Thursday, March 26, 2009

The injustice of hell

One of the stock objections to Christianity is the doctrine of hell. Not surprisingly, many atheists take this quite personally. After all, that’s where God is putting all the atheists. So you’d expect them to find this doctrine especially offensive. At least for some of them. Those in a position to articulate their displeasure.

And the more I think about it, they have a point. Consider the sheer number of atheists in hell. Does the absence of belief in God merit such a stern punishment?

As I speak, countless cabbages are stewing in the lake of fire, in varying degrees–and I do mean “degrees”–of crispiness–depending on when they were cast into the fiery waves.

Remember, “atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods.”

Think about that for a moment. If that’s not enough to give you pause, to make you shiver, I don’t what is. Consider the chilling implications of that definition. (Perhaps “chilling” is not the best adjective to describe hell.)

Every single cabbage that now lives, ever lived, or ever will live, is doomed to spend eternity in hell. No exceptions!

Now, I ask you, what did a cabbage do to merit an infinite punishment? The poor little cabbage only existed for a few weeks. Where’s the justice of making a cabbage spend eternity in hell for the finite sin of not believing in God? Did it bother anyone? Who did it hurt?

And that’s just the cabbage family. We haven’t even gotten around to the nutcrackers and silverware. It hardly seems fair that a butter knife or oyster fork should be consigned to the everlasting bonfire for the finite sin of not believing in God. If that’s not a cosmic miscarriage of justice, I don’t know what is!

You can see why some Christians are driven into the arms of universalism by the dire prospect of that unspeakable alternative.


  1. Is there a satirical point to this? No one believes that cabbages and nutcrackers are rational creatures, have souls or are made in the image of God? Besides, our world is one day going to be blown up and replaced at the end of history.

  2. I'm applying a standard definition of atheism to the doctrine of hell. The logic is pretty straightforward. What's your problem?