reply to post by adjensen
"God "allows" an evil dictator, who kills thousands of his subjects? Perhaps the injustice of this causes people to not allow the rise to power
of another evil dictator, who would have killed millions."
In philosophy, the subject of Utility (utilitarianism) is contemplated. It is generally held as being rather weak, morally speaking. But when it
comes to "God", nothing seems to apply, certainly not "morality" in any real sense.
Of course I understand that He is "omniscient", and so perhaps He can indeed get away with being the Great Utilitarian.
I notice that lots of replies do seem to miss the various points you make, from your mostly orthodox position. The idea of God knowing everything
does seem to be a tough one, and it is common for people to impute to God a level of "responsibility", based on His unparalleled Knowledge.
Naturally, our primary way of grasping at anything is to think in "human" terms, which is probably why we seem to miss the big theological points so
But since you brought up this idea of Utility, I continue to think that one of the weakest parts of the arguments for an eternal Hell, relate to the
disturbing fact that it is by definition, of absolutely no remedial value whatsoever!
I hate to invoke "human" reasoning (alas, what else do
we really have?), but can you see how that aspect of "Hell" is not only unpalatable, it is blatantly unreasonable
, at least based on every
human intuition, and even our common experiences.
Perhaps you, and some of your fellow travelers can enlighten us. And please, try to find something more than the standard "perversity" of Man
nonsense. Isn't there anything else? I can accept that people can be very twisted, and it may even be common to speak of some as "beyond
redemption" (usually someone like Hitler will come to mind). But where is the reality beneath this notion, really?
Of course, the whole matter involves more than just human nature, and how permanently "perverse" we can imagine that nature becoming.
To be a bit more thorough, we would need to introduce (again) the issue of HOPE. It's not a subject that should be foreign to anyone calling
themselves Christian of course, but when it comes down to it, I'm guessing that we will never be given an explanation for the "mechanics" you might
say, of such a thing.
Let me elaborate. Critical to the orthodox Christian theology on this matter is the fabled "moment of death"
. At that moment, Caesar's
famous quote, "The die has been cast." If you have the misfortune to die in a bad state, your final destination will be Hell. If you "pass the
test" somehow, you will be admitted to eternal bliss (even if some prefer to have a brief stopoever in Purgatory first!).
And so, what EXACTLY happens at that critical moment, that split second of eternal ramifications? Well, let's think about it. I would submit that
NOTHING happens, nothing substantial changes. By this I mean that a person would still retain their personhood, their natural qualities, which
theologically are primarily what they call "mind", and "will".
If the deceased retains these essential features (of course, how else could it be?), than how is it that anything (at all) is "set in stone"?
(Thank you Lady Green Eyes
for adding me as a foe, and for your quotable comment in this regard.)
It's really not a difficult thought experiment. Imagine yourself dying. What, in it's essentials, has changed for you? If we presume there is an
afterlife, then we need to rationally think about our "state" if you will, after that moment. And by "state", I do not mean final destination. I
simply mean, will we still be able to think (use our minds)? Will we still be able to "decide", make decisions? Realize the implications of this,
if it remains so. And yet, how else can you even conceive of individual survival, if these definitional features of consciousness are somehow
And no, invoking fiat, by God, will not work in this case. Certainly, God "could" simply "declare" at your moment of death that you will no
longer be making decisions ("judgement"), but even if He dd do this, it wouldn't matter in any real sense. And you know why. Because there would
be no point to damnation if "free will" failed to remain intact. And so, back to the irrational "perversity" of the "fallen" nature, again.
But when we examined that closely, it evaporated, since we have no concrete experience of such a thing, other than our coloquial manners of speaking
perhaps. And certainly no rational way whatsoever that anything would really be "set in stone", at least if we were to retain what supposedly makes
us responsible to begin with (free will).
I know, these are issues far beyond the usual scope of a casual discussion, but I think we can all agree that these are incredibly important issues.
Whether we believe in the terrible place, or not, I tend to think that it's not merely a theological or mental health issue. This insanity is passed
on, generation after generation. And so, there is an ethical dimension to it, because if it is not true, it would certainly not be something we would
want to pass on to our children.