Naysayers: this is not an argument against the existence of a god. It is an argument against the existence of a benevolent god, and therefore the Christian god. Today’s topic is Infinite Punishments for Finite Crimes.
Let’s agree on one thing: killing somebody is bad. If you kill somebody, you should be punished. Perhaps you should go to jail. Perhaps you should spend the rest of your life in jail. Perhaps, even, that punishment should be sped up a bit and you should be executed. In each one of these cases, the punishment is finite. In other words, it has an end. Even if the end is at the end of the criminal’s life, it still has an end. It is not infinite.
God, on the other hand, punishes criminals infinitely. Kill someone? Eternal punishment in a fiery pit. Maybe you agree that this would be an appropriate punishment for somebody who has killed another person. I must ask you, though – why? The crime is finite. Person A kills Person B, and so Person B is dead. That’s it. It happened once. It’s over. Yes, Person A absolutely should be punished. “An eye for an eye,” they say. So our legal system takes over and (assuming Person A was caught and tried properly) they are sent to prison and [perhaps] even executed. Great. Now we’re even. And that’s it. Right?
Wrong. God, who is allegedly benevolent, is going to punish Person A again. Not just for a while, but for ever. Person A will suffer like he has never suffered before; not for the rest of his life, but forever. This is not “an eye for an eye,” but more like an infinite number of eyes for one eye.
Maybe that’s a bad example. Killing isn’t just bad – it’s really bad. But what about one of those weirder Biblical laws? “Thou shalt not steal.” Almost all of us can probably agree that stealing is bad, and almost all of us can probably agree that thieves deserve some sort of punishment, but also that that punishment should be a bit milder than that reserved for a murderer.
Nope, not in God’s eyes. You broke one of his commandments. You go to Hell. You burn for eternity. Did God catch you wearing polyester along with cotton? You’re going to Hell. Even after a benevolent god who gave you free will (as though that even makes sense) and therefore the ability to doubt, do you doubt it exists? Sorry, what’s in store for you is far worse than a life sentence. God isn’t even going to kill you. He’s just going to torture you – not for life; not for two lives; but for ever. Ever, and ever, and ever. There is no end to the pain you will endure.
If the Christian god exists and what the Bible says about it is true, then it is not benevolent. And yet if what the Bible says is true, then the Christian god is benevolent. These statements cannot both be true. Either the Bible is only correct on one count, or it is correct on neither count.
If it is correct on the first, then I would hardly say a malevolent god is worth worshiping. If it is correct on the second, then I imagine a benevolent god would be perfectly okay with the fact that I don’t worship it.
- Morality and the Bible (atheistdave.wordpress.com)
- The Concept of Hell (hadeelness.wordpress.com)
- Burning in hell forever: Islam’s absurd punishment “Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system.” – Thomas Paine (maldivianapostates.wordpress.com)