Monday, August 7, 2017

Cold Case Christianity: A loving god needs to torture people in hell, it couldn't be otherwise. YEAH RIGHT

This is my response to an article by J. Warner Wallace entitled

Posted: 04 Aug 2017 01:44 AM PDT

 261When Rob Bell released his book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, he capitalized on the historic controversy surrounding the existence and nature of hell. Critics of Christianity have cited the hell’s existence as evidence against the loving nature of God, and Christians have sometimes struggled to respond to the objection. Why would a loving God create a place like Hell? Wouldn’t a God who would send people to a place of eternal punishment and torment be considered unloving by definition?
If he isn't, then we are dealing with a rather strange definition of "love" that appears more motivated by necessity of apologetics and less by common sense.
The God of the Bible is described as loving, gracious and merciful (this can be seen in many places, including 1 John 4:8-9, Exodus 33:19, 1 Peter 2:1-3, Exodus 34:6 and James 5:11). The Bible also describes God as holy and just, hating sin and punishing sinners (as seen in Psalm 77:13, Nehemiah 9:33, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Psalms 5:5-6, and Matthew 25:45-46).
He is also described as taking just as much "delight" in watching women be raped, kids be kidnapped, and  parents cannibalizing their own kids, as he takes in prospering those who obey him:
NAU  Deuteronomy 28:
 15 "But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
 16 "Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.
 17 "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
 18 "Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
 30 "You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.
 41 "You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity.
 53 "Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you.
  63 "It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. (Deut. 28:1-63 NAU)
 So you need to remember that God doesn't just cause or allow evil, he takes "delight" in it.  While I can buy that a loving father will discipline children, perhaps severely, I cannot buy that the father who "delights" to punish his kids just as much as he "delights" to reward them, is "loving".
It’s this apparent paradox reveals something about the nature of love and the necessity of Hell:
 Mercy Requires Justice
When a judge pardons an unrepentant rapist without warrant, we don’t typically see this as an act of love, particularly when we consider the rights of the victim (and the safety of potential future victims).
On the contrary, "mercy" most commonly means the refusal to carry out justice, such as when a man injured in a knife attack pulls out a gun.  He has the right to shoot in justice, but he simply tells the aggressor to go away.  That's mercy too.  Your idea that mercy requires justice is a perfect absurdity.   While they sometimes mitigate one another especially in the legal system, they don't necessarily go together.
Mercy without justice is reckless, meaningless and dangerous.
We are extending mercy to others deserving of vengeance, when we refuse to take vengeance ourselves.  Is obeying Romans 12 reckless, meaningless and dangerous?
True love cares enough to punish wrongdoing.
Then God cannot be true love, because God took away David's sin by simply waiving his magic wand:
 13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
 14 "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." (2 Sam. 12:13-14 NAU)
David was the one deserving of punishment since he committed adultery.  You cannot say God punished David here by killing the infant, because a) god didn't impose the mandatory death-penalty for adultery here, and b) the prior text says God took away David's sin.  The infant is not being put to death because of David's adultery, but because the adulterous act caused the enemies to blaspheme.  God's mercy to David in refusing to extend the death penalty to David was not accompanied by any justice toward the adulterous act (God's justice and mercy don't always intersect or compliment one another).  If nobody had blasphemed, there would have been no reason to kill the kid either.
For this reason, a God of love must also be a God of justice, recognizing, separating and punishing wrongdoers.
Granted, but God's punishments in the bible go beyond anything that common sense will allow as justice, for example, God commanding death by burning at the stake, because a priest's teen daughter had pre-marital sex., Lev. 21:9.  Do Christians cringe at this because they are just a bunch of enthnocentric spoiled modern babies living in a more relaxed culture, or because such a penalty really does conflict with the law that is in their hearts?
Hell is the place where God’s loving justice is realized and executed.
You completely overlook 

a) your god can be regretful of his own prior choices (Gen. 6:6-7, no evidence in the grammar or context for anthropomorphism) and 

b) the new hermeneutic that says much language in the bible is exaggeration or hyperbole, the way Copan and Flannagan argue in their effort to show that God didn't really commit genocide.
Freedom Requires Consequence
True love cannot be coerced.
Then God must not love those whose jaws he hooks and forces them to do what he wants them to do, Ezekiel 38:4.  Even granting the hooks are metaphorical, the imagery is still intended by your god to show up in your brain, and this imagery is totally contrary to any notion of respecting human freedom or freewill.
Humans must have freedom in order to love,
No, you love your three year old when you force him out of the street against his will.  True love sometimes overrides freedom.  
and this includes the freedom to reject God altogether. Those who do not want to love God must be allowed to reject him without coercion.
Because we all know that coercion can never be loving, such as trying to coerce your stupid teen daughter from going to an alcoholic party. 
Those who don’t want to be in God’s presence must be allowed to separate themselves from Him if their “free will” is to be respected.
Your doctrine of God's omnipresence, aside from the fact that it contradicts several bible passages, does not allow the logical possibility of separating ourselves from God in any sense.  And your Calvinist brothers would agree that rejection of God is what God is forcing the unbelievers to do.

And regardless, its not just spiritually blind atheists who find your reasoning stupid.  You don't say all Calvinist Christians are unsaved, so they are spiritually alive just as much as you, and yet Calvinists totally deny the idea that God respects human freedom, and with good biblical reason, Romans 9.
God’s love requires the provision of human freedom, and human “free will” necessitates a consequence. Hell is the place where humans who freely reject God experience the consequence of their choice.
But your problem is that if hell is literal, humans going there would immediately repent upon receiving such severe punishment the way humans normally do otherwise.  So you have a silly doctrine that says regardless of how terrible hell is, it does not convince any of its inhabitants to realize their wrong and to repent.  Your god is quite a sick individual to render persons incapable of changing for the better.
Victory Requires Punishment
All of us struggle to understand why evil exists in the world.
You need not struggle at all.  God is the reason why rape, starvation and parental cannibalism exist, see Deut. 28:63.
If there is an all-powerful and all-loving God,
A presupposition that is soundly refuted by other liberal Christians who point out places in the bible where God is neither all-powerful nor all-loving.
this God (by His very nature) has the power and opportunity to conquer and punish evil.
But there's always a chance he'll be sorry he did any such thing, Genesis 6:6-7.
If God is both powerful and loving, He will eventually be victorious.
Some would argue he is a loser for creating people whom he infallibly foreknew would end up in hell.  What, god isn't capable of making far more powerful arguments for the gospel, than those put forward by imperfect "apologists"? 

Are you quite sure that God himself appearing to and conversing with a modern atheists, could not do much better than the job done by imperfect sinful Christian evangelists and apologists?  God couldn't make the Christian case any more persuasive than it is made in Cold Case Christianity?  But if he could, then why isn't he doing his best toward that end?  Seems to be that when you fail to give a job your best effort, its because you don't care about it that much.

The issue is not whether God thinks what he gave is "sufficient", but whether a loving God would do his "best" to save that which is lost.  And your god certainly isn't doing his all-powerful best.
God’s victory over evil will be achieved in mortality or eternity.
Another false distinction, the bible sometimes describes heaven as as place afflicted by time no less than earth.  Genesis 19:24.  What, did the fireballs god was throwing, switch dimensions on their way down? 

Or did the earliest of the Hebrews seriously believe heaven was physically "up there"?
God has provided a mechanism though which evil will be permanently conquered and punished in the next life. Hell is the place where an all-loving and all-powerful God will ultimately defeat and punish evil.
Contrary to the OT, in which God makes clear he thinks he has fully satisfied his sense of justice when those who disobey him are killed.  The OT never expresses or implies there's another facet to God's sense of Justice that cannot be satisfied unless the person who died under his hand experiences conscious suffering in some after-world.  You read hell into the OT purely because of your errant presupposition of biblical inerrancy and your childish belief that lack of absolute certainty leads inevitably to destructive chaos.
The paradox of God’s love and justice necessitates the existence of Hell.
You continue presuming NT Hell is literal when there are more Christian theologians who deny it than who affirm it.  I say quit the trifling madness and first justify your literal view of hell (i.e., answer the liberal view of Luke 16 and the liberal argument from God's being fully satisfied in the OT to kill those who disobey).
God’s love does not compel Him to eliminate the necessary punishment and consequence for sin,
Wrong, God took away David's sin of adultery and its required death-penalty in 2 Sam. 12:13-14, supra.  Your belief in some idealized ultimate deity is a perfect absurdity in light of actual biblical teaching.  God's sense of justice is equally open to change, such as his first belief that the sinful Israelites deserved to die, but he relents only because Moses first talked some sense into the divine head (heads?  Trinity?):
 9 The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.
 10 "Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation."
 11 Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
 12 "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth '? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.
 13 "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"
 14 So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.         (Exod. 32:9-14 NAU)
Wallace continues:
but instead compels Him to offer us a way to avoid this consequence altogether. By offering forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (who took our punishment), God demonstrated His love for us.
A rather stupid solution since he offered it in a way that was so unclear that it has produced millions of doctrinally divided yet equally sincere Christians, most of whom are open-theist and think your conservative justification for eternal torture in hell is the very definition of mental illness. 
It cannot be said that a loving God would never create a place like Hell if that same God has provided us with a way to avoid it.
Apparently, you only intend your comments to be taken seriously by Christians, since you presuppose throughout this article that the bible is correct in everything it says about God, which is another perfect absurdity. 

Yeah, Wallace, skeptics and atheists certainly don't find your trifles here the least bit persuasive, so you realize they only sound persuasive to those who already share most of your presuppositions, such as inerrancy and the evangelical conservative view of the bible.  Maybe you can impress some Christians that the Holy Spirit needed your help, but we atheists just consider you another Benny Hinn of Christian apologetics.


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