Let's do another Matt Slick, because, after all, he asks for it. (No, really. If you start a Christian apologetic site, you are asking for counter-apologetics, from both atheists and the non-Christian religious.) Today let's take a look at one of my serious concerns with Christian theology: a god who sends people to hell. Here we go.
Denying it or not liking it doesn't mean it isn't real.
Matt, Matt, Matt. Let's look at this sentence another way, "Affirming it or liking it doesn't mean it IS real." This is what atheists have been saying for milennia. How you feel about the data has no affect on its truth claims.
Hell was originally created for Satan and his angels. In the future it will contain those who join Satan in rejecting God. If you reject God's provision for the forgiveness of your sins, then you will join the Devil who rejected God from the beginning. Is that what you want?
Okay, so god creates hell (thanks for that, sometimes people want to pin it on Satan) with a different original purpose. He could have of course just annihilated or killed Satan and his angels, but instead he creates a home for them, which they are allowed to leave when they come to earth to tempt God's followers. O-kay... So why do people go there? For rejecting God's provision? Hmm, let's think about this and break it down. God requires perfection, and creates laws man is incapable of following. For the crime of being born human, God plans to send *all* of us to hell, and only by believing crazy propositions involving virgin births, zombies, and cannibalistic rituals can we be spared from hell. This isn't really addressing the whole, "I can't believe in a god who would send people to hell" thing, it's just a thinly veiled threat. "Do as god says, or go to the hot place." Basically, God is a tyrant and might makes right, according to Slick's theology.
Could you believe in a God who would become a human, suffer at the hands of humans, and be killed by them, all so that His death could be the payment for their sins? That is extremely loving.
No, that's not loving. That's barbaric needless suffering, which I'm all opposed to. Also, the implication that I'm a sinner who owes god (and the only way he can forgive my debt is to be tortured to death himself) is insulting. And seriously - why would getting people to torture him to death make or allow him to forgive us? Wouldn't that make him more pissed off at people?
God is saving people who deserve to go to Hell - and we all deserve that. Remember that the same God that sends people to Hell also died for them.
I don't deserve it. Little Man doesn't deserve it. Boyfriend Dave doesn't deserve it. Hell, even Carol Balizet my cult-leading baby-killing grandmother doesn't deserve to be tortured for eternity. No one does, not even Hitler. Forever is just way too long. And of course, Matt's not reserving hell just for the Stalins or the world - he says we *all* deserve to go to hell. Is anyone else insulted? And even if we did "deserve" hell, it would only be a result of the crappy system God supposedly set up.
If they reject what God has provided, then what is God left to do? He would have to judge them.
Ah yes, of course, because an infinite, omnipotent God would be contrained in his choices, so of course the *only* course of action he has if we "reject" (disbelieve) the gospel fairy tales is to "judge" us (aka send us to hell for-ev-er.)
Whether you believe in something or not does not change the fact of its existence.
Um, yeah. I know, I just don't think you do. (Pssst, God is imaginary!)
Actually, I'd say Jesus was a cult leader. (Narcissistic, claimed to be god, told his followers to reject the world and their families, claimed to do miracles, was kkilled for being a heretical troublemaker... Yup. Cult leader it is.) Also, he didn't just mention hell - he invented it.
Are you implying that it is unjust for God to send people to hell?
Yes! I'm not just implying it, I am saying it explicitly: Sending people to hell is unjust. Torturing anyone forever is wrong. It's immoral and its not loving or good parenting. (It's no surprise when you look at a religion that glorifies Abraham for nearly killing his son, to see such harshness and injustice in its god.)
If so, then you accuse God of injustice.
Yup, kind of my point. A god that would send people to hell is unjust. Got it in one, Matt.
Sin is wrong and it must be punished.
Is sin wrong in and of itself, or is it only wrong because God says so? Also, punishment or discipline can have different goals. One goal would be to correct or train someone not to repeat an undesired action. This isn't the same as being punitive and "making someone pay" which seems to God's goal.
What would you have God do to those who oppose Him and do evil? Do you want Him to ignore that which is wrong? Do you want Him to turn His head and not be holy and righteous?
First, let's clear things up. Not believing something is not evil. It just.. isn't. And you can't knowingly oppose a god you don't believe exists. (I can't oppose Santa, either.) Second, this whole "Do you want him to ignore that which is wrong?" question is so heavily loaded. Remember, Christian theology doesn't just say that the Hitlers and Stalins and Mother Theresas of the world are going to hell. It's that everybody's going (minus some exceptions.) Disbelief gets you a ticket to hell, but disbelief isn't a wrong action that harms others. (In fact, belief in deities does by far the greatest harm.) Third, Yahweh isn't holy or righteous. He's a power-hungry jealous prick who wants to send the vast majority of humanity to be tortured forever. You have to twist yourself in knots to believe that is righteousness or holiness.
Wait, that's it?? Just questions of, "Gee, how else could God handle sin?" Well, let me answer that then. God could make sinners annihilated at death, so that they simply stopped existing (what I and a lot of other atheists think happens). God could universally forgive people, without making that forgiveness contingent on belief in the face of conflicting evidence. God could create a third realm, neither heaven nor hell, where those who lived good lives but did not believe in him would reside for eternity (like the Mormons believe in, right Seth?) There are many ways to deal with inappropriate or undesirable behavior: eternal torture isn't a righteous one. It's inhumane, it's barbaric, and it's centered on substitutionary atonement.
This was almost disappointingly easy. Nothing is said to actually excuse God for creating hell or banishing the majority of humanity to it. The question of God's morality has been left unanswered and untouched. Here I thought you were a top apologist, Slick. What's up with that?