Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #41 Happiness in Heaven?

“Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject. “ 

-George Horne 

This article continues a series examining R.E. Pucket’s article “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer“. 

E.Pucketwas a faithful Christian for much of his life. However, as he began to expand his reading and investigate arguments against faith, he became convinced that faith was irrational. This impression was strengthened by the fact that Christians with which he interacted largely told him that he should believe for belief’s sake, and that faith trumped rationality. 

Pucket now spends a significant amount of time interacting with born again Christians who he feels are trying to convert him and win his soul. He rebuffs these attempts by presenting arguments that seem to stymie these Christians who in turn make vague appeals to “God’s Plan” and blind faith. 

In his article, “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer” on Yahoo voices, Pucket lists out some of the arguments he has found that Christians seem to have no rational, logical answers for, and invites the readers to inspect their faith in light of these questions. Says Pucket: 

“Don’t get me wrong, they will have an answer for them. You will find, however, that their answers have no basis in verifiable fact or evidence whatsoever, and will be largely based in their blind faith forsaking all reason.” 

This series of articles will examine all fifty of Pucket’s questions, one per article, and offer responses to these questions. 

One of the important things that the Pucket list teaches is the danger of dogmatism. If a system of belief stands or falls on every minute doctrine or teaching within the system, then disarming one of these causes the whole thing to fall.Christianity has undergone inspection by hosts of intelligent and thoughtful people over its 2000-year history. Some, like Pucket, have come to the conclusion that it was untenable. Many more have explored different ways of thinking about and applying Christian ideas that do not involve abandoning the system. The very fact that Christianity is a system of thought that allows individual thinkers to explore it, rather than to blindly embrace it, at least suggests that it is not a system of intellectual tyranny. 

This author suggests that many of things about Christians popularly believe may be found faulty without the entire system being destroyed. For Christianity to be untrue, it would have to be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that either humans do not require some sort of salvation from evil and suffering, or that no such salvation has been provided. 

The answers provided to the questions in this series may not always be punchy rejoinders, magic bullets, or truth bombs. They may be far from convincing to a skeptic; however they do show that Christianity is at the very least internally consistent and existentially plausible. 

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. These articles 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 form. 

How can people in heaven be happy with people burning in hell

41 – If heaven is to be a place free of sadness, pain and suffering, then how can you be happy in heaven knowing that the vast majority of humankind is painfully burning for eternity, especially when some of them may be your loved ones? 

 

 

The statement is never made that there is not sadness in heaven. Quite the opposite. When the Bible states that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” it clearly admits that there will be tears, but there will also be comfort.

The focal point of Creation is Christ. It is, indeed, unfortunate that some will be eternally excluded from God’s grace, but these people have consciously chosen to pursue their earthly interests at the expense of their eternal ones. As the parable of Lazarus and the rich man states:

“…remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”

Since, however, the revelation of God through Christ is the purpose and focus of creation, this will be the focus of those who eternally dwell in his presence. The eternal state of the damned is neither their fault nor their primary concern.

Christ himself states that once one joins the body of the church, these become one’s family:

Matthew 12:48-49English Standard Version (ESV)

48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!

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