My Night at Moody Church April 19, 2010

My Night at Moody Church

Saturday night, I visited the Moody Church (a typically conservative place) in downtown Chicago to participate in a dialogue with members of a youth group there known as The Venue.

This is the third in a series of events where they invite people to speak to them about communities that Christians don’t have a great relationship with. For example, a couple weeks ago, they brought in a gay-friendly Christian who talked about what Christians could do to communicate better with the GLBT community.

This weekend, it was me and a Christian apologist (Ronald Danatus, on the right in the pic below) answering questions about our beliefs and where we’re coming from, with the help of a moderator.

This was one of the better events of this nature I’ve ever participated in.

Here’s what I think made the evening work:

  • Ground rules were set beforehand. We’re not there to debate theology or prove who was right and wrong. We were there to help the other side understand our position better.
  • While a few pre-planned questions were in the mix, a phone number was put on the screen behind us so that audience members could text their questions to the moderator. He then filtered through the incoming texts and spent most of the time asking the questions which were most popular. It was a very good use of technology and it solved the problem of someone abusing the mic to share a ten-minute rant.
  • The people there were awesome. How many church youth groups willingly ask an atheist to talk to them so they can learn how to see things from our point of view in order to connect with us better? I was impressed. The fact that no one tried to convert me afterwards was an added bonus. (After the event, they had only kind words and thanked me for coming.)
  • There was a very positive vibe felt by other atheists who attended the event. No one I spoke to felt uncomfortable being there or felt like they would be shunned if they said they were an atheist. A few even stuck around and had conversations with the Christians. I’ve been to similar events where the atheists would want to leave immediately.
  • Some of the people who spoke to me afterwards had excellent questions that they genuinely wanted answers to (e.g. What does love mean to an atheist?) and they listened as we gave answers. There was no ulterior motive or snarkiness to it.

Jeremy Witteveen was one of the atheists in attendance and you can read his thoughts about the event here. He answered questions (remarkably well, I might add) for Christians after the event, too.

While he has some criticism for the Christian panelist, he agrees that the event was a good one that should be replicated:

It was definitely a positive event. And if you’re a Christian reader of this blog, and you are involved in a church group… I think it would be an important and reasonable idea to encourage your church group to invite an atheist to speak to your group. Follow the lead of Moody Church. They seem to be doing something right.

***Update***: The Church also wrote about the event here.

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  • I would love to do events like this in my local area…It sounds like they had the right approach and were open minded enough to listen. I just don’t know if folks around here would be receptive enough.

    I also think it’s a great idea to use the text message system rather than handing mics out to everyone.

    Good job and Kudos to Moody

  • Tim

    Sounds like a good deal. The lack of proselytizing before, during, or after the meeting is definitely appealing…and rather shocking, I should add.

    BTW: What does love mean to other atheists? Just curious because I am a relatively recent de-convert and I would have to say it means the same to me now as it did before. I never identified love to be a result of my faith except when I was expected to “love” my enemies.

  • Karen

    I don’t know Moody church, but I’m going to assume it’s part of the born-again movement. While I admire this kind of dialogue, and hope for it fort he sake of my children, I still wonder how you get past the idea that they still think you’re going to hell? No matter what you say to them, they will always have the superior idea as being “the select.”

  • @Karen –

    You are correct regarding Moody, they are pretty fundamentalist…I’m still on their mailing list from when I was a young Christian Minister…they have a Bible College that is pretty stiff.

  • Fett101

    What does love mean to other atheists? That’s such a strange question, as if you were some alien being to them. Was there a follow up question “How does ice cream taste now that you’re atheist?”

  • Tim

    @Fett101: my point exactly. Considering that the question was asked after the meeting (and then given as an example in Mehta’s commentary), I was just curious if there are actually atheists out there that view love differently since they deconverted? Or was that question just used as an example to show the ignorance of Christians regarding atheists.

  • Matto the Hun

    “How does ice cream taste now that you’re atheist?”

    As soon as I gave up God belief all ice cream tasted like turd… except turd ice cream, which tasted like strawberry ice cream… but I’ve never liked strawberry ice cream. ARRRRG!

    As silly as the question is, it’s not that silly considering where the theist is coming from. They already have a certain amount of magical belief. What is love to them? God Magic. Naturally from their view, no god, no magic.

  • stogoe

    a phone number was put on the screen behind us so that audience members could text their questions to the moderator. He then filtered through the incoming texts and spent most of the time asking the questions which were most popular.

    I think this needs to become the new standard for Q&A sessions after a speaker.

    As for the ‘how does an atheist love’ question, I think the question comes from dualism, the idea that love and emotions and thoughts and personality come from the Mind or the Soul, as separate from the Body. If we believe that these things arise from the biochemical workings of the Body and not some eternal Self, aren’t the feelings that atheists have (well, non-dualists) then completely alien from what normal people experience?

    The answer is no, that your thoughts and feelings and emotions also arise from the chemical processes of the body, without divine inspiration or a mind independent of the flesh, and thus they’re exactly the same kinds of things that we experience, too. It’s the old “Scientists can’t measure love in a test tube!” argument.

  • XPK

    @Karen – I have to say I deal with the same “you’re going to burn in hell” issue. I have been told on numerous occasions, by atheist and believers alike, that I shouldn’t care because I do not even believe such a place as hell exists. But I do care because it is hurtful/hypocritical/deceitful that anyone who does believe in hell would want/hope/desire people to go there. Of course then this gets into the “well we don’t want you to go to hell, that’s why we try to save you with our illogical fantasies” which is usually preceded or followed by a comment along the lines of, “we love you just the way you are” or “we love the sinner but hate the sin”. And from there it just spirals downward to where I have no desire to interact with people of any faith.

    Now Mehta is usually on the optimistic side of most interactions with believers, and he is correct in thinking that ANY possible scenario where religious people could hear about using logic and critical thinking is a good thing. While I might not personally be comfortable in such a situation, I am glad some atheists are.

    To be fair, the question “what does love mean to an atheist” is not a strange question for a strongly religious person to ask. For them, “God is love” and “Jesus was the perfect example of how to love your fellow man” and “love is God’s greatest gift” are deeply ingrained (i.e. force fed) concepts. There is no “love” without “God” as far as they have been taught.

  • A positive example of how it can be good to have a multi-pronged approach to making change in our society. “In your face” has its place, but this method has so much more potential given the right audience and venue.
    I’m in awe of the participants from both sides of the issue.
    Well done!

  • Roxane

    In a world where so many people are put off by Hitchens and Dawkins, I’m glad you’re going around picking up the pieces! Good work!

  • Simone

    I am a Christian and a member of Moody Church (which, btw, is different from Moody Bible Institute…one is a church, one is a college, unrelated.)

    I was there Saturday night and thought the night was amazing. I was challenged by many things Hemant said. I appreciated his openness and vulnerability to share his story and thoughts. He helped me break down some stereotypes I have had toward atheists…and I hope we did the same regarding stereotypes he may have had toward Christians. The biggest lesson I walked away with is that we are more alike then different. Relationships mean the world to both of us, we both want to serve and be kind people, and we are both open to learning about other people who are different then us.

    Thanks Hemant, for coming, and I hope we can do it again!

  • The “born again” church I used to attend taught that love was a gift from God and a person without a belief in God could not experience love in the same way as a true Christian. An atheist, for example, would be some kind of depressing love-deprived animal. From this Christian perspective, I could easily understand why they would ask this question. They probably really are curious what an atheist thinks of love. They probably think an atheist thinks of love just like an animal thinks of intercourse. It is something that feels good so they do it. I hope Hemant gave them some words of wisdom to partially dispel this viewpoint.

    P.S. I also think that some animals are capable of love that transcends mere transient physical enjoyment. Ask any dog owner.

  • Susan

    I attend Moody Church and was very much looking forward to this discussion; “A Friendly Atheist and an Apologetic”. I do understand that there are so many barriers between these two segments of people and I wanted to know, as a Christian, how can I better serve my community? And by “better serve”, I need to know the needs of others in order to show them love. But, in order to know those needs, I need to know them. Yet, what is the first thing I think of when I meet an Atheist, “They don’t know God, how can I show them God?” Understandably, I know that an Atheist does not “know” God because they simply do not believe God exists! It is not that they do not know God, or choose to not know God, the thought of God is not in their realm if they do not believe in such a deity. Honestly, that all too often, becomes a barrier for Christians toward Atheists, we pigeon-hole atheists into a one-sided being, and then a goal to convert, if you will. However, As a Christian, it is not my goal to target Atheists for conversion, for that matter, it is not my goal nor my job to target anyone to convert them to Christianity. I am simply here to glorify God and in doing so that God be revealed through my words and deeds. Only God can convert. Unfortunately, I do know that there are many individuals, groups, with the sole purpose to “convert” Atheists. Sadly, Atheists then become a target for a sole purpose of conversion. And any attempt at building a relationship is now stifled, and separation continues.
    And as Hemant stated in discussion that evening, “Atheists don’t want to be converted”. ? That is actually quite a simple, and very obvious statement but, it actually really stood out to me and allowed me to notice my fault of wanting to know “how can I convert them”. And then I am reminded, that is not my job. It is my job to glorify God and it is my job to share the gospel but I cannot share the gospel with an intent that someone will convert. And for that, I apologize.
    How can I break down stereotypes that I hold against anyone that is different from my self, whether it be a male, a member of the GLBT community, a member of a different ethnicity, or an atheist? I remove my “self” from the equation.

    @ Karen, I still wonder how you get past the idea that they still think you’re going to hell? No matter what you say to them, they will always have the superior idea as being “the select.”
    I am sorry that you feel this way, or that maybe these words have been spoken to you! Although you do not believe in a hell, so I know this does not actually affect you. I can only speak of myself in regards to your statement of being superior, select—Karen, I am humbled, excited and delighted to be chosen by God, and I am in no way superior to any other person. I have faults, as I mentioned above, but I have a gracious God, who forgives my sins and allows me to have an eternal purpose. And I would want everyone to know the God I know and love.
    Thanks Hemant for speaking at our church, I am encouraged by the discussion you provided and challenged by the stereotypes that need to be broken. We, Christians, Atheist, Buddhists, etc, share so many things in common and I wish to exchange more regularly in those commonalities!

  • David D.G.

    Kudos to you, Hemant, for how well you live up to the mantle of “Friendly Atheist.”

    For that matter, though, kudos to your hosts for being “Friendly Christians”!

    ~David D.G.

  • Jeff Dale

    I never identified love to be a result of my faith except when I was expected to “love” my enemies.

    I actually find it much easier now to love my “enemies” (and everyone else) than I did before I realized I was an atheist. I’m defining “love” more broadly than general usage, but I think it’s valid and useful. I feel such empathy that I really don’t think I could truly hate anyone now, for any reason. Nobody chooses evil for evil’s sake, and I can’t help but feel pity for those whose lack of empathy and/or sanity allows them to hate or harm others.

    By contrast, if people are taught from their early formative years to turn their love “upwards” first, they’ll naturally tend (big caveat alert: in general, all other things being equal) to judge the real humans around them, in part, according to how much they validate and share that “upwards” love. Then there are the supposedly divine (and unalterable) stories that demonstrate and promote real hatred: other-hatred (slaughter to make room for chosen people, for example, which can easily be applied to generate modern parallels at need) and self-hatred (guilt and self-abasement from one’s doubts and natural urges, and utter subjection of one’s will to “God”), not to mention the whole idea of infinite pain purportedly being imposed by a being of infinite love (double-think perfectly designed to reduce love to absurdity).

    Obviously, there are plenty of religious people who are loving, empathetic, and more or less accepting of others outside their religion. They are that way in part because they absorbed the loving bits of the religious message they’ve absorbed, but in large part also because their own native humanity resisted the influence of the bad religious messages highlighted above.

    I think events like the one in Hemant’s post are an excellent way forward. They help teach religious people to recognize the native goodness in atheists (and therefore, by extension, in themselves), as distinguished from the decidedly mixed messages of their religion. Teaching religious people that they are good without “God” may, in the long run, be at least as important as teaching them that we atheists are good without “God.”

  • Richard Wade

    I would love to do something positive like this. I wish I could be on a list of friendly atheist speakers that churches in my area could use to arrange dialogues like this.

    Fett101, and all who have responded about the love question:
    I had exactly the same puzzlement when I read the post. My instant analogy was, “How does salt taste to an atheist?” Everyone’s responses are interesting and insightful.

  • plutosdad

    Once I dropped the idea of absolute morality, it was much easier to love everyone. There was no possibility of judgement because there is no absolute right or wrong. Certainly I still have a conscience, but I can recognize it now as genetic programming that helped us survive when we were hunter gatherers, and is much less useful in closely packed in societies (especially the xenophobia and kin selection). I can grow beyond my conscience, instead of listening to it.

    I think when Christians ask what you do you think Love is, they think love is some sort of “Force” or as someone pointed out a gift from god, even though this is not in the bible or theorized by any prominent theologians anywhere. But they think love can move people and affect others around you. We as scientists believe yes positive behavior can have an effect on ohers and may influence them, but that doens’t mean love is some unknown force propagated by “loveotrons” that have somehow eluded Fermilab.

    I generally give them the same answer I gave when I was a christian: there are different kinds of love, but they are all inside us and either emotions or choices we make. I tend to think emotions and sentience are emergent behavior resulting from our complex brains, but who knows, even if that’s true it does not mean love is not “real” which I gather is what they want us to admit.

    Also may I point out just a few miles south, Neil Gaiman was AWESOME! If he ever does a public reading of his work near you (he hasn’t done one in a decade) make sure to see it.

  • grazatt

    Turd Ice Cream LOL

  • grazatt
  • XPK

    @Susan – I simply cannot let this slide by and pretend it is okay.

    You responded to Karen, who said:

    I still wonder how you get past the idea that they still think you’re going to hell? No matter what you say to them, they will always have the superior idea as being “the select”.

    ….by saying:

    I am sorry that you feel this way, or that maybe these words have been spoken to you! Although you do not believe in a hell, so I know this does not actually affect you. I can only speak of myself in regards to your statement of being superior, select—Karen, I am humbled, excited and delighted to be chosen by God, and I am in no way superior to any other person. I have faults, as I mentioned above, but I have a gracious God, who forgives my sins and allows me to have an eternal purpose. And I would want everyone to know the God I know and love.

    (my emphasis added)

    To speak to the part I emphasized first – it does “actually affect” atheists when people who do believe in hell think I (or anyone else for that matter) are going to receive (some say deserve to receive) eternal, never-ending, and unrelenting torture because we do not agree with your own personal beliefs about “God”. Whether you say it directly to my face or not I know for a fact that is exactly what you believe.

    Secondly, you try to show that you are “in no way superior to any other person” by stating you are “chosen by God” which, surprisingly enough, is “the superior idea [of] being ‘the select'”.

  • AxeGrrl

    Simone wrote:

    I was there Saturday night and thought the night was amazing. I was challenged by many things Hemant said. I appreciated his openness and vulnerability to share his story and thoughts. He helped me break down some stereotypes I have had toward atheists…and I hope we did the same regarding stereotypes he may have had toward Christians. The biggest lesson I walked away with is that we are more alike then different. Relationships mean the world to both of us, we both want to serve and be kind people, and we are both open to learning about other people who are different then us.

    You couldn’t have said it more beautifully, Simone 🙂

    kudos

  • Alan McGowan

    There is no way for a Christian to complement or simply agree with an Atheist with out blurting out some sort of offensive scripture quote or counter proverb. It’s just not in thier nature to agree with someone they believe to be morally inferior from the outset. I wonder why they try so hard to do something they loath so much. I would have more respect for a Christian who would just come out and say it : “I HATE ATHEISTS, AND THOSE OF OTHER RELIGONS”! Just admit that one repressed feeling and we can work from there, remember: “The first step is to admit you have a problem”.

  • Jeff Dale

    @Susan:

    I took your comments differently than XPK did. Not meaning to criticize XPK, just to point out an alternate interpretation that may appeal to some here.

    Although you do not believe in a hell, so I know this does not actually affect you.

    I see what XPK is saying. Certainly, it affects us if people around us think we’re worthy of hell. But I suspect you merely meant that the worry of actually going to hell doesn’t affect us, which is definitely true.

    I am humbled, excited and delighted to be chosen by God, and I am in no way superior to any other person

    Again, I can see what XPK is saying. Being chosen by God (if he existed) sounds like something that would make someone superior. In fairness, a statement like yours (above) seems hard to reconcile logically without attributing some feeling of superiority to you. (If you’re “delighted” to be chosen, you think it’s better to be chosen than not.) Then again, some atheists are equally guilty of feeling superior. But still, based on your wording and similar Christian statements I’ve heard before, I suspect that you merely meant that there’s nothing special about you that caused God to choose you (consistent with Calvinist belief that there are no earthly virtues by which to distinguish the elect).

    Overall, I thought your comments were admirably thoughtful and amicable. If the other folks in your church are anything like you, it’s no wonder that your church could put on an event like the one highlighted in this post.

  • Anthony

    Alan McGowan –

    There is no way for a Christian to complement or simply agree with an Atheist with out blurting out some sort of offensive scripture quote or counter proverb. It’s just not in thier nature to agree with someone they believe to be morally inferior from the outset. I wonder why they try so hard to do something they loath so much. I would have more respect for a Christian who would just come out and say it : “I HATE ATHEISTS, AND THOSE OF OTHER RELIGONS”! Just admit that one repressed feeling and we can work from there, remember: “The first step is to admit you have a problem”.

    Thinking like this is the exact reason that Moody invited Hemant to come and share. How is it possible to lump all Christians together and determine that they all “Hate Atheists, and those of other religions”? Christians and Atheists both need to break down the stereotypes that each group has of the other so that meaningful dialogue between the groups can take place. Also, meaningful dialogue doesn’t have to start and stop at religion as there are many other conversations to be had (politics, parenting, jobs, sports, backgrounds, etc…).

    Grazatt –

    I think you are missing the point on the Marin Foundation. Check out http://www.loveisanorientation.com/about-2/

    This is Andrew’s blog so if you have questions on what he is doing, contact him or participate in one of his live chats.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    FA visits fundie outpost in Chicago — clever Devil disguises himself

    It is amusing to read that some fundie believes himself to be “challenged” by your discussion. “To challenge,” of course, is fundie code for using xian lies, “apologetics” to break down resistance of non-xians to conversion.

    He felt threatened by you. Don’t worry he and his fellow fundies will talk to “God” about it. You’re wasting your time.

    You have to tiptoe around their beliefs. Why don’t you quote (and show graphs) based on the Pew Trust studies which show how odd the US looks in its religious demographics compared with the rest of major countries in Europe?

    How many in your audience held passports? How many of them have been outside the US, even to visit Canada? How many of them are Fox News regular viewers?

    Xians think that have a god-given right to impose their beliefs on others.

    They get taught how to spread the “word” through lying and psychological pressure tactics. Their objections to current so-called new atheism are stunned reactions that anyone dare question or show how ridiculous their beliefs are. (Tell them that they are the oppressors now, the Romans.)

    Perhaps you should quote to them their own saint of hatred and revenge, Saul of Tarsus:

    27 God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are. . .1Cor1:27-28 NIV

    Xianity is nihilism. Paul and his fellow revenge seekers created a god out of their anti-intellectual rants. He and the primitive church shared a perverse self-understanding characterized by inverted snobbery: We stink, but stinking is godly. Nothing has changed 2,000 years later.

    Xianity cannot be refuted because its core beliefs are irrational. Xianity can only be dismantled. The de-deification of western culture (including science) is our task for next 100 years.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  • Stephen

    FA visits fundie outpost in Chicago — clever Devil disguises himself

    Anti_Supernaturalist, after all the other comments showed a sincere attempt to have productive conversation, why are you going on the offensive? Undoubtedly you’ve been called names and shunned by so-called “Christians”, but none of them have commented on this post. There is no need for name-calling.

    Of course, I’m happy to talk about your points, some of which are compelling, but you are defeating your own purpose by putting a sincere Christian on the defensive.

    +Stephen

  • Susan

    Thanks for your responses! Hopefully we will have more oportunities such as these!

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Fuck religitards.

  • RBH

    I had a similar experience last month, doing an “Ask an Atheist” session for a college Christian club. Also in attendance were an evangelical and a Catholic who together had given the program a week before (which I also attended). While the firebrands (PZ, Hitch, et alia) perform a great service by moving the Overton Window and while I am closer to their approach than, say, to Michel Ruse’s, it’s necessary to have the followup exemplified by these kinds of events. To repeat a mantra of (the late lamented) Internet Infidels Discussion Board, “It’s for the lurkers!”

  • Paul

    [Fett101 Says:
    “What does love mean to other atheists? That’s such a strange question, as if you were some alien being to them. Was there a follow up question “How does ice cream taste now that you’re atheist?”]

    If you replace “love” with “like very much” then I think your point is well taken.

    However, I believe that “love” is something different – something more. What is love? I think love is when you treat a person with intrinsic worth, not only when they serve your purpose or preferences.

    And, if there is no God, if we are here literally by accident, and since some of Darwinism’s main tenants are natural rejection and natural regression, then I just can’t see how love can make any sense.

    Thanks for reading.

  • RBH

    With respect to the “love” question, I got the question “What’s it like living as an atheist without God?”

    My response was “That’s like asking me what it’s like living as a non-collector of stamps. I don’t collect stamps, and unless I happen to be in a room full of stamp collectors I don’t even think about not collecting stamps. It’s irrelevant to my life.”

  • rtothedollar

    I am member of the Moody Church and still working at Love. All I can say is that I am married, I love my wife, I do my best to show my love for her, and ice cream still tastes great when you become a Christian. I think love between people is pretty much the same for everyone. I think that loving people, girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses is much more choice than raw emotion or feeling.? The feeling of love is powerful, amazing, and fun but it does not last forever. Might I challenge you to do some lighthearted research about love.
    -Listen to Luv is a Verb by DC Talk
    -Read the book HOOKED by Mcilhaney & Mckissic
    -Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (If you are not a Christian, there is not much God and “Christian” talk that you would have to breeze over)
    -1 Corinthians 13 (the words are action words)
    -Think about your response to someone you love acts in an unloving way towards you.

    Feelings are real, feelings are natural, feelings come to you out of your control. What you do with those feelings is up to you.

  • XPK

    @Susan –

    Thanks for your responses! Hopefully we will have more oportunities such as these!

    Both Jeff and I have offered our interpretations of your comments. This is your opportunity to clarify what you meant by them.

    @Jeff Dale –

    I see where you are coming from, and she certainly could have meant things in the way you describe. Personally I would like to know from Susan exactly what she meant by her comments.

    @Paul

    And, if there is no God, if we are here literally by accident, and since some of Darwinism’s main tenants are natural rejection and natural regression, then I just can’t see how love can make any sense.

    How can you not see love making any sense? Are you arguing that only humans love? Many species of animal are extremely protective of their offspring. Does that not count as “love”?

    Also, you might want to educate yourself about the theory of evolution from a science book and not the Discovery institute.

    @rtothedollar –

    I think that loving people, girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses is much more choice than raw emotion or feeling.

    Feelings are real, feelings are natural, feelings come to you out of your control. What you do with those feelings is up to you.

    100% agreement.

  • Heidi

    Wow! So Cool to read all of these comments and discussion.

    Two things I noted.

    First, I also think that truly loving people is a choice and a decision of the mind – which leads to deeply rooted feelings. When someone loves another they should be setting the person free – not conforming them to their idea of what that person should be.

    Secondly, the Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute, although having the same “Father” – DL Moody – are separate entities. They are also made up of individuals.

    http://www.moody.edu/edu_MainPage.aspx?id=3474

    http://www.moodychurch.org/information/faqs.html

  • sklamason

    I was at the event held at Moody and also have to say that the atmosphere was very positive. It is a bit sad though to see posts that move in the exact opposite direction from the very tenure of the event. But I understand that is how it goes on blogs.

    I would like to respond to @Karen as well as the response of XPK, who have “trouble getting past the idea of hell” and that those who believe in it have a superior idea as being “the select.”
    The one thing I hate about email and blogging is that one cannot effectively express tone. So know that what I write is not written with any malice nor a desire to argue, but to simply state why a Christian may tell you that you are going to hell. (not the best way to speak to someone if someone actually said that to you in those words) First for a Christian to believe others are going to hell is not in any way an air of superiority, but they are simply relaying the message not just of the Bible, but of Jesus himself. As a matter of fact the majority of teaching we receive on the whole issue of hell as well as judgment, comes from Jesus, as he taught considerably more on hell and the coming judgment as he did on heaven. That is a reality one must deal with when looking at the life and teaching of Jesus. Too many, (many of whom have never read the Bible not to mention one of the Gospels) believe that Jesus was simply an itinerant preacher who taught people to love one another. Of course he did. And this was a very important and central part of his teaching. But his life and teaching cannot simply be reduced to mere sentimentalism where we only accept the things that make us feel good about ourselves. Jesus also taught that there will be a judgment to come. He claimed that He Himself will be the Judge and that all human beings will one day stand before him and give an account for their lives. So one must really accept what he said, and respond to him through the way in which Jesus says the judgment may be averted and that is through faith in him, and in the finished work of the cross and resurrection. This was the payment for our rebellion in our place, or one can reject him outright. But one cannot simply dismiss Him as irrelevant, not if you truly grasp what he taught, who he claimed to be and what he did.

  • Saint

    Hello friendly atheist, just a friendly curious question, were you ever raised up in a religious home? What is  your family like? Are they all godless like you are? Just a question.

  • Yes, great, no.