I wanted to take a minute to respond to a comment I received on a post that is quite old. Here’s the original post: Harris on the immorality of Christianity, which was about the following video of a debate between neuroscientist Sam Harris and apologist William Lane Craig:
Heather had this to say:
The biggest problem with Harris’ argument, is that he isn’t using the Bible or Othodox Christianity to explain Hell, but he gets the idea of Hell from the Bible-since that is where Christians get it from (gospels-words of Jesus).
Christians do have an answer and context for Hell that Harris did not represent. We don’t fall on the sword of mystery like Harris’ claims.
What is Harris’ faith?
And my brief thoughts:
“… is that he isn’t using the Bible or Othodox Christianity to explain Hell, but he gets the idea of Hell from the Bible-since that is where Christians get it from (gospels-words of Jesus).”
This is a contradictory criticism: You claim Harris doesn’t use the Bible or Christian doctrine to talk about hell, yet you said he gets his notion of hell from the Bible. Where else should he have gotten his information?
What context for hell did Harris not cover? Christianity’s foundation rests on human sacrifice and the scapegoating of an innocent to atone for the sins of the world, and it’s in this morally reprehensible doctrine that we should place all of our hope.
Meanwhile, we are told to believe that the “burden” of original sin was placed on us before we were born, and this sin, the notion that we should somehow be held accountable for the sins of another person, will one day damn us to eternal fire if we happen to demand evidence for the claims of the Bible or we don’t necessarily like the idea of eternal life in the first place. After all, eternity life would get really boring quickly. I’ve been bored a lot in my life, and I’ve only lived a mere 36 years. In what universe should a human be held responsible for the sins of another human being, and in what universe should we expect one of our brothers or sisters to pay our punishment for us? Christianity teaches that we aren’t really responsible for our actions; we can be saved, and any time we slip up and lie, covet our neighbor’s ass or slit someone’s throat in a back alley and then proceed to rape the corpse, we can simply ask for forgiveness, and so long as we are penitent and regretful — don’t forget all the regret — and our sins are absolved.
In real life, people are free — they have freewill — to decline a gift if the giver has, perhaps, overstepped her bounds and maybe was too generous. With Christianity, we must accept the “gift” of eternal life, even though we weren’t consulted about it first, we must fear the one we are commanded to love or face the fire, and good riddance all the while. If we happen to think the four evils of Christianity, vicarious redemption, scapegoating, human sacrifice and compulsory love, are inferior doctrines of previous barbaric epochs and want nothing to do with them, well, we can be damned for that too and shooed off to hell like the carnal garbage that we are.
Oh, and by the way, since God is omniscient, he knew who would be “saved,” and conversely, he knew the face and lives of each and every person who was going to burn forever — he knew them intimately — yet he chose to put this experiment called earth into motion anyway with the full knowledge that millions would not only suffer ghastly fates in their physical lives but would be tortured forever and ever in everlasting fire, many of whom because of a mere accident of birth. He knew them all intimately, this “good” creation he made, and would watch them fall down to perdition seemingly with indifference.
This is the biblical god’s affinity for man: Love me, believe on my son or perish. This sounds more like a desperate plea than the timeless words of the god of all heaven and earth.