Opinions on faith and life

Skeptics Ask

2006-03-01

“I can’t worship a God who decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell”

Neither can I. He doesn’t decide that, each of us does.

“I can’t accept a God who says worship me or die”

It’s not a matter of God throwing his weight around, but of his nature.

If God is omnipresent, and people who reject him do not want to spend eternity with him, what else can he do but make a place where his presence is not felt? That’s what hell is, a place where God has withdrawn his presence. Because God is the source of all goodness, light, happiness, and comfort, then hell cannot have any of those things. That’s what it boils down to: hell is bad because God is not there. It’s all based on the nature of God, who is everywhere and eternal and infinite. What other possible choice could there be?

“I didn’t ask to be created”

Not even God could decide his own existence, so why should we be able to? And how could he ask our permission before we existed? And why should anyone we call God have to ask at all?

“God shouldn’t have created us if he knew we would sin”

Should God have not even given anyone the chance to exist? If his purpose in creating us was so we could love him, then he couldn’t create robots who had no choice. But he never forced anyone to reject him. So whoever goes to hell is there for one reason and by their own free will. God did not plan for any human to go to hell. The Bible tells us it was originally made for the devil and his angels. We only go there by our own choice.

But what is God asking from you? To do penance, to pay a gazillion dollars, to try to earn your way to heaven? No, he offers you a free ticket, just for the asking. Why is that so hard? How is that unfair to you? Is pride really worth an eternity of suffering? And again, should anyone we call God be held to our sense of morality or justice?

“God shouldn’t allow evil or suffering”

Same as the previous one. Suffering and evil are the necessary results of rebellion against God. Instead we should ask why anything good ever happens to us, since we have all sinned against God. The fact that good things happen at all is a testament to his love and mercy.