Good morning lovelies. Today, we have a rare treat. A guest post by my awesome husband Kent Krabill! Enjoy.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people believe in a “loving” God who they simultaneously believe will torment the majority of people who have ever lived for ever and ever in a fiery place called hell. If there is such a “loving” God (I don’t believe there is, of course), then nobody should willingly worship him (if, at some point, there is actually an all-powerful God who torments people for ever and ever in a fiery place called hell, and my “choice” is worship or be tormented, I guess I might change my mind and give in. I mean really, eternal torment in a fiery place? That sounds really bad).
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. So, lots of my friends and family are seemingly okay with this disgusting, monstrous caricature of a god. They go to churches and sing love songs to him (honestly, a lot of these songs sound like they are singing to their lover, but that is for another post). But have you ever really thought this thing through? Have you ever sat back and considered what it would be like if this “loving” God actually tormented and tortured millions of conscious souls forever? Some of you get upset that the government water boards a few people for a few minutes to get key intelligence. But this “loving” God you are worshipping is apparently going to do much, much worse, and it will be for ever and ever. And you are ok with that?
If there is a “loving” God like this and he is actually going to torture people for ever and ever, this “loving” God is much worse that any notion of “Satan” or the “Devil” that we find in the Scriptures (or anywhere else, for that matter). I mean, that creature called “Satan” or the “Devil” wreaks havoc for a while, but at least his cruelty has a stopping point. Right? I mean, he ends up getting tortured forever, right? So at most, he gets to wreak havoc for what, say a few thousand or million years (shout out to all the young Earth folks reading this!). But this “loving” God you are singing sappy love songs to is going to be torturing people forever and ever. Let that sink in.
Maybe, just maybe, if there is a “loving” God, this being actually loves. Maybe, just maybe, this being is a merciful God and a compassionate God. Maybe, just maybe, this being isn’t against humanity, but for humanity. Maybe, just maybe, this being isn’t out to torture you, but to suffer and die and take all the shit humanity has to dish out in order to show you how much he/she/it loves you. Hmmm.
The writers of Scripture used powerful language to convey important concepts. We do this all the time today, both in writing and verbally. I mean, read a couple of sentences back. Humanity didn’t really serve up Jesus a dish of shit, right? So maybe, just maybe, this God you are so fond of isn’t really planning on tormenting and torturing the bad guys (or, actually, all those folks who never heard of or believed in Jesus) for ever and ever. Yes, there are verses in the gospels and Revelation that contain strong language about eternal torment. But maybe, just maybe, that strong language is used to emphasize the extent and power of the warning. In fact, if we look back at much of the strong language used in the Hebrew Scriptures, we see examples of this all the time:
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
Of course, we all know that this isn’t true. Many of you have visited this very area, passed through it, and know there is no smoke going up today. But the message of the passage is clear, right? We don’t have to pretend it is real. In fact, doing so totally takes away from the power of the language.
So, to recap, God is not a total asshole like you have been taught. This loving being isn’t going to eternally torture or torment anyone. In fact, this loving being isn’t going to torture or torment anyone. Ever. At anytime. Why? Because this loving being is about good news, not bad. This loving being is for humanity, not against it. You are loved. Just as you are. So embrace that love. And pass it on.
Oh, and stop worrying about spending an eternity in hell. There is enough hell right here on Earth to worry about. So let’s take action to end that hell. And bring peace on Earth and good will to men. Sound good?