Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #10 – Worship or Hell?

Condemned to Hell

R.E. Pucket was a Christian convert to atheism. He had questions about Christianity. The church seemed not to have answers, so he left.

Pucket then compiled a list of all the questions Christians had no answer for, and published them under the appropriately titled article, “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer“.

An old article, but still a challenge worth addressing, this article series will attempt to do so, one question at a time.

One preliminary comment is in order:

A variety of the Christian views that Pucket attacks in these questions are held by a very specific sect of Christian believers, and by no means characterize the whole of Christian views. The questions also occasionally make broad statements which either mischaracterize Biblical teachings, or are backed up with no supporting evidence. Where these mistakes are made, the responses are largely aimed at correcting these mischaracterizations. This is not to say that the attack has no merit, but the attack would need to be re-worked to fit a proper representation of that belief.

Finally, it is worth noting that the questions are sometimes phrased in highly emotive or sarcastic forms. This article will attempt to respond to the fundamental objection being raised, rather than the tone in which they are presented, however the questions themselves will be presented in their original format.

Source

10.) God wants everyone to worship and follow him and, if they don’t, they burn in hell for all eternity. What does this type of attitude say about his character? By definition, he would be described as a tyrant. 

It is worth noting off the bat that God does not threaten hellfire to the person that does not worship him so much as to the person who does not live up the the perfect standard of his character.

What this says about God’s character is that it is perfect. Anything less than perfection cannot abide in God’s presence.
If humans created God, he would exist to meet their needs and desires. However, this is not the Christian claim. In fact, if Christianity were a made-up religion, one wonders why they would come up the concept of hell at all. Most other religions build in an escape clause. Eastern religion plead reincarnation giving the individual essentially unlimited chances to get it right. The hell that Mormons espouse is a paradise compared to earthly life. Islam, at the very least, offers a weighing of good deeds against bad rather than condemnation over any single bad deed.

The Christian claim is that God created humans. In the act of creating humans, God necessarily gave them a reason for existing. If humans freely choose to rebel against the purpose for which they are created, they reap the consequences. If they abandon their Creator, their Creator must let them go, to their own destruction.
It would be tyrannical for God to give people no choice. However, choices have consequences. Just as the free act of committing suicide results in the consequence of death, the free act of rejecting God results in the consequence of eternal separation from this same God.

However, right along with that fact, Christianity states that God made the ultimate sacrifice in order to reconcile corrupt humans to himself – something one would never expect from a tyrant. Now, humans have as much choice to be redeemed through no act of their own, rather than to remain in condemnation. A human that accepts redemption does not have to thereafter live a perfect life – merely acknowledge their bad deeds, and desire the good.

Any person who finds offense at hellfire is essentially saying that they want to live however they like and that God should bow to their desires. God does not interfere in a universe in which he does not belong – he is creator and owner of said universe. This gives him at least some right to judge how the universe ought and ought not to operate.

Leave a Reply