Ross Douthat—A Case for Hell

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Atheists have license to scoff at damnation, but to believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices. If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re like home runs or strikeouts in a children’s game where nobody’s keeping score.

In this sense, a doctrine of universal salvation turns out to be as deterministic as the more strident forms of scientific materialism. Instead of making us prisoners of our glands and genes, it makes us prisoners of God himself. We can check out any time we want, but we can never really leave.

The doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real, and, indeed, that we are the choices that we make. The miser can become his greed, the murderer can lose himself inside his violence, and their freedom to turn and be forgiven is inseparable from their freedom not to do so.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyApologeticsEschatology

Posted April 26, 2011 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Dan Crawford wrote:

It’s somehow reassuring that a newspaper columnist is a far clearer thinker than so many “Christian” pastors and theologians.

April 26, 8:03 am | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:

Amen to that Dan. This is sharp and compelling. Larry

April 26, 10:08 am | [comment link]
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