Earlier today a friend of mine (@AtheistPT) shared this pic on Facebook and asked me to look at a comment that had been left. I was already irritated after having listening to 15 minutes of Ken Ham’s drivel in the debate versus Bill Nye, so I skimmed through it with a furrowed brow and then hastily fired off the first few things that came to mind. While the sign appears to be fake, it’s really not that far from believable. The sign isn’t what I wanted to address, but rather the comment that was left in response to it.
Here is the comment, copied and pasted exactly as is:
people may not believe in hell-but any rational person must acknowledge the reality of death-it is inevitable for all of us to one day face death -and according to the bible, the reason for death is sin, which every single one of us has committed in one way or another- sin is breaking Gods laws which are written on our hearts-not silly things like surfing and skateboarding-but actual sins like hatred, lying, pride, selfishness etc -and we KNOW when we lie, steal, cheat, blaspheme etc that it is wrong, because we were made with a conscience that tells us it’s wrong.Any person who thinks they could stand before a Holy and perfectly righteous God on the basis of their own goodness, is utterly decieved .God does not weigh up our good works against our bad, and let us into heaven if we’ve been mostly good-He also doesn’t compare us to other people and say “well at least they’re not Hitler…” no Gods standard is utter perfection, as described in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17,Deuteronomy 5:1-21)
Anyone who breaks even one of Gods holy commandments, is guilty of breaking them all, and that us all of us, no matter how good we may think we are in our own eyes.-
The Good news, however is that God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ, lived a perfect and sinless life-and allowed Himself to be brutally executed, not for His own sins-but for ours, yours and mine -Jesus took on the death and sin of mankind, so that in turn He could give us eternal life, and His perfect righteousness-Jesus was crucified for claiming to be the Son of God, and proved it by raising from the dead 3 days later, and appearing to hundreds of witnesses, who have passed this good news into others,who have been taking this good news to the ends of the earth for the past 2000 years-
So in conclussion, NONE of us no matter who we are, surfer, skater, fornicator,or pope can stand before a perfect and Holy God on the basis of our own faulty good works-BUT if we will repent towards God, that is to say sorry to Him for living our life defiantly set on doing things our own way-apologize to Him for breaking His commandments and determine to stop and do things right- abandon our own righteousness and accept the free gift of His righteousness through faith-turn our life around, putting our faith not in our own goodness, but in the person of Jesus Christ and in what He has done on our behalf-then God will pardon and wash away all of our sins (through baptism in water) give us new life, filled with His Holy Spirit, who will guide us,and teach us Gods ways, and help us to keep Gods Holy commandments perfectly , His way, not our own way.
and if we stumble and fall (which we all do), He will never leave us, or forsake us, but rather lead us to eternal life with Him.
and my initial reply:
Steve, what a pile of bullshit. Hell is a twisted story used to scare the naive and gullible; it’s 2014, time to lose the invisible friend. You’re only a xian b/c you were born in a country where that was the dominant religion. If you had been born in India, Saudi Arabia, or Israel you’d be banging on about another god/version of god and a different ‘holy’ book. There is exactly zero proof that any of the approximately 3,000 gods we’ve created over the past few thousand years exist, but people like you go on blindly believing and calling your faith a virtue.
That’s the short version, I’ll dismantle the rest of your ‘points’ later.
Oh my Steve. Much like Toma’s article, there is so much gibberish in that comment that I wasn’t even sure I was going be able to fit my response into one reasonably-sized post. I had initially intended to deconstruct your comment and address each assumption and logical fallacy, but it just was not feasible; you simply made too many and I had neither the time nor the inclination to address them all. Instead I am just going to show you why Hell does not exist.
That bears repeating: Hell does not exist. It is of course within the realm of possibility that somewhere in this infinitely vast universe that we live in, there is a place that somewhat resembles what some xians believe Hell would be like, but for the sake of this discussion, I am referring to the only xian notion of Hell as it is described in the bible. I realise that by claiming to know this for a fact, I have shifted the burden of proof to myself and it falls to me to back that up, and that is exactly what I intend to do.
As you may or not be aware, it is not generally possible to disprove the existence of something. If I make the claim that an invisible unicorn lives in my garden, there is no way that you can categorically disprove its existence. Of course if I did make that claim, the burden of proof would be on me and I would have to provide you with reasonable evidence if I expected you to give my claim any credence. Allow me a small digression to say that the same must be said about your claims of a god; no believer of any religion has ever been able to show any reasonable and/or credible evidence to substantiate their claim of a deity. Burden of proof is another topic entirely, and not one I intend to address here.
You may now be asking how I can claim to know for a fact that Hell does not exist (making me a gnostic ahellist I suppose). One can in fact disprove the existence of something if it can be shown to contain a logical contradiction. Think 4-sided triangle or a married bachelor. This is where disproving Hell becomes quite simple: both the existence of Hell and the fact that it would have been created by your god, very clearly contradict the notion of an all-loving god, and no amount of pleading, explanations, or clever (or not so clever) wordplay will change that.
Your bible has a lot to say about god and love. There are a number of verses that compare his relationship with us to that of a father and his children. Xians don’t seem to be bothered that this is a single-parent family though, and if you include jesus, we all have 2 Dads! I John 3:1 states that “…we should be called children of God! And that is what we are…” while Psalm 103:13 tells us “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” Let us ignore for the moment the fact that fear should have nothing to do with love (fear ≠ love), and focus only on the aforementioned contradiction. If we accept the analogy of a father’s love for his children, then we must question what kind of parent would allow their child to suffer eternal torment. Xians are quick to respond with ‘he only punishes those who do not accept him/follow him/love him’ but that is really no kind of love at all, and at best, a pathetic attempt to reconcile ideas which obviously contradict each other. Do parents love their children only if they do what they are told? I’d say not; that is certainly not unconditional love.
Hell is eternal torment; a macabre, ghoulish world of demons, fire, torture, and unadulterated misery. There is no way that an all-loving god could allow his children to spend eternity suffering in this way. One simply cannot resolve the contradiction of an all-loving god who allows this sort of suffering. Those two ideas oppose each other at their core.
I’m not sure if you have children of your own Steve, but I’ll assume that you at least know some children or are aware of the existence of small people we refer to as children. Just for a moment, I want you to think of those children in agony; true excruciating pain. Picture their screams, the anguish, the pleading, the tears, the looks of horror on their faces – truly picture it. Imagine evisceration, disembowelment, burning, cutting, slicing, tearing, poking, splitting, and biting. Think of blood, bone, skin, teeth, and organs. I pictured it for just a few seconds as vividly as I could and it made me feel awful and I don’t even have children. I really can’t imagine how it must feel for someone to think of their own children in this way; I suspect it would be the worst thing a parent could ever experience. I ask again, how could an all-loving god exist through eternity knowing that was happening to his children? He/she/it couldn’t, so either Hell does not exist, or your god is not actually all-loving. In fact, both are true as your god almost surely doesn’t exist, but that is also another post unto itself.
If you can resolve this glaringly obvious contradiction Steve, I’d be more than happy to read it.
In conclusion, let me say to all surfers, skateboarders, musicians, artists, vegetarians, occupiers, activists, addicts, and fornicators: you’re not going to Hell so don’t worry. Be a good person just because you share this planet with other people, and not out of fear of eternal damnation.