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Progressive Christians and Hell

Whenever I get into a discussion about religion with a progressive Christian the first thing I like to bring up is Hell. It is easy for progressive Christians to speak out against Dick Cheney’s torture program here on Earth, but for some strange reason they are much more hesitant to speak out against God’s eternal torture program in Hell.

Recently, a progressive Christian attempted to give progressive Christianity credit for all that is good and justice in our society. I had to disagree. So the very first thing I asked was about whether progressive Christians believe in Hell. I got two responses and I think they are both interesting.

The first response was that most progressive Christians reject the concept of Hell entirely. I wish that were true, but it has the same ring to it as when Dinesh D’Souza claims that only about 5% of Christians reject the science of evolution. He is just pulling a made up number out of his ass. I don’t think most progressive Christians reject the concept of Hell, just that they prefer not to think about the concept much. To the credit of progressive Christians, they do focus more on this life than they do on the next life. But I question how many truly reject the concept of Hell entirely.

That brings me to the second response which was alone the lines of, “It doesn’t really matter where I think you go when you die, it is really up to God and I’m not judging.” Note that this isn’t an exact quote but it is a pretty accurate summery. This person apparently is part of that tiny small minority of progressive Christians who don’t reject the concept of Hell outright. This I think is actually the more typical progressive Christian view and it is a view I have a serious issue with.

Can you imagine if we showed the same indifference to the Bush/Cheney torture program? For me, the issue is simple. If you believe in Hell, then you most take a stand against God. If you believe that God exists and that Hell exists, then the moral thing to do is to criticize God for torturing anyone for all eternity. You can’t hide behind God’s judgment. Torture is wrong and eternal torture is ridiculously wrong. If God does it or even allows it to happen when he has the power to stop it, then God is immoral, period. Further, if you believe in God and Hell and you don’t take a position against God, then you are also immoral. Think about it!

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