So the statement that got the atheists all upset during this recent Revelife uproar on Paul Partisan’s otherwise nice-enough post about atheism as a religion was that I said I didn’t care if atheists burn in Hell. That comment has been deleted not because it was so cruel, but because it was the trigger that set off the rampage that resulted in…well, anyway.
To the point of caring if atheists go to Hell. I don’t. I am only going to briefly mention the bizarre mindset that must exist in order to be offended by someone who holds beliefs that you call irrational stating that she believes you are being sent to a place that you do not believe to exist because of an “imaginary sky daddy”. If I told you that you were being sent to the planet Dorkron tomorrow by Captain James T. Kirk, would you be so bothered?
People who have passed the age of reason are free to turn their backs on God. They are also free to turn back to Him, and many do. A fellow in Scripture named Paul shows us that those most opposed to our Lord often end up falling the hardest for Him (credit to my friend Tom for the original turn of words there). When someone insists on recalcitrance and remains opposed to God to their last breath, they choose to go to Hell. It is not a reflection on their works here on Earth, God just really is a jealous bastard who can’t handle being de-friended, un-subbed to, blocked, or having his friend request denied. He doesn’t send you to Hell, you send yourself. What is Hell, after all? Is it Dante’s fire or something else? I used the word burn as metaphor, but I believe Hell is actually an eternal separation from God. Think about that again.
Eternal separation from God. This isn’t a warning to those who refuse to ever believe in Him, it’s a warning to those who believe in Him but come to the conclusion that they know better than Him. I pray for those who know God but who arrogantly choose to think they can improve upon Him. Why would I waste time in prayer on those who obstinately refuse to acknowledge Him at all? He knows who they are, and I don’t believe He needs me jumping in and acting as their advocate. I will advocate for those whose hearts are confused, not for those whose hearts are closed. Does this mean that I want atheists to go to Hell? Of course not, but I believe in freedom choice when it comes to this choice because you really, truly, are only hurting yourself. You know people believe in God and you know what they say will happen if you reject him, you don’t even get to claim ignorance. The ignorant can be saved!
What Jesus says in Matthew 7:6 is a rephrasing of Proverbs 23:9. “Do not speak in the hearing of fools; they will despise the wisdom of your words.” The meaning likely referred to obstinate fellow Christians, as Jesus revisits the topic and tells us to treat them as a “Gentile or a tax collector,” (Matthew 18:17) which in that time was someone you would simply ignore. Now if Jesus wants us to ignore an “obstinately impenitent” fellow Christian, what could He possibly want us to do about someone who is not a Christian, who obstinately rejects Christianity? Isn’t ignoring them the least we do?
Perhaps this makes me a bad Christian. But explain to me why I should care that someone chooses to reject God? And why are they so bothered that I don’t care?