STEVE POLSON SAID:
“Most of Christendom formerly believed that only Christian believers, not unbaptized infants, went to heaven.”
i) Of course, that’s a false dichotomy. Unbaptized babies are not the logical converse of Christian believers. For baptized babies are no more Christian believers than unbaptized babies. That requires a level of cognitive development which newborns lack.
ii) Furthermore, what you’re pleased to call “most of Christendom,” or “the church” (as you put it in another comment) actually boils down a handful of opinion-makers in Catholic church history, viz. a few church fathers, some influential theologians, some bishops at some church councils, and some popes–especially whoever the current papal incumbent happens to be at any given time. Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t equate that with “the church” or “most of Christendom.” Rather, that’s a very elitist, very reductive definition of “the church.”
iii) Finally, your own denomination got cold feet on the fate of unbaptized infants, which is why it had to resort to stopgap palliatives like limbo, and recently it even found that too much to stomach.
“Therefore[:] Most of Christendom formerly believed that there are stuffed animals in Hell. Clear as mud to me, I'm afraid. can you show me how the conclusion follows from the premise?”
You evidently lack an ability to grasp either satire or metaphor. Given that deficiency, I doubt I can show you how the conclusion follows from the premise.
“If tender feelings for infants makes you uncomfortable with the idea that unbaptized infants suffer in hell…”
i) The motive you ascribe to me is premised on an assumption I repudiate. I don’t think the baptismal status of a child has the slightest bearing on its eternal fate. So I’m not framing the question of infant damnation in those terms.
ii) In addition, I’m non-committal on the entire question of infant damnation. We lack sufficient revelation on the subject to speak with confidence.
iii) I’m merely discussing the possibility of infant damnation, and the possible grounds for that possibility. But that’s an open question in theology. And it will remain an open question for the duration of the church age.
“…and you want to find a speculative solution that does not directly contradict scripture the solution you are pointing to (while holding up a sign that says it isn't something you believe but rather something various respected scholars have come up with) does not work.”
I’m not looking for a “solution.” Rather, I’m offering a counterargument to infidels who raise this objection. Since the objection is hypothetical, I reserve the right to offer a hypothetical response.
“Pre-7-year-old Universalism goes against scripture, which clearly teaches that only Christian believers will go to heaven.”
Well, that’s fatally equivocal at best:
i) OT Jews weren’t Christian believers. So did all OT Jews go to hell?
ii) Baptized babies aren’t Christian believers.
iii) Indeed, we can debate whether baptized babies are even Christians. The immediate question at issue is the status of dying infants, but what about baptized babies who grow up to be nominal Christians or outright apostates?
Were they Christian babies who ceased to be babies? Maybe you think so–I don’t.
iii) We could talk about elect babies. That would be firmer ground, although the scope of infant election is one of the issues in dispute.
iv) Since human beings are social creatures by nature, God tends to save people in packages. So, for instance, he’s more likely to save members of a Christian family.
v) The NT stresses faith in large part because the NT is directed at men and women old enough to understand the message. The Bible isn’t speaking to babies. You can read Scripture to a baby, but it won’t understand a word you say. So the accent on faith is largely an incidental consequence of the audience.
vi) Indeed, there’s a basic contradiction between your insistence on saving faith and your insistence on saving paedobaptism.
“One example of a speculative solution that does not go against scripture relies on the scriptural teaching that not every one in hell will suffer to the same degree (for example Luke 12:47) If that is true (and if you are a bible-believing Christian you better admit it's true), an allowable speculation would be that unbaptized infants, while being denied heaven, receive the minimum possible punishment.”
This “solution” apparently involves the conjectural assumption that dying babies remain babies in the afterlife. That’s hypothetically possible, but it has nothing more going for it than other logical alternatives.
“Do you realize that when you ridicule Christians you sound like an atheist?”
i) Do you apply that admonition to Catholic epologists who routinely ridicule evangelicals?
ii) The notion that unbaptized infants go to hell, but an ouchless, painless circle of hell, is ripe for ridicule by atheists.