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Hell is a Terroristic Threat

I get e-mails, messages, and comments from Christians all the time either telling me flat out or eluding to the belief that I will be tortured for all eternity in Hell. It is more than them just stating a belief however; they are also making the claim (either upfront or covertly) that I should be tortured for all eternity. The purpose of their message is simply. They are trying to invoke terror.

These types of religious believers want atheists to be afraid. They hope to use our fear to force us to accept their claims and their beliefs on insufficient reason. It should also be noted that they want us to embrace their values which are often hateful and immoral.

This is terrorism and we shouldn’t be afraid to call it such just because they are Christians and not Muslims. Don’t get me wrong; most of these threats of eternal torture are empty. Christians make these claims, but most don’t actually intend to do anything about them. Instead, they just leave it up to their invisible enforcer. And since I really don’t believe their enforcer or their place of eternal torture actually exists, I generally don’t find myself in any type of real fear. These are usually empty threats… but they are threats of a terrroristic natural nonetheless.

It should also be pointed out that there are a few crazy fundamentalist Christians out there who not only make these threats, but imagine themselves as God’s enforcers (because we all know that the all-power deity is much too busy to do his own dirty work). There really are people out there who will take it upon themselves to try to “send” you to Hell to be tortured for all eternity.

The fact that these threats are put up on billboards astounds me. While Christians complain about atheist billboards being “offensive,” they are putting up terroristic threats unchallenged and unreported on the news. Atheists have to start holding these Christians fundamentalists accountable for their terroristic threats even if they are not always threats we take seriously.

We have to start pointing out to Christians that when they start talking about Hell, they are issuing a terroristic threat. We have to call attention to this to the general public. We have to make it clear, claims that non-believers will be and ought to be tortured for all eternity is not okay. It is not that it is offensive to us, it is a terroristic threat. It doesn’t fall under Free Speech either. You can’t go around threatening people under the First Amendment.

So when Christians “inform” me about Hell, I ask them whether they believe I should be tortured for all eternity for my lack of belief or whether they think God is immoral? I find that this puts them into a position in which they have to defend the indefensible. At the very least it will get them questioning the morality of their deity.

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  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Totallly agree: Hell is used to create terror in the hearts of the faithful and then they try to instill it in the hearts of unbelievers.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    ‘Terroristic threat’ is not ‘terrorism’. A ‘terroristic threat’ is a specific legal term. It varies state to state, but in general is a threat to commit a crime. In some states it has to be with the intent to actually change behavior, not just scare someone. I don’t think a letter saying “you will burn in hell” or “you should burn in hell” qualifies, in particular when all parties know the receiver isn’t really afraid of hell. What matters is if the letter conveys an actual threat. I do think a letter saying “your asshole sister better watch her back” does qualify. There is an implied threat of violence.

    Terrorism isn’t nearly as well defined, but I don’t think it applies here. Because it isn’t well defined, I agree you could make a case, but I just don’t think it’s a useful one. Just because threatening letters don’t qualify as ‘terrorism’ (IMO) doesn’t diminish the seriousness.

    And when it comes down to it, when the letter writer is caught, they will be charged with ‘uttering a terroristic threat’, not ‘terrorism’.

    (oh, and btw, it’s ‘alluding’ not ‘eluding’ in the first sentence)

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