Explain the justice of hell.


#1

Why would a super intelligent and loving being decide to punish people forever based on what they believe about what they can not be sure about or fully understand? Why does it make sense to reward faith, when its lack of basis in proof and observable certainty makes it arbitrary, and usually just whatever somebody's parents believed? Why make the punishment for what people do in their life infinitely disproportional to what they have done, based instead on a simple black and white arbitrary qualification?


#2

To you is punishment, to God it is respecting the free will of the people that reject Him. If you do not accept God it is your choice, just be aware that by doing that you also reject everything that comes with God.

You are talking about faith and certainty. How many of your decisions in life are based on certainty? I can tell you that most, if probably not all, of my decisions are based on the reasonable belief that something specific will happen depending on my choices but I have zero certainty that those consequences will happen.


#3

Hell is not a punishment. God does not send us to hell - we choose to go there ourselves, and God respects our decision.


#4

First I need to comment on one little detail. God isn’t a super intelligent and loving “being”. God IS intelligence. He IS being.

God is not punishing you. Hell is not an extrinsic punishment. Hell is an intrinsic one. Think of this example: if someone kills their parents, they intrinsically become an orphan. Nobody makes them an orphan…they did that themselves by definition of the very action of killing their parents. Same thing with God.

Faith is not arbitrary, nor is based on “lack of proof”. Faith…real faith, not the popular “warm and fuzzy feeling one gets”…is based on knowledge. For example. You only have faith that the building you’re in is not going to collapse. It could…but you have faith that it won’t. Why? Not because you checked all the calculations yourself, but because you trust in your knowledge that the engineer did his job correctly.

“Whatever somebody’s parents believed” reasoning you have is fallacious. It’s the genetic fallacy and is logically incoherent. You cannot judge whether something is true based on how someone came to believe it. I could have found out that the world is round from a comic book…that doesn’t say that my claim that the world is round is false. Address the truth claims as they are.

If that “black and white arbitrary quantification” is true, then why shouldn’t the punishment be infinite…especially given the fact that you chose it based on your own free will?


#5

I'm with those who don't think we could freely choose hell. We literally couldn't understand the gravity of that choice, and if we could we wouldn't make it.


#6

The Catholic tradition is very clear of what the gravity of the situation is. We may not fully understand it, but we all know it’s not in our better interest (…understatement…)


#7

You’re telling me someone could honestly grasp what it is to undergo eternal conscious torment, with absolutely no hope whatsoever of relief, and regard that as better than experiencing eternal bliss?

If we’re not thinking in these terms, we’re not rationally informed of the decision to be made and thus can’t freely choose.

If we are thinking in these terms, no sane person would choose hell.


#8

[quote="Perplexity, post:7, topic:274487"]
You're telling me someone could honestly grasp what it is to undergo eternal conscious torment, with absolutely no hope whatsoever of relief, and regard that as better than experiencing eternal bliss?

[/quote]

We can certainly understand the concepts of those, yes. We don't need to fully undergo experiences to understand the concept of the experiences.

[quote="Perplexity, post:7, topic:274487"]

If we're not thinking in these terms, we're not rationally informed of the decision to be made and thus can't freely choose.

[/quote]

Clearly you can think in these terms or you wouldn't have just typed them out....therefore, you are indeed rationally informed.

[quote="Perplexity, post:7, topic:274487"]

If we are thinking in these terms, no sane person would choose hell.

[/quote]

Sure they would. Clearly, people choose things that are bad for them all the time....and they are quite sane while doing it, despite said choices having very large consequences and them knowing about said consequence beforehand.


#9

[quote="catholicgamer, post:8, topic:274487"]
We can certainly understand the concepts of those, yes. We don't need to fully undergo experiences to understand the concept of the experiences.

[/quote]

We understand them well enough to talk about them. But, if we were shown the beatific vision and then the horror of hell...we'd choose God :P

Clearly you can think in these terms or you wouldn't have just typed them out....therefore, you are indeed rationally informed.

Like I said, if we could truly understand we'd always choose heaven. There's no way we could grasp the goodness of heaven and the badness of hell and rationally choose hell.

Sure they would. Clearly, people choose things that are bad for them all the time....and they are quite sane while doing it, despite said choices having very large consequences and them knowing about said consequence beforehand.

We're not talking about a situation someone chooses evil qua good. If they grasped the moral values of heaven and hell, they couldn't rationally value hell over heaven.


#10

[quote="Perplexity, post:9, topic:274487"]
We understand them well enough to talk about them. But, if we were shown the beatific vision and then the horror of hell...we'd choose God :P

[/quote]

Certainly, if such a choice is given, but it's not at the moment of death...at least not in the Catholic understanding. You don't die and then get to choose the "up or down" button on the elevator ;). There are no previews...heh.

From what I understand, we make this choice given how we live in this life. So you're correct...right now we are given this choice, and it's clearly understood what that choice is. It's the whole point of life. Some people would rather not choose God because they feel their needs are more important. This is why pride is such a problem.

[quote="Perplexity, post:9, topic:274487"]

Like I said, if we could truly understand we'd always choose heaven. There's no way we could grasp the goodness of heaven and the badness of hell and rationally choose hell.

[/quote]

...and yet, there are people in this world who are clearly making that choice, one way or the other. People are grasping the goodness of heaven and the badness of hell...this is clearly the case.

You would need to prove that those who choose Hell are being irrational about it.

[quote="Perplexity, post:9, topic:274487"]

We're not talking about a situation someone chooses evil qua good. If they grasped the moral values of heaven and hell, they couldn't rationally value hell over heaven.

[/quote]

Again...in order for your statement to be true, you would need to show that those who make morally wrong choices are, by default, irrational.

There are indicators that you seem to think that "rationality" is at the center of this decision, and it's really not. One can be completely rational about choosing something we know is not in our best interests....this is at the very heart of the concept of sin.


#11

[quote="jmvizanko, post:1, topic:274487"]
Why would a super intelligent and loving being decide to punish people forever based on what they believe about what they can not be sure about or fully understand? Why does it make sense to reward faith, when its lack of basis in proof and observable certainty makes it arbitrary, and usually just whatever somebody's parents believed? Why make the punishment for what people do in their life infinitely disproportional to what they have done, based instead on a simple black and white arbitrary qualification?

[/quote]

One cannot have their cake and eat it too. Either one rejects God and loves what is not God, and therefore embraces loss of beatific vision and hell, or they love God and accept perfected beatific vision and heaven.

The problem is that the atheist and the sinner don't want God... but they want His graces. Sorry, no dice. WE choose our own fates, and God is just and loving, so He gives it to us.


#12

[quote="Perplexity, post:7, topic:274487"]
You're telling me someone could honestly grasp what it is to undergo eternal conscious torment, with absolutely no hope whatsoever of relief, and regard that as better than experiencing eternal bliss?

[/quote]

You're confused about the nature of heaven. It is not "bliss" - it is complete spiritual union with Jesus Christ - like a marriage, only much deeper. This is appealing only to someone who loves Jesus. If you have rejected Jesus, being united to him for all eternity WOULD be a punishment.

A person who has rejected Jesus doesn't WANT to be in heaven, where he is eternally united with Jesus.

A Saint (can't remember which one) once said, "Nobody will be dragged into hell kicking and screaming that there has been some mistake."


#13

Obvious example which proves this assertion incorrect:

It is obviously better to get good grades in high school, to attend college, to invest (wisely), and to build up a good future. Everyone can see this readily… I don’t think anyone believes Obama would like to trade places with a wellfare recipient…

And yet time after time we see examples of otherwise bright children getting high, drunk, sexing it up, dropping out of school, etc. They forgo the bright future they might have had for immediate gratification, even though logically they are throwing away their chances for lasting success.

You, sir, underestimate the power and seduction of instant gratification…


#14

The angels who fell knew very well what they were doing and what they were in for, since they were infused with knowledge, unlike us, and yet if they knew what they were choosing, and did it anyways, wouldn't humans also?
some people really just don't want to serve God, they choose themselves, and here's the thing, heaven is not a place anyone will want to go who does not love God, if you don't love God, then heaven is like hell for you, the same way a marriage would be with someone you really don't want to be around, God isn't going to force you to love Him or force you to go to heaven, and you can't force your way in either, it's not like we deserve heaven, we don't deserve anything, and yet we're so ungrateful to say something like "how cruel God is! to allow us to go to hell"...of course it's entirely our choice, but it's not cruel, God gives us plenty of chances, the angels only got 1 chance! but we get as many as we need, we should be grateful for what we do have, and make the most of it, because honestly, we don't know what happens to those who didn't know better, it's very possible they don't go to hell, although only God knows, and yet that should not be our concern, if you think someone may be in danger of going to hell, then it is your responsibility to help them! don't blame it on God, we are told *"Open rebuke is better than hidden love" *Proverbs 27:5 which means, to love will do no good if it's concealed, but to rebuke may at least cause amendment, and what is true love? to tell others what will make them happy now? or what will make them happy forever? is it better to give someone what they want, or what they need? God gives us what we need, even at the risk of being hated, that is true love, forgetting yourself for the love of another, not being concerned with human respect but only with the salvation of souls...which of course is done in charity.
but the point is, if someone thinks it's so terrible that God would allow others to go to hell, why don't they do everything they can to stop them from going there? God works through us, and answers our petitions, if we want to save souls, we have to pray first,

but isn't it also rather arrogant to suggest that God, Who is all love and love itself, would do something cruel or unfair to His creatures, who He loves more than we could ever understand? God is not cruel, He desires our salvation more than anyone ever could, He just does things differently than we would have Him do, but what He does is for the best, He always has what's best for us at heart, and i think anyone can agree just by looking at the state of the world, that we don't know what is best, so i think we need to just trust God and do what He says...it's because we don't obey His commands that souls are lost, so who's really to blame? it's only those who are constantly wanting to do things their way that blame God for anything...but those who know God and love Him know better.

as for the justice of hell,
well, first of all, without hell we are not free, because if there is only heaven, then there's no point whatsoever to have a free will, and no point to be here on earth to choose God, because if God is the only choice...then there really is no choice...but why is there hell? hell is indeed Gods justice, but the pains of hell are His mercy, the real hell is separation from God, which is a far worse pain than any torture in hell, the pains of hell apart from the loss of God, are to distract the souls in hell from the real pain...
there is both God's justice and His mercy in hell, and it is fair since we choose it, the same way we show we love God by keeping His commandments "If you love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15 we also show we hate Him by not keeping them...the same way faith without works is dead "For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead." James 2:26 love is an act of the will, we love by our actions, not by our words or beliefs or faith, but by our acts, and the fact of the matter is, if you love God, you will keep His commandments, if you hate Him, you won't, and for those who are given fair warning, who choose to hate God, hell is justified...
but lets also remember, who goes to heaven or hell is not set in stone, as long as someone is on earth, they can go to heaven, it's just up to us to pray and do penance and do good works and set a good example and speak the truth, etc. etc. etc...
no one can say for sure(except God) who goes to hell, and although we don't know, we must err on the side of caution, it's Gods job to judge, it's ours to follow Christ and lead others to Him...the fact that others go to hell should motivate us to do more to save souls, otherwise we're all talk and no love...

well...not sure that helps, but that's all, take care.


#15

[quote="DavidFilmer, post:3, topic:274487"]
Hell is not a punishment. God does not send us to hell - we choose to go there ourselves, and God respects our decision.

[/quote]

Except I can't choose what I believe is true or not. I don't choose to go to your god's hell any more than you choose to go to the hell of the god of the Muslims. You just don't think their religion is true, just as I don't think your religion is true. I couldn't choose to believe that your religion is true any more than I could choose to believe that 2+2=5.


#16

So my unchosen disbelief in your god because I honestly see no reason to think he is real is an evil action, comparable to murdering parents? How is it evil? And in what way does my disbelief warrant my being sent to hell? If I am just as good a person as you throughout our lives, the only difference between me and you is one simple belief, and that’s it. Why do we deserve such different fates?

The difference of course being that I am actually standing in a building and I know how engineers do their jobs, as I am one. God is invisible and there are no good reasons to justify belief in him, other than arguments that can equally justify belief in any god, and none of those are convincing.

“Whatever somebody’s parents believed” reasoning you have is fallacious. It’s the genetic fallacy and is logically incoherent. You cannot judge whether something is true based on how someone came to believe it. I could have found out that the world is round from a comic book…that doesn’t say that my claim that the world is round is false. Address the truth claims as they are.

I was stating that most people believe what their parents believe to indicate that clearly they didn’t choose their religion, yet god sends them to hell anyway if they landed in the wrong culture. Unless of course they found arguments that changed their mind later on, but once again, they couldn’t choose what they thought of those arguments. You can’t choose what you think is true.

Once again, did not choose it. Your religion seems illogical and therefore not true to me. I can’t choose to think that, that’s just what I think.


#17

[quote="promethius, post:11, topic:274487"]
One cannot have their cake and eat it too. Either one rejects God and loves what is not God, and therefore embraces loss of beatific vision and hell, or they love God and accept perfected beatific vision and heaven.

[/quote]

Or they don't think there is a god, but imagine that if there is one, he isn't so infinitely picky about what we believe about him given, you know, that he is invisible and all.

[quote="promethius, post:11, topic:274487"]
The problem is that the atheist and the sinner don't want God... but they want His graces. Sorry, no dice. WE choose our own fates, and God is just and loving, so He gives it to us.

[/quote]

The problem is that atheists don't think your god exists. I'd love to meet a god or go to heaven if I thought they existed. But once again, it comes down to what we think is true, which we cannot choose, not what we choose. What person would in their right mind would choose to go to hell? Atheists are not atheists because they don't want rules, they just honestly don't think your religion is true.


#18

[quote="jmvizanko, post:16, topic:274487"]
......... Your religion seems illogical and therefore not true to me. I can't choose to think that, that's just what I think.

[/quote]

You are claiming that something seems illogical; are you sure that your thinking is correct? Have you studied what our belief is really about? Have you looked deeply into it and verified that our belief is not reasonable? If you think that our religion is not true then why do you care about this hypothetical hell?

I do not like to watch movies about zombies, I think they are just work of imagination, I do not have any reason to believe in their existence, and so I do not spend time wondering about zombies.


#19

This is an unproven generalization at best. Most of the so called atheist, that I have interacted with, make that choice as an opposition to the social consequences of a belief. I have discussed with few atheist and agnostics that are intellectually honest and they are light years apart from the rest of the crowd.


#20

I’m an ex Catholic. And I’ve debated with Christians and atheists for years.

I’m interested in the responses on the other side. I’m interested in how anybody can believe that hell is just, which I would argue is a basic requirement to believing in Christianity. And I think that if one doesn’t understand the arguments of one’s opponents, one doesn’t understand their own.


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