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EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT - DOES GOD REMOVE FREE WILL OR NOT?

If the Christian doctrine that unrepentant sinners who have turned their backs on God will go to everlasting punishment the moment they die is true then how does that impact on the doctrine of free will - which is essentially the doctrine that we can change our minds purely of our own volition?
 
IS HELL REFUSING UNION WITH GOD FOR ALL ETERNITY?

Some think that God has nothing to do with Hell at all and we make it by our sins and we suffer it against the will of God and the horror of Hell is in having lost the God we crave.  Do you suffer in Hell all of your own accord?

It is odd to argue that people who never looked or cared for God in life suddenly will care when they die and suffer horrendous agony at the thought of what they have thrown away. It can only happen if God changes their feelings to torment them. So God has a lot to do with Hell and its agony then!

The doctrine that God is passive in relation to Hell really denies the teaching of Jesus that Hell is eternal punishment. You canít really punish yourself. True punishment is forced on you from outside. But to inflict torment on yourself to pay for some wrong you have done may be masochism but it is not punishment.

If God does not punish, then he does not take sin seriously. If you think God is right to do that then clearly you hate the sinner when you hate the sin. If sin is evil and you oppose punishment then you do not take it seriously and you don't care about the harm done to the victims of sinners.

If God respects your free will enough to let you go to Hell forever then is it a case of him letting you get what you deserve because you deserve it and because your free will demands this treatment? Yes. The notion that this is not punishment is bizarre. To say your free will keeps you in Hell is the same as saying you are being punished.

People usually say we should not hate anybody because even if they do bad things that is not the whole picture Ė they have an even bigger good side. The doctrine of Hell claims that you will be so bad that you turn away from everybody and God and from happiness and not just for a while but forever. You can become ready for Hell in this life even though you won't seem totally bad! Obviously then Hell does away with the very reason for saying hate is bad. The doctrine is evil.

We know from the objectivist movement and from the ethical egoists that people can be selfish in a way that benefits others. That would be real selfishness. After all, if you care about yourself more than anybody else it hardly makes any sense to go about stealing and drinking to excess all the time. That is not caring about yourself at all. The notion that the people in Hell are there because they are selfish is just a cover for the fact that the doctrine seeks to put the blame on them. It is about getting God off the hook. It is vile to do that when God's existence is unproven. They are slandered because selfishness and hatred do not necessarily go together.

It is assumed that because they are selfish that they are riddled with hatred for God and everything.

Is the suffering of Hell as bad as the fact that you defy God to be there? For the believer, in the light of the notion that God comes first for his own sake, it is not the suffering that should be focused on but the defiance of God. It is the disrespect shown to God he cares about. It is callous to be more worried about God than the suffering caused!

The doctrine of God coming first is certainly inferring that going to Hell is not as bad as being selfish. Jesus said we are to love God alone ultimately. That amplifies the fanaticism of this doctrine so that it cannot be any worse.

Most priests today define Hell as a place where there is no love for the love of God is shut out by the people in Hell. Each one is alone and feels unloved though God loves him or her. These doctrines are not in the Bible. They are lies told to rationalise the contradiction between the everlasting misery of Hell and the doctrine that Jesus was the perfect man and pure fountain of wisdom. Jesus described Hell as everlasting punishment. Self-inflicted isolation is not punishment. To say that God does not punish is to say that the saint and the sinner should be equally praised. Hell is not defined as the state where there is no love but as the state of everlasting punishment.

If you argue that God does not punish and rewards sins and thereby punishes the victims of the sinners then if you believe in the version of Hell taught by those priests you will surely end up in it. You want a Devil for a God and that is what you will get if the existence of Hell is true.

The saints no longer can sin for they are so attracted by God. They cannot resist him. There is no free will in Heaven and the saints are rewarded for having no free will while the damned are punished for still having it.
Reason and experience show that the reason why we act is very complex. There is a mixture of good and bad reasons behind everything we do. No matter how evil you want to be, you will never be that evil. You cannot be bad enough to freely isolate yourself in Hell forever from the God who pleads with you to come to him.

The damned are not mad. Madness happens to bodies not spirits. Anybody staying in Hell for all eternity is suffering from stupidity not evil.  Thus the doctrine that they deserve it is vindictive.

 
People cannot validly choose to go to Godís torture chamber from which there is no reprieve. But now it is time to ask that if they do go there then is it because they freely refuse to leave? If we suffer forever of our own accord in Hell then it is nonsense to speak of being God-fearing for there is nothing to fear in God. We have only to fear ourselves. But the Bible commands fear of God. Why should we fear Hell if nobody can put us there but ourselves?

Sometimes, when one thinks of Hell one thinks of a place where hate-filled beings freely sin for all eternity. You think of God offering them the grace of repentance for he loves them but they wonít accept it and just scream blasphemies all the more and spit blood in his face. In this view, God has had nothing to do with either actively or passively with their being in Hell for he canít force them Ė and he does not punish them but they create their own sufferings. But now it is time to slash up this doctrine that the souls who are being punished forever stay in Hell forever against the will of poor helpless heartbroken God of their own accord.

The endearing thing about the theory is that it says that Hell is no use to God because reason says it as well.

The notion of poor God being helpless and unable to get souls out of Hell is nonsense and an affront to his power. When the living repent and the damned wonít he must have done something to them or put them in a situation that ensures that they wonít repent. He wants them to weep and curse there without ever being comforted.

Christianity says that you canít come to God unless he does something magical or supernatural called grace to attract you. If one needs grace to please God and gain favours from him one has no free will until grace is given. God cannot torture an unfree being for they cease to deserve it when they lose responsibility. So, the damned must be free if God is good.

He must give them graces to assist them towards penitence if the Catholic and Protestant idea is true that none can start loving God again or even think of making real peace with him without the graces. If he does not then he is forcibly preventing them from leaving Hell. If he gives them grace it is to taunt them with it and it is only offered for it is impotent and to confer free will on them so that they will misuse it and sin.

If Hell is very painful then surely the time must come when the souls there will think that they have had enough and repent and go back to God. If it isnít so bad then there is no real need to deeply worry about it. Hell must be a ball compared to Heaven when the damned are determined to stay in Hell. The Church boasts about the martyrs who died on earth to testify to God and his power and ignores the martyrs in Hell who did more than them to prove that God is bad and should not be submitted to.

We have to realise that it is better for God to force repentance on the damned in such a way that they donít know it happened than to punish them. By stating the opposite as fact, Christianity is exposed as cruel. If the forcibly converted damned go to Heaven God can remove the compulsion so that they will freely accept his then.

Some forms of Christianity have strangely taught that sinners should be pitied. It is impossible to see how you could sincerely pity somebody who is wilfully evil. Their sins are supposed to be their own fault and it is crazy and impossible to pity anybody that causes their own problems and it is really false pity because you are hating them in the sense that you are pretending they are not to blame for what is bad for them. If we donít pity them then we either hate them to some extent or we donít care what happens to them. But if we are supposed to pity them then it follows that if there is a Hell then we should pity them immensely more than we would if there were no Hell. When we find a murder victim or the victim of a rapist we should have more compassion for the attacker for the attacker is the one in most danger of Hell. Though we should pity the victim we should pity the attacker so much that there will be no room for pitying the victim and it is not our fault. Hell would imply that we should be soft and ineffectual people.

The attempt to make Hell out to be against the will of God is not the nice kindly theory is seems. You cannot refuse to impute cruelty to God and then say that he set up the laws that take us there though it is the ultimate in cruelty. Its very unkind.
 
We conclude that the doctrine of souls being detained in Hell because they wonít repent and as long as they wonít which is forever, is a superstition. It is a terrible thing to teach you can damn yourself forever no matter how it happens or if you stay freely or if you are made to stay. That is telling you the one person you should fear is yourself. In other words, that you are the only real enemy. That is hardly conducive to self-esteem. Nobody could be trusted if we could be that bad.

The apostle Paul said he spoke for Jesus and Jesus spoke in him (1 Thessalonians 2:13, 4:2/ 2 Corinthians 13:3). He declared that if it were possible he would consent to be lost, that is damned and separated and rejected by God, if it could mean Israel could be saved in his stead (Romans 9:1-5). He stated that this was the truth and that the Holy Spirit revealed it to his conscience that it was true, "It is the truth that I have tremendous anguish over my people Israel and wish I could be lost and cut off from God to save them and I say this in union with Christ. My conscience assures me that it is the truth as does the Holy Spirit." This clearly indicates that the modern Christian notion that we make our own Hell and that God doesn't punish us there is false. If we make our own Hell it would be a sin to wish that you would sin and curse him and be lost forever even to save others. God sends people to Hell of his own free will. God went to the trouble of revealing to Paul that Paul would go to Hell for Israel to indicate his approval of Paul's feelings and anguish. The Church cannot say that the wish came when Paul was overcome by weakness and so his wish that would normally be a sin couldn't be for he didn't fully consent to it.
 
DOES GOD HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREEZE OUR WILLS IN EVIL FOREVER?

The Christians say that God respects free will so much that he will let us reject him forever. In other words, out of respect for free will he stops asking us to turn to him and helping us and inspiring us to live a better life.

What kind of respect for free will is that? Free will is about experiencing different influences and making choices. Genuine respect for free will gives the person who rejects God for all eternity the everlasting opportunity to change.

And if we cannot choose good and God without his help that is not free will.

If leaving people to suffer and be lonely and full of hate forever is respecting free will, then it cannot be wrong to hope that your enemies will go to Hell forever. After all, it is respecting them!

The Church says that freedom entails the power to make choices that are irreversible and for which there is no turning back.

Even if this is true, it does not justify belief in everlasting punishment.

To say that people do the best with what they have, even if they do some extremely harmful things, is really to say that belief in sin is useless and even vile. If this is true, then there is no way everlasting punishment for sin can be justified.

Suppose there is a state of being in which you will stay in unrepented sin forever and be punished forever and God can create such a state. Condone that and you can condone anything God does. Then you have a God allowing the worst possible thing to happen to a person and you will still excuse him. It would be bizarre if you couldnít believe that Jesus might molest a child sexually for a strange purpose when you believe he can torment a child in Hell forever!

Catholics argue that God does all he can to keep people out of Hell. If so, then he doesnít give the wicked more evidence that he exists and loves them because they donít want him to. The idea that he would be forcing them if he made himself too obviously attractive to them is nonsense. You are never more free than when you are drawn to something like God that is supposed to be so good. Why do some missionary priests die young? God is not trying too hard.

Religion says, "We canít reverse any of our choices. What is done is done! Therefore God has the right to fix your will in evil if you commit serious sin." But to have the power to prevent yourself from turning away from evil forever contradicts what free will is all about. To have free will you need to be able to choose good or evil without being able to destroy this power. The moment you cease to be free, you become a robot and if you are being punished by God then God is evil and unfair. The fact that we cannot reverse the past choices we made does not mean we have to stand by them now! We cannot undo the past but we can use the present to do something about the results of our past choices. Being unable to undo the past does not imply we may be able to fix our wills in one choice for all eternity! The two are not the same. One is about the past. The other is not. One is about the unchangeable and the other is about the changeable.

When one is dying, no matter how evil one has been in life, one might have repented if one had just got a moment longer. So God has to assume one would have and open up the gates of Heaven.

People are accused of giving up their freedom to do good in order to justify the ways of the Christian God for it is obvious that there is no reason why death should fix the will. The doctrine makes you evil, like a slanderer.

God fixing your will in sin does not respect your free will at all for it is him that fixes it not you. You cannot set it in stone for eternity. The will is changeable by definition.
 
WHICH OPTION IS MOST RESPECTFUL OF FREEDOM?

Which of the following scenarios best fits respect for freedom?

It has to be one or the other. It cannot be both. Here they are:

John freely chooses to stay away from God forever and freely keeps this up for all eternity.

John is given the choice of being kept away from God forever and gives up the freedom to change his mind and turn back to God. Obviously, God has to fix his will for nobody fixes their own will. We are made to change our minds.

The first fits respect for freedom best. I would go as far as to say it is the only one of the two that really fits it. The second is just the removal of free will in the guise of respecting free choice.

Which fear is the most powerful? The fear of a God who will hurt you or punish you forever or the fear that you may bring pain and suffering on yourself and never stop doing it? The latter is the worst. If you have toothache and you can do nothing about it part of you accepts that. But if you cause it yourself and you know you will never stop doing it though you can that adds to your suffering. You have the pain of being unable to accept it. The new doctrine of Hell tries to get people to fear themselves. And by default - each other!


MYSTERY?

Hell is an evil doctrine. Christians say they believe it is not. But they say its a mystery. If it is, then is it right to take the risk of colluding with evil? If Hell is evil then the Christian who does not mean any harm by believing it and teaching it (if such a Christian exists!) could be a good person in their heart but objectively speaking is supporting evil.

The believers say that if you sentence yourself to Hell forever by dying in unrepented sin of adultery or heresy or obstinate hatred of God or whatever that they have no explanation as to why the sins and death make it necessarily irrevocable. Even irreformable people in this world are not fixable now but given time they can soften and become better people. The believers use the doctrine of mystery to accuse you of becoming irreformable.

To say it is a mystery why if you molest a child you will become a saint in Heaven is shocking. But think about it. The mystery outlined in the previous paragraph is in fact WORSE! And if you are irreformably bad in Hell then you are as bad as a child molester. You would be one if you could get a child.

To say one nasty extreme mystery is true and good doctrine is to open a can of filthy worms.
 
FINALLY

Instead of honouring human nature by saying we can't become evil enough to willingly stay in Hell forever, believers put the fact that the existence of Hell is stated in their scriptures first. They prefer to accuse us of potentially infinite evil than to contradict their scriptures.

Not a single word of the New Testament says Hell is where you have to go for you won't return back to God and get his forgiveness. It does say there is a Hell and that the angels will throw you in there on the last day if you have not turned to God - throwing people into the fire of Hell is torturing them. It calls it everlasting punishment. If you put yourself in Hell and won't leave then God is not punishing you. If you are thrown there and abandoned by God who sentences you to eternal damnation then he is. The doctrine that misusing free will is responsible for you going to Hell and not a judicial decree of a just God is actually a denial that God cares about sin. A parent who wants to treat you as if you did nothing wrong when you unrepentedly murdered your brother does not care about justice. If you refuse to meet that parent you are being stupid not punished. Do believers want to believe that you deserve to be punished forever for being stupid? That would be out and out barbarism not punishment.


Hell is about punishment not about reform. But even if it is not about reform, it has to keep the door open so that the person can reform if they want to. A God that does not leave that door open is pure evil. The doctrine denies that he leaves the door open. Thus Hell leaves us adoring an evil God and condoning and celebrating his evil.