A Response to Atheism: Oh, Hell!

4. Oh, Hell!

Up until this point, I have not explicitly mentioned Christianity or Christian doctrine regarding the existence of God, but in his discussion of Hell, Rosch specifically confronts Christianity. Rosch’s specific issue (as he presents it in his blog) with Hell stems from a poor understanding of the Christian teaching about Hell.

When considering hell, Rosch describes a place where people suffer needlessly as if God invented hell to torture random people for fun. The only reason God allows hell, Rosch mentions, is so that God can torture those who do not believe in him despite “insufficient evidence.” Rosch, though, has trivialized the point. People are not destined for hell simply because they do not acknowledge God’s existence.

In Christianity, Hell serves as the destination for all humanity because of sin. To put it another way, people earn their wages for participating in the work of evil. Those acts mentioned earlier in this post – murder, rape, and turning a blind eye to injustice – deserve some sort of punishment. The result of sin runs much deeper than speaking about human action or inaction. Sin poisoned the entire human race, according to Christianity.

Rosch’s conclusion that people go to Hell because they do not believe he exists is understandable because of the solution that God provides to the sin problem. The Bible describes the story of the the Savior who steps down into the world to suffer the punishment that humanity deserved and pave the road to redemption. In order to receive the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection, it requires an intimate, personal knowledge of Jesus Christ, i.e. a relationship with Him. Belief in Jesus is the means of accepting God’s salvation. So, it makes sense that Rosch would think that people go to Hell because they do not believe that God exists.

Sin, a word whose overuse belittles the tragedy it has wrought, is the reason for Hell. The fact that God provided a means of redemption may compound the need for Hell since people have now not only sinned but also rejected God’s gracious solution, but it is not the primary reason Hell exists.

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