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Is There a Fate Worse Than Death? December 29, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I heard the phrase “fate worse than death” on an unrelated YouTube video, and it got me thinking about the topic. For humans, we know that we will all die one day. Of course, there are many who believe, or at least hope, that there is some kind of life after death. These beliefs are all over the map in terms of details, but they are quite popular. I don’t even have to wonder why this is the case, as I myself do not want my life to end. Or, so I say.

My personal belief is that when we die, we revert back to the same state we were in prior to conception. Which is my way of describing to others the state I believe I will be in; that of non-existence, and with no ability to recognize or acknowledge my existence. Before the egg and sperm united that created me, I was not, nor was I even intended. I was a rather rare luck of the draw, so to speak. And so it will be, I presume, after I die. But for some, there is a fate even worse if one considers death to be a bad thing.

Christianity claims that those who do not get accepted into heaven will be doomed to Hell. And Hell is described in most sects as an eternal lake of fire, or an eternal burning, gnashing of teeth, etc. Sounds awful to me. Yes, it sounds far worse to me than being a corpse, even if my body were cremated, the burning stops once the fuel (my body) is consumed. But Hell is an eternal burning of my body, while I am aware and alive, and while I can always feel the burning! This sounds horrific. To be fair, not all Christians believe in this type of Hell.

But, no matter how I look at it, if rejecting God, Jesus, or Christianity is going to land me in this awful place, this fate, then I don’t see any way to call Christianity a loving or peaceful religion. I don’t see how I have been given the “free will” to accept or reject this god, if this punishment exists. There is nothing more evil and despicable in my book. As a parent, I would never hold a punishment so severe over my children, for any reason. It is simply not necessary. However, I hold no delusion that fear is not the greatest motivator for most humans. And if Hell is real, it has certainly scared many people enough to keep them at least pretending to believe.

I know there are Christians who will say that the love of Jesus and the promise of Heaven are far greater rewards, and that this is the reason they choose to accept Jesus. But those same people refuse to renounce the punishment of Hell. In other words, they claim that they are not afraid of Hell, because they believe, but they simultaneously claim that we have a choice to believe or not. So, if I don’t believe, they prefer to claim that I don’t want to be in Heaven, or to accept Jesus as my savior. And they believe that it is always my choice to believe, or go to Hell.

If there are in fact only two fates, Heaven or Hell, then the only rational choice, according to believers, is to believe! It never occurs to many of them that a reward alone should be enough to gain believers. It never occurs to some of them that the reward of eternal life would still work for most believers, and that NOT making it to Heaven is punishment enough. Why add Hell to the mix at all? Well, if you’re a god like the one in The Bible, you can add Hell as the ultimate punishment, thereby cutting off all options and choices for everyone. What choice does anyone actually have if the reward and punishment are equally eternal, and at polar opposities in terms of fate?

I do not want to die. But then again, do I really want to live forever? We’ve all seen enough fictional movies to see where eternal life could get awfully boring. For me, Heaven is a human idea designed to ease the finality of death. You don’t come back, as they say. And if that’s what it takes for many humans to accept the finality of death, that’s OK with me. I know I have one shot. And I know it is relatively short.

I can say that at this point in my life, I am happier than I have ever been with the knowledge that I was able to be so lucky to be here, and that I was able to experience the love of my family and my children. I want to be there for my youngest son, and for my grand-children, but I know that I cannot be here forever. That makes everything I am doing right now even more important. It makes me want to be as kind and helpful as I possibly can. It makes me want to share my knowledge, help others in need, and smile a lot more.

But what do I know, I’m just a godless heathen!

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Stop the Holocaust? January 1, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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Why didn’t God stop The Holocaust? Over six million humans were senselessly slaughtered in ways that go beyond horrifying and sickening, and this was just over seventy years ago – just like it was yesterday. Did God have the power to stop the slaughter? If you had the power to stop The Holocaust, would you do it?

I know there are still some fringe groups who can’t seem to let go of the sick idea that the white race is the ultimate race, so perhaps people like that would gladly support killing non-white humans in order to create a single race that meets their agenda. But most people, I believe, would gladly use the power to stop something so horrifying and inhuman if given the opportunity. So, why not God? Why would an all-powerful, all-loving god stand by while this slaughter of innocent lives was ongoing for years? I submit that if God has the power to stop it, then he is beyond evil for not doing so.

Society at large would expect nothing less on a smaller scale from normal adults who witness a crime and do nothing to intervene, even if it is just a quick call to the police. Assuming there is no immediate danger to the witness, doing something is generally expected. And God would not be in any danger whatsoever if He decided to intervene. He could have struck Hitler with a heart attack before he was able to carry out his plan. There are obviously numerous ways that an all-powerful, omnipotent god could have stopped the entire thing from ever occurring. So why didn’t He?

No matter what reason is given, the fact will always remain that it could have been stopped, but it wasn’t. Anybody want to discuss whether the god of The Bible is evil? Bring it.

Is God Ever at Fault? December 31, 2009

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I am participating in a discussion at the “Is God Imaginary” forum, where the question was asked “What’s a good example of evil that causes doubt in a just God?” This question is being asked of non-believers by a Christian. It is possible that the question is genuine, but I’m not convinced that this particular Christian would ever entertain the possibility that his god could be evil, and the question presumes that his god is just.

I would like to know if there are any Christians who think that it is possible that God is responsible for ANY evil at all? The reason I want to know is because some people claim that God is the creator and designer of the universe and everything in it. They further claim that humans are Gods special children, and that unless we accept God as our savior, worship Him, and let Him guide us to eternal salvation, we will end up burning in a lake of fire for all of eternity. The stakes are indeed very high for anyone who doesn’t accept God, or at least believe God is real. Let’s consider the human design.

For example, viruses. Did God create the viruses that make humans sick, or that actually kill humans? If so, why would that not be considered evil given that humans are God’s special children, the only life form capable of worshiping God? What about bacteria? Or carnivores? Why would God create an animal like the lion, that would eat a human? God put lions here on this earth, and lions will eat humans without concern for anything but their own survival. We know that humans are not a lions main diet, but we are meat, and we have been, and still are susceptible to being eaten by a lion. Sure, we have the ability to overcome the lion in various ways, thanks to our ability to outsmart lions. Nonetheless, lions are here, along with many other carnivores who would be just as satisfied eating a human, as they would any other prey. Why did God place us into a world with such meat eaters?

What about babies born with severe defects? Is that evil, and how does God, as the designer, explain why this happens at all? Why does His design involve this kind of horror? What would be so bad in designing humans such that birth defects from perfectly healthy parents are non-existent? There are babies born today missing enough brain material to render them a vegetable from birth, with zero chance for any type of conscious life. If birth defects are not evil, than what are they? Is God off the hook for these defects? And If so, who is at fault, nature?

What about tremendous weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, mudslides, and earthquakes? Why did God put us in such a hostile environment, knowing that our design is unable to survive direct hits from these events. Millions of humans have been wiped out by these weather related events that are a natural part of the world God created, and ultimately placed us in it to be at the mercy of seemingly random events that we have no way of controlling. If you were a parent, would you knowingly place your child in an environment where they could be harmed or killed by your own design?

There are so many terrible things that humans have endured as a result of Gods design of either the human, or the environment the human was placed in. Are none of these things evil? Is God considered “just” in placing us in harms way knowing many of His children would be killed. Is it not evil to create the human design such that otherwise perfectly healthy parents can give birth to a child so severely defected that a life is impossible? And what are we supposed to think when the responses to these questions are as mysterious as God Himself?

I would be amazed if a Christian would step up to the plate and answer honestly, as opposed to making vague guesses as to Gods plan, or purpose, or some other ethereal reply that gets us no closer to understanding why things MUST be this way, when the designer is so powerful and all-loving. A nice “I don’t know” would even be refreshing! Let’s hear it Christians, can God EVER be evil or unjust? Or is God ALWAYS off the hook?