Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nate Phelps on Hell & Extreme Calvinism:

Nate Phelps, one of Fred Phelps' sons -- one of the estranged (that is, sane) children -- checks in to criticize extreme Calvinist notions of Hell and his family's tactics. Leaving the comment on my post about how the traditional notion of Hell as eternal torture corrupts the soul, he writes:

You articulate your points well. Perhaps I shouldn't comment at all on this whole issue because my sincere reaction to the notion of hell is an incredulous chuckle. I am vividly aware of the extremes of Calvinism and decided early on that my father's radical notions only served to demonstrate the utter nonsense of the whole Calvinist system of theology, and ultimately all theology.

It may sound trite, but it seems important to ask questions can the "worm that feeds on you" never die? how can demons break every bone in your body for eternity? At some point you run out of bones and body to feed on. Even if the worm only ate one inch of you per century, eternity is a long time. Let's say that demon is pretty slow at his job and manages to break a bone once every era...he still will run out of bones long before eternity expires. These may seem like silly points, but to me they do a perfect job of showing the ultimate failing of all these goofy beliefs that so many humans embrace.

For me, the point you raise about Christians being at peace with the idea that a loved one is suffering the worst kind of torture after death highlights the ultimate evil of such religious beliefs. This sickness has infected my entire family as they proudly display their righteous disdain for a brother, sister, son or daughter who has chosen to reject their system of belief. "Sins" such as fornication, adultery, drunkenness, and profanity pale in comparison to such unnatural cruelty.

In the end, I come down squarely in favor of [D]awkins, Hitchens, Smith, etc. I may disagree with some of the nuances of their arguments and some of their conclusions, but their clearheaded adherence to logical proof and rejection of mythology resonates with me.

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