I find these two questions that am going to attempt to answer very interesting, if not presumptuous. That said, I will attempt to do them justice.
1. When you end up in Hell, who are you most looking forward to seeing? Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Mao Zedong?
2. If after death your soul finds itself in a place of eternal torment, who will you blame?
Re-read those questions! They are what I call loaded questions, that is, they have several hidden premises in them and we will first try to show what they are then continue to respond. They assumes among other things:-
- that there is a hell
- that there is an afterlife
- that people are resurrected in the form in which they exist now
- that there is need for eternal torment
- that we have a soul
- and that I or other atheists are going to hell
Having identified what yours truly considers as hidden premises, I want to first digress a while and posit a question that will aid us in answering the ones before us. The question to ask is why and at what point in the cosmic history was hell created and whose idea was it? What purpose was it meant to serve?
First, granting, for argument’s sake, the existence of the christian god, a god we are told is all loving, all merciful and all just and all-powerful, why would this god create hell? If hell was created at the same time this god created the universe, one of the things I can draw from this is there was always the intention to punish some people. It is not a fluke. It couldn’t have been created to act as deterrent for actions that would be committed here on earth. We would expect that this god would have known men fear the punishments of other men than the threat of punishment elsewhere in another life. Such a god, an all-knowing god, would have found a way of showing his power here where it matters.
If hell was created later after man had been created, and started sinning as the christians want us to believe, then again it points to the failure of an all powerful god to save everyone. At this point I know there are those who will argue that god granted man free will so that he could chose or reject him. This is bunk! You cannot tell us your god gives people free will to do what they want to do and damn them for eternity for doing just that! No no, that is not even sensible. It is cruel, it is malicious and the person responsible cannot be described to be anything close to all loving and just.
If, however, your god will create hell at the end of time, then again, he can’t be all-powerful and all merciful. It is impossible to believe that the creator of the universe, which he did by saying a few let there be-s, would not by the same measure forgive everyone. It points to a being that is either confused, malicious and cruel but not all-powerful, all just and all loving. If there was a time it was important to stop Hitler, it was here before he started his movement. God, if at all he cared about the Jews, would have made the Nazi hierarchy mad for instance or by a shrug of the shoulders, assuming it has, changed their whims. To argue that he left them do as they desired in order to punish them in future, points at an incompetent parent, a malicious parent and one that takes pleasure in seeing people suffer! It is a god that no one, and I mean no one should be looking forward to meet him unless you are a psychopath and this makes me ask, are religious people psychopaths for dreaming their god shall punish unbelievers eternally and not cringe at such a prospect?
Forgive my digression, in what form would the likes of Pol Pot be in hell? Will they be spirits, whatever these are? will they be as they were here with hands and all that goes with being a human being? If they are anything other than a full-grown human being, how would we know them? Will they have grown old, will they still have a beard and so on? You see, the person who asks this question betrays their lack of thinking through issues. Anyone who thinks about the question would see the absurdity in asking it. One would see that if there god was going to keep these men and many more people alive in some state just to torture them forever, I don’t know how long that is, then there is a problem with the person asking the question and am afraid to say this is a potential psychopath!
The second question assumes we have a soul. The person asking the question doesn’t tell us what this is or how we can know we have one. I can only assume that this person is a dualist. I am not a dualist. I believe man these people who think that man has a soul are ignorant. They see the thinking man and the physical man and think these are separate entities. But as I said, I will grant him/ her that we have a soul. If at the end of my life here, I should find myself before your god, it shall have been his failure to speak to me in a language that was clear and precise so that I know him. Don’t worry for me, I shall be my attorney and I will not need your help.
And now to end this very long post, allow me to quote from a speech made by George Jacob Holyoake in 1871 on an address entitled the Principles of Secularism.
We neither seek their counsel nor desire their sentiments – except where they concede them on terms of equality. The light by which we walk is sufficient for us; and as at the last day of which Christians speak, we shall there have, according to their own showing, to answer for ourselves, we prefer to think for ourselves; and since they do not propose to take our responsibility, we decline to take their doctrines.
Thank you for your indulgence!