Atheist wants to know why Christians express joy in knowing their friends are going to be tortured in hell!?


Jim Wilson, for this argument, assumes there is a Christian God and a hell. He then examines the character of those Christians that seem to take pleasure in telling their friends that they’re going to tortured forever.

I have had Christians tell me things like, “Your time will come! You will have to face God’s judgment! It’ll be fun seeing you try to weasel out of your judgment but it will not help you. For all things you said, you will suffer forever. Remember my words! I will take pleasure in God’s judgment, and the pain he will rain upon you!”

Isn’t it interesting how this supposed religion of peace and love turns seemingly nice people into the nastiest kinds of sadists? Seriously, what kind of sick freaks find so much pleasure in the torture of others? I have had Christians tell me that they wish they could see pathetic little me facing God’s wrath so they can laugh. There are no people nastier than one’s who think their nastiness has heavenly approval.

Most of us know at least some Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Jews, Pagans or others who know of Christianity, but reject it. We consider these people to be among our friends, family, and neighbors. While the people we know may not be perfect, overall they are usually kind, decent people who are not out to hurt anyone. Yet, the Christian is forced to believe that all of these people are so horrible that they not only can but should be tortured forever. They seem to delight in this judgment.

If you are a Christian in this country, it is likely that you have at least some friends or loved ones who do not share your beliefs even if they have never told you so. You may have known and cared for these people for much of your life. You may know them to be kind, loving people who have gone most of their lives never wanting to hurt anyone. They feel remorse if they ever do. As a Christian, are you are expected to take joy in God’s decision to sentence them to eternal torture?

Written By: Don Lacey
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  1. ” That I made the mugger shoot me by not giving him my wallet. ”

    Another interesting twist on christian rationalizations for the actions of magic man!

  2. There seems to be a move in the last while for Christians to move away from what is said in the New Testament (the very thing that makes them Christians and not Jews), and follow the Old Testament. As we all know there is a lot most blood, violence & sex in the OT so it is much more fun. But this is also where the modern day Christian blood lust comes from.

  3. Shouldn’t Old Testament read New Testament the first time it’s mentioned? Slightly confused.

  4. These Christians claims that they are giving us these warnings moved by their love for us; their unselfish desire to rescue us from this horrible fate. Wrong! Evangelical clergy are constantly pressuring their believers to witness to us with threats: “If you don’t try to save your friends you will have to answer to God for your failure” for example. Google Chick Tracts for good examples.

  5. It’s as simple as, “I may seem like a crazy idiot to you now, but I’ll have the last laugh”. It makes them feel better because people accuse them of being stupid. But if they thought about it, they’d realize what a pathetic monster their make-believe god really is.

  6. No worries. Actually the idea that all you need is belief in Jesus to get into Heaven is a complete misunderstanding. The Muslims are having a blue light special on thirteen virgins. I also have reliable information from the Hindus that reincarnation will take care of everything even your attitude.

  7. There arent any christians , theyre just a bunch of people who’s existence they themselves feel is guaranteed to continue after death because they say they believe that someone in a book was magical , they dont follow the teachings of said someone in a book , they dont give all they have , they dont turn other cheeks and they dont pass through eyes of needles like camels . No one would hear of christianity from christians , they’re so meek and mild and giving .The apologists make noises “logically” predicated on by the existence of magical person in a book , but they dont follow the ascetic life preached to them from the magic book. How annoying can they get?

  8. One of the comments on that page, I think, highlights perfectly our struggle against irrationality:

    Also see Intuition is God leading us. There are 2 ways of discerning
    truth that God has given us – our rational mind & and our intuition. Our intuiton is usually more reliable. But it can feel crazy because
    we often don’t have enough information to know why we should follow it
    and do something. hence it is easy to dismiss a leading from God.

    In discussions over, e.g., why evolution is true / why the universe is 13 billion years old instead of 10 thousand / why climate change is a real problem / why all pseudoscience is rubbish / etc… I think we focus too much on providing evidence, which can’t work on people who think their own intuition is somehow “better” than evidence.

    I would love to see actual logic classes in our public schools, so that people can learn what critical thinking really is and how easily their intuition can be fooled. It seems too many think critical thinking is nothing more than a vague “being smart and knowing stuff”, rather than actually understanding rules of logic and logical fallacies.

  9. Reading the comments on that page were wonderful.  Skipped the long preaches, though.

  10. Two thoughts:
    1) If you accept traditional Christian beliefs about salvation and Hell, at least 90 of all the people who ever lived at being tortured endlessly.
    But that’s assuming all Christians are saved. Historically, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and various “heretic” groups often declared only their version of Christianity was true, so they were in effect declaring that 99 percent or more of all humanity was the barbecue meat in God’s Great Cookout Grill.
    2) Hitler died as a Catholic in good standing with his church. If traditional Catholic beliefs are true, he and a lot of his supporters (only the Catholic ones) are in Heaven while his victims in the Holocaust are roasting, as are the gays, Roma, communists etc. If this is true, then “God” is one deeply evil monster.

  11. What always gets me..AFTER they’ve thrown off their nasty little comments about my eternal torment and agony…is their nonchalant “no offense, that’s just my beliefs.”  Like I’m supposed to be okay with what they’ve just said.

    So, I ask….if I told them that my god would torment them and all their family and friends by thrusting a broken coke bottle in their rectum for all eternity, would they be offended?  After all, no offense, that’s just my beliefs.

    It has no effect, though.  In their mind, their beliefs are true, and my hypothetical query is just the product of a diseased soul.

  12. If, for a few years you think (by yourself), examine the evidence and slowly come to the conclusion that the existence of God is so unlikely it can be ignored. Yes, I have faith; faith in the decent, caring, rational people you know who have come to the same conclusion without recourse to superstitious nonsense, who live their lives without fear of everlasting torture.

  13. well, this is in Catholic teaching, namely St Thomas Aquinas, who said that the joys of people in heaven are multiplied by seeing the suffering of the dammed. They are provided with a perfect view of hell and the torments therein. And I think I read somehwere there is some biblical basis for that statement as well, but cannot remember exactly where

  14. Actually it is not in any way limited to American Christians. You will be hard pressed to find more religious people then those in parts of Southern Europe. Even in Switzerland and Germany i meet my share of them.
    I would bet that African Catholics are no different, It is the religion, not the country.

  15. the quote by St. Thomas Aquinas: “In order that nothing may be wanting to the felicity of the blessed spirits in heaven, a perfect view is granted to them of the tortures of the damned.”

  16. The vengeful God fairy putting people who don’t conform to belief in him into everlasting Burning Hell.
    (he must have a contract with Satan?)
    We are told that he/she is ever forgiving and merciful?
    I think that image projected by his/her believers is that of an evil sadistic bastard who definitely needs
    some anger management.

    I never got this whole idea that Satan is the “enemy” of God… so far as I can make out in the context of the mythology we’re talking about, he’s more like a grudging civil servant. He got demoted from archangel early on and yet he acts like god’s henchman, jailer and torturor in chief out of some misplaced sense of loyalty.
     If Satan went on strike who’s masterplan for the universe would be most f**ked up?
     Not Satan’s… he never wanted the job in the first place. God on the other hand wouldn’t have anyone to torture all the people he hates, or the threat of eternal damnation to make people do his bidding. And those lost souls, where would they all end up? Heaven?
    That’s just one reason that I figured out this hell thing was a pile of baloney as I was growing up, perhaps I’m unusual but I don’t do eternal favours for people I can’t stand to be in the same room with. It comes under the huge blanket category of “What’s my motivation?”. And deities who subcontract their torture to others so they don’t have to get their hands dirty are every bit as culpable as the torturer.

  18. This is a bit of a straw man, isn’t it? Not all christians are violent fundamentalists and these blanket statements really don’t help the cause. How are we going to convince anyone if we bash them like that? It’s irrational.

  19. Those Christians who get pleasure from contemplating my eternal agony don’t bother me in the slightest; they are simply arrogant sadists.

    What DOES concern me is the plight of decent loving parents who have unfortunately been indoctrinated into the deluded Christian belief of eternal punishment. Such a doctrine is a crime against humanity.

    My own dear mother’s dying concern was that I, her atheist son, was destined to suffer excruciating and eternal punishment.

    Religion poisons everything – even death.

  20. It is clear that this refers to most American jesus-cultists. Not the jesus-cultists of the entire world.

  21. “In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful and that they may give to God more copious thanks for it, they are permitted perfectly to behold the sufferings of the damned… The saints will rejoice in the punishment of the damned.”
    ~ St. Thomas Aquinas  1225 1274-03-07 

    This delight in torment goes way back.  You could also translate such statements to “I am wearing this uncomfortable hair shirt because I have been convinced I will be tortured if I don’t. I feel like an ass.  Please wear one too so I will not have so many doubts.”

  22. Correctness of intuition.  My friend Pete and I were 13.  My parents had told me the facts of life since I could talk.  I did not understand why they repeated themselves.  I got everything else the first time. I told Pete.  Pete said “My parents would never even undress in front of each other. That can’t be true. Your mom has a dirty mind”. So we set about creating an alternative theory.
    In health class, they talked frequently about the testes as an organ of reproduction, but never the penis.  We also saw a movie on TV where the husband is surprised to discover his wife is pregnant.  From that Pete figured that the male goes into a amnesiac trance and the testes burst open spraying blood and sperm cells everywhere.  (This also explained the strange connection of sex and violence). Later Pete’s dad assured him my mom was correct. He was shocked. 

    The late Alan Parker (there are many Alan Parkers) was into dousing.  When he talked about “verifying” something he did it by dowsing. He always had some excuse to avoid testing his wild theories from perpetual motion machines to power rocks that could depollute rivers with an actual test.

    “One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.”~ Henry Louis Mencken 1880-09-12 1956-01-29

  23. I’d rather them laugh at my eternal demise than have to face that self righteous “I’ll pray for you” attitude.

  24. “….we like the notion of mass murderers and rapists being tortured forever for what they have done. This makes the universe seem more just to us.”

    really? how any punishment that lasts for eternity for a crime against a person who doesn’t (and presumibly gets an eternal reward) can seem “just” is beyond me. I agree that people like the thought but htis is because humans are capable of spite and a need ofr vengence. justice is another thing altogether.

    however, christian “justice” is straightforward, obedient take one door, disobedient take the other and their god who invented the whole universe has decreed it. it pleases god for those who didn’t question the preachers to spend eternity singing his praises, and for those “smart alex” types to spend an eternity suffering torture.

    i wonder if any christian who truly relishes this fact is simply acting on stockholm syndrome. the tyrant who’s scared them since childhood laughs at the punishment of the non-repentant, atheists and cats, and as such his laughter is what the victim craves and takes on as a wonderous gift.

    in my experience christinas are great at attibuting everything to being a gift from god (“isn’t it wonderful god gave us weekends” someone once said to me!) so when you unwrap your gifts, remember to appear really excited like it’s just what you always wanted

  25. God hates people who use apostrophes to make plurals:
    “There are no people nastier than one’s who think their nastiness has heavenly approval.”
    Just saying.

  26. There is a very devout Southern Baptist family living across the street from me. They attend church every Sunday morning. When it comes to politics they are in your face Tea Party types. I donate and openly support Obama. They supported every one of W’s wars. I thought they were madness. We have very little in common. We do not socialize. I avoid them as much as humanly possible.

    But this article made me think about how things would be if they were on the other foot. I imagine a scenario when my neighbor is out mowing his lawn one weekend. I go up to him and say, “You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see someone come to your house one night and tie you and your wife and your kids up and then proceed to flay you alive, gouge out your eyes, and then pour gasoline over your bodies and set you alight. I’d laugh the whole time as you screamed in agony.”

    Pretty awful stuff, eh? What do you think he’d do? You think he’d put up with that? Chances are he’d call in the authorities. Or, this being America, he might even shoot me and say it was self-defense. Well, that’s pretty much how I feel whenever one of these god-fearing Xians spits out that ‘I hope you and your family burn in hell’ line. Oh, really?

    When someone says something like that to you, it’s over. There is no compromise position, no middle ground. You immediately understand that they are your enemy and they mean you ill. And that’s what these Xians seem to forget. These aren’t throw away lines and tomorrow all will be forgotten and we can shake hands and be civil. Perhaps things are different in the UK or western Europe (but after the Norway massacre I tend to think not so much), but here in the good old USA tolerance is just a word without any real meaning. When people here say I tolerate your beliefs, it’s like saying I tolerate that stench from that paper mill across the river, or I tolerate a swarm of mosquitoes in late August. It does not mean that you respect it, it does not mean that you want anything to do with it.

  27. vytas

    >well, this is in Catholic teaching, namely St Thomas Aquinas, who said that the joys of people in heaven are multiplied by seeing the suffering of the dammed. They are provided with a perfect view of hell and the torments therein. And I think I read somehwere there is some biblical basis for that statement as well, but cannot remember exactly where

    This is Aquinas’ extrapolation from the teachings of Jesus. In general, see Mark 6, 7, 8, & 18:8, 18:9.  In other words, Jesus brought us hell. (Thanks, pal–we knew you loved us.)

  28. You’re absolutely right, this is a fundamental problem.

    It is possible, in some isolated instances, for older children (14+) to study critical thinking as a separate subject – but this is too late, too specialised and too piecemeal.

    I have long argued that critical thinking should be taught from an early age – and as a integral part of all curricula.  To me it seems obvious and fundamentally important that democracies can only work if the citizenry are educated to question, examine and critique what they are told.  A country cannot claim to be democratic – to be progressive and rational, and to make the best decisions – without citizens that routinely apply critical thinking to arguments and data presented to them.

    Logic would be a great introduction to critical thinking at an early age.

    For the moment, Science is the only subject that – as a by-product of its central structure – teaches critical thinking.  This is why many people who think intuition is “another way of knowing” are battling against science politically.  They can at least apply logic to possible consequences.

    Even the NCSE’s Chief, Genie Scott, favours personal experience as a path to enlightenment.  We are fighting an uphill battle when we encounter such attitudes on our own side.  Dr. Scott may be dissembling, or simply looking for some common ground with a larger section of the voting public, with such statements – she is a politician in all but name and needs to seek consensus wherever she may find it.  She has a tough job.

    That said, it seems to me that the best way to fix this problem is not a long, hard, battle of attrition but a confrontation.  Rather than struggle against the opposition in the hope that – in another half century perhaps – they run out of money and political influence … yeah, right … we ought to be looking for a showdown.

    I confess I don’t know what such a head-to-head would look like in reality – but there must be a way to achieve some sort of watershed.  The National Research Council and Carnegie Corporation initiative looks promising.


  29. I posted this 4 years ago, here is the gist of it again:

    R M McCheyne. Scottish Pastor. In one of his sermons 11th Dec 1842, he spoke about “The eternal torment of the wicked – a matter of eternal song to the redeemed” Based on Revelation 19:3. He makes the 3 points

    :1) The eternal torment of the wicked will be a matter of no grief to the redeemed.

    2)The torment of the wicked will be a matter of joy to the redeemed

    3)The reason why the redeemed will rejoice at the condemnation of the wicked.

    Sick stuff. You can find it in the book “A Basket of Fragments” by Christian Focus Publications.

    There is also the example of Jonathan Edwards, the famous preacher, who said in a famous sermon, The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the Righteous, that “when the saints in glory shall see the wrath of God executed on ungodly men, it will be no occasion of grief to them but of rejoicing”

    Both these men are held up by modern day evangies as “great men of faith” “giants of the faith” “steeped in the Word” and all that BS. 


  30. I think, at least in some cases, when a religious person is confronted with anti-religious ideas, you’re actually awakening their intellect (which probably has doubts about their religious beliefs), which has been bullied by their (or other’s) emotions. In this case, their internal clash upsets them to the point of responding with nastiness like that seen above.

    IMO it’s a very defensive response – maybe the best way to deal with it is to be patient and not be nasty in return (hard to do, I know).

  31. The first cause of the universe cloaks itself in mystery for the sole purpose of torturing those who doubt it’s existence. 

    Makes sense to me!!!

  32. I have to say I’m on the Christian side on this one. I always like it when the beliefs we hold have some tangible consequences, be it in this world or the next. If I were a Christian I would see Atheists’ unbelief in God as an insult, both to me (they think I’m stupid) and to God (they refuse to acknowledge my hero and saviour). Although it might be ‘un-Christian’ to wish anybody in hell, I can’t help thinking that it’s the honest Christians who express a desire to see us get our just desserts and the unbearably smug, holier-than-thou ones who pretend that they don’t.

  33. Hitchens preferred to debate them too. Something to get your teeth into. 
    No fight, no glory. 

  34. Don’t forget Ann Coulter’s charming remark: “I defy any of my co-religionists to tell me they do not laugh at the idea of Dawkins burning in hell.”

  35. “It is clear that this refers to most American jesus-cultists. Not the jesus-cultists of the entire world.” 

    You, my friend, have never been outside America if you believe that. Take a trip to Africa or Asia some time, they make Jerry Fallwell look like a pagan hippy. America is actually relatively irreligious compared to the rest of the world. Hell, I mean some of the most fire and brimstone christians I ever met were in Germany. Oh, and South Eastern Europe? Forget about it.

    I just mean about 32 percent of adults actually believe in a literal hell in the US. Ya, that’s pretty goofy and scary…but we are talking about a world in which large swaths of it still hunt witches.

  36. Just like toxiplasma gondii induces fearlessness of cats in mice so the pathogen can infect a cat (and therefore perpetuate its life-cycle), so too does the mind virus of religion induce this behavior (to perpetuate its life cycle).

    It’s as simple (in principle) and as complicated (in the details) as that.

  37. Umm, I just read all those chapters and I didn’t find one reference/similarity to St. Thomas’ message.

    Also, Mark ends at Chapter 16 (confirmed with Google). Where did you get your references?

  38. Gone through all the comments and it looks like I’m the only person who knows nice Christians. Very nice Christians even. Too nice dare I say. And for their sake, I don’t appreciate this blanket association. I’ve come across a few nasty ones, (one cukoo college student) but that’s about it.

    I think as with everything and everyone we meet, it’s common sense, that just because of the experience you’ve had with someone else, you shouldn’t therefore think they all act the same way. I’ve met (really, really nasty Muslims and atheists – I feared for my life even), but I’ve met nice ones too.

    This kind of attitude or antagonism towards American Christians doesn’t help anyone.

  39. Well, they probably say it to each other too, of the 30,000 factions, which is right? Must be a worry for the others.

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