The False Illusion of Free Will, I talked about the concept of free will in Christianity, more from a fundamentalist perspective, and how it was a horrible illusion. The can not truly be any free will, any free choice to accept or reject god, if the threat of hell is hanging over our heads as the consequence of rejecting Christianity.
It’s a false illusion of a choice, how does it make god any better than an abusive spouse? God can not possibly be a loving and just god, if you believe god is like that, that he would send people to hell not just for what they have done wrong to other people in their lifetime, but also because they chose to reject Christianity for whatever reason they chose to do so.
In that post, I put up a disclaimer that I was talking about the concept of god strictly from a fundamentalist Christian perspective and that some more liberal Christians, especially Christian universalists, who believe that god’s grace covers all wrongdoing, and that everyone is going to Heaven, do not even believe that hell is a literal place, it simply doesn’t exist to them.
To me, however, such a viewpoint also raises quite a bit of questions about the just and loving attributes of god. At least in the fundamentalist perspective of god, there is a sense of eternal reward and punishment. Although people do go to hell simply for not believing in Christianity, they also go to hell as punishment for wrongdoing, for what they have done to other people in their lifetime.
I think it’s one of the biggest aspects of religion that really appeals to people, and there have been times in the past where I have wished it was true myself, but reality sets in. It seems strange to me that someone could believe in a just, merciful god when they look at the suffering in this world, much of it happening to people who didn’t do anything to deserve it.
If you take the perspective within Christianity that there is no hell at all, to me, all sense of final justice is gone. Is it fair to let someone who has committed horrible crimes against other people and has went unpunished in this life receive no punishment in the next life?
Where is the justice in the afterlife to balance out the injustice of this cruel world? You’re telling me that some like Joseph Stalin, despite all the millions of people he was responsible for killing millions of people, and yet still died without ever being tried and punished for it, is going to end up in Heaven? Sure, such a viewpoint would be showing that god is incredibly merciful and forgiving, but at what point does forgiveness cross into the territory where it abandons all sense of justice?
Believe it or not, the fundamentalist concept of god and heaven and hell also runs into the same problem, but in a different way. In the fundamentalist view, everyone goes to heaven if they choose to accept Christianity. Let’s set aside the fact the injustice of believing that non-Christians are going to hell, simply because they rejected Christianity, and think about that for a moment.
Anyone who accepts Christianity means anyone, despite what they have done in their lifetime. Let’s say hypothetically, continuing with my Stalin example, that Stalin secretly decided to convert to Christianity before his death, and didn’t tell anyone. Sure, that’s highly unlikely, but theoretically possible. He would still be going to heaven, despite never facing his punishment here on earth for the atrocities he was responsible for.
Joshua Blahyi, who is now a Christian evangelist, but before that, lead a rebel militia that committed horrific atrocities in
Sierra Leone’s civil war.
He freely admits to personally killing over 20,000 people himself (not counting the people killed by his troops), committing acts of cannibalism (I’m serious), and decapitating people, and playing soccer with their heads. Yet, no matter which view is taken, either the liberal/universalist view, or even the fundamentalist view of the afterlife, this man is guaranteed to go to heaven, despite everything he did, and despite the fact that he has never faced the consequences for his actions here on earth.
Where is the justice in that?