Chapter 12, Hell
 
The Handbook of Christian Apologetics devotes chapter 12 to defending the doctrine of Hell. The doctrine alleges that those who die estranged from God will suffer and sin for all eternity in the misery and loneliness of Hell.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says

If there is no eternal damnation there is no free will

 

Reason replies:

 

That is too strong.  Free will does not mean that even if somebody can go to Hell forever and stay there forever freely that anybody will do it.

 

Free will is all about the power to change your mind if you choose an apple a second ago and time could roll back to that second.  If there is no free will you will choose the apple again.  If there is you might as easily take nothing or an orange. 

 

The handbook says that there needs to be a final sentence to Hell for your choice has to have infinite value.  But giving you a final choice is only doing that if you have to give a last chance.  God does not need to give anybody a last chance.  Hell is not about protecting anybody from the damned.  So there is no need.

 

The last chance thing means that even if you do decide to leave Hell you cannot.

 

To say God lets this happen is to say they would too if they were God.  Vindictive people always tell themselves that the other person asked for it.  That is what the Christians are doing.  If they want to be damned they are doing a better job of getting damned than the sinners they say are going to Hell.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Those Eastern religions that do not believe in Hell do not believe in an objective morality.
 
Reason replies:
The implication is that you have to believe in eternal Hell in order to believe that morality is real.
 
As long as the Eastern religions believe in behaving themselves on earth who gives a damn? And lots of people deny Hell and do believe in objective morality.
 
And if people do good and do not believe in an objective morality then does their belief matter? People who think morality is mere opinion and is not objective can still do marvellous things.
 
Buddhism does believe in objective morality - its absolutely wrong to take life in Buddhist thought. Unlike in Christianity.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
The same page then starts answering objections to Hell. It agrees with the objection that Hell is against the love of God but says it is not God’s fault or God's doing.
 
Reason replies: 
The Bible never says that God has nothing to do with it and neither does tradition. It is only theological opinion that it is not God sending people to Hell. For these men to tell us that he doesn’t and not confess that it is just an opinion is pure whitewashing deception.
 
If you tell people that Hell is entirely their own choice and their own creation, then they do not need to fear God sending them there. People do not fear their own choices but only not being in charge. If God does send them to Hell then they are in trouble!
 
If it is a mystery how a loving God can send people to Hell forever then those who do not believe it is a mystery do not understand God. Whoever dies adoring a false image of God will not be able to enter his presence and have to go to Hell.
 
Punishment is defective if the punished person does not feel punished or does not agree with the punishment. If you have a debt to pay, you have to believe you should pay it and not be forced to pay it. If you are forced, then you have no intention of paying the debt and justice is not served. Jesus said hell was eternal punishment - surely God of all beings would ensure that if people have to go to Hell that they regret the choice that put them there forever? This implies that they get a choice and cannot reverse it. It would actually be cruel to make people suffer for a crime while not caring if they regret it or not. The punishment needs to be fundamentally based on regret.
 
Hell has to be God's doing.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The second objection answered is that the punishment does not fit the crime. It says it does fit the crime for it is what the damned want.
 
Reason replies:
Nobody is so evil that they would choose to suffer forever. It is a total insult to human nature to challenge this. Even when we do wrong we only do it because we misperceive it as a good. Nobody commits murder because they want to go to jail or choose jail.
 
You do not say that murdering a person who wants to be murdered is right. You do not say it fits the crime for it is what they want.
 
Nobody believes that even if we have free will that our choices are totally unprogrammed. People believe that they are partly programmed. Thus nobody can choose Hell 100%. God has to give them the benefit of the doubt, "Maybe if they were totally free they would not choose it" and refuse to punish them to the extent of putting them in Hell forever.
  
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The third says that God could have done more to stop people getting into the situations that caused them to choose Hell.
 
Reason replies: 
The Handbook's silly answer to this is that this would be doing away with free will. It says the bad situations are our fault not God’s. Even if this is true on earth it need not be true when we leave the earth for God could put us on another world that will give us a better chance of turning to him forever.
 
And besides if God gave us better influences on earth we would choose better. There would be nothing wrong with that for we have influences on us all the time anyway.
 
Religion says that all you can do is assume that God has done all he can. If he is not doing enough then he is evil and it is evil to condone him having people suffer in Hell. It is unfair to ask people to guess that God has done his best. The matter is too serious. You don't guess that people have cancer. Guessing about Hell is far worse.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The fourth and fifth objection answered says that nobody would choose Hell. The reply answers that nobody can understand why or how people could do that but says that they do. Then it blames it on choosing to be insane.
 
Reason Replies:
It admits that insane people are not responsible but adds that if you choose to be insane it is different. Most people would be disgusted at that suggestion for it means that God is justified in allowing the person to become mad by choice and lose free will for in Hell you cannot change. A God who really respected free will would give us more free will not less and ignore the choice. And nobody deserves to be punished while they are insane even if they have chosen it because it is not them anymore. They are not themselves. The Christians insult insane people to maintain the credibility of Jesus. 
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
The answer to objection six which says that Jesus would have been immoral if he taught Hell says that he was right to for he was only warning us. The book says, "If there is no Hell, Christ is not only a deceptive teacher but a wicked one for he terrifies us needlessly, falsely and harmfully."
 
Reason replies: 
But he never said he saw Hell so what business had he doing that? He hadn’t even proved by his resurrection that he had come from God at that stage and he was making outrageous statements like that. He was not warning but causing trouble.
 
At least the answer is willing to recognise that if Hell is fiction then Jesus was indeed immoral. This implies that they think that if Hell exists then it can be justified and if it does not then it cannot be justified. That is as odd as arguing that if you get fined in court its just and if you don't then its unjust. It shows the believers are willing to have Hell declared just even if it is not!  
 
The book says that a suicide tries to get away from life and ends up realising that he lives on after suicide and has to endure life and God forever and this causes great suffering. It softens this appallingly insensitive doctrine a little by saying that not all suicides are sane and responsible. But think of the torment parents undergo just because they don't know if their abducted child is dead or alive! The authors of the evil handbook want to extend a similar but worse torment to the families of suicide victims. The book even goes as far as to say that though the damned suffer and are alive they are not really persons any more. The book denies that Hell is like annihilation so they are like living corpses. This is an excuse for holding that they endure eternal punishing but are not worthy of our concern for they are not proper persons!
 
Not only are we expected to accuse unknown people of getting punished forever and deserving it just because Jesus said so but also we are expected to impose this further doctrinal indignity on them!
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Objection seven says that Hell is a bad doctrine for it scares people and makes them feel hatred and despair. The answer says that the doctrine leads to a healthy fear and that only bad teaching makes Hell lead to despair and hate.
 
Reason replies:
But the authors surely know that lots of people would not agree with their solutions to the problem of a Good God allowing a place like Hell to exist so what do they expect? Their solutions are not dogma or necessarily correct. They are only their opinions and could be wrong. People still have reason to worry. The Bible speaks a lot of the wrath of God so nobody can deny that he would cut somebody off from his help and so that they are left to the overpowering temptations of sin and damned forever.
 
If you get a temporary depression from guilt see then how the thought of Hell affects your mind. It will not bring a healthy fear to a person who suffers from depression or bad self-confidence. The only persons who can be happy while believing in Hell are those who only kid themselves that they believe in it or who are smug and happy because they think they are going to Heaven and are enjoying the thought of others going to Hell.
 
Also, even if the authors aren’t too upset about Hell because of their arguments and understanding of Hell, what about people who have a worse view of Hell than they do? The authors cannot condemn them for disagreeing with them for they do not claim to be infallible.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
 
Objection eight says that if your loved ones go to Hell you can’t be happy in Heaven.
 
Reason replies: 
The answer is that you should pray for your loved one if you can’t stand heaven when they are in Hell. But people have prayed for the salvation of the world and all people and still some go to Hell so what use is that for consolation?
 
The answer is not an answer. It dodges the problem. If you pray for people and they go to Hell while you are in Heaven then surely the more you have prayed the worse your pain at their suffering will be.
 
The answer encourages people to fear their loved ones going to Hell. It is cruel. People suffering on earth worrying about the eternal fate of others is a reality. No religion should be followed that encourages or embraces that fear.
 
The answer is vicious when some people have a tendency towards depression.

 

People have prayed for the salvation of the world and all people and still some go to Hell.  Prayer is meant to be what you are not just what you say.  Thus you cannot be happy in Heaven when  you want everybody there and they are not there.

 

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says:

Objection nine says a lot of things - that hell would be over-populated.  That its only fit for Mao and the likes so ordinary people can't go there.  "Jesus overdid its danger and spoke too much about it."  A good God would not make a world where most go to Hell.

 

The handbook says we don't know if many go there and warns that Jesus was clear you don't have to be Mao to go there and says that we made the world the way it is if it draws many to Hell.

 

Reason replies, God could take care of the population.  Jesus said evil was banal and is usually more subtle than what the likes of Mao would have exemplified.  He told the ordinary people they were evil though they know to give their child bread not a scorpion.  The argument that God should not make an overly hell-bound world is true.  Christians get around by blaming us.  But innocent until proven guilty is the law so that is not acceptable.  This is why all objection nine says is valid.
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
Objection ten that says that Hell means that evil will exist alongside good forever meaning that God failed to destroy all evil is answered as follows. It says that scripture says that God will one day triumph over all evil but says that Hell will still be everlasting but it does not know how the two doctrines can be reconciled and that it is a mystery to do with time and eternity.
 
Reason replies:
But we know what time is like and eternity so when we are not given an answer there is no answer. How could there be? Heavenly happiness is as everlasting as hellish torment so we see here an attempt to obscure a contradiction. The answer is that devious and nasty thing called a copout.  
 
Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says
Objection eleven says that Hell cannot be true for it serves no good purpose. The answer admits that Hell is useless but says that since God made souls to be immortal he cannot end it by destroying them.
 
Reason replies: 
 
So if God made souls to be immortal then he needs Hell to put them in so it does have a use after all! Christians say it is useful and then useless. They cannot make up their minds.
 
Also why didn’t God make the souls conditionally mortal? They seem to be implying that by making the soul immortal God was promising it that it would live forever. Wasn’t that irresponsible of him? They say that making is not promising so perhaps he is innocent of that charge. But he knew what people were like. He is said to know you better than you could ever know yourself.


FINALLY
 
The Handbook contains the kindest interpretation of Hell possible and it is still vindictive. It proves more than any other book that Hell has to be scrapped. The kinder the doctrine is made to appear the worse it gets. The more people end up evilly defending the indefensible. The more they end up worse than those who defend what Hitler did. If you invent a religion that is about control, then you will warn of dreadful torments in the afterlife and make out that God is love.  So you use fear and you cast guilt trips on your victims.  Christianity has those tell-tale signs of manipulation.