Saturday, October 10, 2015

What is God doing?

           I thought that the Christian God was supposed to love all of humankind, but Dante says that that is not the case. According to Dante, in order to be accepted by God, you would have to be born in the right place at the right time and just so happen to be preached Christianity to know how to follow all the rules. Otherwise, eternal suffering is in store. Apparently, this is justified by a story where Jesus descends into hell to save Abraham, Moses and such. Why would an omnipotent God need to use such an elaborate plan to evacuate these “pagans” instead of teleporting them to heaven in exactly zero seconds (since he’s supposed to be omnipotent)? Why does God send people like Abraham to hell in the first place? Why does God not just tell all human beings (including the ones in remote lands where Christians don’t live) about his existence and exclusive powers? Maybe all of this is somehow justified somewhere in scriptures and I’m just too uncultured, but I find it hard to suspend my disbelief at all with these stories to appreciate them from a believer’s point of view.

7 comments:

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I agree Jack. Although I am also in the same "uncultured" or non-Christian boat, I did grow up in a Christian household and spent my time half- listening to many sermons. Just with that in mind, I also found it unsettling that all of these people went to hell the same as others just because they were born in the wrong time frame. Supposedly, God put them there in that time for a reason and they fulfilled their duty and could not help when they were born, yet were sent to hell all the same. I find it extremely unsettling that God would create all of these beings to live before Christ and condemn them to hell although it was he himself who created them to live at that time. All of the sermons I heard described God as being very accepting and forgiving, while Dante describes him as almost unjust and merciless. Color me even more confused by Christianity.

Antonio Imbornone said...

God does reveal his existence through his son Jesus Christ. All those who did not know of his existence before his son came as the messiah were damned to hell. This is why we see Jesus coming back to rescue the select few who were true advocates for God before the time of Jesus christ.

Jack Zheng said...

@antonio But God does not "reveal himself" to people who just happen to never make contact with Christians. Should those people automatically go to hell?

Madison Cummings said...

I would like to point out that not all christians necessarily believe that there is a hell. While some do believe in a hell in the traditional sense with fire and torture, some believe that nonbelievers will be punished (but they are not sure how), that nonbelievers simply do not get an afterlife in heaven and basically just get erased from existence after death, or that God will forgive everyone for their sins in the end. The bible is not exactly clear about whether there is a definite hell, and different christians have different personal beliefs on this matter.

Jack Zheng said...

@Madison The interpretations definitely change as time passes. It is interesting to see that Dante took it so literally because of the time and place he lived in. He asserted that nonbelievers all had to suffer eternally because his target audience was the Italians and it was only normal for them to be believers.

madison kahn said...

While I do believe in Christianity, I can see where you guys are coming from, Jack and Cheyenne. I will attest to the fact that most sermons, priests, etc. talk about the great forgiveness of God. And so, i think that Dante's perception of hell is absolutely a little unsettling. Based on that quiz I took, i'd be in the circle revolving around gluttony (i think it was the third) because I clicked that I liked food? Now if you ask me, I don't personally think I should go to hell because of this, but as Madison and Jack have pointed out, interpretations of hell change over time. So, I feel comfortable believing in God without having a firm grasp on the concept of hell.

Jack Zheng said...

@Madison Dante's vision of hell can sure be alarming to the reader. But after all, he is just a poet making this up. I think that his intent was mostly social commentary and reflecting his own opinions, and the quality literature was his means of doing that.