I just don't understand how a kind and just god can possibly punish me for eternity simply for behaving as a rational human should. That just doesn't make any sense. I'm a good guy. I'm not an evil villain or some sheep-raping pervert. Hell, I'm not even gay. I'm just a normal heterosexual dude with a wife and kids and who works almost as hard as he should. I help people out and I rarely try to screw them over. I've even given to charity a few times. So, what could God possibly have against me?
And let's face it: It isn't rational to believe in God. I'm not saying that as a put-down; it's just a fact. Belief in God is irrational. Even if there is a God, it isn't sane to believe in him. Not under the current conditions, anyway. He hasn't given us any solid clues as to his existence, yet he expects us to believe in him without reservation? That's nuts. If we were talking about anyone other than God, everyone would instantly realize how loony it all sounds. Again, that's not to say that none of it's true. It just sounds screwy. Like if you knew some adult who really believed in Santa Claus. It's possible that Santa Claus is real too; but it really wouldn't sound right to admit belief in that.
But again, I'm not complaining about faith. I'm just saying that I don't see how a just god could possibly use eternal damnation to reinforce a negative trait. That's supposedly his big kick, right? That he wants us to toss aside rationality and objectivity and believe in something that is intentionally unknowable; or otherwise risk spending a gazillion-plus years in Hell. But God doesn't want us to believe in everything, right? He only wants this faith stuff to work on him. So what gives? Why is he trying to punish me for using the same standard that he wants us to use regarding everything else? If he doesn't want me believing in Hinduism, Scientology, or Supply-Side Economics; then he should probably give me a break for not believing in him too.
And what does he get out of it, anyway? I mean, he's already omnipotent and omniscient; and he's still not satisfied? He's got to have our unending love too? What an egomaniac! They say a lot of celebrities get that way, but I always thought that was the cocaine talking. Might God also be a cokehead? That sure would explain a few things. But seriously, what is he getting out of this? Why can't he just accept the fact that I'm a proof kind of guy, and let this one slide? I don't believe in him. I'm sorry, alright. But I just can't believe. It doesn't make any sense, and I've always been kind of preferential towards sensible things. I refuse to believe. And I don't see what his beef is with that. I don't hate him. I don't treat his people any more poorly than I treat anyone else. Hell, I've been known to help out with church activities on a few occasions. Just earlier today I helped put address labels on a bunch of church newsletters, and not once did I write some nasty "God Hates You" message in any of them; though the temptation was certainly there. And God's still going to punish me, just over the whole belief thing? I'm not buying it.
And honestly, would Hell be such a bad option if the only alternative was living in a Heaven with an unjust egomaniac god who insisted that we love him all the time? After all, belief alone would not be nearly enough, as it's really not that hard to believe in God when the Big Guy is standing in front of you all the time. So you're going to have to play it extra heavy with the love. And if we're talking about an unjust god who would punish good people simply because they didn't love him; do you really want to mess with the hassle? I mean, there's only so much kiss-assing you can do before you have one negative thought; and that might be enough for him to punish you for all of eternity. They never talk about people getting kicked out of Heaven, but I really don't see why not. What else would they do with the trouble-makers? There couldn't possibly be a jail in Heaven, so I'm sure they'd just boot-out anyone they wanted to.
And how bad could Hell be? I mean, really. Sure, maybe it really is the whole burning hellfire thing, or maybe some complicated Sartre-style nightmare. But the new fad among all the more intellectual Christians is a Hell that doesn't have any kind of punishment system at all. Just being away from God is considered its own punishment. And God doesn't send you there; you send yourself there by rejecting God. And that's pretty clever and everything; but I can't figure out exactly how that's supposed to work. I mean, all the people in Hell are going to be freewheeling party-people who are used to doing their own thing. So how is it possible that such people wouldn't start their own social circles and even form an economy? And then eventually even forming a government and just recreating how things were here? Heck, that might even be where we are now! And wouldn't the partying orgies be spectacular? Huge mounds of thousands of people humping away like nobody's business. Sure, there'd also be a lot of Muslims, Hindis, and other True Heathens whose only mistake was to be born in the wrong country. But once they realized that their religion was bunk, they'd probably be the hardiest partiers of them all. A lot of steam those people have to let-off; and while they might not get their 72 virgins, there would be no shortage of less-than-virginal women. Overall, I don't see why Hell wouldn't be the place to be. I much prefer hanging-out with the Hell-bound people here on earth, and I don't see why it wouldn't just be more of the same there. And this is again to be contrasted with a vengeful, jealous god who demands full love all the damn time.
But I'm just not buying it. Because if there is a creator, I think that he made things too good for him to be a mean guy. Maybe he'd punish the truly bad people. But I don't see how he'd consider rationality such a horrible offense. And I don't care how bad you were on earth, eternal punishment is simply absurd. I don't even care if you're Hitler, Stalin, and Bush combined (no moral equivalence intended); eternity is a damn long time to suffer. I could see a hundred years of sheer agony. Maybe a thousand years. Even possibly a million years. But eternity? That's just stupid. Who could believe that? Even Santa Claus lets you start over the next year, and the worst you've got to worry about is a lump of coal. God, by contrast, is clearly over-reacting.
And frankly, I can't help but think that this is all some ruse the Christians came up with as a marketing gimmick. Sort of like a never-ending chain letter. And it's not like there's any good evidence to suggest that this belief thing is at all necessary. Even if there is a God, there's no good reason to believe that he's going to punish me for eternity, simply for not believing. Sure, it says that kind of thing in the Bible (though it's not emphasized nearly enough, for how entirely crucial it supposedly is); but the Bible wasn't written by God. It was written by man. I can tell because the handwriting isn't the same. God always dots his i's with a little heart. And so even if I did believe in God, I still wouldn't put faith into that whole faith system they keep touting.
So I'm just going to fall back on the old standby of relying on logic and not believing. And if God has a big problem with that, then that's his problem. I just hope that my wife ends up in Heaven, so I don't have to ask permission to join the orgy mounds. But she's a nonbeliever too, so I suppose we'll be the two monogamous losers in Hell. But I guess they don't call it Hell for nothing, huh.
Update: For further reading, please see: Faith After Death.