Author Topic: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell  (Read 1073 times)

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Offline Universalist Catholic

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Link to the book.  If you want to see it.  
http://books.google.com/books?id=gK5LoeW8J2YC&printsec=frontcover&dq=catholic+apologetics+handbook+answers&source=bl&ots=DxsH8mB3Wf&sig=NGqiwtFb-JwlgZ1jJodvNq2ZSLo&hl=en&ei=3MDhS8T5Bovg8QSPp5iBAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCQQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false

This article may come off as being a bit sarcastic, but its really the best way to expose such ridiculus teachings.  

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1. To believe there is no hell presupposes that both Scripture and the Church lie, for both clearly teach the reality of hell.  They are our authorities, our reasons, our premises for believing in hell.  If they are wrong about hell, they could be wrong about anything and everything else.  

Problem here is that
1. The scripture written in the original language does not teach hell everlasting punishment.  In the scriptures, everlasting originally portrayed "Aion" and "Olam", which never spoke of Eternity.  Im sure we know all about the real meaning of Aion/Olam.
2. The assumption that the Catholic Church is infallible.  Well, we can pretty fairly say thats not the case.  In their religious tradition, St. Peter supposedly went to Rome to establish the unbroken Papacy.  However the scriptures seem to indicate that Peter was in Babylon and not in Rome.
http://www.bible.ca/catholic-infallibility.htm
Plus hard archaeological evidence has found that Peter was buried in Jerusalem, not Rome like the pope claimed.
This is a pretty good source on the belief on Catholic infallibility.  
Conclusion: The bible in its original non-biased translation neither teaches that everlasting punishment nor does it teach that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church with the ability to judge what is truth and what is not.

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2. If Scripture and the Church do not lie about what Jesus said about hell, then it presupposes that Jesus is the liar.  For he was far more explicit and adamant about hell than anyone else in Scripture.  If there is no hell, the fundamental reason why Christians believe anything-the authority of Christ-is denied

Once again, they are referring to the old myth that Jesus spoke more on hell than heaven.  Yes Jesus did speak of Judgment in Gehenna.  But Gehenna was understood to mean a place of purification to the Jews of the time.  Jesus never even spoke of a literal burning pitt popular in pagan mythology.  However Jesus did talk about Judgment quite a bit and how many would have to go through judgment before being saved.  And another side note is language and bible scholars know the difference between hades/sheol and Gehenna.  Apparently tradition did not care to see the differences.

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3. If we drop hell because it is unbearable to us, that presupposes the principle that we can change whatever doctrines we find unbearable or unacceptable; in other words, that doctrine is negotiable.  Christianity then becomes a human ideology, not a divine revelation-a set of humanly chosen ideals and ideals rather than propositional data.  There is then nothing new or surprising to learn.  Doctrine becomes a nose of wax to be twisted into any shape we choose.  Try this principle out in any other branch of knowledge and see whether it makes a difference.  In addition to these three presuppositions, there are also seven disastrous consequences of dropping the belief in hell.  Continuing on with our list of ten issues.  

Thats calling the kettle black.  I think it already was a human ideology when Pagan hell mythology butted its way in.  Enough said.

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4.  If there is no hell, life's choices no longer make an infinite difference.  The height of the mountain and the depth of the valley, the importance of winning and the importance of losing a war or a game-these two things are relative to each other and measure each other.  Drop hell, and heaven becomes a bland automatic anything and everything for anyone and everyone.  The razor-edge drama of life is blunted into a flat, save plain.  We can see in the difference hell makes by comparing Hindu or Buddhist cultures.  In these Eastern religions there is no eternal hell, only temporary purgatories or reincarnations.  The difference this makes to life here is striking.  Drama, especially tragedy, is something the West has specialized in and excelled at because it has theological roots in the doctrine of hell.  C.S. Lewis said he never met a person who had a lively belief in heaven who did not also have a lively belief in hell.  "If a game is to be taken seriously, it must be possible to lose it."

1. Where in the bible do lifes choices need to make an infinite difference in eternity?
2. What biblical proof(Valid) can we claim that this 70-100 year period determines your eternal destiny?
3. Drop hell and heaven is bland and anything goes?  Well, heaven sounds like a big gladiator arena with Hell being the ring where we get to have a blast from the stands watching the damned in pain.  Sounds like a certain medieval picture of the last judgment.  So I guess no watching suffering sinners from your luxury boxes would make heaven so boring.  
4. Anything goes? really? Last I checked the bible says God will judge us to burn out our sins, not let them coexist in some torture chamber.  Anything goes is just the rant of an ignorant hellwisher.  Heard that one enough "Without hell, no one can be punished" Once again, there is just punishment, not some of your wishful sick fantasies.  
5. First off, there was performing drama in Eastern Culture long before Western Culture.  Learn some historical facts first.
6. Secondly, Western Drama came from Greece in ancient times long before Christian hell philosophy.  It was more focused on Romance, and heroic sagas, not some Mythological fire pit.  
7. The doctrine of Eternal torment is so important just so "Dantes Divine Comedy" can be written.  No hell=no Dantes divine comedy.  Oh! what a horrible world that would be.  No stories about some horrible inferno to make up more hell mythology.  boohoo!  By that reasoning the Holocaust was actually a blessing in disguise, because had it not been for the slaughtering of all those people, we would never be able to have such a production as Schinlers List.  Well many Jews, Gypsies and other peoples were killed and tortured, and caused a major war, but its all good, because we got to produce shinlers list.  See the flawed reasoning?  
8. Where are the scriptural claims and not the lunatic rantings of someone who is in some delusion that Hell created great Dramas and that society would be lost without Shakespeare, and more ignorant historical claims against Eastern Philosophy?

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5.  If salvation is universal and automatic, then ultimately there is no free will.  We may still be free to choose between one road to heaven and another, but we are not free to choose destinations or directions on the road-forward versus backward, up versus down, good versus evil.  It is no accident that those Eastern religions do not teach hell also do not teach free will.  Free will and hell go together; scratch the idea of free will and you will find underneath it the necessity of hell.

1.  Who is freely going to choose hell?  No one.  According to Gregory of Nyssa, Origen and other Universalists, we did have free will, but we would eventually choose heaven after learning in judgment.  
2.  But unlike the popular creeds which teach absolute free will such as the quoted area, the bible does not teach that
http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/savior-of-the-world/FreeMoralAgent-Eby.html
3.  Free will so important? So basically your outside watching your three year old, and you let him/her run in the street only to be hit by a car and killed, all because you wanted to respect the little boys free will even though he only ran in the street out of curiosity, not an intent on being killed.  Call child services.  So an all loving god is going to let one of his ignorant children who got into sin out of pure curiosity and you are going to let him/her go to hell forever just to respect their "Free" will.  Yeah, ignorance does not give out free will, only free impulses.

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6. The same Eastern religions that teach there is no hell also teach there is no absolute morality, no real and objective opposition between good and evil.  Morality becomes then only this-worldly and pragmatic-at most a means for purifying the mind from desire so that we can attain the enlightmenment of seeing the truth of pantheism.  A real, objective opposition between good and evil.  Morality becomes then only this-worldly and pragmatic-at most a means for purifying the mind from desire so that we can attain the enlightenment of seeing the truth of pantheism.  A real, objective opposition between good and evil is incompatible with pantheism.  If everything is God, there can be nothing else, nothing anti-God.  

1.  Eastern Religions Im pretty sure teach hell.  Not to mention their descriptions of hell are much more graphic than the depictions from the bible.  Secondly, Eastern Faith teaches that Hell is only temporary just as the original bible teaches.
2.  Moral Relitivism? Nah! Eastern faiths teach no such thing.  In fact, I've found that Eastern faith has a very strict code against harming any forms of life.  Funny thing is those hell believers have committed the most autrocious and horrible acts.  The Crusades, because those Heathens, Muslims, Jews and Eastern Orthodox were nothing but dung deserving of Everlasting torments.  Lets violently kill them.  Wait a minute.  Jesus was strictly against violence, and the bible is pretty anti-murder.  So it appears God does not condone Murder or Violence in any way.  
3. No real objective between good and evil? And why do both Hindus and Buddhists believe that bad behavior in this life leads to finite punishments in the next life until they are reborn again?  Yeah, I really want to go to their hell or be born as an outcast living on the streets.  
4. incompatible with pantheism? Purifying the mind to recieve enlightenment?  Nothing anti-God? If the universe has anti-God figures, then why is is when God created the world, he saw that it was good?  Let us make man in our own image.  Okay, man did fall, but I think that this was all part of the plan so we could grow and develop spiritually.  But according to the scriptures, God would be "All in All", and "Reconciling all things to himself".  According to the scriptures in the end everything would be of God.  And pantheism some major heresy?  I suppose they had never heard of "I am the vine and you are the branches".  If I am correct, the branches are still part of the vine, just lesser.  So if Jesus is calling himself the vine, and we are the branches, it looks as if we are offshoots of God, along with all of creation.
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7. If there is no hell to be saved from, then Jesus is not our Savior but only our teacher, prophet, guru or model.  
1. Jesus came to save us from death, not everlasting life in some hellfire pit. "The wages of sin is death."  Christ saved us from Sheol, the grave.  And the grave would be cast into the lake of fire.  So essentially Christ did save us from something, but not unending pain.
2. Once again they assume without the notion of unending torment Christ cannot be savior.  If anything, no everlasting torture means Christ is "The savior of all men".  Plus the scriptures tell us "As in Adam all die, so shall in Christ all be made alive".  The teaching of an endless hell therefore makes God out to be only a partial savior.  
3. Obviously they are confusing No hell with no punishment at all.  Talk about black and white reasoning.
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8. If there is no hell. a religious indifference follows.  If faith in Christ as Savior is not necessary, we should recall all the missionaries and apologize for all the martyrs.  What a waste of passion and energy and time and life!  If there is no such thing as fire, fire departments are a distraction and a waste.  
1. Yes, faith in Christ is necessary, but not everyone would be saved at the same time.  Once again you are following the Dogma of only being able to be saved during this life.  
2.  I dont see the Catholic Church doing a very good job of performing missionary work.  And if what you mean by missionary work by going into Mexico and the United states and killing anyone who did not worship as you as missionary work, you have a lot to learn about Christ.  Neither Jesus or his apostles spread Christianity by violent means.  However ancient civilizations at that time killed anyone who did not worship their gods.  It does not sound like Jesus missionary work, but Neros missionary work.  Plus much of the time, less aggressive missionaries just went into villages and baptised them just to save them from hell.  However the indigenous people ended up continuing their old customs, as we call them "nominal Catholics".  
3.  You assume the martyrs of the Early Church were all soul winners like todays "Christians".  St. Steven, Origen, St. Paul and many other anonymous and known were not believers in everlasting punishment.  It sounds like they were spending their time preaching of a God of love who would save the whole world, not just their people.  The pagans did not like having to be equal to all other peoples, nor did the religious powers like being challenged, so kill off these inclusive preachers.  However once Rome took over and the "Everlasting Torment" doctrine became the new official orthodox belief, all the martyrs disappeared.  Now anyone who opposed the Pope was seen as a threat to salvation to those that showed loyalty to him.  Sounds like Imperial Religion is back with a Christian mask.  
4.  You assume that our preaching is only purposed to save people from hell.  WRONG! Jesus came to save us and bring us to a higher existence, not to save us from unending torture.  But the purpose hear and now is to preach of an inclusive love, not scare people.  Psychologists even agree people respond better to love than fear.  "Perfect love casts out all fear".
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9. If salvation is automatic, Christs sacrificial death was not what Christ himself said it was: necessary, planned, the culmination of his whole earthly life and his reason for coming from heaven to earth.  Instead, it was a stupid mistake, a tragic accident.  (This idea is devastatingly satirized in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. Chap 5).
1. Once again, Salvation is deliverance from Sin and death, not a pit of fire.  
2. Salvation is not automatic but does not have an expiration date like you claim.
3.  Not to mention, salvation for all means that Christs sacrificial death was a full sucess just like Adams first sin.  
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10. If there is no reason for believing in the detested doctrine of hell, there is also no reason to believing in the most beloved doctrine of Christianity: that God is love.  The beloved doctrine is the reason critics most frequently give for disbelieving the detested doctrine, yet the two stand on exactly the same foundation.  
1.  God is love, and a belief that he could throw you into a pit of fire cannot be reconciled.  No one with any amount of sane reasoning could see the logic in that idea.
2.  Once again, you are making the claim that Jesus preached more about hell based on your Jerome translated bible, not the original Greek and none of mans traditions telling you how to understand the bible.

Offline Universalist Catholic

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Re: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 10:09:35 PM »
Some legitimate objections to hell answered by this book
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Hell seems contrary to justice as well as love.  For the punishment does not seem to fit the crime here, either in quantity or quality.  What is the relation or proportion between hells unthinkable, infinite, eternal torments and earths thinkable, finite, temporal sins? The same sort of relationship as fifty years of torture to a three-year-old's theft of a cookie.  How can finite sin justly merit infinite punishment? How can temporal sin merit eternal punishment?
Reply: There are three charges here: (a) temporal crimes do not merit eternal punishments, (b) finite crimes do not merit infinite punishment, and (c) mild crimes do not merit such intense punishments. a. Eternity is not quantitative.  It is not more time, or even endless time.  It is another dimension than time, just as time is another dimension than space.  Whatever we make of ourselves in time is destines to be "fleshed out" into the dimension of eternity.  To use a crude image, if we make squares of ourselves in time, we are cubes eternally; temporallly blueprinted triangles go to the sculptor to become eternal pyramids.  The relation between earthly choices and eternal rewards or punishments is not like the relation between a foundation and a building.  It is not external but internal.  In a sense, heaven or hell is the same thing as earth; the same life, the same person, only with another dimension-somewhat as life after birth is the same life, the same person, but with more dimensions.  Souls in time are like boats on a river, all destined for the ocean of eternity.  It is a structural internal necessity, not an imposed external reward or punishment. b. Hells punishments are eternal but not infinite.  Only God is infinite.  Souls, sin and punishment are all finite.  Just as one saint is more saintly, more great-hearted, more loving and therefore more able to contain Gods joy in heaven than another, and in this sense is naturally "lighter" in heaven than another, so one sinner is "lower" in hell than another. (i.e. more deep-set in despair and pride and hate).  There are limits.  c.  The intense images of physical torture are meant to suggest something beyond themselves: the privation of God, source of all joy and meaning.  The unimaginable thing suggested by the imaginitave images of fire is more awful not less than the literal misinterpretation of the images. Physical pain comes in degrees of intensity; the privation of God is total.  Hell's punishment fits sin's crime because sin is divorce from God.  The punishment fits the crime because the punishment is the crime.  Saying no to God means no God.  The point is really very simple.  Those who objects to hells overseverity do not see what sin really is.  They probably look at sin externally, sociologically, legalistically as "Behaving badly".  They fail to see the real horror of sin and the real greatness and goodness and joy of the God who is refused in every sin.  We all fail to appreciate this.  Who of us fully appreciated Gods beauty?  The corollary immediately follows: Who of us fully appreciates sins ugly horror? Hell shocks our human minds.  To believe in hell is to allow the divine mind to unstruct and correct our human minds of their little illusions, to measure our thoughts by God's.  To refuse to believe is to measure Gods thoughts by ours.  
1.  I dont know even where to begin pointing out the problems with this argument.  First off, you are saying that Eternity is not time or endless time.  But the bible never tells us what eternity is.  In fact this argument is nothing but a bunch of abstract reasoning without any scriptural backup, but nothing but a bunch of Platonic philosophy.  But this defense makes absolutely no sense.  However a certain verse comes to mind: 1 Corinthians 14:33 "God is not the author of Confusion, but of peace."  But I know of someone who is the author of confusion. SATAN.  When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, Satan used this verse: Psalm 91 "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"  That did not make sense in that case.  
2. The old assumption that Hell is separation from God.  So if its separation from God, then why does the lake of Fire burn with Brimstone.  In Greek, Brimstone meant "Theon" similar to the Greek word "Theos" meaning God.  And brimstone was a purifying agent, not a torturing agent.  Once again, this argument only uses a bunch of mans teachings.
3. To believe in hell is to allow divine mind to instruct us.  It should be the other way around.  First off, you are not going by the scriptures, and are using abstract reasoning which is also condemned by the scriptures.  Secondly, everlasting punishment is not a new "Christian" concept.  In fact this was a belief widely held in Greece, Rome and Near Eastern ancient civilizations.  Yet the old testament never taught such a place.  In fact God instructed them not to learn the Pagans ways.  At some point, they disobeyed and learned that doctrine of hellfire.  
4. People did not mind that doctrine so much back in the middle ages.  It was quite entertaining for them, and look what happened to the church.  
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Objection 3
Hell seems to contradict not only Gods love and his justice but also his power.  The God who created the whole universe out of nothing is omnipotent, all powerful.  If his power has no limits, why does he not destroy hell or arrange for no one to go there?  The argument can be put in the form of a dilemma.  Does God will everyone to be saved?  If not, he is not all-loving.  If so, and not all are saved, then his will is thwarted and he is not all-powerful.  If God is all-good and all-powerful, he must have created the best of all possible worlds, for to prefer a worse world to a better one is not to be all-good.  But a world in which no one goes to hell, or a world in which there is no hell, is a better world than a world in which some go to hell.  Therefore, if there is a hell. God deliberately created a bad world, and he is not all-good.  Ore else he tried to create a wholly good world, one without a hell, but failed.  In this case, he is not all powerful.  If God is both all-good and all-powerful, there cannot be a hell.  A world without hell seems to be a conceivable and possible world, even granted human free will.  For all God would have to do is foresee whether the person about to be conceived was going to hell or heaven; if to hell, God would arrange, whether by natural providence or supernatural miracle, for that person not to be conceived.  Omnipotence could surely do that.  
Reply: To reconcile Gods omnipotence with hell, we must first be sure we have a true concept of omnipotence.  Omnipotence is limited by nothing outside itself, but God's power does not extend to contradicting his own essential nature.  God is consistent.  The logical laws of consistency(identity and noncontradictions) are reflections of the very nature of God.  God cannot do meaningless and self contradictory things.  One such intrinsically impossible self contradictory and meaningless thing would be to have a world with free creatures and no possibility of hell.  There are three ways one might think God could do this: destroy hell, annihilate the souls in hell or arrange for no hell-bound persons to be conceived.  To destroy hell means to destroy free choice by destroying one of its two options.  If there is no hell, no separation from God, then all must choose God, and this is not a free choice.  To annihilate the couls in hell would be to destroy something God created to be intrinsically and esentially immortal and indestructible.  This is another self-contradiction.  To arrange for only heaven-bound souls to be conceived would be in effect to destroy free choice again: to destroy free choice of evil before it happens rather than after.  The objection claims that a world without no hell is possible and asks why God did not create it.  He did!  God did not create separation from himself.  God did not create hell.  We did.  God created a perfect world, but in creating humans(and angels) with free will, he left it up to us whether another possible world-one with hell would begin to be.  Of course this is not the "Best of all possible worlds" or even a world as good as it might be.  But thats not Gods fault, its ours.  What the objection comes down to is resenemtne at God for creating free will at all.  What is the answer to this dilemma about Gods will? Is it thwarted or not? It is.  God clearly wills all to be saved.  But this is not a contradiction of his omnipotence; it is the greatest mark of his omnipotence, that he can create free children not just robots or holograms.  It is objected that the ultimate loss of a single soul means the defeat of omnipotence.  And so it does.  In creating being with free will, omnipotence from the outset submits to the possibility of such defeat.  What you call defeat, I call a miracle; for to make things which are not itself, and thus to become in a sense capable of being resisted by its own handiwork, is the most astonishing and unimaginable of all the feats we attribute to the Deity.  If the objector replies that that is not what he means by omnipotence we retort that thats what God means by omnipotence! The objectors model of omnipotence is a divine puppeteer, robot maker or tyrant rather than a divine Father.  
1. Thanks for defining omnipotence for us with mans teachings.  According to the bible, omnipotence is as simple as full and absolute power.  
2. God did not create hell? according to your version of the bible, it says hell was "Created for satan and his angels"  Way to give ourselves the credit for creating hell.  But the fires in the bible speak about a temporary cleansing of sins, not  everlasting torment.  
3.  We once again go back to the whole free will argument.  See the early defense.  
4.  According to the bible, whatever God wills, will come to pass.  It will not be thwarted.  And God does will that all be saved.  Timothy attests that God will Save all men.  None of this attempts tot save us.  
5.  This defense lacks scriptural arguments and is based solely on Earthly and absurd philosophies.
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Objection 4
Hell also seems contrary to human freedom, for no one would freely choose hell over heaven if given a free and open choice.  Thus hell would have to be imposed upon us, since no one loves punishment, pain or privation of joy, which is what hell is.  Hell would render religious and moral choice unfree, just as the threat of torture renders a forced confession unfree.  "Repent, believe and bee good or you'll fry" means that your repentence belief and goodness are forced not free.  Fry and free ar opposites.  
Reply: Distinguish as Augustine does, the freedom of liberty from the freedom of choice.  Hell is contrary to liberty but not free choice.  Free choice is a means to the end of higher freedom, liberty from sin.  Those who fail to attain heavens liberty reached their eternal destination by the same means as those who attained that liberty by their free will.  We do, and therefore can freely choose hell over heaven.  We do this in principle in every sin.  We do not want or explicitly choose sin's "Wages", sin inevitable punishment-banishment from the paradis of God's presence-but we do choose the sin and hope to escape the punishment.  Does the fear of hell remove free choices? Does "fry" contradict "Free"?  No more than the fear of falling off a cliff removes the free choice to skate close to the edge or to avoid it.  If the threat "repent or you'll fry" removed free will, then all would repent.  But this is not so; the threat is issued, but some respond and some do not.  So in fact the threat does not remove free choice.  
1. Yes Augustine states the difference between Freedom and liberty, not Jesus.  But of course your hallowed father of your religion really pushed for this "Beloved" doctrine.  St. Augustine came from Manichaean philosophy, which believed that good and evil would always remain.  Plus he struggled with sexual sin all his life.  
2.  Even a small child could understand that having a threat of hell does not create freedom.  Thats like calling a dictatorship free.  Yes, you have the ability to speak against the dictator, but you are going to be arrested if you do.  You cannot call freedom freedom if you are being threatened with everlasting punishment.  Yet the idea of everlasting punishment is a burden not a freedom.  Its a threat to do as I say or burn forever.  Twist it all you want, you cannot "spit on my cupcake and tell me its frosting".  
3.  Once again, more abstrace unbiblical reasoning.  Gods will is supreme.
4.  The wage of sin is not banishment from the kingdom, but death.  Death=no life.

Offline Universalist Catholic

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Re: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 10:10:40 PM »
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Objection 5
Even if hell is not contrary to human freedom, it seems contrary to human sanity.  For only someone insane would freely choose hell over heaven.  But insanity is a good excuse.  We do not punish criminals if we find tha they are insane.  Is God less just or merciful than we?  What an incredible insult it is to humanitiy to imply that all who do not believe and are saved are insane! 
Reply: We do not know how anyone could freely prefer hell to heaven, misery to joy, but it happens.  It happens in every sin.  We are spiritually insane!  That is what the doctrine of original sin implies.  We know this from our own experience.  Think of all the times you turn to God in love and obedience, and find peace and joy.  Then think of all the times you turn away from God and sin, and find no peace and no joy.  We know by millions of repeated experiences and experiements all yielding the same result: "The wages of sin is death", the death of joy, and yet we sin.  We are insane.  Only the insane prefer misery to joy.  If sin exists, hell can exist; for hell is only sin eternalized.  Hell is not so much an external punishment added to sin as it is sin come to full fruition.  Similarly heaven is not an external reward added to faith and love; it is that very state of soul made perfect.  Sin does not mean just disobeying a law.  That is only its formula.  Sin means separating yourself from God, knowing Gods will and yet "noing" it instead of "Yessing" it.  That is also the essence of hell.  But if we are insane, isnt that an excuse? If it comes to me against my will, yes; but if I choose it, no.  In sinning, I choose to go insane.  If someone else force-feeds me drugs, I am not responsible for the crimes I commit under their influence; but if I choose to take them, I am responsible.  Sin is the ultimate drug. 
1. Spiritually insane as the doctrine of Original sin declares?  Basically you are saying that Adams first sin we inherited was stronger than Gods creation in his own image and likeness.  But thats not from the bible.  Then who? Augustine.  He was the first to teach that because he could not control his sexual desires, and got a girl pregnant.  Plus the scriptures on several occasions tell us to reason and think.  "Thus says the lord, let us reason together", "Test all things". 
2.  So according to your philosophy, we should just let a person with major depression commit suicide? 
3.  Oh, now we got your explaination on death, "Life without God".  Death is non-existency.  Your definitions are not going to change the definition of death. 
4.  Humans are way too ignorant to be able to choose their eternal destinies and see the errors in their ways.  We are not able to understand that yet.  Thats like forcing a monkey to drive a car and then punishing him/her for not driving right.  Driving a car is beyond their ability just like its beyond our ability to fully see what sin is.  And it is not justice or freedom to punish someone for something they do not understand.
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Objection 8
If hell exists, no loving soul in heaven can be happy for all eternity.  Suppose your spouse or parent or child goes to hell and you go to heaven.  Either you know your beloved is in hell or not.  If not, your heavenly hapiness is founded on ignorance.  If so, this knowledge must disturb your heavenly happiness.  If it doesnt, you are selfish cold and unloving.  Thus if hell exists, then heaven is either ignorant, unhappy, or unloving.  Heaven cannot be any of these things.  Therefore hell cannot exist.
Reply: In addition to the answers given in the previous chapter, the most practical answer to the objection is this: If you cannot imagine how you can be happy in heaven if X goes to hell, then pray for X's salvation: "God, I know you want me to be happy with you forever, and it seems to me that I cant be happy without X; so you are going to have to save X for my sake" We think God would not refuse that prayer, for even if its theology may be a little out of place, its heart is not. 
1. That reply does not even make any sense let alone answer the question.  But the objection is right.
2.  You think God is going to let any misery exist in heaven just so some people can live in total misery in hell? According to the bible in the end all would be saved.  Not just a few. 
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Objection 9
If hell exists, it is vastly overpopulated.  It may be tolerable and right for a few irredeemable monsters but not for masses of ordinary people such as we meet every day.  But if there are no masses in hell, Jesus overdid its danger and spoke too much about it.  Most Christians in the past believed that the majority of humans who have lived end up in hell and only a minority in heaven.  Jesus even said that the way to hell is "Wide" and many find it, and the way to heaven is narrow and few find it.  But this would be divine defeat:  More souls lost than won.  It would have been better for God not to have created us at all if he foresaw that he would lose more than he won.  If he failed to foresee this, he is not all-wise.  If he foresaw it but was compelled to create this hell-bound world, the is not all powerful.  If he foresaw it and freely created it, he is not all good.  Thus if there is a hell, God is either not all wise or not all powerful or not all good. 
Reply: How can we judge when hell is "Overpopulated"? How can such a line be drawn? It is like the problem of evil: How much evil is too much to be compatible with all good God> The only twp possible answers are (a) any evil and any damned soul, even one refutes God; or (b) no amount of evil and no amount of the damned refutes God.  No reason can be given for drawing a line of refusal at some finite point between these two.  The popular past assumption that most go to hell is no more valid than the popular modern assumption that most go to heaven.  We simply do not know.  When his disciples asked Jesus whether the saved would be few or mant he answered "Strive to enter".  The doctrine of hell is addressed to our will and practical living, not to our detached curiosity, not to the statician in us.  The objection assumes-falsely-that if more than 50 percent of humanity is damned, God was wrong to have created us.  We do not claim to prove that even if most are damned God is still right to create us.  Our point is simply that the question is unsolvable and unmeasurable by any standards we know.  It is the objectior, not the defender, of the doctrine of hell who appeals to this unprovable premise.  Life is not a game between God and the Devil in which the one who ends up with the most souls wins. 
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Objection 9
If hell exists, it is vastly overpopulated.  It may be tolerable and right for a few irredeemable monsters but not for masses of ordinary people such as we meet every day.  But if there are no masses in hell, Jesus overdid its danger and spoke too much about it.  Most Christians in the past believed that the majority of humans who have lived end up in hell and only a minority in heaven.  Jesus even said that the way to hell is "Wide" and many find it, and the way to heaven is narrow and few find it.  But this would be divine defeat:  More souls lost than won.  It would have been better for God not to have created us at all if he foresaw that he would lose more than he won.  If he failed to foresee this, he is not all-wise.  If he foresaw it but was compelled to create this hell-bound world, the is not all powerful.  If he foresaw it and freely created it, he is not all good.  Thus if there is a hell, God is either not all wise or not all powerful or not all good. 
Reply: How can we judge when hell is "Overpopulated"? How can such a line be drawn? It is like the problem of evil: How much evil is too much to be compatible with all good God> The only twp possible answers are (a) any evil and any damned soul, even one refutes God; or (b) no amount of evil and no amount of the damned refutes God.  No reason can be given for drawing a line of refusal at some finite point between these two.  The popular past assumption that most go to hell is no more valid than the popular modern assumption that most go to heaven.  We simply do not know.  When his disciples asked Jesus whether the saved would be few or mant he answered "Strive to enter".  The doctrine of hell is addressed to our will and practical living, not to our detached curiosity, not to the statician in us.  The objection assumes-falsely-that if more than 50 percent of humanity is damned, God was wrong to have created us.  We do not claim to prove that even if most are damned God is still right to create us.  Our point is simply that the question is unsolvable and unmeasurable by any standards we know.  It is the objectior, not the defender, of the doctrine of hell who appeals to this unprovable premise.  Life is not a game between God and the Devil in which the one who ends up with the most souls wins. 
1. The straight and the narrow path was written in present tense about those who were not finding Christianity, and preferred that destructive legalism.  Yet look at it under Church sensored thinking, it means that only a few will be saved in the end. 
2.  Someone just changed the whole idea of few and many to be meaningless, because the idea of a minority in heaven and all the rest in hell is not good news at all.  Essentially thats true, but that is referring to how most people would have to go through Judgment before entering the kingdom.  God does not want only 5% saved, nor does he want only 25% saved, or 50%, 75% or even 95% saved.  He wants all saved. 

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Objection 10
An eternal hell seems to mean that God is not totally or finally victorious over evil.  Heaven and hell seem coeternal forever.  But this is Manichaean dualism, where good and evil exist as equal and opposite warring ultimates.  In that case God is omnipotent.  This contradicts both scripture and reason.  It contradicts scripture because scripture says God will in the en be totally victorious over evil and will be "all in all" It contradicts reason because it is the inherent in the nature of Evil to be self destructive, not to last forever. 
Reply: This objection like objection 8 wrongly assumes that hell implies an eternal coexistence of good(heaven) and evil(hell).  But coexistence implies a common field of some kind of time or place in which to coexist.  But neither heaven nor hell are in time, in history.  They are at the end of history.  A parallel: Another persons death can occur in my lifes time but my own death cannot.  My own death ends my lifes time.  Whatever eternity is, it is not time, not even endless time.  Scripture is quite clear both that hell is eternal and that there is no eternal Manichaean Dualism, no stalemate between good and evil, only Gods final triumph.  How both these doctrines can be true may not be clear from scriptures, but that they are both true is clear.  This is given as our data, just as both divine prestination and human free will and responsibility are both given as data but how the two are to be reconciled.  In both cases, our limited understanding of time and eternity prevents us from seeing the answer clearly. 
1. Hell is not in time? This reply absolutely makes no biblical or reasonable sense. 
2. Anyone could understand if there is a place where Evil reigns, than Evil has not been fully defeated.
3.  Now we get into a scripture that clearly says "God will be all in all".  The word just spoke it, the whole universe would be filled with God, and evil would be defeated and destroyed for good.  Not Human reasoning alone, but the word of God.  How could you defend that?  Well Everlasting punishment and universal reconciliation cannot both be true, can they?  NO.  So no legitimate explaination can be made, can it?  So the question goes unanswered.  So you resolve it by blaming it on the limited understanding of eternity.  Remember God is not the author of confusion.  Now we got more confusion.  How can this possibly be resolved?  AION.  Temporary punishment brings everyone to universal salvation, and "Every tear shall be wiped away, no more death".  Just understanding that puts away the confusion.  So God is really not the author of confusion, satan is. 
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Objection 11
The God of the Bible is a God not only of knowledge and love and justice and power but also a God of purpose.  Everything in his creation serves a purpose.  What purpose does hell serve? It it is eternal, it is not for reeducation and rehabilitation.  What purpose could God have for sustaining in existence the souls of those in an eternal hell from which there is no hope of escape? 
Reply: Hell does not serve a good purpose, because it is not good, but evil.  Only good serves a purpose; evil attacks purpose.  Also hell is not in time.  But purposes are served in time.  The purpose of pregnancy is birth; the purpose of courtship is marriage.  Even merely apparent goods which are not really good but evil have purposes in time: for example, the purpose of suicide is death.  But hell is not in time, hell does not have a purpose, and hell was not made by God at all.  God does not sustain in existence the souls of the damned by any supernaturally willed act.  Rather his sustaining of souls forever is built into the nature of souls.  In the act of creating eternal souls, in the first place, God sustains them forever.  God is not in time; his sustaining does not come after his creating for him.
1.  Purpose is only in time? And where in the bible, and what scientific evidence gave you this profound information?  The scatterbrained reasoning of a philosopher who has too much time on their hands. 
2.  Hell is evil? Then why does the bible speak of an end to all evil?  Because Hell is not evil, but temporary chastisements to better us. 
3.  God created Judgment for our redemptive purpose.

That was quite an earful, but totally necessary.  If anyone wants to add anything I may have missed, or have goofed up on, feel free to add anything

Paul Hazelwood

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Re: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2010, 12:24:37 AM »

 I think you have already mentioned this but the whole book is based not on scripture , but on the catholic church.   The church is inerrant so therefor any statement made concerning what scripture says is inherantly true.


I would say it probably would not be too hard to look through the first section of the book and find one of two things if not both.   

The criteria for an argument of reason and logic are contradicted by that premise or the criteria has been designed to fit the belief that the Catholic Church cannot be wrong.


Offline Universalist Catholic

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Re: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2010, 12:36:36 AM »
It is funny how you give them scripture, and they're stumped.  At least thats a start

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Re: Rebuttals to "Handbook of Catholic Apologetics" defense on Hell
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2010, 04:59:05 AM »
Ray Smith could probably tear this "Handbook" apart in one shot.