Conservative Christian: You’ve got bigger fish to fry, Gary. Think on that and know that your destiny is more important. This will end my correspondence with you.
Gary: I hate it when Christians do that. We are having a nice debate regarding some issue related to their supernatural-based belief system when suddenly they find themselves backed into a corner and decide to retreat. But before making their escape, they take one last parting shot: “Oh, by the way. You’re going to burn in hell for all eternity. Think about that while I hightail my ass out of this uncomfortable discussion.”
Here was my response to this Christian gentleman:
Having been in your shoes and having used this expression on unbelievers myself when I was a Christian, I understand that you made this warning with all sincerity and with a lack of malice. However, you should know that to skeptics, this statement is taken as a sign of fear on the part of the theist, whether that theist is a Christian, Muslim, or Mormon. What we hear is, “I can’t counter your argument with good evidence, so I’m going to shake my tom toms, stick needles into voodoo dolls, and pronounce some scary sounding chants of doom upon you to win the argument”.
If your religion were the only exclusivist religion on the planet which threatens eternal gloom and doom for not being a member, I would seriously consider being a member just to hedge my bet. However, your religion is not the only exclusivist religion on the planet, therefore there is no safe bet. You can’t be a devout Christian, a devout Mormon, a devout Muslim, and a devout Hindu, etc., all at the same time. Therefore there is no safe bet. One therefore needs to base his (or her) decision on this issue based on evidence, not based on the fear of being wrong. And the evidence for Christianity is not good. The majority of scholars, including the majority of Roman Catholic scholars who very much believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, reject the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels. Christians therefore have zero confirmed eyewitness testimony of anyone claiming to have seen a walking/talking (resurrected) corpse.
Thousands of people down through history have claimed to have received an appearance by a dead loved one or friend. Such claims have never been seen as good evidence that the deceased loved one was actually alive again. Believe in the supernatural claims of Christianity, including a scary afterlife for non-believers like myself, based on blind faith if you wish, but don’t claim to do so by good evidence…unless you can provide something new that the rest of conservative/traditional Christianity has not yet presented.
End of post.