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5/11/2018 1:59 am  #11


Re: Trouble with Hell/Sin

I have listened to the video (it's audio rather, illustrated with a still portrait) in the background while doing something else. It deserves a better listen, I'm sure I lost plenty of nuance in it.

In general, Christians tend to veer towards universalism when they can't emotionally cope with the concept of a particular soul eternally trapped in hell. This seems to be the case with Hart. Universalism is not reconcilable with the Bible, not easily anyway.

On the other hand, universalism is easily reconcilable with non-Christian views that involve rebirth and transmigration of souls. I did not notice in Hart's speech any attempt to distance himself from this point of convergence or any awareness that there is such a point of convergence.

 

5/11/2018 11:14 am  #12


Re: Trouble with Hell/Sin

Evander wrote:

Here is a summary of the video given by a commenter:

“This is brilliant, but the language is a little opaque. I suppose I'd summarise the key idea as follows: God's choice to create was a free choice - we do not worship a Pantheistic God who is part of Nature, or a god who is one among many -  we worship a God 'ontologically distinct' from creation, to use Hart's language. And we also worship a wholly good God. In this context, we must ask: is the eternal suffering of one creature, or even the 'risk' of the eternal suffering of one creature (for when the dice is thrown, that which is hazarded has already been surrendered) a wholly good choice of a wholly free being? Hart asks if the saved shouldn't see this creature as the scape-goat they could have been, their Christ? The doctrines of creation ex nihilio, of the goodness of God, and of the eternal damnation of any soul, are inconsistent, for how can creation be a good, free choice, if it is the choice to damn some (or to risk the damnation of some - again, this doesn't change the situation at all.) Hart stresses that this in some sense the 'infinite' evil of eternal damnation poses a far greater problem than the evil we see around us today: that while it may be possible that the future hope of the kingdom of God can somehow 'justify' temporary suffering, the same argument cannot be used to justify eternal suffering. He also insists that his universalism is linked to creation ex nihilio: if God's choice to create were not free, then perhaps he could reasonably settle for second best. But precisely because it was a free choice, God is morally responsible for every part of His creation. Finally, Hart insists his goal is not to judge God - he is merely questioning the validity of calling something 'good' which is clearly anything but good. When we talk of God, it is always in analogy, and words often only have limited meaning: but their meaning with regard to God should never be transparently opposite the meaning we would normally understand.”

If this is a proper summary, then what seems to be the problem with Hart’s view? I’m not sure about his exact views regarding one’s post mortem experience, however I believe that he would fall under the general category of a “purgatorial universalist”.

Also, wouldn’t the damnation of demons pose a problem for Hart? What’s the difference between them and humans who would be damned?

 
To me, the problems are:

1) As I said, it's plausible that there are some truly evil people who deserve to be punished for what they brought about freely and willfully, and can also be plausible that these people freely condemn themselves to hell. Couldn't God create a world with people who will willingly embrace Him and love goodness, just because there would be some people who would of their own free choise embrace evil? I think free will solves these issues or at least atenuates them quite a bit.

2) the horrific thesis would be false. This is the one I mentioned in my last post, with a link. If it is better for people to exist in hell rather than not exist, then the problem mentioned in that comment would disappear.

 

6/01/2018 6:05 pm  #13


Re: Trouble with Hell/Sin

Here I depart from Feser and agree with Hart in thinking that universalism is true. Nevermind the biblical verses in support/against it, I don't see any way around the problem of hell other than universalism. 

To be born in the wrong place, influenced by the wrong thinkers (Dawkins/Harris, never reading Feser), or having brain damage that doesn't allow one to consider God, or just being a gullible person who buys into atheism--none of this seems to warrant eternal damnation. At best, you could say that a person who, with full awareness of everything, chose to reject God over a 100 year life span would deserve to spend 100 years apart from God, gradually being refined to enter his presence.

Otherwise the math doesn't add up: infinite punishment for (at most) 100 years of a rebellious or ignorant life. 

 

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