I tend to get a lot of e-mails from angry fundamentalist Christians. There is a particular type of e-mail that I get often. This type is usually short and usually informs me that the Christian will enjoy watching me being tortured or burning in Hell for all eternity.
This quick sentiment probably took the writer all of two seconds to write and yet it seems to actually put a lot on the table. First, it carries with it the typical Christian arrogance I have come to expect from fundamentalist believers and others. This Christian claims to know with absolute certainty that his or her world view is true and that anyone who doubts or questions it will be tortured for all eternity (which I hear is a pretty long time).
More importantly however this statement tells us a little bit about its Christian writer. I always find it interesting that these Christians could make such a statement and still consider themselves good and moral people.
These Christians are basically saying that they derive pleasure from watching the torture of other human beings. In fact, they seem to be suggesting that this pleasure is what they are most looking forward to in Heaven. They apparently can’t wait to sit up on the Jesus cloud and watch the eternal spectacle that is Hell. How long does it take to watch eternal tortures anyway? I would think that watching the eternal torture of others would take an eternity away from any other Heavenly activity.
How could anyone who takes joy out of genuine torture look themselves in the mirror and think of themselves as a good person? How could they think their God is good being for torturing or allowing the torturing of people for all eternity? This sort of gets into Christianity’s Problem of Evil but in a much more direct fashion.
The thing is that I wouldn’t want my worst enemies to be tortured for all eternity. I certainly wouldn’t want to watch anyone be tortured. Torture is a tool of dictators, terrorists, and George W. Bush. It isn’t something that any self-respecting deity ought to lower himself too. And any person who takes pleasure from the eternal torture of others really needs psychological help. This is what religion does to people.