children believe something so horrific. 

Today I am as confident that hell doesn't exist as I am that the sky is blue, grass is green and water makes things wet. Now I'm sure there's someone somewhere who can tell me something about the 'true' colours of the sky or grass, or how water affects things, but you know what I mean. 

Hell is absurd. A loving god creating conditions in which people end up in hell for eternity is absurd. 


  1. Indoctrination (brainwashing) is tragic child abuse; because it damages us in such away that we cannot dare to think for ourselves, or to ask questions. I feel very fortunate to have escaped.

    I became an atheist the day I realized that a god who does not protect children, is no god at all. Certainly such a god is worthy of no one's worship.

  2. That is exactly what I thought too. How can you fake believing in something if you are just unable to believe. But the christians apparently think *you* can because *they* really do believe in it. What about the other 5 billion people on the planet who don't believe in the correct sky-daddy.

    The longer it is since I stopped believing, the more amazed I am that adults can still believe this crap. It shows you how strong the effect of childhood indoctrination is. Replace the word indoctrination with abuse to make it more accurate.

    My mother was in her last days very distressed over something she had done 70-80 years before that she was afraid of burning in hell for. She never told me what it was, but I suspect it may have been something to do with sex out of wedlock. The third worst sin after homosexuality and atheism! I take both first and second prizes :)

    Anyway, at least in hell I'll be in good company and compare notes with Mr Oz and his photography, though I do pity his support for Collingwood :) I'm also looking forward to meeting Godless Mom, MamaA and many more.

  3. Any truth, rightly understood, must be logical. The version of God that you've been taught is illogical, unreasoning and therefore untrue. The version of hell that you've been taught is also illogical, unreasoning and therefore untrue. Fortunately, the well-meaning folks that mis-taught you were far removed from what the Bible actually does teach.
    I would challenge you to take a long, hard look at what science teaches (even more illogical) verses what the Bible actually does teach:

    Genesis Part 1 - Truth & Logic:
    Genesis Part 2 - First Cause:
    Genesis Part 3 - Moshe:
    Genesis Part 4 - Creation:

    And what the Bible itself really says about the state of death:
    What The Scriptures Say About Hell: