Monday, January 13, 2020

"The infernalists"

This is at the heart of Hart’s unforgiving rhetoric in his book towards the “infernalists”. We no longer live in Tertullian’s or Dante’s world where we can look gleefully upon our enemies writhing in unquenchable flames and think that they are receiving their just comeuppance. It’s simply “not done”, no lady or gentleman (or their contemporary “woke” counterpart) would deign to sink so low. I can’t help but think that Hart’s Episcopalian upbringing enters into all of this. Had he been raised in, for instance, a Catholic barrio having to fight off three separate bullies just to get home (no idea why that example came to mind), maybe he would be far more hesitant to condemn the ideas of Christians through the centuries who concluded that, yes, there are people who are indeed that bad.


  1. That reminds me of when Tovia Singer was asked whether there is a hell? He sort of ummed and arred, sort of said that is a Christian idea. Sort of said no.

    But then said people such as Hitler and Al-Husseini will of course suffer eternal torment.

  2. One comment on that site was interesting:

    "You have for some reason entirely ignored Hart’s most important argument, and one he deals with at length in the book. He (following Gregory of Nyssa) points out that unless everyone is saved, no-one can be. If my father, my child, my friend or my neighbour is suffering eternally in hell, how can I be in perfect joy in heaven? Is being perfected in heaven the abandonment of love of neighbour, so I don’t care about others being in torment, or will I be lobotomised so I no longer remember them: I am with God in idiot bliss with half my mind and memories taken away? Does God lie to the blessed and conceal from them what he is doing to their fellow human beings in hell?
    Hart’s central thesis is not some theological or Biblical point, or logical argument, but that an eternal Hell makes God a moral monster and anyone who thinks it good one also. It’s difficult to see how if you have read the book you didn’t notice this, so why have you simply ignored this in the review?"

    I find it interesting how people still think that heaven is about them. It's like a strange inverse of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.