Lee Strobel, evangelical Christian apologist, quoting agnostic Charles Templeton:
How could a loving heavenly Father create an endless Hell, and over centuries, consign million of people to it because they do not or cannot or will not accept certain religious beliefs?
Donald Carson, PhD, evangelical Christian theologian:
Hell is not a place where people are consigned because they were pretty good blokes but just didn’t believe the right stuff. They’re consigned there, first and foremost, because they defy their Maker and want to be at the center of the universe. …Hell is filled with people who, for all eternity, still want to be at the center of the universe and who persist in their God-defying rebellion. What is God to do? If he says it doesn’t matter to him, God is no longer a God to be admired. He’s either amoral or positively creepy. For him to act in any other way in the face of such blatant defiance would be to reduce God himself.
If you allow a whole lot of sinners to live somewhere in a confined place where they aren’t doing damage to anyone but themselves, what do you get but hell? There is a sense in which they are doing it to themselves, and it’s what they want because they still don’t repent.
…On the Last Day, justice will be done for all to see. And no one will be able to complain by saying, “That isn’t fair.”
The Case for Christ, p. 180
Gary: These statements are deeply disturbing on several levels.
First, evangelical Christians believe that Hell is a place of suffering. Neither Strobel nor Carson mention that small detail. All evangelicals by definition believe in a literal place called Hell. More conservative evangelicals believe that sinners will roast in eternal hell fire. Moderates won’t go so far as to say that the fire in Hell is literal but will still emphasize that the suffering in Hell is “unspeakable”. The more progressive among them believe that the suffering will be psychological: profound sadness and despair due to their separation from God. In the theology of these Christians, Hell is not a picnic or party. It is a horrible place of suffering of some fashion that never, ever ends.
Punishment that never ends is immoral. Period. At least Hitler let his victims eventually die. The God of evangelical Christians does not allow even that small measure of mercy.
Second, neither man addresses the issue of those people who sincerely believe in God…but made the mistake of choosing a god other than Jesus Christ! Although this branch of Christianity might allow for different intensities of suffering in Hell, they would still teach that devout theists of other Faiths will suffer right along side the evil atheists in Hell for all eternity. So devout Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Mormons will suffer eternal damnation not because they refused to worship and obey their Maker, but because they confused a false Maker with the true (Christian) Maker. How moral is that? Well, I assure you that evangelical Christians will tell you that it is moral.
But let’s try something. Let’s take Dr. Carson’s statement above and make some word substitutions:
The Muslim Hell is not a place where Christians and other infidels are consigned because they were pretty good blokes but just didn’t believe the right stuff. They’re consigned there, first and foremost, because they defy the true Maker, the true God, Allah. …Hell is filled with Christians who, for all eternity, still want to worship Jesus, persisting in their Allah-defying rebellion. What is Allah to do? If he says it doesn’t matter to him, Allah is no longer a God to be admired. He’s either amoral or positively creepy. For Allah to act in any other way in the face of such blatant defiance would be to reduce Allah himself.
…On the Day of Judgment, justice will be done for all to see. And no Christian or other infidel consigned to eternal damnation in the Muslim Hell will be able to complain by saying, “That isn’t fair.”
I would bet that most Christians would find such a statement immoral and extremely offensive, but yet they are shocked when they see our disgusted reaction to this exact claim coming from their mouths regarding their deity.
Pathetic. It is a sick and immoral belief.