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Austin Cline

Can Atheists Go to Heaven?

By January 12, 2009

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Relationships (whether just friendship or more) between theists and atheists can work. Relationships between Christians and atheists can work. There are, however, a few issues which can create major stumbling blocks in such relationships; the biggest among them are beliefs about heaven and hell. The traditional, orthodox Christian doctrine is that you must have faith in Jesus to go to heaven; everyone else goes to hell. Atheists are thus necessarily among those who are supposed to go to hell, but not every Christian believes this. What implications does this have for relations between atheists and theists?

Pew recently conducted a survey on the matter, but the results they give are a little confusing. Here is a summary created by someone else which presents the pertinent information nicely:

JEWS
* 36% of white evangelicals think Jews can go to Heaven.
* 61% of white mainline protestants think Jews can go to Heaven.
* 37% of protestants at historically Black churches, think Jews can go to Heaven.
* 61% of white Catholics4 think Jews can go to Heaven.

ATHEISTS
* 15% of white evangelicals think atheists can go to Heaven.
* 38% of white mainline protestants think atheists can go to Heaven.
* 39% of white Catholics4 think atheists can go to Heaven.

MUSLIMS
* 20% of white evangelicals think Muslims can go to Heaven.
* 46% of white mainline protestants think Muslims can go to Heaven.
* 34% of protestants at historically Black churches, think Muslims can go to Heaven.
* 49% of white Catholics4 think Muslims can go to Heaven.

CATHOLICS
* 43% of white evangelicals think Catholics can go to Heaven.
* 64% of white mainline protestants think Catholics can go to Heaven.
* 41% of protestants at historically Black churches, think Catholics can go to Heaven.

PROTESTANTS
* 66% of white Catholics4 think Protestants can go to Heaven.

Source: Alas, a blog

As you can see, most people continue to hold to the orthodox belief that atheists are going to hell. In fact, fewer Christians of every type think that atheists can go to heaven than they do about any of the other non-Christian groups asked about. It's only to be expected that most Christians believe atheists are going to hell, but the belief that you, as an atheist, are going to hell is not a morally neutral belief.

Saying that atheists are going to hell isn't like saying that you'll be going to work in the morning. It isn't even "merely" a belief with serious implications, like saying that unless you stop smoking you'll get cancer and die early. No, saying that you will go to hell because you are an atheist is more like saying that you will go to the electric chair because you're a child murderer — but worse.

A Christian who adheres in any way to traditional, orthodox doctrines about hell must believe that people who go to hell deserve to go to hell. They must believe that the people who go to hell should go to hell and that their being in hell is a good thing. Not being in hell would be a bad thing, like a child murderer going free instead of being punished.

There's no reasonable way to believe that people go to hell who shouldn't and that spending eternity in hell is an immoral, unjust situation (like Jews going to concentration camps). This would entail believing that God has set up an immoral, unjust afterlife and no devout Christian would be willing to adopt such a position. So, when a person sincerely believes that you will go to hell simply for being an atheist, then they must believe that you deserve to suffer immeasurably and unimaginably for all eternity. They must believe that it is good for you (and all other atheists) to suffer immeasurably and unimaginably for all eternity.

These implications all follow necessarily from the doctrine of hell, but what follows from these conclusions? To put the issue more bluntly: are such beliefs at all compatible with truly respecting you? Can a person really, truly, and sincerely respect you if they sincerely believe that you deserve to suffer in hell forever simply because you don't believe in the god they believe in?

Personally, I doubt it. If s Christian thinks they can sincerely adopt both the positions "I respect you" and "you will go to hell as an atheist," they're seriously mistaken. These two positions can only both be held if a person completely ignores one while focusing on the other. They are incompatible and one will have to go, even if the person doesn't recognize it yet. Perhaps there haven't been any situations which force the tension between the two to be obvious, but it will happen eventually.

In the long run, though, I don't think that a positive relationship can exsist between two people if one holds on to the belief that the other deserves the same fate as Adolf Hitler and Ted Bundy (or worse, since we don't know if they repented and converted just before death). Remember this when people complain about atheists who are being "arrogant" and "intolerant" for treating theism as a delusion ó it's far, far worse to say that a person deserves to spend eternity in hell for disbelieving in gods than to say that believing in gods is irrational, unreasonable, mistaken, or even delusional.

And what about all the Christians who don't believe that atheists will go to hell? This probably encompasses a large number of liberal Christians but even given their liberal theology, why are they denying a central, orthodox Christian doctrine? There is a little bit of support for the idea of universal salvation in the New Testament, but it's not very strong and that's why it's never been a position with a lot of support in the Christian community. If a atheist who lives a good life isn't barred from heaven, what's the point of Christianity?

Comments
January 12, 2009 at 3:08 pm
(1) BEX says:

If my friend the theist thinks I’m going to hell for not believing in god…then who does that really hurt…not me, since I don’t believe there is a hell (or afterlife at all, for that matter)…So really they’re only hurting themselves by allowing such negative thoughts and anxiety about someone they supposedly care about. And if it becomes an issue in our friendship then we were never real friends to begin with.

January 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm
(2) Sherry says:

My 19yo daughter is an “extreme” athlete and Christian boys are always sniffing around her.

I tell each one of them that I personally do not believe that a relationship is possible between a Christian and an atheist. That’s usually enough to scare those little theists away because my daughter and I are very close.

If I can help it, my grandchildren will not be influenced in any way by superstition and “magic”.

My daughter is a sponsored athlete, and her reps have told her not to advertise her atheism, even on her car because of the chance a judge will be adversely influenced.

It sure sucks when I see theist athletes with the Jesus stickers all over their gear. Especially since so many of them are really drunks in disguise. My kid doesn’t drink or smoke and she’s the bad girl because she doesn’t believe in imaginary friends?!

Sucks sucks sucks

January 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm
(3) Don Pope says:

Of course atheists can’t go to heaven. Neither can Christians, Jews, Muslims or anyone else for that matter.

Are we even now?

January 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm
(4) kevin says:

How about Pastafarian’s? Could pasta really be that bad?

January 12, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(5) MikeC says:

RE: Sherry’s post

Perfect example of hypoChristianity if I’ve ever seen it.

January 13, 2009 at 4:30 am
(6) Mark Barratt says:

Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal became a born-again Christian in prison.

How do you reckon the other Christians treat him up there? Do you think they’re a bit stand-offish because he murdered 17 men and boys, often embellishing the murders with rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism? Or is all forgiven?

Would you really want to be in Heaven with Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal?

January 13, 2009 at 6:28 am
(7) Dave Q says:

Living with theists is hell! This is it folks. It doesn’t get any worse than living in America in the 21st century with a bunch of people who believe in an invisible sky fairy, and another bunch of people trying to kill us for that same invisible fairy tale persona.

January 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm
(8) rickairscrnnme says:

You are all lost and i feel sorry for you. God bless you.

January 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm
(9) Mark Barratt says:

rickairscrnnme, I take it you’re not lost.

So you’re the perfect person to ask: are you looking forward to spending eternity with Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal?

January 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm
(10) ChristianWalk says:

If you are not saved you will go to Hell wheather you think it or not.

January 29, 2011 at 4:08 am
(11) A Human Being says:

If heaven is going to be full of people like you, all things considered, I think I’d rather be somewhere else.

January 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm
(12) mikaela siemens says:

If you are not saved you are going to Hell wheather you think in or not!!!!!

January 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm
(13) Sherry says:

There is no hell, there is no heaven.
Justice must be served on earth, in reality.
Our planet is real.

If you get so much joy about thinking about the afterlife, just go away! Let those of us who love life be free to live it.

January 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm
(14) mikaela siemens says:

You may love life but you will hate death, and whats with all the hostility.

January 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm
(15) Austin Cline says:

You may love life but you will hate death, and whats with all the hostility.

Uh, you’re the one exuding hostility in your two posts. That’s what threats of eternal torment in hell are: unbridled hostility. So long as you sincerely believe a person deserves to suffer for eternity simply for not believing in your god, then you can’t claim to want any sort of positive relationship or interaction with such a person.

January 13, 2009 at 7:12 pm
(16) Ron says:

mikaela siemens says: you will hate death.
If I am dead, how would I know? Just curious.

January 14, 2009 at 2:57 am
(17) Mark Barratt says:

Right, that’s been three theists now (or at least three usernames). Answer my question! It’s not a joke, Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal became a born-again Christian in prison before he was killed by another inmate. If he truly repented, he should be in heaven right now, laughing at George Carlin, Carl Sagan etc writhing in agony for DARING to disbelieve.

Are you looking forward to meeting Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal in heaven, and spending eternity with him? It’s a simple question.

January 14, 2009 at 8:25 am
(18) ChristianWalk says:

Dear Mark,
any saved by faith true Christian will go to heaven no mater what they have done. Not to long ago a man was on death row for killing two people. The man asked to see the pastor of my church. He was saved by Jesus Christ that day and he is in heaven now. So to answer your question, any person who is truly saved will go to heaven so if this Jeffrey Dahmer is turly saved I will no problem with him in heaven.

January 14, 2009 at 8:36 am
(19) kate james says:

What’s white, black, and red all over?
a Christians view of death.

January 14, 2009 at 9:06 am
(20) Mark Barratt says:

ChristianWalk, do you think that’s justice?

So your answer to the question “If a man murders 17 men and boys, often raping and mutilating them, and he goes to hell why is he going to hell?” Is that it’s because of his lack of faith in Christ? Not because of the murdering and raping and cannibalism? Somebody who is guilty of such acts can still get to heaven?

Is there any actual worldly act that somebody can commit that would bar them from heaven? Is there anything so hideous, so depraved, so blood-curdlingly chilling that the perpetrator would be banned from heaven forever? Blowing up an orphanage? Raping the Pope? Anything that Jesus wouldn’t forgive?

Because, to be honest, this Jesus character sounds awful lot like a cult leader who cares nothing about the behaviour of his followers as long as they retain their loyalty to him. Disloyalty is the only crime; anything else he’s flexible on.

January 14, 2009 at 9:13 am
(21) Ron says:

Since Adolph Hitler was a Catholic will you say Hi to him for me. Or, don’t Catholics go to heaven?

January 14, 2009 at 9:29 am
(22) Mark Barratt says:

Good point, Ron. As long as Hitler was right with Christ in his bunker at the end, he should be in heaven right now, from what I can see.

Bygones, and all that.

January 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm
(23) 411314 says:

I see your point Austin, but most Christians I’ve spoken with or seen speaking over the internet claim that God DOESN’T send people to hell, but that they end up going there anyway. Do you think that makes any sense?

January 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm
(24) Austin Cline says:

Do you think that makes any sense?

No. An omnipotent being is necessarily responsible for what happens around it.

First, no hell would exist if God didn’t will it to exist.

Second, no one would go to this hell if God didn’t allow it.

Third, the entire salvation scheme by which certain people go one way and others go another way wouldn’t exist without God’s direct, deliberate actions.

Saying that “God doesn’t send people to hell” is the rationalization of a person who recognizes that the orthodox soteriology of Christianity is grossly immoral and unjust, but who can’t bear to say this outright. So instead they make up reasons for how the situation can continue to exist but without their deity being responsible for it.

This is a step forward because so many Christians continue to adhere to orthodox Christian belief that God is indeed responsible and deny that there is anything immoral or unjust about it.

January 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm
(25) The Sojourner says:

Trying to debate these theists, like Mikaela is pointless. Their “logic gene” is missing. They are ridiculous in their insistence. However, as bible thumpers, logic and reason have nothing to do with their world. They cannot be reasoned with. Imagine a god who would reject Gandhi in deference to Hitler, for saying the right words.

That is another one of many reasons atheism makes a lot of sense to any thinking, logical, reasoning human. I fervently hope more will join the ranks of atheism. Maybe then we can have a somewhat saner world.

I contend that organized theistic religion is a kind of unrecognized mental disorder. Depending on which belief system you follow, you are more or less insane, especially the Abrahamic, Judeo-Christian religions, based on books of mythology. That’s not to ignore others, for all religion contaminates the whole world, as opposed to infecting a specific country. By the way, I also despise missionaries, who cloak helping those in need with strings attached to their hidden agendas and indoctrination.

January 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm
(26) ChristianWalk says:

Dear Mark,

sory I took so long getting this to you.

1 John 3:15

15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

God sees hate(unjust anger) as a sin because it is the same as murder in the heart, which is against God’s character. Since every body has hated someone in their life, we are all murders no different than this Jeffrey Dahmer.

January 15, 2009 at 3:12 am
(27) Mark Barratt says:

That’s Conversation Killer Number 4, but I’ll still respond.

we are all murders (sic) no different than this Jeffrey Dahmer.

So your religion allows you to make no distinction between yourself and Jeffrey Dahmer The Milwaukee Cannibal? So much the worse for your religion.

The charity worker in the soup kitchen is the same as the rapist in the eyes of your faith?

Charming. You’re not exactly being a good salesperson for your religious franchise at the moment.

Christians often claim that, in addition to the fantastic post-mortem benefits of their faith, it has positive worldly effects. I take it you wouldn’t make this claim, seeing as you are exactly the same as a man who raped, killed and ate 17 men and boys DESPITE your Christianity.

I take it you wouldn’t make the argument that Christianity leads to good behaviour, or anything of the like? After all, if Christianity makes no distinction between a murderer and a charity worker, how could it?

In order to do so, Christianity would need to acknowledge that somebody who kills and mutilates 17 people and somebody who DOESN’T kill and mutilate 17 people are appreciably different, before it could inspire somebody either way, and you say it doesn’t do that.

You’re making it sound like, rather than being a way to make people behave better, Christianity is just a way to make hardened killers feel better about themselves.

This is a complement to the standard “If there’s no God, why be good” argument often made by Christians, who don’t understand that what they are saying is that THEY see no other reason than God to be good to anyone. They are essentially saying that they believe Christianity is for sociopaths. Again, not the greatest sales pitch.

January 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm
(28) fauxrs says:

It seems to me that if…
1.no murderer has eternal life in him. and if
2. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and finally
3. Since every body has hated someone in their life, we are all murders(sic) no different than this Jeffrey Dahmer.

Then nobody has eternal life in him.

Heaven must be a really empty place.

January 16, 2009 at 5:40 am
(29) Mark Barratt says:

On a similar note,
check out the interesting way the Catholic Church has of ranking its priorities.

Genocide can be handled by minor functionaries, but the SERIOUS sins like biscuit abuse can only be addressed by the Pope.

Don’t you just want to cry?

January 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm
(30) John Hanks says:

Yes. Heaven is up to God.

January 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm
(31) Mark Barratt says:

Then what’s the point of Christianity?

January 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm
(32) Drew says:

This thread is pretty good. Kudos to those theists who are at least trying to answer the questions. Unfortunately, they don’t have any good material to work with, but at least they’re trying. Some damned pointy questions have been asked.

No theist will lose his faith from one question; but over time the drip, drip, of hearing those questions moderates people and societies, and eventually can free them from theism.

January 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm
(33) Pujjuut says:

The only answers I see are, “believe in god or burn in hell forever” and “repent at the end of your life or burn in hell forever”, only in other words.

January 17, 2009 at 12:24 am
(34) Richard Thomas says:

I found it interesting that Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete opines in his interview with Robert Wright on meaningoflife.tv (http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/01/12/can-atheists-go-to-heaven.htm#commentform) that atheists can go to heaven. It depends on the condition of your heart, whatever that means. He said that it is possible than an atheist might be more likely to go to heaven than he (Lorenzo) could. Maybe he is just being modest and trying to hedge his bets.

January 17, 2009 at 12:55 am
(35) Tails Kitsune says:

Mehh… i think i will stick with Eris.. At least she is Fun.. Why should i follow a belief that if you do not Believe it’s so called loving God. That “Loving God” Will send you to a Terrible place Full of pain and suffering Much like a Brady bunch reunion.
but that is just my opinion.

January 17, 2009 at 5:08 am
(36) Alex says:

I have a few neighbors of the overly religious persuasion and I have often wondered if they can simultaneously respect me and believe that I am going to burn forever after death, and deserve it. It’s quite a contradictory position to hold. But then I realized, these people are masters of turning logic on and off at will. They do it every Sunday morning. It seems I am the only one with a hangup.

On a related note, if Jeff Dahmer is in Heaven: 1)Has he met up with any of his victims?, and 2)Given his choice of fun on Earth, I wonder what he is doing for fun there.

January 19, 2009 at 2:55 am
(37) LadyDarwin says:

ChristianWalk says:
The man asked to see the pastor of my church. He was saved by Jesus Christ that day and he is in heaven now:
Sounds like an easy way out by someone who thought he’ll get the pastor in just in case there really is a heaven and a hell. And then to top it off: the pastor arrives, and ‘saves’ him THAT DAY!! How convenient and lovely! Puh-leeaase!!

Lets get real here – deathbead conversions only happen because people suddenly get worried that there really might be a hell, or a heaven. I despise religion for saying a prayer, sprinkling you with holy water and painting you safe — honestly!!

And with all due respect ChrisitanWalk – how do YOU know this suddenly saved jailbird looser is now in heaven? Did you get a letter from ‘god’ that he has been granted entry? If so, please publish it, I’d love to read it.

And publish yr IQ along with yr letter. I am waiting with bated breath….

February 23, 2009 at 10:51 am
(38) Aaron says:

I know that this post is a little over a month old, but I really feel I should get my opinion out there, for the side of the Christians.

First, I’d like to point out that there is certainly no apparent PROOF-proof that can show that Christianity is real or not, so if you’re Atheist, I’m not going to argue with you. What I can say is that it gives me hope, and no matter what happens in life, at least I have something to look forward to. If you’re an atheist, and you can’t really argue with me here, life is it, there’s no hope in the end, just enjoy what you have, and to me, that’s a little empty. I’m not going to say you’re going to hell for being an Atheist, but based on my beliefs, you would, and I am saddened by that, but that’s God’s choice, not my own.

Secondly, for the man that murdered 17 people, NO, I would NOT want him in heaven with me, UNLESS he deserved it, and that’s something God would decide. I can tell you that he did not just repent and say sorry and get into heaven. God is, obviously, not an idiot, he wouldn’t just let him spend eternity in heaven because he asked for forgiveness, he would have to mean it, he would have to be sorry for all the things he did, and quite frankly, I doubt he was sorry, so he’s probably spending eternity in hell right now, but I really don’t know.

Last, you really couldn’t expect me to know either, I’m a Christian, I’m not God, but what’s right is right, and that’s my goal in life, do what’s right, ask for forgiveness for all the stupid things I’ve done, and know that what God gives me is what I deserve.

April 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm
(39) Andrew says:

What a good christian you are Aaron, believing that just because someone doesn’t believe in what you believe then their going to hell. Real nice….

February 23, 2009 at 10:58 am
(40) Aaron says:

And to answer the original poster’s question. I have to say, I do not believe an Atheist can go to heaven, my reason? If an atheist were to go to heaven, then almost everyone could go to heaven, that, to me, is not what God wants. God wants people to believe in him, worship him, ask for forgiveness, and make the right decisions. Atheists may make the right decisions, but they don’t worship him, believe in him, and ask for forgiveness. That is just my opinion. As I’ve said before, God will decide!

January 29, 2011 at 4:17 am
(41) A Human Being says:

Maybe God wants to be surrounded by people who used their brains when they were alive, and following all the evidence available, came to the un-startling conclusion that there are no supernatural beings. By this logic, only atheists would go to heaven, and if God had amazingly strong feelings about being stupid, he would send all the religious people to hell.

February 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(42) Todd says:

Why is this god so insecure that it cares more that people believe in it than whether they are good? Why so insecure that he needs to be worshiped? If you met a person like that at work you’d probably hate him, or think he was crazy. Why should i ask forgiveness of the thing that condemned our species to this existence? If your god doesn’t exist… no it won’t decide. Why would a non-physical entity need a gender? Is there a goddess for him to mate? Or could it be that the people who invented him were male and wanted their deity to give them power over women? Occam’s Razor suggests the latter.

How can we make the right decisions under coercion? Is it the right decision if i did it solely to get into heaven? Or am i just gaming the system?

Who told you what this god wants? Why do you let them have so much power over you? What’s wrong with your brain and your own ability to assess the situation? Are you morally or intellectually deficient? Does what these people tell you jive with what you feel/see in the real world? Are shellfish abomination?

This god of yours would be a total jerk if he didn’t let good atheists into heaven. Besides, it’s not called heaven, it’s called Valhalla. i hope you’ve been a brave warrior, all that praying is not impressing Odin one bit.

Heaven is Xmas for adults. Be good all year/life and you’ll get a reward. Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.

February 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm
(43) Greg says:

I often hear christians saying the going to hell is self-inflicted to make it seem like god isn’t that evil and that it isn’t his wish that people go there. If it is self-inflicted and god isn’t responsible why did he make the place?

One answer I’ve heard is “It was not by original plan and design for men and women–for human sinners. It was prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

So god made a colossal mistake and didn’t see this coming? Not very omnipetant if you ask me.

To add to this, who decides whether or not I believe in god? Would that not be god himself? So in this hypothetical story world… god judges me.. determines that I’m “not worthy” and then tosses me into an eternity of torture? Or is this an automatic “do not pass begin, do not collect 200, go straight to jail” type of thing?

If its automatic then what happens to a baby that dies shortly after birth. The baby doesn’t know a thing about any religion. We are all born atheists. According to their argument this baby should go automatically to hell for eternity. I’m sorry but this god sounds like the most evil, sick and depraved entity I can imagine. Enter the “god makes exceptions” arguement. So-oo… he does indeed control who goes into hell and who doesn’t? What is the time limit on a baby before it loses the right to get this special treatment? Does this work for people who’ve never even heard of christianity?

Is it only once you’ve learnt about jesus/god and you reject him are you liable to go to hell? If thats the case shouldn’t the whole world stop preaching the bible effective immediately! I mean if no one knows of jesus no one can make the mistake of choosing the “wrong” path and we’ll all go to “heaven”.

“Allowing anyone to suffer ultimate torment for all eternity–particularly when it is within your power to prevent it–is arguably the greatest form of evil possible.”

February 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm
(44) Veronica says:

THIS Atheist doesn’t really believe in “heaven” or “hell” so it really doesn’t matter to me whether I go “here or there”.
As one other person on here said, Why is god so insecure that he just “has” to care what people do or don’t believe in?

February 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(45) Greg says:

” If youíre an atheist, and you canít really argue with me here, life is it, thereís no hope in the end, just enjoy what you have, and to me, thatís a little empty.”

Umm… Actually we really can. Life is certainly what you make of it. Enjoy it. Coming to terms with reality has give me a an invigorated boost. I’m living life as full as I can. Moved into a new profession that I’m thoroughly enjoying. No worrying about ridiculous superstitions. As well as an understanding that everyone has just one life just like me. Life is significantly more precious when you perceive it that way and not as some bizarre twisted “test” to see if we go to heaven or hell that is based on whether or not we believe in something that has no evidence.

February 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm
(46) Tom Edgar says:

Aaron.

On other blogs you have avoided answering my questions but I will persist one more time.

Where is God/Heaven/Hell? What is your verifiable evidence for the existence of each of them outside of a brainwashed imagination?

As you conceded there is no PROOF supporting religious beliefs. WHY have such a ridiculous
affiliation?

Is it a necessary qualification to have n Ozarkian mentality and educational standard to he a believer? I pose this as worldwide the most devout countries, any religion, are invariably those with the lowest average educational standards, e.g. S.America,India, U S A. The last one? Yep! you rank 18th in the education rankings of “Advanced Western Countries, and No.1 in religious affiliation.
Says it all really.

February 28, 2009 at 9:54 am
(47) Weemaryanne says:

Aaron says: “I do not believe an Atheist can go to heaven, my reason? If an atheist were to go to heaven, then almost everyone could go to heaven….”

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

February 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm
(48) Zack says:

I have to say, I do not believe an Atheist can go to heaven, my reason? — Aaron on February 23, 2009 at 10:58 am

Aaron, let’s talk about humility.

First of all, “atheist” is not a proper noun, so you should not capitalize it.

Secondly, your message quoted above is a comma splice. That means that you do not know the rules of standard English.

I am not saying that it is impossible to be ignorant of good writing skills and still know something useful about other matters.

Still, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to attain some mastery over the easy subjects before going on to the more difficult ones?

Wouldn’t you agree that forming a correct English sentence is a more modest ambition than determining the nature and wishes of a god, assuming that such a thing exists at all?

If you don’t know when it’s time to use a period, shouldn’t you at least consider that in your ideas about more weighty matters there may be room for error?

March 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm
(49) Tom Edgar says:

Zack..

Don’t expect an answer from Aaron. If his grammar is incorrect it is of no great moment.
What would be relevant would be if he had a sensible message or an answer.

My suspicions are that he is a very young school person. Guess he’s gone to his Pastor, who probably prompted him to visit us in the first place. That is what an SDA friend did when I posed a series of questions to her.
His advice was to avoid talking to me about the subject. Plus “You can’t win against these atheists.” Guess he had to be right once in a while.

March 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm
(50) Tom Edgar says:

Aaron.
Still no reply.

So I’m not going to heaven THANK CHRIST FOR THAT. My only problem would be that IF there is a hell I’d be spending eternity in the company of Bush, Swaggart, Cheney, Blair. Politicians, Pastors, Priests, and Aaron.

March 3, 2009 at 12:32 am
(51) Zack says:

If his grammar is incorrect it is of no great moment. — Tom Edgar on March 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I’m not so sure.

If someone clearly showed ignorance of basic arithmetic, but wanted to tell you all about the errors they had unearthed in the notebooks of Isaac Newton, would you be wrong to suggest that they consider the gap between their demonstrated talents and their professed ambitions?

I agree that he’s probably a young person. At any rate, I sure hope he is. It would be depressing to think that a mature person had produced such a post.

I also agree that we have probably heard the last from Aaron.

March 3, 2009 at 1:34 am
(52) Tom Edgar says:

Ah!! Zack.

I’ll concede you a point but only insofar as it demonstrates Aaron’s (and others) absolute lack of education, which is a prerequisite to to be a “Fundie.”. However as he wasn’t pontificating on the English language, but in it, I think on that point we should grant him a little leeway. This doesn’t excuse him however for lacking in expertise in the area of religious philosophy. People who do not wish to seem foolish should hold their tongues, otherwise they dispel any doubt.

I would hate to speak on mathematics, but I hope I have enough sense to venture not into places where I would look as foolish as Aaron.
Such is the folly of youth. They will go
where commonsense and experience would prevail them not to enter, if they didn’t we would never have a Military.

March 3, 2009 at 10:52 am
(53) fauxrs says:

In all fairness I think Zack is being overly critical of Aaron. Aaron’s command of english sentence structure and punctuation is not germane to the discussion at hand. This is why the analogy of the math discussion falls on its face. Aaron was not asked to opine on the proper construction of a sentence in British or American English. We do not know if Aaron is a native english speaker. There are some languages in which the comma splice is generally considered acceptable if I’m not mistaken what if his native language is one of those?

Point is, we can disagree with his belief in his god and the existance of heaven and hell and we can take him to task for being poorly prepared in that discussion as that is what the discussion is about. However, so long as he is able to make himself understood on this board regardless of his ability to pass english 101 then we should grant him some leeway as Tom suggests.

March 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm
(54) Fred says:

Indeed. I appreciated the posts until the ad hominem arguments came along…

March 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm
(55) Zack says:

Tom and fauxrs — I could respond to your posts point by point, and let me tell you, it would be grammatical and impeccably logical and stuffed full of learnedness and wit. But I hate to show off.

Of Aaron, I will speak no more unless provoked.

March 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm
(56) Zack says:

I appreciated the posts until the ad hominem arguments came alongÖ — Fred on March 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Are my ears burning?

As rarely as one encounters an ad hominem argument on this board, if you think you have detected one, then don’t be coy — by all means, disclose the awful details.

May 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm
(57) zarlack says:

satan and god decided to have a lil chat see how each other was doing satan said “oh im having a right laugh plenty of drugs sex and rock’n'roll. how about you. god turns round in tears and says ” everyday i have to cook, clean the dishes, wash the floor make the beds”.
satan turns round and says “whatever for” god replies “coz im the only bugger up here”

September 21, 2009 at 11:20 am
(58) JohnF says:

Jesus died so all could live forever. The deed is done.Whether you believe (just another work) or not you are saved. If we could affect our own salvation by works of right believing it would render Jesus’ sacrifice weak if not mute

November 16, 2009 at 10:36 pm
(59) ibelieveinhim! says:

Atheist can go to heaven. the Catholic church believes those with good hearts can go to heaven. Not everyone is called to Him. Those who are but don’t listen will be judged according to what they did. The truth is Catholics and Christians in general should evangelize the ignorant (about God) so that he can see his error and believe in God. People can repent. Atheist can be truly sorry about denying Him but will be admitted into heaven because they ended up in the right path.

March 24, 2010 at 2:16 am
(60) eagle325 says:

Ok first, there is a church called the Orthodox Christian Church. It is very confusing talking about general Christian Doctrine by calling it the name of the second largest faction. Anyway, the reason why an atheist and a christian can be friends is that believing someone will go to hell is not in the doctrine. The Bible clearly states that judging will result in judgement. I sincerely believe Christianity is the straitest path to Heaven. However, I have no right to say who is saved and who isn’t. That includes myself. According to Christian Teaching, only God has the right. Further, there are legitimate reasons people don’t become Christians. This is if what they are shown of Christianity is a charicature of true Christianity. This is when people do evil in the name of Christianity. However, there are plenty of people who lived Godly Christian lives to be good examples of the faith. Modern people include Mother Teresa and Father Arseny (If you don’t know who Father Arseny is look him up.) Good examples from the past are St. Mary of Egypt and St. Patrick. Finally, I think it is a tragedy for anyone to go to hell.

March 24, 2010 at 6:07 am
(61) Austin Cline says:

Ok first, there is a church called the Orthodox Christian Church.

Yes, I know. The word “orthodox” has a much broader meaning when not capitalized.

It is very confusing talking about general Christian Doctrine by calling it the name of the second largest faction.

Not when the word isn’t capitalized. In that case, the usage is normal and correct.

Anyway, the reason why an atheist and a christian can be friends is that believing someone will go to hell is not in the doctrine.

Yes it is, for many if not most churches. For example, any church that teaches salvation by faith in Jesus alone necessarily teaches that everyone else will not be saved.

However, there are plenty of people who lived Godly Christian lives to be good examples of the faith. Modern people include Mother Teresa and Father Arseny

I consider Mother Teresa to be an example of how not to behave if you want to be a moral, decent human being.

Finally, I think it is a tragedy for anyone to go to hell.

Then you must believe that your god creates, maintains, and/or allows this tragedy to continue or all eternity. That’s hardly a moral god you believe in, yet you consider this god the ultimate standard of morality and worth worshipping? Frankly I’d rather not be “saved” if it meant spending eternity with such a being.

December 29, 2010 at 1:14 am
(62) dalton says:

I’m a 15 year old staying up at 2 in the morning asking myself, why do people treat atheism like a disease, when they themselves are only in this “faith” because they are scared. My girlfriend is daughter of the most religious women I know, and I don’t think christians allow their children to experiment faiths or even feelings of beeing unholy. Who is to tell us that a holy burrito rules the world, cus apparently we have to believe in a freaking magical world. PUT THIS IN THE BIBLE!! “THERE CAN’T BE A HELL IF WE ARE ALREADY LIVING IN IT”

January 14, 2011 at 3:09 am
(63) samuel welsh says:

no they cant they must belive in God

March 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm
(64) Babette says:

Of course athesists, if upon their death have remained so, will in fact go to hell. That is if you believe what the Bible says about how to get to Heaven and why people go to Hell. I do, it takes a great deal of faith to be an atheist, especially these epic days of Biblical prophesy unfolding before our eyes. Read the book of Matthew, chapter 24, if you dare and ask this God of the Bible to show you personally if He is, I guarantee his reply will be, “I AM.”

April 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm
(65) CAROL says:

I don’t care if you are a Christian or not; I only see if you are a decent and contributing person in this world today at this moment or if you are like “the Milwaukee people eater”.

April 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm
(66) Religioso says:

Yes Carol, the key phrase is ‘at this moment’. Our grace is discontinous as hate and love compete for our attention. We all fluctuate from sinner to saved and if you try real hard you may become mainly saved.
Personally I think that Dahmer may be a pretender, in which case he will not be in heaven with us. You may think you know the nature of God but you do not. Whom he may save and condemn is as obscure to mankind and man unkind as the nature of light….particle or wave.

June 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm
(67) Nate says:

I love it when atheists bitch and whine to us with your hypothetical questions. If Christians are so ignorant and delusional, and atheists are so smart, then answer your own freaking questions.

June 28, 2011 at 6:49 am
(68) Austin Cline says:

I love it when atheists bitch and whine to us with your hypothetical questions. If Christians are so ignorant and delusional, and atheists are so smart, then answer your own freaking questions.

Since the questions involve Christian theology, it’s nonsensical to expect atheists to have the answers. If you were looking for a way to demonstrate that atheists are smarter than Christians, congratulations.

December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm
(69) Elliot says:

All of you atheists you douche bags you have your belifes
and we have ours

and Sherry what problem do you have with your grand children having religion as long as they dont become extremist or a door knocker trying to covert people they would generally would keep it to themselves. and i know for a fact that theists and athiests can be happy together seeing as the best of my friends are atheists and a catholic

oh and religion is more than just a man in the sky, the bible isn’t about the adventures of God and his sidekick Jesus.

And rant finished but just to piss you wankers off (sorry to the people that weren’t being total douches)God bless you
(Manical laugh)

December 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm
(70) Austin Cline says:

All of you atheists you douche bags you have your belifes and we have ours

You, however, don’t have any reason or logic.

And rant finished but just to piss you wankers off (sorry to the people that weren’t being total douches)God bless you (Manical laugh)

You aren’t the first and you certainly won’t be the last to use such a phrase as an attack or insult. Indeed, that intention is probably the most common one and it’s certainly a clear sign of what Christians like you really believe.

February 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm
(71) Orthodox christian says:

im an orthodox christian and unlike most protostants i dont go around telling atheists or anyone else that there going to hell. in fact i had an agnostic teacher and we got along fine. let atheists do what they want to do and let believers believe what they want to believe unless it threatens life.

June 6, 2012 at 9:48 am
(72) texas+ranger says:

mmmmm, delicious christian “love” spreading like a hot butter on our atheistic heads.

It feels good to be atheist, and yet be better “christian” than 99% of believers who preach how important it is to have magical telepathic certainty and connection with dead people. MMMMMMMMmmmm….

June 28, 2012 at 11:26 am
(73) Maggie says:

From my point of view..

Though this article is old I want to tell you my side. I am a baptist as a Christian but personally, I’m not a kind of a person who looks on religions. I am also looking on postives sides. God is Love. He loves us all even though your atheist and we are His followers. Because He is a God of Love and Peace. Itís not proper to tell the atheist are all going to hell. Even though how bad we are, God still loves us because His love is unlimited. What I am trying to say, I want all of us go to Heaven. Atheist or Theist I want all of us in heaven together with Godís loving arms, but I donít know what would be the judgement for Atheist.
We should not judge them that they are going to hell because we donít have the rights to judge them. Only God can judge us. But it actually hurts seeing someone insulting and blaspheme His name. It hurts me a lot.
I encourage the atheist to read the Bible so at least you have an idea about God and at least know His background before you argue. I am not pushing and telling you to believe that God exists but at least give respect for what we believe ďDonít ask me if it is needed? Iím an atheist I am not going to read it.Ē Like what I said I am not pushing you and telling you to believe. It is your choice.. If you donít want to read, itís your choice.

July 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm
(74) Nicole says:

Maggie-

The belief that atheists don’t believe in God out of ignorance or an unfamiliarity with the bible is a common misconception. You want to know how familiar an atheist is with the bible? Go ahead and try to start a theological debate with one and listen while he quotes title and verse. Many atheists grew up in a very religious family and found that religion or the bible offended their sense of logic and morals. “I believed in the bible, until I read it” is a quote that many atheists can identify with, including myself. Surveys have actually shown that atheists know more about religion than any of the religious denominations. Here is a link to the survey, if you are interested: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/28/survey-atheists-know-more-about-religion-than-believers/

July 26, 2012 at 2:05 am
(75) Hassan says:

It depends on how much you know about God and who has explained you this! Who can show me God if it exists? But one thing is most important that if you believe in God, do you go to heaven or not? And if you just don’t believe in God, what will happen to you? Do you know yourself before knowing about God? What is really different between an Atheist and a theist?

July 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm
(76) Austin Cline says:

It depends on how much you know about God

What god?

August 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(77) OZAtheist says:

One of the few things, (perhaps the only thing), that I find disappointing about be an atheist when arguing with the god botherers is that they will never realize how wrong they were and what a rediculous crock of shit they have swallowed their whole lives. When they die they will just cease to exist and not find out how wrong they were.

On the very slight chance that the god botherers are right however us atheists are in for a very rude awakening: being judged before God, Jesus, Allah, whatever, and then being waved off to an eternity of torment by a small group of ecstatic wankers, giving us a send of with there harps.

You can sense the delighted anticipation of this event in some of the posts by the religious on this site.

August 4, 2012 at 6:20 am
(78) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

What is really different between an Atheist and a theist?

The ability to think.

Grandpa

October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm
(79) Cathy says:

Hi,first of all,i grew up amish,therefore im no stranger to religion,second of all,knowing the bible,i do know that it says that the way u judge another by the same measure u shall b judged,and in my opinion a true christian or believer would never in a million years say an atheist is going to hell,i try to the best of my abilty to treat everyone with love and respect,its not my place to judge anyone as i have too many faults of my own,its jus not right to look into someone elses life an tell them where they are headed,we are called to love each other,and also i dont feel my little voice is going to prove God real,God does judge our hearts,i dont believe u can recite some words and become “saved”,your actions will show whether it came from ur heart or not,as a person that left amish i hav been judged,ridiculed u name it,been told im headed to hell,and been told by my own mother it wouldve been easier on her had i died rather than leave amish,i cannot be ungrateful that these things happened as it set me on a path to find out who God truly is,and if he is real,without a church telling me i hafta believe one way or another,and i can honestly say im closer to God than i have ever been,its much easier without all the rules and regulations of a certain religion and i feel alotta people that turn from faith is because of the hurt and pain the have suffered from “religious” people,so as far as judging anyone and who will b in heaven or hell is not my place,it is in Gods hands and i pray for everyone,i feel we will know the truth of our existence when we die and have faith,i do not wish to argue with anyone,God bless you all:)

December 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm
(80) Asutin says:

This is hilarious. Someone pass me the popcorn?

January 5, 2013 at 10:03 am
(81) Brendan says:

Jesus is the deciple of god. He came down to save us but he knew what he was going to have to do when he came down here. He died once, get over it. THOUSANDS of other people had the same punishment.
And I thought we were ALL gods children. Does this mean Im Jesus?

March 23, 2013 at 9:23 am
(82) believer says:

Aethists will go to hell I am afraid, because you have to acknowledge God in order to say there isn’t one.

March 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm
(83) Dan DeLuca says:

@OZAtheist It is called Paschal’s wager, although you present from a hysterical POV. The reverse Paschal’s wager is non-sensical, in that it would not be all that intelligent to not believe in God, if it indeed turns out that God does in fact exist.

@Grandpa_In_The_East Your post does not indicate whether you are theist or atheist, except for the fact that most Christians who throw that argument around do not present themselves as theists.

For all you posters who think we should not judge anyone, you have it all wrong. The point is clarity about what we claim to believe, even though it is not popular. The author of this article correctly points out Biblical Christian beliefs, and also correctly points out that this makes the Christian God appear to be cruel, albeit a God who created us all would have to be good in the sense that He gave us life to begin with (even if you accept some notion of Him driving evolution).
We cannot shy away from the fact that if there is a God, He can do pretty much whatever He pleases.

(To be continued)

March 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm
(84) Dan DeLuca says:

The point I wish to address made in the article, is a rather serious allegation that those who believe you deserve to suffer in hell do not truly respect you. This fails to take into account the belief that ALL people deserve to suffer in hell. If one were indeed to believe that other people deserve such punishment while they themselves do not, you might have a valid point.

As much as I am sure that atheists would like to get in to heaven on their good merits, if it turns out that they are wrong, it is amazing to me how many of them seem to opt for the alternative, because they simply dislike a God who does as He sees fit. The description of hell in the Bible is a place where there will be “weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” Have you ever considered what it would take to make you weep or wail or gnash your teeth? It is called a lake of burning sulfur. I think I would rather be with a God that I don’t exactly understand His ways, than to deal with His fury.

Oh, and please, all of you Christian apologist wannabees…knock it off! You will never get anywhere with atheists if you appear to be a blathering fool.

March 26, 2013 at 5:42 am
(85) Austin Cline says:

The reverse Paschal’s wager is non-sensical, in that it would not be all that intelligent to not believe in God, if it indeed turns out that God does in fact exist.

Depends on how “God” is defined – what it is, what it wants, etc.

We cannot shy away from the fact that if there is a God, He can do pretty much whatever He pleases.

Like any dictator.

The point I wish to address made in the article, is a rather serious allegation that those who believe you deserve to suffer in hell do not truly respect you. This fails to take into account the belief that ALL people deserve to suffer in hell.

Not at all. It simply means that they don’t really respect anyone.

I think I would rather be with a God that I don’t exactly understand His ways, than to deal with His fury.

That’s like saying that you’d happily opt to live with Hitler in order to avoid Auschwitz. That’s an understandable position, but it’s not in any way a moral or laudable position. Being an apologist for Hitler because you want to avoid Auschwitz makes you immoral.

You will never get anywhere with atheists if you appear to be a blathering fool.

Indeed.

March 27, 2013 at 7:11 am
(86) Dan DeLuca says:

A dictator can be overthrown. I could shake my puny little fist at God, and even try to get enough other people to do so, but it would be rather silly. Not to mention the fact that no dictator at any time or place has ever created a human being (or an ameoba for that matter).

Whether believers respect anyone or not, really comes down to your definition of the word “respect”, which itself, could turn out to be circular reasoning.

The Hitler analogy falls flat even if one does not accept life beyond the grave. Think about spending an eternity in hell, where after a millinillion years, you are no closer to getting out than the day you first entered. Remember the wealthy man who only wanted Lazarus to bring a drop of water to cool his tongue. That is extreme torment. I can deal with Auschwitz, knowing that it will one day come to an end. There is a clear difference between bravery and foolishness.

Please try not to agree with me too much, or or friends might think that we are in cahoots with one another.

March 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm
(87) Austin Cline says:

A dictator can be overthrown. I could shake my puny little fist at God, and even try to get enough other people to do so, but it would be rather silly.

Standing up for morality is only silly if you don’t truly believe in your own moral principles. If, for example, your “morals” are adopted solely for the sake of convenience or reward, then of course you’ll abandon them as soon as it becomes inconvenient.

Whether believers respect anyone or not, really comes down to your definition of the word ‚Äúrespect‚ÄĚ, which itself, could turn out to be circular reasoning.

I simply use the correct dictionary definition which, curiously enough, doesn’t happen to be circular.

The Hitler analogy falls flat even if one does not accept life beyond the grave. Think about spending an eternity in hell, where after a millinillion years, you are no closer to getting out than the day you first entered.

The fact that one case involves Auschwitz for all eternity doesn’t invalidate the analogy. The point of choosing Auschwitz over Hitler isn’t that Auschwitz will end, but that you have enough moral character to refuse to join the side of evil simply because it would hurt less to do so.

Well, I would. I can see that you wouldn’t.

There is a clear difference between bravery and foolishness.

All bravery is foolish to those lacking enough moral character to live their values.

Please try not to agree with me too much, or or friends might think that we are in cahoots with one another.

I haven’t been the least bit tempted to agree with anything you’ve written.

March 29, 2013 at 11:33 am
(88) Dan DeLuca says:

You have no knowledge of what my moral principles are in the first place, so you assume that my moral principles are the same as yours. I do not hold anyone in contempt for an innocuous act of self-preservation. Now, if a person were to participate in the genocidal and/or warmongering acts of such a tyrant, it would go against my sense of morals, but this is not the case with your analogy.

You might as well stand in judgement of all the people in Pyonyang, who are under the rule of that dictatorship. Would you really expect them to stand up to their dear leader? What would it accomplish? That morality is suicidal. Playing Russian Roulette may also be considered brave, but one need not lack moral character to see that it is also foolish. You may infer that the person who sees it as foolish adopted their morality out of convenience or reward, but a better explanation would be that it just makes common sense.

The responsibility to act in a moral manner falls on nations who are capable of doing something to stop evil dictatorships. Do you know of any entity that can keep God from sending people to hell? I realize that this is begging the question, but the point is that you cannot really compare God to a dictatorship, as He is purported to be greater than all, and if the whole creation were to rise up against Him, they would all meet the same dreadful fate. As far as where one derives their morals, this is an argument that has been beaten to death.

(To be continued)

March 29, 2013 at 11:34 am
(89) Dan DeLuca says:

I pointed out that no dictator ever created life from which we ourselves have any level of indebtedness, and you were silent. This underscores the silence of Job, who said that the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. When confronted by God, he had no answer.

As for your definition of respect, it goes beyond the dictionary definition, to assume that if we accept eternal punishment is what we deserve, not for doubting God’s existence, but for sinning against Him, we somehow think less of people, than they are somehow entitled to. This is indeed circular reasoning, because there is an acceptable level of respect that does not concur with this POV. One which says, I am no better than you, and we are all sinners, while indeed violating the sacred cow of the self-esteem crowd, adheres to a degree of humility without totally abandoning respect for one’s self, or others.

It is curious to me that you have not been tempted to agree with me, and yet you did indeed agree with me on the blathering fool remark that I made. The remark about agreeing with me was made tongue in cheek somewhat, but it is a genuine concern that readers might somehow think that I am a closet atheist, and we wouldn’t want that to happen.

March 29, 2013 at 11:57 am
(90) Austin Cline says:

You have no knowledge of what my moral principles are in the first place, so you assume that my moral principles are the same as yours.

No, I don’t assume that.

You might as well stand in judgement of all the people in Pyonyang, who are under the rule of that dictatorship.

They haven’t been given any choice, so your analogy fails.

The responsibility to act in a moral manner falls on nations who are capable of doing something to stop evil dictatorships.

Responsibility rests with all of us to act.

Do you know of any entity that can keep God from sending people to hell?

Trying to prevent such an action isn’t the topic.

I realize that this is begging the question, but the point is that you cannot really compare God to a dictatorship, as He is purported to be greater than all

Dictators commonly make that claim for themselves.

I pointed out that no dictator ever created life from which we ourselves have any level of indebtedness, and you were silent.

1. You said nothing about indebtedness, so this is a lie.

2. You do not establish that any indebtedness exists, so it’s irrelevant.

As for your definition of respect, it goes beyond the dictionary definition

Prove it. First, you’ll have to tell me what my definition is. Then, you’ll have to demonstrate how it goes beyond the dictionary definition.

That should be entertaining.

It is curious to me that you have not been tempted to agree with me, and yet you did indeed agree with me on the blathering fool remark that I made.

No, because I was sarcastically referring to you. Since you weren’t, it wasn’t a point of actual agreement.

March 30, 2013 at 10:10 am
(91) Dan DeLuca says:

So it sounds as if you think that we have a choice that the North Koreans do not have. Your explanation would be interesting to hear. At least you agree that the responsibility does not fall on their shoulders. You missed my point when I asked about preventing God from sending people to hell.

I am curious that you seem to think that the creation has no level of indebtedness to its creator. My point is that a dictator has no such claim, so your analogy fails. The dictator assumes power over those whom he had absolutely nothing to do with how they came into existence. God has power, whether we allow Him to or not, and He had everything to do with how we came into existence. If this could be said about a dictator, he would not be referred to as a dictator, but rather as a god.

You have already pointed out your own definition of respect with the statement, “If s Christian thinks they can sincerely adopt both the positions ‘I respect you’ and ‘you will go to hell as an atheist,’ they’re seriously mistaken”, and then by extrapolating that out to say that [the belief that ALL people deserve to suffer in hell] “simply means that they donít really respect anyone.” You are trying to run away from your own statements.

March 30, 2013 at 11:43 am
(92) Austin Cline says:

I am curious that you seem to think that the creation has no level of indebtedness to its creator.

I see no evidence or reason to think so. You have given none.

My point is that a dictator has no such claim, so your analogy fails.

You have no point unless and until you can demonstrate that such a debt exists and is relevant.

You have already pointed out your own definition of respect with the statement

That would be an implication of the definition, not a definition.

You are trying to run away from your own statements.

No, I stand by all of my statements. You seem, however, to want me to stand by statements I haven’t actually made yet. So I’m waiting for you to demonstrate your mind-reading abilities by telling me my definition.

April 1, 2013 at 8:44 am
(93) Dan DeLuca says:

The claim of indebtedness relies on the notion that God created us for a purpose. It holds that God could have created us by accident, but that is not the most likely explanation for why He did so. If we exist by accident, there would be no purpose for any of us, and God does not send His own Son to die for those with whom He has no purpose, as Christianity purports, and no one goes to heaven FTM. If OTOH, there is a purpose that He created us for, He has as much right to destroy those He created, as I would have to destroy an App that I created, or that a potter would have to destroy his defective handiwork.

If I built a home that was infested with termites and was structurally unsound, first I would attempt to destroy the termites (even though I had not created them), while the house was still reparable, but if all else fails, I would destroy the house and start over. I hardly think that any sane person would consider me to be the equivalent of Hitler for doing so, and if their morals lead them to draw such comparison, I would find it amusing, and their idea of morality would be somewhat meaningless.

You claim that your definition of respect fits the dictionary definition. The implication of the claim that your opponents do not respect anyone, simply do not match up, unless you can point to which dictionary you are referring to. You are only demonizing your opponents. I do not need to tell you what your definition of respect is, to prove that it does not match “the dictionary definition”, as if there were only one singular dictionary that is the standard. Now, if there is a self-affirmation handbook dictionary, I concede that you might be correct in that it fits that particular dictionary’s definition FWIW, but that is somewhat misleading to those of us who defer to Wikipedia or Miriam Webster.

April 3, 2013 at 5:56 am
(94) Austin Cline says:

The claim of indebtedness relies on the notion that God created us for a purpose.

No, I don’t see that create any debt or obligation.

If OTOH, there is a purpose that He created us for, He has as much right to destroy those He created, as I would have to destroy an App that I created, or that a potter would have to destroy his defective handiwork.

So, in your mind, humans are comparable to a pot or any other inanimate object, with no more right to life and no more claim to continued existence.

This goes along with what I was saying about not respecting anyone.

If I built a home that was infested with termites and was structurally unsound, first I would attempt to destroy the termites (even though I had not created them), while the house was still reparable, but if all else fails, I would destroy the house and start over. I hardly think that any sane person would consider me to be the equivalent of Hitler for doing so

Now humans are comparable to termites. The Nazis treated Jews like vermin, too, but at least they limited this to just a couple of ethnic groups. Regarding all of humanity as little more than vermin is worse.

And it’s not very respectful.

I do not need to tell you what your definition of respect is

You do when you claim or imply you know what that definition is.

as if there were only one singular dictionary that is the standard.

They all seem reasonably consistent to me. So go ahead and compare my definition to whatever dictionary you have handy.

April 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm
(95) JetClarke says:

“(82) believer says:
Aethists will go to hell I am afraid, because you have to acknowledge God in order to say there isnít one.”
No, you merely have to acknowledge what people say about him, not that he/it ever actually existed.

Dan DeLuca – “albeit a God who created us all would have to be good in the sense that He gave us life to begin with (even if you accept some notion of Him driving evolution).”
Why does that make him ‘good’? And that has nothing to do with evolution. Maybe he made us to suffer, as so many of us do. Is that ‘good’ to you?

“A dictator can be overthrown. I could shake my puny little fist at God, and even try to get enough other people to do so, but it would be rather silly.”
Then why did Satan, who is supposed to be God’s best creation before humanity and a brilliant top Angel, do that very thing?

“Not to mention the fact that no dictator at any time or place has ever created a human being (or an ameoba for that matter).”
Non-sequitor.

April 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm
(96) JetClarke says:

To continue:
Dan DeLuca
“You might as well stand in judgement of all the people in Pyonyang, who are under the rule of that dictatorship. Would you really expect them to stand up to their dear leader? What would it accomplish? That morality is suicidal.”
Not if the ones with the real power, the military of that country, woke up to their brainwashing and saw the damage the dictator really did to their country. You think Kim Jong Un can kill his entire government by himself? He only has any power because people with weapons allow him to rule them. One bullet and his power is gone with him, if they didn’t just let his son step in and become him as the last two times. They are just as responsible as he is for the hellhole that country is and has been.

“Do you know of any entity that can keep God from sending people to hell?”
How about God? What’s keeping him from realizing that his decision to let people end up in Hell is immoral? Maybe he needs many people to tell him this, to change his mind.

“God has power, whether we allow Him to or not,”
“and He had everything to do with how we came into existence.”
a] That is the only difference between him and a dictator, the fact that supposedly he has the power they wish they had.
b] Then where is the proof? Or even a hint, other than interpretations of a 2000 year old set of myths?

April 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm
(97) JetClarke says:

Continuing again:
“If this could be said about a dictator, he would not be referred to as a dictator, but rather as a god.”
That wouldn’t make that god moral, or worthy of worship. Ever hear of ‘might does not make right’?

“It holds that God could have created us by accident, but that is not the most likely explanation for why He did so.”
How do you know? How would you evaluate what is ‘likely’?

“If I built a home that was infested with termites and was structurally unsound, first I would attempt to destroy the termites (even though I had not created them), while the house was still reparable, but if all else fails, I would destroy the house and start over. I hardly think that any sane person would consider me to be the equivalent of Hitler for doing so, and if their morals lead them to draw such comparison, I would find it amusing, and their idea of morality would be somewhat meaningless.”
Termites are not intelligent, nor are they the same species as you, so the Hitler analogy is silly. If in fact termites WERE intelligent, perhaps destroying them WOULDN’T be the best response, and perhaps people would actually find that act immoral. Imagine that they are not termites, but tiny people living in your walls, and your morality might just kick in.

Those are my thoughts on your silliness.

April 8, 2013 at 5:11 am
(98) Grandpa In The East says:

@Dan DeLuca

@Grandpa_In_The_East Your post does not indicate whether you are theist or atheist, except for the fact that most Christians who throw that argument around do not present themselves as theists.

Touche’! I should not have capitalized “Atheist.” I just wasn’t thinking, now was I? But, at least I kept it short.

Don’t visit this site much do you?

Grandpa

May 6, 2013 at 9:18 am
(99) Dan DeLuca says:

@Austin: When compared to a holy, righteous, sinless God, I am a sinner, condemned, unclean. I acknowledge that it does not fit your definition of respect. If I compare myself or Jews, Gypsies, slavs, etc. to a Nazi general, we all (non-Nazi generals) come out looking pretty good. Hitler played God, and he had no right to do so. Do you suppose that God has no right to be himself.

@Jet Clarke: Even through suffering, I can say that God is good, or as Job put it, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away” (KJV). It seems you are idolizing Satan now. I suppose you might hold out hope that Satan will one day overpower God, and free himself and his followers. You in fact do stand in judgement of those people in North Korea. Well, there are many Christians and non-Christians who have stood up to the dictatorship, and yet the dictatorship remains in power. I agree with Austin that those in the military who have the power to overthrow the dictatorship, are the ones responsible, and not those oppressed, as you claim.

You are quite dismissive of the creation distinction. If Hitler destroys what he created, I don’t take issue with him. It is when he tried to play “God”, with those he did not create, that I take issue with him.
To be continued.

May 6, 2013 at 9:31 am
(100) Dan DeLuca says:

@ JetClarke: I fully acknowledge that God does not fit your definition of morality, but like I said, I find that rather meaningless. When I go poison the bugs around my house, I am not going to ask your opinion of my actions. You are resorting to conjecture, that you might possibly get God to change his mind. I seriously doubt, no matter how many bugs I kill, that they will ever get me to change my mind. My recommendation to them would be to find another place to live. I have already established that there is an even greater distinction between God and a dictator than the power that He holds.

I am glad you asked about proof. That is an entirely different topic, but clearly the threat of eternal punishment should not be enough to persuade someone to believe in a God, and many Christians make the mistake of believing this notion. It should however, make one want to look at the evidence and have a greater degree of certainty that they won’t face such awful torment. As far as proof, I would suggest examining polonium halos for starters. What is likely to have occurred in the past, is that if there is such a thing as a painter, then the painting on the wall in my house was not an accident.
To be continued

May 6, 2013 at 9:46 am
(101) Dan DeLuca says:

@JetClarke: I agree with you that the Hitler analogy is silly. I don’t care to imagine that termites are people, but if I could reason with them, I would try to persuade them to not eat my house. I would probably call the police and have those folks arrested for trespassing and vandalism.

It is not my silliness that you have expressed your thought on, as I did not originate the Hitler analogy.

@Grandpa: I visit this forum as much as I can stomach, but I understand that it is not my forum, and no matter what I say, I will not get the final word. I have been quite busy lately with work, but I haven’t forgotten about this forum. I do try to keep my points as short and concise as possible, while still getting the point across. Capitalizing “Atheist”, is not what gives you away, but rather the fact that you refer to your opponents as “theists”.

If you are truly worried about being wrong when it comes to heaven or hell, make sure that your bases are covered. I understand that you don’t believe in God, and praying to Him will seem awkward, but pray an honest prayer. Tell Him that you do not believe in Him, but that if you are wrong, you would like for Him to show you. If He really exists, I would think that He would want to answer that prayer, and if you are wrong, would you not want Him to show you?

May 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm
(102) Austin Cline says:

Do you suppose that God has no right to be himself.

I don’t suppose your god is anything but fiction. That, however, isn’t particularly relevant because you’ve studiously avoided the substantive issues.

You’ve avoided defending your claim for the existence of any sort of debt or obligation. You’ve avoided defending your implication that humans are comparable to pots and other inanimate objects. You’ve avoided defending your implication that humans are comparable to vermin. You’ve avoided dealing with the dictionary definition of “respect,” preferring instead to twist around with comments about “my” definition.

Frankly, I think your avoidance of the substantive issues is deliberate. You have no problem investing time and effort into other things.

You are quite dismissive of the creation distinction.

You refuse to directly and substantively address your claim or implication that “creating” something creates authority over it, with debts or obligations resting with the “created.” It’s dishonest to evade this issue but then come back to it like you do here.

I would suggest examining polonium halos for starters.

Standard creationist twaddle. No one who defends or promotes this sort of pseudoscientific nonsense has the least bit of intellectual or ethical credibility.

May 6, 2013 at 9:50 am
(103) Dan DeLuca says:

@JetClarke: another thing you can look into, is desert whales.

May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am
(104) Dan DeLuca says:

@Grandpa: The latter part of my response really should be directed at OZAtheist. My apologies if this caused any confusion.

March 12, 2014 at 10:24 am
(105) tonimann says:

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die and find out that there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t a God and die and find out that there is.

March 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm
(106) Austin Cline says:

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die and find out that there isnít, than live my life as if there isnít a God and die and find out that there is.

Pascal’s Wager. This argument is a good sign that a person really hasn’t thought very hard about the subject.

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