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  1. #1
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    Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    I've engaged in this debate here and there in other religious debates but as far as I recall, eventually my opponent abandons the debate.

    This is a very specific debate and the argument of this thread is:

    By any sane human standard of morality, God sending anyone to eternal damnation for anything other than the most grievous crimes while on Earth is completely contradictory to the notion that God is just and loving towards us.


    Now, here are few givens for the purpose of this debate:

    1. The given mythology about eternal damnation is that God routinely sends people who have committed "sins" that would not warrant much legal punishment in a earthly justice system that people generally considered fair. And once someone ends up in Hell, there's no getting out.

    2. God is omnipotent therefore he can choose to not send people to Hell or pull people out of Hell whenever he wants.

    3. God supposedly loves us much like a father loves his children.

    And I would argue that God sending a child he loves to eternal damnation for a minor sin would be the same as a Dad sending his son to a torture chamber to be tortured to death for a minor example of disobedience.


    Here are a couple of arguments I've encounter before so for those who want to use them, you can just skip to my rebuttal, but if you think you can present the argument better than I did, go ahead an repeat it (I just thought it might save a step to skip to my rebuttal).

    God doesn't send people to Hell. People choose to go there.
    But I assume that once someone ends up in Hell, they realize that there is a God and therefore would choose, then and there, to go to God. If God refuses to take them, then it's God's choice to do so.

    You don't understand God's justice.
    Perhaps. But then my argument is that by earthly standards of justice, God is not just and loving if he routinely sends those he loves to eternal damnation.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I've engaged in this debate here and there in other religious debates but as far as I recall, eventually my opponent abandons the debate.
    I think I know why...see below...

    1. The given mythology about eternal damnation is that God routinely sends people who have committed "sins" that would not warrant much legal punishment in a earthly justice system that people generally considered fair.
    You start with the premise that it is a myth. Then, reach a conclusion based upon notion (as indirect as it may be).

    There's no point in debating anyone on a topic, that exercises circular reasoning. It's a complete waste of time for everyone involved.

    Had you an honest, objective approach on the issue, perhaps you'd get more bites.

    It's that type of verbiage, that turns off/away those who would take the opposite position.

    I personally, stopped reading after this part because I'm tired of such types of debate. There is no sincerity in it, and it is a complete waste of time.

    Perhaps there are some noobie members out there who may bite, but I doubt there will be much input from the "veteran club".

    Regardless, you may want to define Hell. If Hell is unreasonable and unjust, you should define and support what it is precisely is unreasonable and unjust about it instead of simply stating it is the case.

    What specifically is Hell? What is it like there? If you cannot answer these questions, then you cannot know what Hell is. If you cannot know what Hell is, then there is no basis for claiming it is unjust or unreasonable as a punishment.

    Furthermore, explaining how God is just and loving towards us, would also be beneficial.

    You see, maybe it isn't the case that Christians are in error in believing that Hell is not unjust nor unloving...but rather it is the case that you are in error in your understanding of what Hell is, how God is said to be loving and how God is said to be just. You'll need to support these terms and understandings prior to any meaningful exchange, regardless of who participates.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You start with the premise that it is a myth. Then, reach a conclusion based upon notion (as indirect as it may be).
    Let me be clear that this post in no way says that God or Hell does not exist - that is not at all the purpose of this thread. When I say "myth" I mean "religious story" or something along those lines. This thread is not about whether there is a God or Hell, but that the concept of both a loving God and eternal damnation (true or not) is contradictory.

    If need be, for the sake of argument, will assume that both God and Hell exist (as conceding that point in no way harms the argument I am making)


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Had you an honest, objective approach on the issue, perhaps you'd get more bites.
    I don't get what you mean. I have a point of view on a specific issue and I'm stating it as clearly and objectively as I can. If you're put off by the word "myth", then perhaps I should have chosen another word. Maybe "story" or "concept" is better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    It's that type of verbiage, that turns off/away those who would take the opposite position.
    I don't know where the miscommunication lies, but it looks like you don't understand what the thread is about.

    It's a debate I've had with numerous people numerous times in other threads and now I'm giving this debate its own thread.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    What specifically is Hell? What is it like there? If you cannot answer these questions, then you cannot know what Hell is. If you cannot know what Hell is, then there is no basis for claiming it is unjust or unreasonable as a punishment.
    I kind of assumed we all knew what Hell is. A place of fire and torment where certain souls are sent to suffer for eternity.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Furthermore, explaining how God is just and loving towards us, would also be beneficial.
    I'm actually questioning that point. But I think we all know more or less what just and loving means.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You see, maybe it isn't the case that Christians are in error in believing that Hell is not unjust nor unloving...but rather it is the case that you are in error in your understanding of what Hell is, how God is said to be loving and how God is said to be just. You'll need to support these terms and understandings prior to any meaningful exchange, regardless of who participates.
    Assuming that Hell is a place of eternal torment, no being would send another being there if he loved that being. And if the damned being committed no crime worthy of eternal damnation, then sending him/her there would be unjust by any earthly definition of justice that I know of.

    Really, what I just wrote above is my main argument.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I kind of assumed we all knew what Hell is. A place of fire and torment where certain souls are sent to suffer for eternity.
    So it is physically hot? How are people suffering exactly? What causes this suffering? Is it the fire?

    I'm actually questioning that point. But I think we all know more or less what just and loving means.
    Can you define the terms please?

    Assuming that Hell is a place of eternal torment, no being would send another being there if he loved that being.
    How is Hell a place of eternal torment? What specifically is the torment? What is its root cause? Are there various ways for various beings to love other beings? In what way(s) does God love his creation? What does scripture say?

    After all, you want to use scripture to argue that people are damned, shouldn't you likewise use the same source and context to define the other terms and concepts?

    And if the damned being committed no crime worthy of eternal damnation, then sending him/her there would be unjust by any earthly definition of justice that I know of.
    Doesn't that depend on what "damnation" means exactly?

    You are using a lot of terms that you assume everyone agrees on without even discussing or defining them.

    It is my position, that it is really a confusion or misunderstanding of the terms that lead to a lot of wasted time. Therefore, I propose that you clearly define the terms being used and support those definitions Biblically, so that all parties involved can be more efficient with their communication on points of interest.
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    So it is physically hot? How are people suffering exactly? What causes this suffering? Is it the fire?
    I'm going by whatever the common perception of Hell is, which does seem to be a fire and brimstone, lake of fire where people are always in pain from burning.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Can you define the terms please?
    I think we know what love is and "just" means fairness so in the terms of judgment it would be a punishment appropriate with the level of offense.



    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    How is Hell a place of eternal torment? What specifically is the torment? What is its root cause? Are there various ways for various beings to love other beings? In what way(s) does God love his creation? What does scripture say?

    After all, you want to use scripture to argue that people are damned, shouldn't you likewise use the same source and context to define the other terms and concepts?
    I've been told more than once that Hell is a place of eternal punishment and souls who don't meet the mark on some level in life end up there for eternity.

    THAT is the concept I'm challenging. I don't need to get into specifics of scripture. If indeed you feel that scripture does not portray the scenario that I am challenging, then clearly my argument does not apply to your beliefs about God and damnation and therefore there's no need for you to debate me on this.

    But I've had the debate I'm presenting here numerous times on ODN and for those who do believe that eternal damnation and a just and loving God are compatible, here's the thread to take up the challenge.

    Let me ask you:

    Do you believe in eternal damnation to a place where one suffers eternally?

    Do you believe that God loves us, is a fair and kind being and yet sends many of those he loves to eternal damnation?

    If so, how do you reconcile the notion that God loves someone, is fair to that person, and yet will send them to Hell for eternity for, what on Earth, would be minor transgressions.


    And assuming such questions apply to your beliefs, you can go by your current understanding of what God and Hell are.

    And of course if such questions do not apply to your beliefs, then there is nothing for us to debate.

  6. #6
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I'm going by whatever the common perception of Hell is, which does seem to be a fire and brimstone, lake of fire where people are always in pain from burning.
    Is there Biblical support for this? Do you think that Satan rules over Hell? After all, that is a popular perception.

    Or perhaps you are referring to another religion?

    I think we know what love is and "just" means fairness so in the terms of judgment it would be a punishment appropriate with the level of offense.
    OK, since you refuse to define love, I'll just guess at what I think you think it is.

    love - a strong positive emotion of regard and affection

    Is that accurate for your claim?

    I've been told more than once that Hell is a place of eternal punishment and souls who don't meet the mark on some level in life end up there for eternity.

    THAT is the concept I'm challenging. I don't need to get into specifics of scripture. If indeed you feel that scripture does not portray the scenario that I am challenging, then clearly my argument does not apply to your beliefs about God and damnation and therefore there's no need for you to debate me on this.
    We as an audience however, must know what you are talking about. Hell is rather vague. It is portrayed differently by many different belief systems. You don't seem to want to suggest that you are referencing a Biblical Hell, which is fine...but this should be made public so that Christians do not feel compelled to defend their belief system (since your argument is not directed towards them).

    But I've had the debate I'm presenting here numerous times on ODN and for those who do believe that eternal damnation and a just and loving God are compatible, here's the thread to take up the challenge.
    I was not aware that there were that many non-Christians here who believed in Hell.

    Let me ask you:

    Do you believe in eternal damnation to a place where one suffers eternally?

    Do you believe that God loves us, is a fair and kind being and yet sends many of those he loves to eternal damnation?

    If so, how do you reconcile the notion that God loves someone, is fair to that person, and yet will send them to Hell for eternity for, what on Earth, would be minor transgressions.
    Yes. But I doubt we agree on the term "suffer".

    No. And again, we appear to disagree on how a divine being "loves" its creation (especially one that is all-good and just). At least, I assume we disagree because we have no idea what the term means in the op. I also do not subscribe to the idea that God necessarily sends anyone anywhere. Nor do I understand what you mean by "minor transgression" and I suspect, that I would probably disagree with such a term as it pertains to the Biblical doctrine of Hell.

    All of which, is why I state that you do not appear to be wanting to debate Christians here (for you do not want to support any of your claims using the Christian holy book).

    And assuming such questions apply to your beliefs, you can go by your current understanding of what God and Hell are.
    You've made a claim, not an inquiry. The onus is upon the argument maker to clearly define the terms in which are being accepted and debated. By your unsubstantiated and undefined terms, it is unloving and unjust for a being to send another being to a place of eternal suffering.

    To that, I can only respond "Ok."

    I'm familiar with most of the world's more popular religions, not all admittedly. But I'll defend the one I know best, that is Christianity. Your claims here, as they are stated, do not pertain to Christianity, so there is no need for any defense.

    When an argument is made against Christianity, using Christian terms and concepts, doctrines, understandings and definitions, I'll respond in more detail. Until then, your argument is based on something I don't believe in so I cannot defend it.

    And of course if such questions do not apply to your beliefs, then there is nothing for us to debate.
    I agree. This thread is not about Christianity nor for Christians.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Is there Biblical support for this? Do you think that Satan rules over Hell? After all, that is a popular perception.

    Or perhaps you are referring to another religion?.
    Well, this is a continuation of debates that I have had with Christians. So for those Christians (but if you hold those beliefs but aren't Christian or just want to debate this for an exercise) who claim that God is both loving and fair but routinely sends people to eternal damnation, this is the thread that challenges that argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    love - a strong positive emotion of regard and affection

    Is that accurate for your claim?
    Sure. That's a common definition. I kind of assumed that everyone knew that so I didn't see the need to say it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    We as an audience however, must know what you are talking about. Hell is rather vague. It is portrayed differently by many different belief systems. You don't seem to want to suggest that you are referencing a Biblical Hell, which is fine...but this should be made public so that Christians do not feel compelled to defend their belief system (since your argument is not directed towards them).
    Again, this thread is a continuation of a debate I've had with numerous Christians. So I'm playing in their court. In other words, you don't need me to define terms if you are engaging in this debate. Use your own terms and if it ends up in confusion, then we'll hash it out.



    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I also do not subscribe to the idea that God necessarily sends anyone anywhere. Nor do I understand what you mean by "minor transgression" and I suspect, that I would probably disagree with such a term as it pertains to the Biblical doctrine of Hell.

    All of which, is why I state that you do not appear to be wanting to debate Christians here (for you do not want to support any of your claims using the Christian holy book).
    Again, I'll go by whatever terms you want as long as they are consistent with Christianity as I understand it (and I know enough to get the basics).



    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You've made a claim, not an inquiry. The onus is upon the argument maker to clearly define the terms in which are being accepted and debated. By your unsubstantiated and undefined terms, it is unloving and unjust for a being to send another being to a place of eternal suffering.
    I am saying it is unjust for God to send people to Hell for trangressions such as not believing in God. I've heard more than once from Christians that if one does not believe in God, they will be sent to Hell.

    From any earthly standard of justice and love, that is neither.

    I challenge that statement on the terms it was presented using the terms that I assume the speaker meant when he/she said them (in other words what that person meant by God and Hell is what I mean as well).


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    When an argument is made against Christianity, using Christian terms and concepts, doctrines, understandings and definitions, I'll respond in more detail. Until then, your argument is based on something I don't believe in so I cannot defend it.
    Well, I've just said it above. So whatever you think is God and Hell is what I'm referring to. If you disagree with the something there, specifically tell me what it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This thread is not about Christianity nor for Christians.
    Maybe not you, but I'm challenging something I've heard more than once from a Christian.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, this is a continuation of debates that I have had with Christians. So for those Christians (but if you hold those beliefs but aren't Christian or just want to debate this for an exercise) who claim that God is both loving and fair but routinely sends people to eternal damnation, this is the thread that challenges that argument.
    I guess I'll just have to wait until a Christian argues these points. I'll side with you apparently when they do. One thing we can challenge them is: Satan does not rule over Hell. That's a common perception, but scripturally inaccurate.

    Sure. That's a common definition. I kind of assumed that everyone knew that so I didn't see the need to say it.
    OK, I'll remember that definition and accept that it is what you intended.

    Again, this thread is a continuation of a debate I've had with numerous Christians. So I'm playing in their court. In other words, you don't need me to define terms if you are engaging in this debate. Use your own terms and if it ends up in confusion, then we'll hash it out.
    Well, if they have already defined the terms, then I'd like to see what they are. Unless you can copy/paste them into this thread. I don't know until I see them.

    Again, I'll go by whatever terms you want as long as they are consistent with Christianity as I understand it (and I know enough to get the basics).
    Are you suggesting that your opponents offer the definition in your thread then?

    I am saying it is unjust for God to send people to Hell for trangressions such as not believing in God.
    Do you consider this then, a minor transgression? Also, is this the only reason they are not saved? Or was there something else to it?

    From any earthly standard of justice and love, that is neither.
    Do you think earthly, limited, finite understandings of anything...applies to a spiritual, eternal, infinite being?

    Well, I've just said it above. So whatever you think is God and Hell is what I'm referring to. If you disagree with the something there, specifically tell me what it is.
    I can only assume we disagree because you see terms and draw a conclusion that they don't fit. I see terms and draw a conclusion that there is no problem. You made a claim that given certain terms, X is the case. I guess I may agree with that. The problem is, the variance of used terms.

    Maybe not you, but I'm challenging something I've heard more than once from a Christian.
    Specifically and only that if one doesn't believe, they are damned?
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Are you suggesting that your opponents offer the definition in your thread then?
    I'm saying that what they consider Hell and God to be close enough to what I think they are saying to engage in a debate over this. If there are disagreements over terms, then we'll cross that bridge if we ever reach it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Do you consider this then, a minor transgression? Also, is this the only reason they are not saved? Or was there something else to it?
    I don't see the relevance of this question to my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Do you think earthly, limited, finite understandings of anything...applies to a spiritual, eternal, infinite being?
    Well, if people believe in God at all and tell each other their beliefs, it seems that religious people generally do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I can only assume we disagree because you see terms and draw a conclusion that they don't fit. I see terms and draw a conclusion that there is no problem. You made a claim that given certain terms, X is the case. I guess I may agree with that. The problem is, the variance of used terms.
    Well, unless you can tell me what the problems are, you aren't countering my position.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Specifically and only that if one doesn't believe, they are damned?
    It doesn't matter. That, by itself, is enough to make my case. If I need to refer to other examples to help my argument, I'll worry about that when the time comes.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Note. I decided to start this old thread of mine again. Below is the OP.

    I've engaged in this debate here and there in other religious debates but as far as I recall, eventually my opponent abandons the debate.

    This is a very specific debate and the argument of this thread is:

    By any sane human standard of morality, God sending anyone to eternal damnation for anything other than the most grievous crimes while on Earth is completely contradictory to the notion that God is just and loving towards us.


    Now, here are few givens for the purpose of this debate:

    1. The given mythology about eternal damnation is that God routinely sends people who have committed "sins" that would not warrant much legal punishment in a earthly justice system that people generally considered fair. And once someone ends up in Hell, there's no getting out.

    2. God is omnipotent therefore he can choose to not send people to Hell or pull people out of Hell whenever he wants.

    3. God supposedly loves us much like a father loves his children.

    And I would argue that God sending a child he loves to eternal damnation for a minor sin would be the same as a Dad sending his son to a torture chamber to be tortured to death for a minor example of disobedience.


    Here are a couple of arguments I've encounter before so for those who want to use them, you can just skip to my rebuttal, but if you think you can present the argument better than I did, go ahead an repeat it (I just thought it might save a step to skip to my rebuttal).

    God doesn't send people to Hell. People choose to go there.
    But I assume that once someone ends up in Hell, they realize that there is a God and therefore would choose, then and there, to go to God. If God refuses to take them, then it's God's choice to do so.

    You don't understand God's justice.
    Perhaps. But then my argument is that by earthly standards of justice, God is not just and loving if he routinely sends those he loves to eternal damnation.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    I think you might want to actually examine Christian theology here. There is ONLY ONE unpardonable sin - denying God when you know he is true, real, and just. In short, everything short of that can be forgiven and you will NOT go to hell. However, if, presumably after you die and realize, "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires e to be in heaven despite my faults!" And YOU decide to deny that? To deny the opportunity to be with him of your own volition? Then God will LET YOU do that. You accepts your will on the matter.

    So it might accurately be stated that the only thing that can get you into Hell ... is you. God is attempting to do everything in his power to avoid that destiny for you, but you have free will - and if hell is your desire, so be it. Just don't blame God for the consequences of your own choices.
    Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    I think you might want to actually examine Christian theology here. There is ONLY ONE unpardonable sin - denying God when you know he is true, real, and just. In short, everything short of that can be forgiven and you will NOT go to hell. However, if, presumably after you die and realize, "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires e to be in heaven despite my faults!" And YOU decide to deny that?
    Let's not make it about "me" and introduce a character called "Joe the atheist" as our hypothetical subject.

    So Joe doesn't believe in God his whole life and then dies. In the afterlife he sees God and says "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires me to be in heaven despite my faults!" and he also says "I REALLY don't want to go to Hell." So at that point Joe would decide that he would rather be with God than be in Hell. So at that point his choice would be to accept God.


    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    God is attempting to do everything in his power to avoid that destiny for you
    Which means God will let Joe be with him if Joe decides to be with God. It's certainly within God's power to say "okay" after Joe says "I want to be with you, God".


    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    but you have free will - and if hell is your desire, so be it. Just don't blame God for the consequences of your own choices.
    Well, if Joe actually decides "I'd rather go to Hell", then he volunteers to go to Hell. But then if after being in Hell a while he changes his mind ("Man, I really don't like Hell!") and accepts God, then assuming God doesn't want Joe in Hell, God will allow him to leave.

    So we haven't gotten to a scenario where God sends someone to Hell forever against his will (eternal damnation).

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let's not make it about "me" and introduce a character called "Joe the atheist" as our hypothetical subject.
    I have not, the standard of the unpardonable sin is for everyone - in the Bible its the Pharisee's who deny God and his power for reasons of pride, not Joe the Atheist.

    So Joe doesn't believe in God his whole like and then dies. In the afterlife he sees God and says "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires e to be in heaven despite my faults!" and he also says "I REALLY don't want to go to Hell." So at that point Joe would decide that he would rather be with God than be in Hell. So at that point his choice would not be to accept God.
    If you KNOW God is real, why would you deny his existence anyway?

    That is like throwing a rock and hitting someone in the head with a rock, and having the person deny the existence of rocks. Such deliberate avoidance has consequences.

    Again, you are also presupposing that this Hell is inhumanely cruel and NO ONE would choose it. OK. Joe is choosing it anyway ... because he does not want to acknowledge God even when God is right there before him. Such deliberate avoidance has consequences.

    And it seems safe to say that any human would make the same decision (we would all prefer Heaven to Hell).
    Yep, but then there are those Pharisees - and the need to spell out the unpardonable sin. Humans do a lot of things that we assume no man would choose, like rape, murder, etc. Some people ARE genuinely evil, and will choose to avoid God at all costs. (That is different from atheism, who presumes no God - it is actively denying what you know is true. Like denying Burnie Madoff was a scam artist - or that the world is round).

    http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/cms/

    As you can see, even with Satellites in orbit around this spherical earth of ours, there are some that still deny this and claim the earth is flat.

    What you are I even agree on as reasonable does not bind all humans.


    Which means he will Joe be with him. After all, it's what both God and Joe wants and since God is omnipotent, it WILL happen if it what God wants.
    This is mere supposition on your part and openly conflicts with Christian theology (Calvanism is not exactly the leading theology). What God wants is for you to exercise your free will, that he has the power to compel you does not mean he will - this is spelled out in God's Plan of Salvation, where the intent of all Creation is for you to separated from God, so you can learn - i.e. God says lying is bad, and you are free to disagree and discover for yourself. When all is said and done, God would obviously choose for you to come back to him, but that is your choice. In our theology, the compelling of that result was actually Satan's plan, and is what sparked the war in heaven and the fall of Satan.

    God is omnipotent, he could have just forced Satan to not be a douche, but his tolerance of free will seems pretty sacrosanct. When Satan chose to leave, God let him go. Are YOU so important that he would over ride this standard?




    Well, if Joe actually decides "I'd rather go to Hell", then he volunteers to go to Hell. But then if after a while he changes his mind and accepts God, then assuming God doesn't want Joe in Hell, God will allow him to leave.
    Again, the UNPARDONABLE sin. If you are shown God and understand all of this, if you know his love, his desire, your own place in this, and see all the consequences, and reject it anyway? Well, tough crap, there are consequences to your choice.

    I would say that, just like the flat earthers, there is little chance that such intransigence will change.

    But then again, God is omnipotent, he might just come get you anyway. The point being YOU CHOSE TO BE THERE, not God. And GOD, being omnipotent, would be the thing that had to rescue you from the consequences of your own choice.

    Its that Jesus and Grace thing ...

    So we haven't gotten to a scenario where God sends someone to Hell forever against his will (eternal damnation).
    Nor will we ever. That is kind of the point. The only way into Hell is to choose it. God does not place you there. At least not according to Christian theology.
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Nor will we ever. That is kind of the point. The only way into Hell is to choose it. God does not place you there. At least not according to Christian theology.
    Universal salvation is a pretty narrow Christian theology. Most Christians I've ever had dealings with think there are requirements that go well beyond simply accepting the invitation. The New Testament is full of passages where it is said your behaviors and practices in life will greatly help or hinder your ability to enter the kingdom of god. Were all that was needed an acceptance speech then none of that makes any sense.

    Even a craven murderer may well accept the invitation if it means avoiding a life of eternal torment or the like. I can imagine some with a self hatred may well opt for torture and destruction but that is a pretty narrow demographic. The NT bible makes a great play of living virtuously and the OT is all about human breaking gods rules and being punished for it. The idea that the key to heaven is saying "OK sure" seems to fly in the face of actual Christian teaching and practice.
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Universal salvation is a pretty narrow Christian theology. Most Christians I've ever had dealings with think there are requirements that go well beyond simply accepting the invitation. The New Testament is full of passages where it is said your behaviors and practices in life will greatly help or hinder your ability to enter the kingdom of god. Were all that was needed an acceptance speech then none of that makes any sense.

    Even a craven murderer may well accept the invitation if it means avoiding a life of eternal torment or the like. I can imagine some with a self hatred may well opt for torture and destruction but that is a pretty narrow demographic. The NT bible makes a great play of living virtuously and the OT is all about human breaking gods rules and being punished for it. The idea that the key to heaven is saying "OK sure" seems to fly in the face of actual Christian teaching and practice.
    Who says our actions down here do not effect things in heaven?

    There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. (I Corinthians 40-41)

    In short, there appear to be levels of heaven that correspond to our closeness to God.

    So yes, even a murderer would accept the lowest degree of Heaven over Hell - and that is precisely what God would grant him. (Assuming of course that the murderer had not repented and was defined only by his one violent act - its not something that can be 'fixed', but if a murderer is imprisoned, admits his guilt, and spend the rest of his life atoning for that sin and seeking to do the right things ... I would assume that these actions count as well?)

    You may also want to look at the Bible, "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Hell really isn't a central theme of the Bible, its more acknowledged than anything else and generally a place where people burn. Yet the passage I cited is key, its a place where you are 'separated from God'.

    Knowing as we do about Satan, we can assume that he will probably not be a loving father, an the 'gnashing of teeth' may be from knowing you had a different choice and rejected it, the 'burning' than of envy (which is an emotion ascribed to Satan). Much the fire and brimstone comes not from the Bible, but from Dante.

    There are people who are evil. And they would choose this in the mistaken belief, as they do here on Earth, that this is a place they could master and subjugate and rule as Lord. Such people have no desire to be near a loving God - just as Satan did not.

    What is clear thought, Hell is the place you go if you truly desire to be separated from God fro eternity. That is ONE'S desire, not God's desire for you, and its important that we make that distinction.

    Heck, I know Somalia is a bad place, and I would certainly never wish that you go there, but ... you are free to choose (and I personally think it would be a great place for all those anti-government types who think that government is evil to visit ... they can enjoy a collapsed government to their heart's desire - even as they can see the tangible difference between a well governed Society and ... Somalia or the Pakistani Tribal Belt).

    People are free to make all manner of strange choices even as they see the truth. God knows this, and, where Hell is concerned, he has given us ample of warning of the ONE unpardonable sin - and what it portends. (Apparently, its worse than Somalia though ... )
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    I'm not really sure why we would find these concepts inherently incompatible. We could well turn it around and say that a God that allows the unredeemed into His presence is inherently unjust.

    I think the problem with the OP is that it isn't really Christian dogma that Hell exists as a form of redemptive punishment. It isn't there for you to burn off your debt as it were. It exists because your nature (sinful) is inherently incompatible with God's nature.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    If you KNOW God is real, why would you deny his existence anyway?
    Straw man argument. I never, in this debate, denied God's existence. And as I clearly said, do not make this debate about me. Let's stick with Joe as our example of a person who denies God existence while alive on Earth.


    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Again, you are also presupposing that this Hell is inhumanely cruel and NO ONE would choose it. OK. Joe is choosing it anyway ... because he does not want to acknowledge God even when God is right there before him. Such deliberate avoidance has consequences.
    My error. I earlier wrote Joe does not accept God and I should not have added the "not". So let me restate the scenario.

    So Joe doesn't believe in God his whole life and then dies. In the afterlife he sees God and says "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires e to be in heaven despite my faults!" and he also says "I REALLY don't want to go to Hell." So at that point Joe would decide that he would rather be with God than be in Hell. So at that point his choice would be to accept God.

    I mean if Joe decides to go to Hell and stay there for eternity, then that's his choice. But if Joe decides to go with God upon meeting God in the afterlife and God likewise wants Joe to be with him, then Joe will be with God. Right?



    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Yep, but then there are those Pharisees - and the need to spell out the unpardonable sin. Humans do a lot of things that we assume no man would choose, like rape, murder, etc. Some people ARE genuinely evil, and will choose to avoid God at all costs.
    We will have to agree to disagree on this point. Being in Hell is, as I understand, the worst thing that could happen to a being. So the notion that someone would choose Hell over any alternative does not make much sense. And even if one chose to go to Hell, they would change their mind about being there once they started suffering the tortures of Hell so they would eventually decide to leave Hell and face whatever alternative there is, including being with God.

    So you can say that some people would rather hang around in Hell for eternity but I don't think that's the case.

    But besides that, even if one DOES choose to go to Hell and stay there for eternity, it is not damnation. The person is not sent there by God but chooses to go there.

    So it appears that you aren't really rebutting my argument that God would eternally damn anyone as you don't seem to think that it even happens.




    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Nor will we ever. That is kind of the point. The only way into Hell is to choose it. God does not place you there. At least not according to Christian theology.
    I've heard plenty of Christians say that God will send you to Hell. You can certainly hold a different interpretation of Christian theology but you cannot deny that at least some Christians do hold that God sometimes sends people to Hell.

    And if you disagree that eternal damnation exists, then you basically agree with my argument and we have nothing to debate.

    ---------- Post added March 4th, 2015 at 12:10 AM ---------- Previous post was March 3rd, 2015 at 11:47 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm not really sure why we would find these concepts inherently incompatible. We could well turn it around and say that a God that allows the unredeemed into His presence is inherently unjust.
    We could even accept that but it does not counter my argument. God can both keep the unredeemed from his presence and also not send them to Hell for eternity.

    In fact, our existence on Earth is one of unredeemed individuals being separated from God. So we can clearly see that we don't have to be in Hell to be separated from God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think the problem with the OP is that it isn't really Christian dogma that Hell exists as a form of redemptive punishment. It isn't there for you to burn off your debt as it were. It exists because your nature (sinful) is inherently incompatible with God's nature.
    But I'm challenging the Christian dogma that God would send anyone to Hell for eternity so I understand the position but it, as I argue, contradicts the notion that God loves us (as we understand love).

    I believe that it's a practically universal belief in religions that forward some concept of "sin" that one can possibly conquer one's own sin. In Christianity it is redemption and in Eastern religion the concept of Karma covers that. So I don't think many would agree that our natures are inherently incompatible, just currently incompatible and potentially compatible.

    So assuming that our natures are potentially compatible and it's possible for all of us to reach that potential and God likewise wants us all to reach that potential, it would stand to reason that we will all eventually reach our potential and become compatible with God. What's to stop this from happening? When referring to an omnipotent being who wants it to happen what can stop it from happening is absolutely nothing.

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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Straw man argument. I never, in this debate, denied God's existence. And as I clearly said, do not make this debate about me. Let's stick with Joe as our example of a person who denies God existence while alive on Earth.
    I never claimed you did - I simply explained the UNPARDONABLE SIN - from which I derived my inferences.

    As I said quite clearly, its not about you.


    My error. I earlier wrote Joe does not accept God and I should not have added the "not". So let me restate the scenario.

    So Joe doesn't believe in God his whole life and then dies. In the afterlife he sees God and says "Oh crap, God real! He loves me dearly! He desires e to be in heaven despite my faults!" and he also says "I REALLY don't want to go to Hell." So at that point Joe would decide that he would rather be with God than be in Hell. So at that point his choice would be to accept God.
    Yep, hence the rock to the head while denying the existence of rocks point.

    I mean if Joe decides to go to Hell and stay there for eternity, then that's his choice. But if Joe decides to go with God upon meeting God in the afterlife and God likewise wants Joe to be with him, then Joe will be with God. Right?
    You are leaving out the part that if God is real and now perfectly understood, so too is the consequence of separating from said God and journeying into Hell. Joe CAN choose that.


    We will have to agree to disagree on this point. Being in Hell is, as I understand, the worst thing that could happen to a being. So the notion that someone would choose Hell over any alternative does not make much sense. And even if one chose to go to Hell, they would change their mind about being there once they started suffering the tortures of Hell so they would eventually decide to leave Hell and face whatever alternative there is, including being with God.
    It is the worst thing that can happen to GOOD PEOPLE. Hell is a place that many would choose, warlords, criminals, rapists, etc. If these are the acts that define you, that bring your life fulfillment, there is no way such a person would choose God. Indeed, Ted Bundy, for example, used religion merely as a means of lower the guard of his would be victims - such a person and his thinking is precisely in line with the tactics of the 'Father of Lies'.

    Again, this is why the comment was placed about what YOU AND ME agreeing on not binding all of humanity. There are seriously evil people out there. I have, unfortunately, come face to face with a few.

    So you can say that some people would rather hang around in Hell for eternity but I don't think that's the case.
    I would disagree, and what I am not seeing is any argument that it is God throwing someone unwillingly into hell.

    But besides that, even if one DOES choose to go to Hell and stay there for eternity, it is not damnation. The person is not sent there by God but chooses to go there.
    Yep.

    So it appears that you aren't really rebutting my argument that God would eternally damn anyone as you don't seem to think that it even happens.
    That is the rebuttal. If God is not sending you there, then you cannot exactly blame God for something he is not doing.

    Again, please study our theology. Does God crate Hell? Nope - Satan does when he leaves. And why did Satan leave? Because his plan was Creation to happen and ALL people to be able to return to God regardless. You know, NO ONE would have to worry about Hell or being cut off from God. God disagreed, something about consequences for actions and choices, and Satan rejected God ... and was caste out. Note the part about rejecting God, a being that fully understand that God is real, etc. God, as I said, being omnipotent and all, could have simply intervened and stopped Satan and those who followed him from being total douchebags. He did not - which ... again ... indicates that God's tolerance of his Creations free will is pretty sacrosanct.

    So, if God did not toss even the center of Evil itself into Hell, but allowed evil to make its own choice, why would he caste YOU into hell merely for having a different point of view about his existence when you have no access to him and no absolute determinate way of validating his existence or not? (Which you would need in order to violate the unpardonable sin). He would NOT, and that is kinda the central message of Jesus Christ and what the intent was of sending Jesus here ... SALVATION.

    Again, I don't really care that you have a different opinion about God, but please at least get the theology correct and stop blaming a God you don't believe in for tossing people into a Hell you don't believe in either. The God of the Bible simple does not comport to the way you view him. It might be a valid question about theology, but once clarified it makes little sense to ignore the theology and maintain that our God is mean, cruel and evil anyway. The intent of such would seem ... injurious.






    I've heard plenty of Christians say that God will send you to Hell. You can certainly hold a different interpretation of Christian theology but you cannot deny that at least some Christians do hold that God sometimes sends people to Hell.
    Thank you for the personal anecdote, but that does not mean such a statement is supported by the actual theology. I have heard plenty of atheists accuse perfectly innocent people of murder based solely on their faith choice, does that also mean that atheism defines religious people as murderers on sight? Or is that merely an appeal to an extreme?

    Again, if you have a problem with the THEOLOGICAL interpretation, then personal anecdote is not much a rebuttal. Feel free to study the scripture yourself and arrive at your own conclusion.

    And if you disagree that eternal damnation exists, then you basically agree with my argument and we have nothing to debate.
    You changed goal posts. Hell exists. The disagreement is about WHO GETS YOU THERE. God? Or You?


    We could even accept that but it does not counter my argument. God can both keep the unredeemed from his presence and also not send them to Hell for eternity.
    COULD and WOULD are two different things. You right NOW, COULD walk out onto the street and stab someone with a kitchen knife. Does this mean you WILL? Hell, btw, in the Bible, is openly described as 'separation from God."

    "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (2 Thessalonians 1:9)

    In fact, our existence on Earth is one of unredeemed individuals being separated from God. So we can clearly see that we don't have to be in Hell to be separated from God.
    This is temporary, the other existence is eternal. Kind of an important point.


    What those who separate themselves from God wind up doing in Hell is up to them. (Just as it is here). They have their own free will. But when its filled with people seeking to dominate and control one another through force and other means of compulsion, I would wager its not that nice of a place.

    Free will - it really does have consequences in Heaven and Hell, just like here on earth.


    But I'm challenging the Christian dogma that God would send anyone to Hell for eternity so I understand the position but it, as I argue, contradicts the notion that God loves us (as we understand love).
    Again, God does not. People do. A better question is why so many atheists need OUR GOD to conform to their often petty views of him?

    I believe that it's a practically universal belief in religions that forward some concept of "sin" that one can possibly conquer one's own sin. In Christianity it is redemption and in Eastern religion the concept of Karma covers that. So I don't think many would agree that our natures are inherently incompatible, just currently incompatible and potentially compatible.
    Hence the Christian concept of grace, repentance, and forgiveness.

    We do not keep these things secret.

    So assuming that our natures are potentially compatible and it's possible for all of us to reach that potential and God likewise wants us all to reach that potential, it would stand to reason that we will all eventually reach our potential and become compatible with God. What's to stop this from happening? When referring to an omnipotent being who wants it to happen what can stop it from happening is absolutely nothing.
    You fundamentally misunderstand Christian theology, and are, for all intents and purposes arguing the Epicurean Problem of Evil, which was successfully rebutted millennia ago by Ptolemy. Free Will.

    There is this thing called God's Plan of Salvation, and the intent of Creation is that we come here, separate from God, to learn. That requires this little thing called consequences. For example, God (and even your parents!) will tell you that lying is bad. You are free to disagree, and lie to avoid consequences. However, at some point, you will be caught in lies, and then ... not only will you face the consequences you wished to avoid, but your integrity and public perception will be damaged - perhaps irreparably. At that point, "lying is bad," is not because God says so, but because you KNOW is bad, and its now YOUR rule.

    That is a simplified version of the PURPOSE of all Creation (it really is all about you - as our theology says, "Compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.")

    So as we stumble and foible around, learning and growing, we change in ways that reveal who and what we are. Unfortunately, some of us are revealed as nakedly evil, and, in eternity, I doubt very seriously that you would want to spend eternity being raped for example - so those who choose it here on Earth ... get the other place. Because if that is who they are? If that is what defines them? Then the reality of God and rape being a horrible crime will not deter them from their 'fulfillment'.

    Or would you rather spend eternity with a rapist? That would be what you think OUR GOD should do?

    With respect, I strongly disagree.
    Last edited by gree0232; March 4th, 2015 at 01:23 AM.
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Question to miccan333: If you think no one would choose Hell, could you explain why there are Satanists here on Earth?

    http://www.joyofsatan.org

    These people have already chosen Satan. Hell.
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    Re: Eternal damnation is inconsistent with a loving and just God

    Gree,

    Just to start off, I don't think you are actually rebutting my position. More on that below.

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post

    I would disagree, and what I am not seeing is any argument that it is God throwing someone unwillingly into hell.
    That's because I'm not arguing that God does send people to Hell but addressing the arguments of those who do argue that God sends people to Hell against their will. For example, with little effort, I found this statement online:

    "God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His Law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just (Psalm 7:11). A good analogy is a court of law with a judge and a lawbreaker. A just judge will always convict the person who has been found guilty. If that judge did not pursue justice for the crime, he would not be a just judge (Deuteronomy 32:4)."

    http://www.gotquestions.org/why-does...e-to-hell.html

    THAT is the position I'm challenging and I argue that that position (which is a very common one, btw) contradicts the notion that God is loving.

    And your argument that this never happens in the first place in no way rebuts my argument for my argument is not based on the premise that it does happen. I mean I actually agree with you that God doesn't send people to Hell against their will (although I may get to that position via a different route than you do).

    So unless you are going to take the position that a loving God can send people to Hell against their will, you are not actually challenging my argument.



    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Again, I don't really care that you have a different opinion about God, but please at least get the theology correct and stop blaming a God you don't believe in for tossing people into a Hell you don't believe in either.
    For the record I believe in God and believe that God does not toss people into Hell. My argument is with those who do argue that God tosses people into Hell, such as whoever created the above quote.

    So again, you don't seem to challenging my debate position. We both agree that God does not send people to Hell and agree that those who say he does are wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    There is this thing called God's Plan of Salvation, and the intent of Creation is that we come here, separate from God, to learn. That requires this little thing called consequences. For example, God (and even your parents!) will tell you that lying is bad. You are free to disagree, and lie to avoid consequences. However, at some point, you will be caught in lies, and then ... not only will you face the consequences you wished to avoid, but your integrity and public perception will be damaged - perhaps irreparably. At that point, "lying is bad," is not because God says so, but because you KNOW is bad, and its now YOUR rule.
    And then what happens? As you said, I learn. I learn that lying is not a good thing even for me and I become a more honest person. And likewise any mistake I make will be another opportunity to learn to be better and the consequences of bad action are learning tools. And if I need to learn A LOT to be worthy of being with God, then I don't see why God will not grant me all of the opportunities necessary to become good enough. After all, we only have eternity. Yes, my current life if finite but an omnipotent being can certainly arrange more learning opportunities after this life. For example, I could learn in the afterlife. Or I could reincarnate and learn more while on Earth repeatedly.

    So there is no reason for an omnipotent, loving being to throw me away forever and therefore the argument that I'm actually challenging (which is not yours but the one in the quotes) is wrong.

 

 
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