Atheism is Absurd: The Good Man Goes to Hell

by

I’m surprised at how easily arguments in favor of Atheism are refuted with simple LDS doctrine. It’s almost as if our doctrine, based on the Bible but clarified by the Book of Mormon, was prepared for a specific day and age, to counter specific arguments that would appear long after Joseph Smith was dead.

One of the latest goes like this.

Person A lives a good life, generally obeying Christ’s teachings by being nice to people and obeying almost all of his commandments. However, Person A refuses to worship God as Creator and Supreme Being. When Person A dies, they suffer eternal punishment for their refusal to accept Christianity.

Person B lives a terrible life, murdering, whoring, and breaking every commandment you can think of. One day, Person B has a “come to Jesus” moment, converts to Christianity, repents of his sins, etc. The next day, he is hit by a bus. He earns eternal salvation.

This is obviously unfair, therefore, I refuse to believe in Christ.

There are, of course, minor variations, but you get the idea.

The problem with the above argument is that the morality of the speaker conflicts with the morality of God, or in other words, the morality of the universe.

His idea is that being mostly good is good enough. I think a lot of people fall into this trap.

I want to ask you a question. If you are “mostly good” in handling your firearm, that is, keeping it secure, keeping the safety on, not pointing it at people you don’t want to kill, keeping it clean, etc… does that mean you get to enjoy the blessings of those people who are perfectly good? Imagine your one digression from being 100% good with your firearm is that you decide it’s a good idea for your kid to play with your gun with the safety off and fully loaded and unsupervised. That one transgression has eternal consequences. Your kid is dead, and is never going to rise from the dead anytime soon. The “mostly good” do not get to enjoy the same blessings as the perfectly good.

That is the way it is with sin. If we are not 100% perfect, then we have committed some sin. Any one of our sins is enough to cut us off from God forever. In that way, the murderer and the mostly good are in the same boat: they are both cut off from God, separated by their sins from their Father.

If you cannot bridge that gap, than you cannot ever hope to return to the Father in favorable circumstances.

Your “mostly good” life is pointless. What can you hope to achieve? Is it possible for you to go back in time and erase even one of your small mistakes? Can any apology or restitution ever fully compensate for your sin? At best, you can weigh your punishment with your sin, and come out even. You’d be able to approach the Father and say, “See, I have paid for my crimes, served my time in your eternal prisons, and now we’re even.” Good, you’re even. Does that make you think you can earn the same reward as someone like Abraham or Moses or even Jesus himself?

Now, this is the kind of life that will get you not only in front of God without begging for him to punish you for your sins, but even allow you to live as he does. First, you must have faith in Jesus Christ. Not just believe that he is the Lamb of God who paid the price for all our sins, but act in accordance with that belief. Once you believe that Jesus is the one who can wipe away our sins and even carry us to God, we then begin the process of satisfying His demands to receive his covering of our sins. That means we walk the path of constant repentance. We consistently turn ourselves towards God, and stop doing anything and everything that is not inline with his perfect teachings and examples. No one can possible repent of all their sins in this life, so what is important is not reaching the eventual end right now, but that we walk the “strait and narrow” path and consistently move towards that end. Those who begin this path must enter into the gates through baptism by one who has authority. Then comes the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which entitles us to constant companionship of the spirit of God. From there, we’ll be told exactly what we need to do to go all the way back, as long as we continue to walk the path we started on.

If we manage to do the above, then we can be assured that we’ll end up in the highest degree of salvation and glory, living the kind of life Jesus lives now. Nothing less than the above can possibly get us there. It is absurd to suppose that you can work your way back to God through some other method than the method God has described. This is the glory of the sun, the fierce light that creates all life and powers the universe.

For those who believe in Jesus, and start to repent, or those who are generally good and would happily take advantage of Jesus’ offer, but who aren’t the kind of person who would move forward towards God, they can earn their own salvation with Jesus, being united with him. It is not the same as the previous salvation, but still, it’s better than the other alternatives. Like the moon that reflects the sun’s light, these are united but not brilliant.

For those who spend their life in sin and who would never accept Jesus’ sacrifice, they get to pay for their own sins. They end up even before God after they have paid their price. Even, but not united with God. While free from pain and suffering, they enjoy none of the blessings of those who embrace Jesus. They live independent lives, like sparks that stray from the fire, or stars in the sky.

Doesn’t this line up with logic and reason? There are many levels of blessings people can receive in this world, and there are many different behaviors. Each behavior brings its ultimate reward. If you want to be a carpenter, study carpentry under a carpenter. If you want to be a fisherman, study fishing under a fisherman. If you want to be like God, study his works under Him and do them.

There is no injustice except for this temporary time on this world when Jesus allows us to continue in sin, hoping we’ll accept his offering and turn ourselves towards God. Once his mercy has run out, then the full magnitude of God’s justice will be unleashed on the world, and we’ll be left to declare his name merciful and just, because there is no other way to look at things.

I’m interested in other arguments Atheists use to convince themselves they are smarter than everyone else. I’m happy to expose how LDS doctrine crushes each of these deceptions.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Atheism is Absurd: The Good Man Goes to Hell”

  1. tensor Says:

    I’m interested in other arguments Atheists use to convince themselves they are smarter than everyone else.

    Well, for starters, we don’t miss the obvious points of easy examples:

    In that way, the murderer and the mostly good are in the same boat…

    The entire point of the example is that the murderer goes to heaven, and the honest man goes to hell, under Christian doctrine:

    Once you believe that Jesus is the one who can wipe away our sins and even carry us to God, we then begin the process of satisfying His demands to receive his covering of our sins. That means we walk the path of constant repentance. We consistently turn ourselves towards God, and stop doing anything and everything that is not inline with his perfect teachings and examples…

    Person B had done this, for the entire rest of his life, after converting to Christianity. Are you saying that a person who accepts Jesus as Christ, as Lord and Saviour, and who lives righteously thereafter, does not go to heaven? Because that’s what Person B had done. If LDS doctrine diverges from standard Christian doctrine on this point, please do show how it does. Otherwise, we can assume that under LDS doctrine, Person B went to heaven, and Person A, the honest man, went to hell.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Yes, LDS doctrine does not agree with other religion’s doctrines, particularly when it comes to what it means to be “saved”.

      In LDS doctrine, there is “justification” and “sanctification”. “Justification” is when you no longer have a debt with God—you have either paid the price of your sins or Jesus has paid the price for you. “Sanctification” is when you become like God, when you have changed to the point that you do not vary from God in the slightest. In general, Christian doctrine confuses the two.

      The good man who doesn’t commit any serious sins but who nevertheless never reaches out for Christ to pay for his sins, nor embraces Christ so that he can become like God, is just a good man. He will pay for his sins, and he will experience eternity as a being that lives below God.

      The bad man who does commit serious sins, but who later repents and embraces Christ and sets out on the path to fundamentally change his nature to become like God will, if he sticks to this plan, become like God and live with him.

      In the end, small sins and large sins are only different in terms of scale and the severity of punishment proscribed. Nevertheless, they are sins that separate us from God and keep us off the path of becoming like God, and even small sins for which we refuse to repent will hold us from God’s glory. In this way, the sinner, large or small, is in the same boat, ultimately headed for a similar fate.

      “Damnation” is not a term we throw around lightly in the LDS church. It means a literally damning as in a dam that stops the flow of a river. If our progress is stopped due to our sins, we are “damned”, that is, prevented from growing and increasing to the degree God has intended for us. Indeed, I know people who experienced this. When they embraced the gospel, then later engaged in sin, their progress was stopped. Whether their sin was minor, such as refusing to say their daily prayers and attend their church meetings, or severe, such as drug abuse, sexual misconduct, or murder, they both ended up in a state where they could not enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the inherent progress associated with that.

      We do not imagine lakes of fire and brimstone except as descriptive language that describes the suffering you will feel when you realize what a fool you’ve been for rejecting God’s salvation. When you stand before God, and he lays out to you all the things he did for you, and all the things you did with the gifts he gave to you, and when you realize that you could have had so much more if you simply listened to the Holy Ghost and repented of your sins and embraced Christ’s gospel, then you will feel the same hot damning sensation that one who has sacrificed so much for so little will feel.

      God’s punishment is merely the natural consequence of things. They are one and the same. God’s mysterious ways are no more mysterious than Newton’s Laws to those who do not know them. The entire universe is a machine that metes out God’s punishments and blessings according to the obedience or lack thereof of the creatures involved. The only reason why we are allowed to survive in our sins is because Christ’s atonement has given us a period where we can reconcile our wills to God’s, a temporary reprieve, so to say. We do not suffer the full natural consequences for our sins immediately in this life. Just like a kid who lives in his parent’s basement, we are fools if we think we are living in the real world while we are so sheltered. When we are forced to come out of that basement and face the world as it really is, without mommy or daddy to wash our clothes and pay for our car insurance, we would rather die because we are not prepared for it. That is hell, and that is the damnation that awaits those who sin and will not repent.

      Atheists who attack strawmen, or lump all the world’s religions together as if they all believed and behaved in the same ways, are foolish at best, deceitful at worst.

  2. Peter A. Says:

    The twin concepts of eternal damnation and salvation, as believed by most Christians, is palpably absurd, unjust and bizarre.

    Regardless of how a person has lived his/her life, whether they made a committment to follow a religious character who promised to return within the lifetimes of those still standing before him and yet did not (Jesus Christ), or whether they decided to live according to their own conscience based upon a carefully reasoned-out understanding of how others would wish to be treated (the basis of all TRUE morality), the noxious notion that their actions during this finite life will have eternal (I repeat – ETERNAL) consequences is the very height of injustice.

    It is injust to the extent that it is disproportionate, and the idea that anyone, no matter how bad they may be during this – very short – life deserves to be punished for eternity is, quite literally, infinitely disproportionate. Would you seriously consider, for example, sentencing someone who parked their car in a handicapped zone when they shouldn’t have to 50 years hard labour without parole? Wouldn’t a simple fine be more just? Yet, here you are, talking about condemning for all eternity those whose only ‘crime’ is to reject the nonsense of an erratic and, quite obviously, mad Jewish prophet who wasn’t even understood by his own disciples half the time.

    Shame on you!

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Peter,

      I’m sure you think you are being logical, but you’re not. You’re committing a logical fallacy here.

      It’s clear that you disagree with the basic philosophy of Christianity. It’s also clear that you are completely ignorant of why Christians believe what they believe. Let me help you understand your own ignorance. Perhaps you can be saved from your own personal hell of ignorance.

      God is good. If you want to be good, you have to be like God. There is no other way, no side path.

      If you disagree with God on something, and act upon it, you’ve committed a sin, a moral failing.

      God has made laws that punish sinners according to their sins. Once you’ve crossed God’s laws, you end up in damnation: you are going to get a punishment, and there is nothing you can do to prevent that, otherwise God would be a liar, and no God at all.

      God’s punishment is eternal punishment, because God is eternal.

      If someone lives their life in a way where they constantly cross God’s laws, wouldn’t they be eternally punished for eternally crossing those lines? Is it justice that someone who never learns to obey God’s laws will avoid the consequence of their own disobedience?

      Damnation is simply this: the ending of one’s progress, just like a river is damned. If you think of things this way, then everything makes much more sense. It is our natures that compel us to disobey God, and it is our natures that set us on an eternal course of damnation. If we can simply change our natures, then we can align our wills with God’s, and set about actually progressing towards happiness.

      I’m sorry you can’t see the logical reasoning behind all of this. I’m sorry you refuse to accept the truth that God is good, and good is what God does, and that crossing God is crossing good. Perhaps you feel you are a “light unto yourself”, that you own something within you that allows you to define what is good and evil, but unfortunately, you don’t. That conscience thing you talk about is actual a divine manifestation of God’s personality designed to allow us a choice between good and evil. Without know what good is, via our conscience, we can never sin in knowledge.

      I’m sorry, in the sense that I am sad, because these things will cut you off of God. One day, you will wake up and realize that nothing in your life is good or brings you happiness. All that bitterness you feel towards me and God and everything good will overwhelm you, and you will feel like you are alone, worthless, and a complete waste of time. That’s the logical consequence of your rejection of God’s doctrines and laws. It is not my fault or God’s fault that you feel this way: you chose to believe in what you believe in, you chose to act the way you wanted to act, and you inherit the consequence of such beliefs and actions. We tried to warn you, to gently persuade you, but you decided to call us names and label good evil and evil good.

      Maybe when you are in that dark spot you’ll remember that I am happy when you are not. You’ll wonder, “Why is it that Jonathan Gardner gets to be happy all the time?” And then you’ll think, “Perhaps if I come to believe in the things he believes in, and act in the way he acts, I can be happy too.” I would encourage you to hold on to that thought, and add to it this thought: That there is a being who descended below all things to rescue worthless souls like mine and yours, and he will rescue you as much as me, and his name is Jesus Christ.

      That will be enough to start your journey towards happiness and end the bitterness and hate that infests your soul today.

  3. Peter A. Says:

    A number of assumptions and claims you make without either evidence nor justification:

    1. ‘God is good.’

    Firstly, define the term ‘good’. Once you have a working definition of this concept, then present the evidence (ANY evidence) that would back up the claim that ‘God is good’. Is something good because God approves of it, or is God good because the concept itself is an objectively valid one independent of the mind of man (like the ratio of a circumference to a diameter in a circle, which is 3.14159265… i.e. pi).

    2. ‘If you want to be good, you have to be like God.’

    So God = Good, which is a claim that is rather devoid of substance since:
    A) No one can be certain that gods of any kind even exist, and
    B) if God(s) are real, it nevertheless remains the case that, as John 1:18 states – no one has ever seen God. A third problem:
    C) Not only has no one ever seen God, but no one has thus far even been able to define clearly what they even mean by the term ‘God’.

    3. ‘God has made laws that punish sinners according to their sins.’

    Evidence? Can you substantiate this claim? Objectively substantiate this, without recourse to a man-made book (i.e. the Bible).

    4. ‘If someone lives their life in a way where they constantly cross God’s laws, wouldn’t they be eternally punished for eternally crossing those lines?’

    God’s laws? Oh, you mean like, ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’. Of course, let’s kill everyone who practices ‘witchcraft’ shall we? The Old Testament does not contain any laws that were sent down to us by ‘God’, and if you believe I am wrong about this then I challenge you to present any evidence you may have that would show this.

    5. ‘Damnation is simply this: the ending of one’s progress, just like a river is damned. If you think of things this way, then everything makes much more sense.’

    That, however, is NOT how it is outlined in the New Testament. I recall images of eternal fire and torment. Very sadistic stuff.

    6. ‘I’m sorry you can’t see the logical reasoning behind all of this.’

    Okay, now I’m trying to be patient here, but perhaps the reason as to why I can’t ‘see the logical reasoning’ here could be because it simply does not exist to begin with.

    7. ‘Perhaps you feel you are a “light unto yourself”, that you own something within you that allows you to define what is good and evil, but unfortunately, you don’t.’

    Well, actually I do. It’s called reason. Being impartial, and doing all that one can to examine reality without ever relying upon the crutch of ossified beliefs about how the world aught to be, is the only sure method of avoiding the many fallacies that can distort clear thinking.

    8. ‘One day, you will wake up and realize that nothing in your life is good or brings you happiness.’

    Okay, now this is insulting. You don’t know me, so how can you make this claim? A person does not need to be a Christian in order to be ‘good’ as I understand that term, and they certainly don’t need to cling to religious ideas in order to find happiness. In fact, there is a direct inverse relationship between emotional stability and religious fanaticism (i.e. the fanatics tend to be deeply disturbed individuals, prone to irrational behaviour – ex. suicide bombing, murdering doctors who perform abortions, et cetera).

    9. ‘All that bitterness you feel towards me and God and everything good will overwhelm you…’

    Bitterness? Where? All I did was ask a few simple, and perfectly logical, questions. You think that I am bitter toward God. How can one be bitter toward that which one does not even believe in?

    10. ‘That will be enough to start your journey towards happiness and end the bitterness and hate that infests your soul today.’

    Only in your, not so humble, opinion.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      All I did was ask a few simple, and perfectly logical, questions.

      Shall I play your comments back to you?

      Regardless, I think you’re suffering from a number of misconceptions and misunderstandings. That’s perfectly reasonable. I doubt you’ve spent nearly as much time as others have in studying religion and the Bible and applying the teachings to your life, so you can hardly be considered an expert on these things.

      I find it curious, however, that you think you can challenge my understanding of God and his gospel with a few simple scriptures? Do you think I have never read them? Or do you expect me to write an essay about why your interpretation is not only wrong, but insane?

      About God being the definition of good (or vice-versa, it doesn’t matter), have you ever seriously taken the time to think about what “good” really is? Why do you think no philosopher since the beginning of time has ever been able to define it independent of God? Do you think they were dumber than you, or they didn’t try hard enough? Maybe you have a definition handy you can share with us that will give us a universal, consistent, and unchanging definition of good. Please share with us!

      Why do you think religionists say, “God is good”? Do you think they are being intellectually lazy? Or do you think they are mentally handicapped or just completely unserious about their religion?

      I think your problem is that you are wholly self-centered and misanthropic. That means, you hate people in general except for yourself, which you believe to be superior to God himself. You are incapable of understanding that maybe, just maybe, someone somewhere is smarter than you, and that’s why they have different ideas than you, and maybe, just maybe, your ideas are not only wrong, but painfully so.

      I understand, I used to be the same way. Then I got an education, and grew up, and took my religion super-serious, and learned for myself how insanely ignorant we all are. Don’t think I’m singling you out for condemnation; how can I claim to be free from the same sins that beset you?

      And finally, I find it very curious that Atheists demand, on a silver platter, the same knowledge that Christians struggle to obtain a fraction of in their lifetime. Did you know that to understand who the True God really is is the same as inheriting Eternal Life? When you ask us to show you God, or to explain his nature, do you realize what you are really asking us to do?

      If you really, really, want to know about God, then you’re going to have to find some missionaries from the LDS church, listen to their lessons, read the Book of Mormon, pray and receive an answer about its truthfulness, be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and spend the rest of your life doing your best to act according to what little knowledge you have been given. Then, and only then, can you be rewarded with tiny tidbits concerning his nature. Maybe one day, in the distant future, long after you’ve died and been buried, you’ll finally have that “Aha!” moment when every fact in the universe, including the details of God’s existence, make complete and total sense.

      Are you willing to do that? If not, then why do you expect to obtain knowledge of God at all? Do you think you’re smarter than us or Him, or do you think he is a liar and you can find out for yourself without following the way he has outlined as the only way to know about God? Let me know how that works for you, when the final day comes, and God reveals himself to you, and you realize the full extent of what an awful jerk and an idiot you’ve been your entire life.

      Ah well, I guess I am tired of arguing nitpicking details with ignoramuses who refuse to see the forest for the trees and condemn their neighbor for the speck of dust in their eye. I imagine someone somewhere has already answered all of your questions on the internet or in text, and if you really cared for an answer to your kindergarten questions you could obtain them for yourself, even if all you did was learn how to pray to God the way he asks us all to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: