We’re up to Question #3 of TodayChristian’s “Ten Questions for Every Atheist,” and it turns out to be three questions for the price of one.
3. What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!
Since this is really three questions, I’ll give it three answers, and the first will be very short.
Answer #1: There are two differences between this question and the jihadi who threatens to cut off your head unless you convert to Islam. The jihadi is taking personal responsibility for threatening you, instead of trying to blame the threat on God. And the jihadi is only threatening to hurt you one time, instead of threatening you with eternal torment. Other than that, this question and the jihadi are making the same basic argument: believe, or suffer. Bravo, TodayChristian, you’re nearly as good at evangelism as a jihadi.
Answer #2. What if God is really a supernatural carnivore who can only devour the souls of the dead if they put their faith in Him while they were still alive? Oh, sure, He uses His divine wisdom and omniscience to PRETEND to be good, and to fool the gullible, but the telltale signs are there—the way He abandons His faithful for millennia at a time, the way He permits heresies to arise unchecked, the way He fills the earth with wars and natural disasters and is always “calling His beloved home” (so that He has a steady supply of fresh souls to munch on), etc.
Let’s face it, you can’t be sure this isn’t the case, TodayChristian. If Almighty God is really a liar and a deceiver, you and I aren’t clever enough to outsmart Him, assuming He’s as smart and all-knowing as the Bible says. What if atheists and pagans are the only people who are really safe from this awful predator? What if you are wrong about God, and are damning yourself and everyone you love to an eternal torment of having your soul endlessly devoured by a merciless spiritual carnivore?
You may say, that’s a question, not an answer. And you’re right. My answer is this: I know that the God in my scenario is an evil, dishonest predator, because I’m the one who created that story. You know just as surely that your God is not this kind of predator, for the same reason: you and your fellow believers are creating your story just as surely as I created mine. Otherwise, my question would be valid. There would be no way for you to be sure your faith in God wasn’t leading you into the maw of a pitiless devourer. But you are sure, because you’re the one creating that story. It’s an invention over which you have complete control. But because it is only the work of your imagination, it has no power to bestow upon me any kind of afterlife, good or bad. Therefore, I have no need to fear the fantasies you pretend.
Answer #3: What if there really is an almighty, all-wise, all-good, and all-loving God? If that were the case, then the rest of the question takes care of itself. There would be no Hell if Creation were the work of a perfectly good God with unlimited wisdom and power. “Hell” is a fantasy imagined by men out of their own carnal desire to see their enemies suffer, but a perfect God would not need the assistance of sin and evil in order to bring about perfect good. And without sin and evil, there is no need for any Hell or salvation.
Thus, I do not need to wonder, “What if…?” because the question contradicts itself, just as the Bible contradicts itself. It is as meaningless as if I asked you, “What if Jesus was really an Egg McMuffin that I bought at McDonalds last November, and the crucifixion is really a metaphor for the fact that I ate it?” Any time you ask “What if” followed by a false premise, the best answer is to point out the false premise. And that, in a nutshell, is what each of my three answers is doing, in slightly different ways.
Up next, Question #4: “Without God, where do you get your morality from?” Stay tuned.