Worried About Hell? Change Your View.

Worried About Hell? Change Your View

Worried about hell? Change your view.  This is the first post in a series on responding to memes.  What’s the big deal with memes?  Read my previous post here to understand why I’m spending this time responding to different memes aimed at Christianity or the Christian worldview.

Today’s Meme

Today’s meme makes a pretty straight forward claim about hell.  In the meme, the author states “You can’t go to hell if you don’t believe in it”.  While I think most Christians would disagree with this, it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly what’s wrong with the argument.  Is it true?  Can we escape hell by simply not believing in it?

Worried About Hell? Change Your View

Notice, this is not an argument against the nature or morality of hell.  It’s a prescriptive assertion on a way to escape hell.  And that’s what needs to be addressed.  Is this a valid way to escape hell?

The Nature Of The Objection

Hell either exists, or it does not.  This is a fairly straightforward concept.  And yet many people get confused when talking about spiritual matters.  They relegate religious claims to simple preferences.  They don’t understand that the claims made by religion are either true or false.  All claims made by all religions can’t be true, because they make contradictory claims about realty.

Different religions also make contradictory claims about what happens when we die.  There seem to be 5 possibilities of what happens after we die.  We can go to heaven, hell, purgatory, be reincarnated or simply cease to exist.  There may be some slight variances within those broad categories, but those 5 capture all the possibilities.  

Notice that all of those possibilities can’t be true. You can’t cease to exist, but also be reincarnated.  You can’t be in both heaven and get reincarnated. These ideas are mutually exclusive.  

Does Reality Conform To Our Beliefs? 

Its popular in our society now to try and make reality fit our beliefs.  If I want to live my life as a dog, society will reinforce the idea that I am a dog.  Some might think it odd, but they would never say that I’m not a dog. That would be anathema.  The prevailing thought is “If he wants to think he’s a dog, it’s not my place to interfere with his reality”. 

Worried About Hell? Change Your View

But that’s not how reality works.  If I believe that I have a million dollars in my bank account, but I don’t, the bank has no obligation to give me a million dollars.  My belief doesn’t fit the reality of the situation.  And no matter how much I protest; the bank isn’t going to give me a million dollars if I don’t have it.  

Another example of this is given by Frank Turek.  He asks the question “Do people who don’t believe in gravity suddenly float off the earth?”.  No, of course not. Because gravity exists, whether or not you believe in it.  Your ideas about gravity are not what make it work. 

What About Hell?

As I said, hell either exists or it doesn’t.  If it does exist, simply not believing in it will not help you escape it.  It’s like a bank robber that is caught and goes before a judge.  The judge finds him guilty of his crime and sentences him to jail.  But the robber has his “get out of jail free card”.  He claims, “Your honor, you can’t put me in jail, because I don’t believe in them”.  

What is the judge going to do in this case? Release the robber?  No, he’s not.  The robber has committed a crime, and must face the consequences of his actions.   We wouldn’t let him off the hook because he didn’t believe a jail existed.   We wouldn’t even let him off if he claimed that he didn’t know robbing a bank was illegal.  Our conscience should tell us that stealing is wrong. 

I hope this helps clear up the confusion on this meme.  Hell either exists or it doesn’t.  What we believe about it has no bearing on the truth of the matter. But what are some quick ways to reply to this meme when you have limited time or space?  Try asking a question.  Here are some quick ideas:

  • “Do people who don’t believe in gravity float off the earth?”
  • “If I don’t believe in jail, can I commit crimes at without fear of punishment?”
  • “Do you think things pop in and out of existence based on what we believe?”
  • “If I don’t believe in this meme, will it go away?”

Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.  

Catagories
Archives
Calendar
May 2022
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
RSS Listen to Our Latest Podcast Here
  • Are Women Responsible For Original Sin? May 19, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Are women responsible for original sin?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • What Would Overturning Roe Vs. Wade Mean? May 17, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses what would happen if the Supreme Court overturnes Roe Vs. Wade. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Are Left Handed People Sinful? May 12, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "Are Left Handed People Sinful?".  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • The NYT Suggests We Give Up God For Easter May 10, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team responds to a New York Times opinion piece that suggests we should give up God for Easter. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Was Jesus Raising Lazarus A Coming Out Story May 3, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses a theory that Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was actually an analogy for coming out of the closet. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • How Tent Making Christianity Got Started April 26, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, Drew shares an interview he did with Greg West from The Poached Egg apologetic website on how the website and podcast got started.  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • What Is Maundy Thursday? April 15, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team answers the question "What is Maundy Thursday?".  
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Objections And Answers To The Resurrection April 12, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses objections and answers to the Resurrection of Jesus.
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • What Is Palm Sunday? April 7, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity QCQ Podcast, the team answers the question "What is Palm Sunday?". 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean
  • Are Christians Getting The Bible Wrong? April 5, 2022
    In this episode of The Tent Making Christianity Podcast, the team discusses a social medial post claiming people are leaving the Church due to false interpretations of the Bible. 
    Drew Covert, David Johansen, Paul Yearyean