The Story of Blood
Morality of Torture
Good & Evil
|What is Christianity?
It is, purportedly, a religious tradition based upon the direct intervention of God in history and Gods' direct communication with representatives of humanity.
The Christian aim as documented in the Bible is to enable each person to enter into a renewed covenant with the Creator and sustainer of the universe, God, through a personal relationship with the entirely human, yet entirely divine, person of Jesus Christ.
According to the Christian belief system, anyone who does not enter into such a relationship is almost certainly doomed to spend the majority of eternity in Hell, a place of unimaginable torment and suffering. "Almost certainly" and not "certainly" because to assume the damnation of any person is to place limits on the mercy of God and to usurp the authority of God as the final judge of each individual.
In the Christian religion, and the morality that descends from that religion, some actions are held to have eternal consequences; there are thought to be some things that in no possible future will be all right; there are things that will never have been all right.
The rejection of Christ "almost certainly" has the eternal consequence of Hell.
Does God Exist?
Anne de Chantraine
Satan & Mr Mather
Killing for Christ
Although one might convincingly argue that the rules of the game are rigged, it is, for the Christian, not God who condemns those of us who refuse this relationship to Hell. It is ourselves, though few in the full knowledge of what the refusal may mean. (This view does not hold water or logical or moral grounds. See "
Let us consider Hell and consider how can we understand what Hell means. Let us consider what the Christian religion posits as the final, eternal (and this is rather longer than you think), fate of a very large number of people (though a single instance would be an instance too many). People like you, and me, perhaps. Well, me, "almost certainly".
It is barely possible to speak of a place and unending experience that is by definition beyond any agony of human experience and which is, forever, with any understanding, in rational terms, and still remain human. Never-the-less we must make a serious attempt because the theology of damnation that is, and has always been, the ultimate stick of Christianity.
Perhaps we may draw parallels between 20th century achievement of death and the Moloch-Christ who is the God of Hell and the singular achievement. Perhaps we may understand by analogy what cannot be otherwise understood.
It's as if around end of the great formal religious life in Europe, let's say roughly after Darwin, around the time of Nietzsches' famous "God is dead," there secreted into the bloodstream of modern civilisation some of the most powerful venom's ever let loose. Post-religious hatreds and obsessions, and vengeful fundamentalisms without the hope of redemption.
The 20th century achieved something previously, perhaps, inconceivable; the great concentration camps. The death camps that are a very deliberate mimesis, imitation, reconstruction, reduplication of the long history of Christian imaginings about Hell.
It isn't only the fire-pits into which human beings are thrust alive, it isn't only the great ovens of Moloch, exactly like so much of Dante and the Hieronymus Bosch paintings. No it's something much deeper: it's that deliberate and derisive sense that:
THIS IS THE END OF ALL HOPE.
The Devil In Dante
The Catholic View
"You will be tortured to death, you will be made ash, you will be flogged to death, drowned in excrement," - all the exact tortures of Dantes' Inferno "and there is no redemption, and no-one cares".
You are cut of not only from material help but from that last humanity which is the cry of the witness, the hope that somewhere out there your voice will penetrate, that your endless sorrow and desolation will find echo.
The Nazi guards used to say to some of those who were about to die, "you're dying twice or three times over because even if you were to get news out no-one would ever believe you, and we will level the camps one day and on-one will ever believe any of this ever happened. You will go into an eternity of oblivion." Except, of course, in the dead do not die.
This if anything is a final footnote to any theology of damnation, for when time will end after the last judgement, and the last great stone will seal Hell forever, its very existence will no longer be an accessible memory to the saved. The damned will have gone into oblivion. At least as far as the saved are concerned. The damned themselves, of course, will have an eternity of concerns.
The fundamentalist, lacking anything in the way of empathy, will find nothing wrong with this and may even confirm their anti-human status and rejoice in it.
This is, ah, fundamentally, in my not very humble opinion, why Christianity must be rejected, even in the unlikely event that it is true.
How could a person enter Heaven in the knowledge that ANYONE will enter Hell? To do so would be to deny, eternally, the very essence of that which makes us human: our ability to feel for others. In a word: empathy. The ability to feel for, and on behalf of others.
"Ah - but this is the judgement of God! God is Good! Who are we to question God?".
Apparently we are the ones who ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It appears that we have the right, and the premise that "God is Good" has some serious problems. To enter Hell freely is the only moral choice because sometimes there is nothing that can be done, no material or empathic means by which you can relieve the agony and suffering you perceive; all you can do is be there and witness, all you can be is that echo of the ultimate sorrow and desolation. If sin exists, the greatest sin is to look away.