I think we can all agree that the Holocaust that occurred in Germany during World War II was a tragic, horrid event. It’s the type of event that humanity would very much like to prevent from ever happening again. Most humans are compassionate and look with horror upon the suffering of people at the hands of evil. We want the perpetrators of these despicable acts tracked down and punished. Many people relish the thought of Hitler and his minions being cast into a fiery hell, getting their comeuppance for their misdeeds. While I too like to see evil punished, my bigger concern in the case of the Holocaust is the fate of the victims.
As we know, the majority of the people killed during the Holocaust were Jewish. This is unfortunate if we are to believe some Christians. According to them, everyone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior will end up in a fiery hell. I would venture to guess that the majority of the Jews tortured and killed at the hands of Hitler had not converted to Christianity. Therefore, they will supposedly spend eternity in hell RIGHT ALONGSIDE HITLER!! I don’t know about you, but this form of justice seems to come straight from the Bizarro World of the DC Comics. It’s the ultimate example of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Think deeply about this. WWII Germany inflicted much pain and death on a group of people based on who they were by birth and what they believed religiously. Most people find this unfathomable. Yet, many of the same people who are horrified by the actions of Hitler actually believe that their God is going to inflict infinitely more pain on those same people. If Hitler was a monster, what does that make God?
Many believers, in an attempt to exonerate God, say something like this, “God does not SEND anyone to hell. He simply gives them a choice of their eternal destination while living on Earth. Those that choose hell will get their wish.” To that I say, “BALONEY!” People are not put on a precipice with heaven in view above and hell in view below and then asked to choose where they want to go. We all know what each person’s decision would be under those circumstances. Rather, people are asked to choose their faith based on incomplete information. Most people who reject Christianity, or any religion for that matter, do so because they simply don’t believe it. Some have investigated it as thoroughly as possible and found it wanting. Some don’t really think about such things and just accept the faith of their parents or peers. The point is, people are NOT in any way saying, “Hey, I like that idea of being tormented for eternity. I can’t wait to get there so I can writhe in pain day after day without end. I sure hope hell is just as Robert Jeffress described it on his radio program: dark, lonely, nothing to touch, no one to talk to, my body feeling as though it is ablaze. And to top it all off, after I have been though this suffering for ten billion trillion years, my suffering will not have been reduced in length by even one second. Yeah, that’s what I want. Who wants to join me?”
It should be plain that our supposed choice between heaven and hell is not as simple as choosing what we’re going to have for breakfast. There are a lot of competing religions and philosophies in the world all claiming they have the real truth. Since God does not come to us directly to reveal which is correct, we are left to ponder this ourselves and make a decision with far less information than we really need to make an intelligent decision. Ask yourself: would a loving God torture a good person for simply not being convinced of the truthfulness of a particular religion? If so, how does that speak to his morality? Some say that since God is sovereign he can do whatever he wants and he is still moral. Well I have news for you, I can be perfectly moral if given that amount of leeway. So could everyone on the face of the Earth, including Hitler. I just don’t buy that. Certain actions are evil no matter who perpetrates them; God included. Otherwise, morality has absolutely no meaning. We are told that we should emulate God in our actions toward other people. But if God can do anything to anyone and it be perfectly moral, then in the process of emulating him, so can we. This makes no sense.
The issue of man’s choice of his eternal destination is further complicated if God is omniscient as many claim. If God actually knows from eternity past how every human being will live his life, then why would he create anyone that was going to “choose” hell. Since we humans have no choice about being born, who really bears responsibility for us existing and making the choices we make? Certainly not us.
For further reading about what some believers are saying about hell, try these:
Of course, there are some Christians that do not believe the Bible teaches that hell is a place of eternal torment. I did a study several years ago and concluded this myself. Some people teach that unbelievers will be annihilated, while other teach that in the end all mankind will be saved. Here’s some reading along these lines:
Here’s a motto to live by: THINK before you BELIEVE.