We’ve had almost 300 listens to our third episode of Drunk Ex-Pastors in just a few days (whoa!), but for those of you who haven’t heard it yet, co-host Christian and I debate a religious point that I would be curious to get some feedback on.
He contends that 99.99% of fundamentalist Christians don’t actually believe their own rhetoric about hell, for if they really thought that hell was a place of eternal and conscious torment that an unbeliever, who could die at any moment, is constantly only a heartbeat away from facing, they would spend their time doing nothing but pleading with pagans to repent and avoid the Lake of Fire at all costs.
I have a couple thoughts by way of response. First, while it is true that every person could die in the next minute, it is unlikely that they will. In fact, I would gladly wager a thousand dollars that a random person won’t die in the next 60 seconds (seriously, I’d play that game all day with all the money I could muster). So for the evangelical, while a sinner potentially getting cast into hell creates a sense of urgency, it’s a hypothetical urgency.
Secondly, because the idea of hell exists in the realm of the supernatural rather than the natural (meaning its existence must be accepted by faith rather than sight), and yet since we human beings exist in the natural realm with no visible access to hell (or heaven), it sort of makes sense that it would be harder to act consistently with a belief in hell then it would be to act consistently with knowing that a bridge is out and that the cars driving this road will surely crash if they don’t change course.
We’re only human, is what I’m saying.
Finally, I would turn the issue around and simply observe that most atheists I know don’t act consistently with their worldview, either (and no, Christian is not an atheist. I’m generalizing here). For every believer who lives as though God doesn’t exist you can easily find an atheist who lives as though he does.
So, like, maybe we’re not that different after all. . . .