How long is infinity? Let’s take a massive huge number, let’s say a google, that is a number starting with a one, and then a following 100 zero’s. This is a number that towers over the length of time that the total number of humans on this planet ever has lived combined in years, and that’s assuming everyone lives until 80, which they definitely don’t. Just to further show how big this number is, there has been over a hundred billion humans on this earth ever.
But the thing about infinity, is that it doesn’t matter how much of a high number you get, the actual percentage of it’s size, in comparison to infinity, is negligible, always 0.infinity1 of the actual number itself.
That is a length of time impossible to imagine. When you think you’ve found it, remember theirs always 99.infinity8 percent left of it. What would happen to us if we were to genuinely experience this, and if were to, what would it be like?
Normally, we don’t have to worry about insane and ridiculous questions like this. But in a world where people are expecting an eternal happiness or eternal suffering after death, it’s arguably the most concerning issue and the most important out there.
Obviously I’m talking about heaven and hell. One depicted as eternal happiness, and the other, the opposite.
So due to the infinite length of eternity, you should join a religion so that you avoid the risk of missing out on infinite happiness, considering that this life is negligible compared to infinity, so it’s really a negligible risk. This is called Pascals wager, and I don’t really buy it. And not just because you can’t choose what you believe.
This is because any religion that promises both an all loving god and hell is easily shown to be incorrect. They contradict.
It’s impossible to be all loving and then torture people forever.
But let’s say that torture can still be done by an all loving being, but as a way of punishment. Is there truly anything that anyone could possibly do to gain eternal punishment?
Even if you said an eye for an eye, or if you said one trillion eyes for an eye, there is a point where suffering should end. Because after a trillion eyes for an eye of suffering, how can anyone at all resemble the horrible person that they were when they took that first eye? Just because they’ve changed doesn’t mean they necessarily shouldn’t avoid punishment, but how should anything finite be punished infinitely, it means that there are finite acts that can never ever be forgiven, which doesn’t make sense, as finite crimes deserve finite punishment and only infinite crimes deserve infinite punishment.
Let’s take the people who goes to hell, based on the best to worst.
The best person to go to heaven would be a disbeliever with one sin, and that sin is disbelief. If disbelief isn’t a sin then that means a person without sin could still go to hell just for disbelief without doing anything else wrong.
Before we move on with this assumption I will bring up John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Which clearly shows that disbelievers won’t go to heaven, as they are condemned already.
I think if you don’t see a problem with being eternally tortured for disbelief without doing any other sin then you are not a person I’d like to be friends with. I will address justification for this later, but anyone could easily see the lack of morality on display here.
Then let’s take it further to a Stalin or Hitler. Hitler was catholic so there is a chance he would get into heaven anyway. So let’s talk about just Stalin who didn’t believe to make it simpler. Stalin killed 50 million people, and caused even more suffering. We can create a unit for suffering based on the suffering he inflicted. Let’s call this unit a Stalin, which is equal to the amount of suffering he caused, over the length of time combined that each person suffered as a consequence of him. If you were to experience one Stalin it would equal the level of suffering that Stalin caused in total.
Now is one Stalin of suffering a fit punishment for Stalin? or should it be worse? I don’t know, and I perfectly understand if someone would want it to be more than that. But how many extra Stalin’s does it take before it’s the punisher who becomes the bad guy instead of the person who is paying for their crime? Even if the number is as high as one hundred billion Stalin’s to be morally just, then to go any point past that, even one Stalin higher, is inflicting the same suffering that Stalin caused, in essence, a sin.
Can God sin? The answer is, by the definition of hell, he has to. Is it wrong to inflict immense pain? Then God does that in hell, for far longer (as an understatement) than any human ever could. If God is to be believed, he is inflicting billions of Stalins of punishment on people all the time, infinitely. That in itself, is vastly worse than any bad thing a human could ever do. The fact that we have to measure the suffering God has caused in a unit as high as one of the most evil people who ever lived says a lot!
There are two good objections to this argument, so I will try and address them as completely as I can. There is also one horrible argument I will explain at the end.
The first is the hell is only a place without God argument. This is the most reasonable position for a believer to have in my opinion, and I don’t see too much wrong with it in principle. Let’s say you reject a God who seems to be willing to help, and able to help, yet appears to do nothing, I see no reason why you wouldn’t want to spend eternity with him.
The issue becomes when this place away from God is home to a certain person called Satan. Angels are said to be far more powerful than we are, meaning it would be eternal suffering, just at someone else’s hands.
Assuming the Satan situation has been sorted out, then what about the depictions of fire and burning and demons and beasts mentioned only in reference to hell?
Let’s say those were all made up too, or can be discounted. Then what kind of place would be a place without God? Is it possible for God to create a place he couldn’t go to in the first place? If there is a place God cannot even access, I think we have even more to fear about what the nature of that place might be. As well as that, if Hell is a simply just a place without God, then how is God omnipresent?
However if you think hell is a place where it’s just like heaven but without God, I’m fine with that, it’s a healthy interpretation to have, and it’s the one I like the most. I do question why you believe hell to be that way though in contrary to evidence. The only point against the bible is that for a god to be all loving, a hell would absolutely need to be like this. See I made your argument for you, but if hell is like this, why should I be worried? I can just continue like this as an athiest until I am presented with convincing enough information to change my mind.
The second objection to this argument is that human morality is subjective whereas God’s morality is objective. But how do we verify this? He told you his morality was objective? If I tell you my morality is objective is that convincing enough? Or is simply having a lot of power enough to make you believe that their morality is objective?
Even if you knew absolutely everything, could you work out an objective moral standard for that?
Essentially I question if God’s morality is objective, and it’s not as simple getting to heaven, seeing God and going “yup” – maybe we will want some scientific inquiry into the being claiming to be the most maximal person in existence.
A really powerful being existing, is far more likely than an infinitely powerful being existing, so we can’t be sure if we’re being lied too.
Who can say that God’s morality is inherently objective. If you take the argument that something can’t come from nothing, then what about the God that created God, isn’t it fair to say that that God’s God would technically have more objective morality over God.
Let’s take another argument, could God draw a square circle. The answer is no, drawing a square circle is impossible without changing the definitions of “square” or “circle” or pulling off the 1984 trick of forcing yourself to be deceived that two plus two equals five. Meaning that it’s impossible for an all powerful being to exist. So if God is not all powerful, then how can we trust the other things that he says?
It’s difficult to prove that objective morality exists, because it means that there is a set of morals built into everything that is universal, and dictated by what someone says. Like if God says he will punish people’s ancestors who hate him for like 4 generations of their kids (Exodus 20.5) we just have to accept that it’s objectively moral that it’s ok to punish people for sins that their parents commit?
Something about “oh it’s moral/immoral because this guy said so” is wrong to me. In my opinion morality is at it’s best when it’s well reasoned and argued based on what as we as humans can observe, otherwise we’re being thrown into hell for screwing a light-bulb in on a Sunday. You think when God said “Do not murder” that surprised anyone? Or people were running around stabbing anyone, failing to realise that it was wrong before it happened? I’d like to have more faith in humanity than that.
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
What I hate so much about Hell being about God’s morality, is that calling something wrong just because anything said so is wrong to me. If God cannot justify his morals in what way are they objective? Simply saying them isn’t good enough. We have good reasons for our subjective morality.
When we see people sent to hell for eternal torture, it’s not sad to me that one God thinks that, it’s sad to me that people agree with this and call this God the objective moral standard and decide to worship it.
The next argument that is really badly wrong is that disbelievers send themselves to hell. No we don’t, we are simply unconvinced by the evidence, nobody willingly sends themselves to hell. The default position for a normal human is that they will go to hell, because humans live in sin and no human is born with a given religion, nobody needs to choose a different path to get into hell as it’s given by default.
I would say that you can only choose to be saved, but that’s not even true. You can’t choose what you believe, so by extension you can’t choose to send yourself to either heaven or hell.
let’s take another example, say a robber says to a person “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot you in the head” you would never ever say that the person being shot chose to be shot in the head by not giving the robber their money. The answer is nobody chose to be shot in the head, they were simply unconvinced that the person would pull the trigger in the first place, it’s unfair to say that they choose to be shot.
Imagine this in a court of law where the criminal said “I gave him a choice, I said he could give me all his money or I would shoot him, so he choose to be shot” how well would that go down? Not well at all.
Yet when God demands the exact same thing, everybody seems to shrug.
Nobody is out searching for the person to shoot them in the head, in the same way nobody chooses to have this ridiculous ultimatum provided by God.
What is fair to say is that God chooses to send people to hell. After all, he created it, and also created the mechanism to do it. God has the absolute power to decide where you end up, since he’s the only one who moves you soul to either heaven or hell. I don’t see no atheists moving that soul themselves!
So there you go, you’ve thought about eternity for 25 minutes and think you’ve reached some meaningful conclusions? Well I hope this makes you consider it for a bit longer, let me know your thoughts.
Life and debate on the search for truth should not be a fighting shouting match, I’m overjoyed to have conversations with people from both sides about this issue as long as it doesn’t turn into malice. It’s only about trying to find truth, and everything else comes second.
I was a Christian for 17 years before I changed, if I could change then, I know in the face of good enough evidence and arguments I would obviously be prepared to change once more. Though of course I have absolutely no idea what would convince me.