There’s an interesting thread happening in the comments for my post about God as an abusive husband. One commenter raised a few eyebrows by using strong rhetoric regarding William Lane Craig and his own prospective future vis à vis torment, and others reacted. It was a bit strong for my tastes as well, but I’m listening, and here’s a point I think is worth discussing.
Craig is not Evil-with-a-capital-E Evil, just evil-with-a-lowercase-e evil. I believe he can still be redeemed, but he’s so stuck in his epistemological and prideful rut that only experiencing something that will completely shatter him will knock him out of it.
Even John Loftus, a former pupil of his and kind of a scary guy himself, thinks the man is basically good. I would agree, in the sense that he probably isn’t a primary sociopath and would probably make most of the same moral choices the elusive “normal/control human” would (and for the same irreligious reasons).
However, this is a man who wields considerable “soft power” and whose writings are perpetuating a civilization-corroding, corrupt religion and culture. And say what you will, but there is nothing as evil-minded as thinking that any sentient being deserves infinite punishment for finite crimes.
This last statement is bang on the money. Infinite punishment is pointless punishment. How can there be any point to it if it never ends? The agony can only be an end in itself—you won’t be a better person when it’s over because it’s never over. It’s simply evil for the sake of evil.
What terrible power religion has, that it makes a basically good person like Craig try to justify something that is purely evil for evil’s sake! What could be more corrupt and corrupting than religion? It deafens the ears so that they cannot listen to reason; it blinds the eyes so that they cannot see the malignancy; it hardens the heart so that pity and compassion cannot move it. What more reason do we need to reject and expose it?
Can there be a good religion? Theoretically, perhaps, if you could base a religion on reality. The problem is that all the really popular religions are based on rejecting real-world truth (such as can be explored and verified by science) in favor of “truths” that spring from the feelings, superstitions, and imaginations of men. Or in short, on lies.
This is what makes religions evil. They’re founded on denials of the real world, forcing believers to inevitably self-destruct, mentally if not outright physically.