Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Flowchart: Does God send people to hell?

Alert viewer Robert K. was inspired to create this flow chart based on Matt and Jeff's dialogue with Denise.

The only part that I would object to, a bit, is that it implies that the caller should not be taken seriously if he or she supplies a "wrong answer" to the early questions about what God is actually like. This implies that there is an actual "right answer" to questions like "Did God create hell?"

Of course, the way I see it, the actual right answer is "Of course not, because there is no God." But even for a believer, there's no compelling reason why their answers must conform to anything other people believe, or even the Bible. See, that's the benefit of belief systems that are just made up. Even if they are internally consistent, there's no chance that you can ever be proven wrong. Even if you are, in fact, wrong.


  1. I love the chart. It p^retty much sums it up. A question that sadly was not asked to the caller was "what is wrong/messed up about us unbelievers that deserves eternal punishmen?"

  2. "This implies that there is an actual "right answer" to questions like "Did God create hell?""

    There is a right answer within the context of the christian mythology. And if the person answering the question is unaware of basic details of that mythology, I think it would not be unreasonable to not take the caller seriously.

  3. It is a very part of Yahweh's nature that He cannot be in the presence of sin. He doesn't decide to forgive us, he only CAN forgive us WHEN we repent with a sacrifice. Jesus was the replacement for sacrifices so now all we have to do is repent and only then can God forgive us.
    So it's not that Yahweh created this system, it's that he is bound by it. It is in His definition.
    The only flaw in that argument is that if he is all powerful he wouldn't be bound by any laws.
    And in a less philosophical position, men made Yahweh and his rules up for blatant reasons and he evolved over time as his followers did. Sin is not some force that comes upon us when we do wrong. Sin is a concept to make people do good things when no one is watching. Hell is simply a punishment constructed to make people sure they couldn't escape the threat sin poses.
    All man made garbage.
    Another hole is my first argument was that Yahweh had salvation opened only for a few in the beginning. Indicating that he has some control over salvation as is not bound to these laws some would argue are a part of his nature. That would lean to it IS his construct and we just shouldn't argue with him because he's knows better. Butternut Squash!

  4. Ah, yes, the question of heaven and hell in the afterlife makes me laugh.

    When my mother worries that her non-believing daughter won't meet her in heaven, I answer "Well, how could it be heaven if your children aren't there?"

    It has her slightly befuddled.

  5. Wow, who needs a flow chart to get this? I mean, I guess they do, but...damn.

    This concept was one of the first things that had me questioning my faith when I was a kid (that and the deafening silence when I prayed); we will be sent to hell forever because we don't believe in a god that makes no effort to reveal himself to his worshipers.

    "That's messed up!"

  6. Robert K. here. Correction to the chart. "he says" is in reference to GOD not the caller.

  7.      It appears that you may have mis-read the chart. If the caller answers "no" to any of the initial questions, the chart indicates that nothing the alleged god is supposed to have said should be taken seriously.

  8.      Sorry, didn't catch your correction until after I posted.

  9. What I found hilarious was that Denise found the utterance of one single word too offensive to tolerate, yet she apparently doesn't find it at all offensive to tell someone they deserve to be tortured eternally in Hell.

  10. Nice diarrhea of the keyboard there DM...

  11. That's Just Messed Up!

    I like it :D

  12. I demand a "thats messed up!" t-shirt with the red Atheist Letter.

    It has officially become the christian version of "you dun goof'd"

  13. If I didn't get nitpicky, nobody would recognize me.

    The entire "no" side is simply wrong.

    Did God create hell?

    That doesn't lead to the conclusion you've drawn. If anything, it leads to more questions.

    The problem here is that Denise was just wrong on so many levels, but we didn't get to point that out because she's so fragile and sensitive that a single occurrence of a word that she considers naughty is enough to give her the fucking vapors.


  14. The only problem I have with this is that the decision points should be n-ary.

    The options are "yes", "no" and "fuck".

  15. Why is "God" always in the singular?
    Catholix, for example, have at least 5 gods:
    The Father, the Son, the Holy Casper, Mary, and last but by no means least: Lucifer, who can apparently beat the other 4 combined without breaking a sweat. If a mythical being can defeat 4 gods with ease, they deserve the epithet "god".

    I urge all atheists to never again employ the singular when referring to an interlocutor's fevered delusions. It is effective consciousness-raising to employ the plural in all cases of the nominative, genitive, dative and accusative.

  16. Oh please, she was going to hang up because of how closed minded you were anyway. I think she was even getting ready to say that before Matt offended her Victorian senses

  17. So, what software did Robert K use to create the flowchart? Off-topic, but I'm a programmer (if you can call php programming), so just curious.

  18. @ Che

    I have though of a similar notion with regards to your statement about people in heaven, happily knowing that their children are in hell. The only way I could make it work would be either if the pearly gate was really just the door to some parallel universe where each individual is surrounded by alternate reality versions of those who wouldn't have made the cut here, or if people in heaven just forgot everything.

    @ OnceProudKnight

    It's funny how flowery wording, such as "Yahweh's Nature", "by definition", etc can push emotional buttons. If we described it the way we do everything else, then it would seem as ridiculous as the notion that Vampires cannot enter a home unless invited.

    "God can't forgive without a blood sacrifice. No, it's not that he's a sociopathic prick or anything. He is physically unable to. He starts bleeding from the nose, the universe becomes blurry, and he has to kill a rabbit to fix it. Of course, after about 4,000 years, he found a loophole.

    You might expect an all-knowing God to have figured this out much sooner, but he wasn't trying very hard. He created a human version of himself and ticked off the right people. That's all it took. He could have just been born with a Samarai sword and impaled himself on day one, but he spent about 30 years wandering around in the desert first. The worst part is that the same rule that requires blood sacrifices also prohibits anesthesia. No pain, no forgiveness."

    I guess this is why I never know what to say when a Christian remarks about how ridiculous Scientology seems.

  19. It is too small. I can't read. I need to know if God is going to send me to Hell.

    If he is, I am going to live it up

  20. skepticmatt wrote:
    "There is a right answer within the context of the christian mythology."

    Not really - in polls I've seen, about a third of US Christians don't believe in hell.

  21. @ Curt

    Than they're either a new religion who hasn't chosen a new name yet, or don't know their own mythology

    Either way they're morons.

  22. Dammit, I'm late again, everything has been said already...
    But I like Johnboy's idea.
    And the chart too. Although it has, as Matt pointed out, some mistakes, but such charts would be great to show Christians what they believe. yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but they don't really know what they believe in. (Well, if they did, they would have stopped believing. But it takes time realizing what a primitive, bloodthirsty and crazy god "gives humans moral compass")

  23. Rober K here again.

    The entire "no" side basically a quick and fast, and I admit a bit sloppy, take on the problem of evil. Its not exactly the problem of evil. Basically the first couple of questions are is he all powerful and the bottom would be is he all good.

    Also I did drawn this up as something to be humorous and not taken so seriously. I do really enjoy your feed back though and glad it sparked a fun conversation! Hope everyone enjoyed it!

  24. It sort of reminds me of this Winnie the Pooh episode where he's following these tracks in the snow. He keeps following them and following them, and gets more and more concerned as more and more people seem to join the party he's following.

    As it turns out, he's following his own tracks in a big circle, and just doesn't realize it.

    I think a lot of theists don't comprehend the circular reasoning they employ often because they're so focused on one point at a time, or otherwise can't comprehend much beyond that single point, that they don't grasp the overall "flow" of their logic, and the problems it has.

  25. "That is so messed up."

    Denise isn't denying the chain of logic, she's making a judgement on the fact that Matt is holding God responsible. It's "messed up" that Matt and others would dare place the responsibility for a system created by an omnipotent god on that god.

    In their story we are all created as imperfect by a perfect, all-powerful being who can't stand our imperfection; so he sends us to a place of eternal torture, and that's our fault.

    Denise, and other Christians like her, are whipped dogs.

  26. Views on the afterlife are apparently denominational. the Tract Society of Pennsylvania published in Watch Tower magazine:
    "WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: At death, humans cease to exist. 'The dead...are conscious of nothing at all,' states Ecclesiastes 9:5. Since the dead cannot know, feel, or experience anything, they cannot harm-or help-the living.-Psalm 146:3, 4."

  27. That was an excellent reply by poster 'Che'-how could someone's heaven not contain the people they love the most? If you can have what you want in heaven, couldn't you just wish the person there? Thanx for this, I'm going to use it and as far as a t-shirt goes-- "Christianity-that's messed up!"

  28. Here's a better and more accurate version of the flow chart.

  29. Better put this ( over any flow chart you present to a religious person, just in case.


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