I want you to imagine you’re at the best party of your life. Almost all of your favorite people are there, the music’s great, the atmosphere is electric and the food is mind-blowing. You’re surrounded by close friends and celebrity idols and models all paying attention to you, laughing, making you laugh, hugging you, making you feel warm, loved, accepted and just generally happy. Now imagine that the host of the party says he has a special treat for everyone in attendance and turns to click on the TV. On the big screen you see dozens of little picture-inside-picture frames, each holding a different scene. You walk a bit closer to get a better look at the images and one stands out to you.
You see your daughter in a dark prison cell being bound and strapped to a table.
The scene you are witnessing is gruesome and horrible in every way. Your daughter is being subject to rape, torture, mutilation, humiliation and ridicule simultaneously and without a shred of mercy or dignity. Everyone around you is watching too, laughing, and just continuing to enjoy themselves. Moreover, not only do the images not bother them, it seems to make them happier.
Is it still the best party you’ve ever been to? Do you want to stay there or try to run and help your daughter?
My problem with hell is that it is so frequently described as a place where “those in heaven can look down on all the torments of the damned” as if this was an enjoyable practice. If, by some fluke, I found myself in Christian heaven, capable of seeing others being tortured in hell, I would be going insane trying to get out and help them. I could never enjoy myself knowing that anybody was going through that. Could you?
I’ve sat in a room with some pretty hardened US Marines watching the movie “Hostel” (a movie where kids are kidnapped and tortured by people who pay to do it). It’s a film that falls under the “gore porn” genre where the more disgusting and gory it is, the better. These Marines could hardly sit through the entire movie because of how gross some parts were. I looked away for most of the bad parts and felt disgusted after watching it, as well, even though I knew it was just special effects. The idea that people actually want to sit in the most amazing place ever (i.e. heaven) and watch other people go through wicked and disgusting torments, to me, is the definition of decadence and immorality. If this is what you want, then I don’t see how you can ever claim to have the moral high ground on any issue. No matter how high and mighty you make yourself sound, I will always say, “Yea, but at least I don’t believe in hell.”
Hell is a childish place dreamt up by people who simply do not understand what morality, sympathy, tolerance, love, and ethics are. It is a place invented by those who seek revenge. Any time a person tells you, “that belief of yours is stupid, grow up!” the urge you feel to punch them in the face is the same urge that invented hell. It’s playground vindication. It’s “might makes right” morality (also known as “Divine Command Theory”). And it is utterly immoral and unjust. The existence of hell in Christian theology, for me, completely offsets any good that might come from its teachings. At best, Christianity is morally neutral. At worst, it is an abominable belief system that needs to be eradicated for our own survival as a species. It all depends on whether Christianity needs hell within its doctrines. If not, then what are we being saved from? Do you see the problem yet? Hell is perhaps the most immoral construct ever invented by any religion, yet religions claim a monopoly on moral guidance. How can you teach morality when one of your central teachings is the perfect antithesis of morality? And, why worship the guy who introduced this horrible realm to your belief system in the first place?
It makes my blood boil thinking of how childishly arrogant Jesus had to have been to make such a place central to his religious teachings. I know this is unnecessarily derogatory to Christianity and its central figure, but I find hell an even bigger insult to thinking, moral people everywhere. If you’re offended by my statements, just know that I am more offended by people who believe in, and preach the existence of, hell (especially to impressionable young children). This is the definition of immorality and it needs to be actively resisted by everybody, Christian or otherwise. I hope you’re with me on this much at least. What say you?