If you’re an atheist and you lack a belief in God then you have no logical reason to believe in Hell, right?
So, why do atheists often ask Christians if they are going to a place they don’t believe in and why do they seem so bothered if we say they are?
I would never ask a Muslim if I will receive 23 virgins in Heaven. I would never ask a Hindu if I will be reincarnated. I would never ask a Mormon if I will ever be god of my own planet someday, or whatever.
Why? Because, although these are things those religions teach, I don’t believe any of them are true so, for lack of a better way to phrase it, I really don’t care.
But atheists (in fairness, not all of them) seem to care a great deal so they ask, and ask, and ask, and ask “Am I going to Hell?”
The reason they do this is because they know, according to Christian theology, that if they don’t put their trust and faith in Christ as their Lord as savior then, yes, they are indeed going to Hell, and they want Christians to tell them.
They want Christians to tell them because it forces Christians to play God and condemn them, thus shifting the debate off of the good news message of the Gospel and on to what horrible, condescending, unreasonable, immoral, and hateful people Christ followers are. I mean really, who in their right mind would want to be part of a religion with heartless followers who have no problem telling well-meaning and decent fellow human beings that they will burn for an eternity, right?
Keep in mind here, the atheist isn’t even talking about the biblical Hell he doesn’t believe in but the cartoonish pop culture version of Hell that includes Satan shoveling coals into a giant furnace, demons whipping them, beating them, raping them…burning flesh, endless physical pain, and all sorts of Medieval torture that would make Vlad the Impaler’s skin crawl.
They also have a twisted and patently unbiblical version of God as an evil and immoral despot who delights in tormenting humans for eternity simply for declining His absurd love me or die ultimatum.
Anyway, I think it’s time for everyone who likes to ask the “Am I going to Hell” question ad nauseam to come to grips with the reality that Christianity is not all about who does and who does not go to Hell. Instead, it’s about grace, love, redemption, and God’s undying respect for humanity He demonstrates by showing us that He values us enough to let us make our own choices.
God won’t set your alarm, kick you out of bed on Sunday morning, and make go to church. He won’t stand in the corner shaking His head while you are having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse. He won’t sneak up behind you and slap you on the back of the head while you are watching porn on the internet. He won’t knock drinks out of your hand in a bar. He won’t stand in the door of a strip club and tell you that you can’t go in. He won’t force you to rake all your evil secular music CDs into a pile and command you to set it ablaze. He won’t force you to acknowledge His existence. And He absolutely won’t force you to confess your sins and accept His Son as your lord and savior unless it’s something you absolutely want to do. Point here is that God will never, ever force any human to do anything against their will, especially not with threats of Hell or coercion.
That being said, I wonder if the question atheists should be asking is “Will God force me to go to Heaven if I don’t want to go?”
Seriously. Would it be right, just, and moral for God to graciously allow people to reject Him of their own free will then force them against the same free will into an eternity in His presence if they’ve lived their whole lives as if in His presence is not where they want to be?
Not believing in Hell, not liking Hell, objecting to the concept of Hell on moral grounds, and shaming Christians when they tell you that you are going to Hell do nothing to diminish the reality of Hell or whether or not you may end up there.
Bottom line is this. We will all die someday and we will all go somewhere after that. Good news is that we will all end up exactly where we wanted to be, in accordance with how we lived our lives, and based on what we chose to believe. As C.S. Lewis once said:
“I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.”
If Lewis is right and Hell equals success, maybe people should count ending up there as a win.