When it comes to the Bible, many pick out what they like (consider it to be truth), and ignore what they do not (they decide what to believe and what to disregard). For example, many choose to not believe in Hell, or to reason that unbelievers will simply cease to exist instead of being punished for eternity. However, if you start picking and choosing what is true or what to believe, can you, with total confidence, REALLY know where to draw the line? It is the classical “slippery slope” that many have become all too comfortable on. An editorial by Ross Douthat of the New York Times, with the title, “One hell of a good idea” explored some of the current “notions” on Hell and Heaven being raised by contemporary authors and how “many religious Americans find the idea of eternal punishment for wrong belief increasingly incredible.” The writer then goes on to raise some thought-provoking points:
“And if it’s hard for the modern mind to understand why a good God would allow such misery on a temporal scale, imagining one who allows eternal suffering seems not only offensive but absurd.”
“Doing away with hell, then, is a natural way for pastors and theologians to make their God more humane. The problem is that this move also threatens to make human life less fully human.”
“Atheists have license to scoff at damnation, but to believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices. If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re like home runs or strikeouts in a children’s game where nobody’s keeping score.”
More on this next week.