Sunday, September 23, 2012

Of hell and paddling

I didn't intend to go back to blogging here, but I keep finding news items I want to send in to Friendly Atheist, so I might as well comment on them myself. First news item: Paddling kids is still legal in Texas (and indeed in nineteen other states). Parents can opt out, but still. This girl was spanked by a male vice principal, and so hard that "her bottom was fire-engine red and looked as if it had been 'burned and blistered.'" That's pretty horrifying.

Second item: CNN debates whether hell is real. I found this interesting because the first argument is the one I tried to hang onto as a Lutheran, but eventually realized it didn't work. I wanted to believe that if "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son," then he'd save everyone. But Jesus talks quite clearly about hell, and says that the road to "life" is narrow. It's clear that he expects most people to walk the broad road and wind up in hell. So as much as it pains me to agree with Mark Driscoll, I'm forced to concur-- that's what Jesus said, and if you believe in Jesus, you have no choice but to believe in hell. Look around you, and imagine your nice neighbor with the pretty rose bushes, or that sweet guy in the cubicle next to yours whose worst sin is playing "Angry Birds" when he thinks the boss isn't watching, screaming in agony for all eternity. Nice thought, isn't it?

Happily, I no longer think that's the "truth," or that most of us are doomed to be sent to a horrific flaming hell by a vicious, mean-spirited deity who makes Q look like a pussycat by comparison. Which is good, because "for God so loved the world" and "small is the gate and narrow the road" can't be logically reconciled. Life makes much more sense from an atheistic viewpoint, doesn't it?

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