Fair enough, my dear.
St. SERIOUS LeMaster.
Cus you is being serious!
No no no.. I'm not saying this is about hate. I'm saying it's about empathy and compassion.
How do you live a normal life and interact with a person you think is going to suffer eternally? Either you don't care and you aren't really their friend..
Or you do care and spend every waking moment in frantic worry for their well being.
d.clair.robinson? Ondrej? Any self-identifying Christians out there who would like to answer this for me, please?
Because at this point I feel you are either incapable of loving your fellow man the way god tells you to or you don't really, honestly think your non-believing friends and family are gunna roast.
Again, I say this.
If I thought one of my friends was going to willingly or unwillingly put themselves in major harm, I would physically restrain them if I had to.
So what's in your basement?
First of all, I can do nothing more than I am doing already. If these people still choose not to believe in God, I cannot force them. I trust in God – He will do everything that is possible to find these people and to give them faith.
Also, nothing good enters hell. How could it if hell is completely devoid of God's presence. C. S. Lewis presents in the Great Divorce this idea that whatever worldly thing you value more than God, that is to say whatever sin you choose not to give up, it will do what sins always do, it will change you little by little (and not for better I should say). Now this is noticeable even in this life, but say that we lived forever – and with nothing to long for, nothing to fear, nothing to really toil for. In such case the sin would, as shown by Lewis, deform you to the extreme – until there is nothing human left in you. That is what sin does and such empty shells, drawn of everything good are only to be cast into the fire and burnt, don't you think? There is nothing more to be done for them. Everyone makes their own choice.
I am not sure whether you understand this as I find it rather hard to explain that to which a short book was devoted in a few lines. I am certainly quite unable to do so with the astonishing vividness that is characteristic of Lewis's books. In fact he also shows why there is no grief in heaven over the damned so I would really recommend that you read that book yourself instead of reading just the muddy explanation that I am able to provide... :)
C.S. Lewis is not considered to be canonically inspired by the Christian god so anything he says has no more authority than anyone else who writes Christian apologetics. There are fatal flaws in his arguments.
Jesus descended into hell for 3 days and 3 nights. Fascinating, because 1. he was not dead that long according to the earliest (and therefore most reliable) gospels and 2. it assumes the ancient flat earth cosmology, with heaven above the earth and hell below it.
If Jesus was good, then good entered hell.
If Jesus was god then god was in hell.
How did Jesus get out of hell?
If the devil is not to be thrown into hell until the end of time then who was in hell?
If Satan has already been thrown into hell then what is he doing roaming around planet earth? Is hell an open prison that damned people can walk in and out of? How does that work?
The biggest problem of all is that there there is no timeless and unchanging and universal agreement among people who identify as Christians about what "sin" is. In my youth evangelical Christians believed that it was sinful for women to wear trousers, wear short hair and divorce their husbands. It was sinful for either sex to play cards, go to movies or dance with the opposite sex. Premarital sex was evil but abortion was not (because that was Roman Catholic doctrine.) These days evangelical Christians have reversed their stance on most of these. They have the highest divorce rate of any religiously defined group while those who don't believe in the actual existence of any gods have the lowest rate of all.
If this presumed god can't provide enough clear information to his followers so that they arrive at a concensus on what is good, right and moral then the whole argument falls wide apart.
There is no way to assess the godliness or immorality of African bishops who torture and kill young girls for being witches, in accordance with their interpretation of the biblical writings, The torture imposed on other Christians by Catholic Inquisitors could also have been moral. Heretic burning could likewise be moral. All these people believed themselves to be led by the spirit of their version of god. There is no unambiguous yard stick by which to assess their behavior. Every Christian uses his or her "conscience" to determine what is moral, and there is ample evidence that the conscience is socially, educationally, maturationally and environmentally dependent. What you believe to be moral is likely to be assessed as immoral by some other brand of Christianity or some other individual and equally pious Christian believer.
In other words, the theology of Lewis has great big logical and factual holes in it. I have absolutely no doubt that it will continue to persuade the uncritical faithful for some time to come, simply because they have been carefully and insidiously socialized to avoid applying unbiased critical thought to theological issues. It does not mean that the theology of Lewis will ever make sense to those who have the intellectual means and integrity to critically examine its worth.
The other implication is that you have no idea whether you are doing what your version of god wants you to do or not. Your assessment is no more authoratative than any other pious one, from any era.
C. S. Lewis is a great author. His writings are of course not considered to be inspired by the Holy Spirit in a similar way that the Scripture is. Then again, I never made such assertion in the first place. He was still a genius. I really don't see where you are going with this. Writings of canonized saints are also not necessarily inspired by the Holy Spirit. That does not take or add anything to their authority.
As to the flaws, I am sure there are some: opinions of the best theologians are sometimes superseded, and Lewis himself was not even a theologian! :) Therefore I find your seemingly negative attitude towards this author and the term "fatal flaws" largely misplaced. :) I might be more inclined to accept such statement if it were coming from an expert, but I really don't understand your motivation. :)
Apart from saying this, I am sorry to say that I can offer little further help. I do not agree that the conclusions you propose in this post and in some of the others are the result of critical thinking. As far as I can see they are the result of applying only critical thinking. However, this does seem to apply to other people posting in this thread as well, so I guess it is somehow natural. Be that as it may – ignoring the state of the art would get you nowhere as a physicist, as a mathematician, or as a biologist. I do not see then why you people would want to make such categorical assertions concerning Christianity without having a reasonably good idea about the actual teaching of the Church.
I do not want to offend you in any way, but it just really does seem as if you were thoroughly ignoring the said teaching. You obviously think that it is irrelevant and that the conclusions you yourself are able to reach are the only thing that is important. But the issues you are addressing and the questions you are posing have been answered many times. Most of them hundreds of years ago!!!
Therefore I feel that I cannot do anything for you, as I am certainly not willing to reproduce the whole catechism along with the writings of theologians and various saints in this forum, but just look at these:
How do you make sense of a half god-half man being offered as a sacrifice to its father...
Half god – half man??
When the only other alternative is to confine someone to an eternal life of the worst torture possible, yes, it is the ONLY fair...
If you read the first few chapters of Genesis carefully you will see that Adam and Eve's sin was not doing something they were told not to do. Until they ate the fruit they had not idea that they were doing wrong by disobeying a directive from the Yahweh god because they did not know what "good" and "bad" meant.
God told Adam and Eve not to do that. They had full understanding of what good means, they were living it. And they traded trust in God for a promise that they will themselves be like God. In the end, however, they only got what God told them they would: now they knew what evil was. They found out by committing it! Up to this day I didn't think anybody would be able to twist that into saying that it was actually God's fault because Adam and Eve had no idea they shouldn't have done so. As the matter of fact, I still don't think so.
This is so tiring... :D
I don't think so. I think the animal instinct for survival would kick in before-hand.
In religions where it isn't a sin, you don't see any higher of a suicide rate. I don't think. Though I'm suddenly not finding any stats on that. Care to share if you have any?
Anyway, I think that the instinct for not dying would outweigh any rush to get into heaven.
In may deconverts, huge stress came from not being 'sure' if you were good enough or godly enough for whatever.
I think the fear of uncertainty would out-weight the desire to jump on in.
However it does make a damn fine answer when small children who are too young to have doubts and too imaginative to disbelieve ask "Can I just die and go to heaven now?"
Because I was one of those kids.
With that very same question.