New Age and trendy religion says that God never punishes but we punish ourselves. It is obvious that such a scheme thinks punishment is bad which is why it has to be distanced from God. What kind of morality do those people believe in?  Are they infantalising wrongdoers?  That is not justice.  Telling a person that the only thing that matters is the social order not what they deserve is not justice.  Do we really admire a child who hits his friend and breaks his nose and who grounds himself instead of the parent doing it?

Many Christian liberals argue, "There is no need for a God to judge us as sinful when we judge ourselves by making bad decisions. Sin is not punished by God. The evils and punishments that follow sin are nothing more than the consequences of sin. Sin does not draw punishing on you from anything or anyone out of itself. It damages you and makes you crave for more evil and to do more evil and thus does more damage (James 5:16-17). That is how it punishes. It is thought that 1 John 4:18 says we must not fear the punishments of God for he does not punish but simply loves." But John is only speaking to forgiven sinners. He is not speaking to people who are sinning and don't care. And if sin has bad results and these are not punishments then why argue that if you take tablets to keep yourself alive and you suffer terrible side effects that taking the tablets is a sin? Bad consequences do not prove that anything is necessarily a sin. And if sin is not punished then God wants to treat it as if it were a virtue. It is more vicious to argue that doing wrong brings bad consequences on you and that is fine than to say it brings punishment for the consequences cannot be controlled and the punishment can. I wonder do Christians think that if you burgle a house end up in jail that it is a consequence of your sin?
It is hard to restrain a stab of affection for God upon hearing this sweet stuff about a God who is too loving to punish. Upon thinking, the only thing we have to restrain is the disappointment.

Do we punish ourselves for sin instead of being punished by God? Some say yes. They might give an example, "The heavy drinker’s punishment is ill health which he has brought on himself." This makes God to be bland in a nauseating way. People like the idea of God letting the natural consequences follow a bad action for they want a banal God and/or want to deter you from bad actions. They like to deny that God punishes which is an implicit denial that good people and evil people should be treated different. Bad results then of your actions are not punishment and cannot be. And the bad results may do less harm or more harm than the sin warrants. A wife can suffer little when she is caught out in adultery. The drinker is accused of causing the bad results. So he will get no sympathy - not even if he ends up in Hell for all eternity. And the drinker is not the only cause of the bad results either. If he were being punished you might say it is a pity he has to be punished but he still has to be punished. No doctrine that blames the drinker or sinner for the terrible aftermath of a wrong action can be compassionate.
If punishment is wrong then it makes no sense to approve of somebody suffering for doing wrong as in bad results not punishment! It is cruel. If a person does not deserve punishment then he should be protected by God from bad results. And by us.  Do we take the convicted murderer for a party to compensate for not being able to stop the consequences?
However, God thinks that the ill health and other calamities that befall the drunkard are is good enough for him and only refrains from punishing for he doesn’t need to administer it. By not acting to stop the suffering he is causing it and meting out retribution. So he is administering punishment after all. Passive punishing is still punishing. God could change your molecular structure so that you are immune to the ravages of drink. The doctrine that the drunkard punishes himself is deplored by many as insipid hypocrisy. God does punish. I was aware of the obvious errors of the doctrine since the first time I heard of it which was why it confused me tremendously.
An atheist might look at an evil person and judge that person to have caused the devastation that his actions have brought on him. But there will be no suggestion that these consequences in any sense should happen. The atheist says they do happen not that they should. The believer holds that God has programmed the action to result in bad things and that we should approve of God's role. There is no need for that view and it does no good and thus is just an insult.

Jesus could not have called Hell eternal punishment if people punish themselves there for they cannot. If they hate God then they wouldn’t punish themselves for sin. To do that is to hate themselves for hurting God which is not hating him in the sense that it would be wishing they could love him. They are not making themselves pay for opposing God - for to punish is to intend to pay back evil for evil. They are hurting themselves to offend him for he is against unnecessary suffering. They are trying to punish him and not punishing themselves.

The notion that what goes around comes around that that nature punishes immorality or acts as if it it does is nonsense. A very promiscuous person or who takes drugs is not suffering for BEING LIKE THAT. What if they have an addiction so it is not their character that is the problem? Morality would be about making a person pay for having a bad character. The person is suffering not even for their actions but for HOW they have done them. That is why one profligate can live a happy life and another one is destroyed by it. The former was only okay because of chance and luck. It is not breaking the law of nature that causes trouble but how it is broken. You are “punished” for being incautious in the wrong place and the wrong time. A lot of the time you get away with being incautious.
If God has no right to allow natural evil to happen and that is the biggest evil then he has no right to punish. That is how it can be so terrible to call God a sign of justice. He should punish himself. Christians give no reply except to say that natural evil happens and God is good so it cannot be the worst evil. They say that sin is the worst evil which leads to the odd idea that an earthquake is better than a small lie. This is irrational and starting with the conclusion and rationalising the way to it.

You might sympathise with somebody who cannot undo their crime and goes to jail but how can you sympathise with the alcoholic who is in the throes of liver disease if you blame him for it?

If sin punishes itself then what about the fact that disapproval and rejection by others is the biggest part of the punishment? Where does forgiveness come in? So if forgiveness is not needed when somebody does wrong then what is?

Forgiveness is cancelling punishment or the notion that the person should be punished.  If sin punishes itself then there is no need for forgiveness from God. Or anybody else. Civil justice is just revenge and cruel and lacking faith in the power of evil to self-punish. It is like saying the law of the land forgives you when you pay a fine it has imposed! It is only a waste of time chastening anybody if their sin is teaching the lesson and is the judge and is punishing them. It is only a waste of time promoting God or faith or religion if you hope that they can get people to re-think sin and its consequences. So what are you promoting them for then? The answer is you simply do not really think sin punishes itself or that it is right that that is all there should be to it. You want sin condemned - seeing it just punishing itself by backfiring will not be enough.

What does it mean to say you deserve punishment? It means you should not get some good things. The good things you lose should reflect the crime. For example, if you rob the poor you should know poverty in jail. Deserve means it is immoral to give you certain things for your actions have asked for and earned something different.  But with religion you get punishments that clearly do not match the crime.  You steal and get cancer instead of losing your wealth.  You die when all you did in life was tell lies.  Whether evil punishes you or God does, there is no justice in any of it.  It's just people pretending that what would pass for revenge is justice!

The idea that God does not punish but he creates bad results to go with sin is odd. It means that sin does not hurt you much but what he tacked on to it does. Why does he do that? Why would he make you hate the punishment more than the sin? Is it to punish after all? Is it for spite? It is spiteful to say x must not be punished and then to sneak a punishment in as if it is something terrible to be ashamed off. Belief in God only leads to evil nonsense.

We conclude that justice means giving the good good things and depriving the bad of them.  Self-punishment is stupid.  God making the results of sin more damaging than the sin itself is being vindictive.  It leads to people fearing those rather than being bad.


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