Problem of Hell
- The Christian god is a loving, just creator
- Refusing to accept Jesus' gift of salvation renders an eternity of unpleasantness
This central Christian doctrine leaves the skeptic with a slew of objections. Why does God judge belief? Beliefs are largely irrelevant compared to physical actions based upon them. We even realize this in our courts. A just being would punish wrongdoings and let the criminal go after accounting for their actions. Why would God trust finite beings with their infinite future? We would not allow a child to sign a legal document or make investments bound to affect the rest of their life, but God allows his creation complete control of their eternal soul.
Infinite God, infinite sins
Some theologians have argued that since crime committed against a finite being leads to a finite punishment, sin against an infinite god has infinite consequences. The problem is that we judge the severity of a crime based on the harm inflicted on the victim, not its lifespan. If God is omnipotent, by definition he can't be harmed. He is therefore punishing his creation based on deeds that had absolutely no effect on himself.
By ignoring God, humans choose hell
Theists have suggested that by ignoring God or rejecting the atonement, humans also reject all prospects of a pleasant afterlife: God would not want to be with humans who denied him, and he wouldn't force them to be with him. On an infinite time scale, this is also morally unsound because the judging god is still giving thoughts and beliefs priority over physical actions. Given a choice between heaven or hell, most skeptics will prefer a continued existence with a god not believed in to eternal torment or eternal death.
Moral actions require belief
Other Christians believe that God judges humans by their glorification of him and his will, based on their adherence to his message as described in the Gospels. They believe that the only way to have the moral resume required to get into heaven is by the belief and acceptance of God. Like the other counterarguments, this response forgets about the infinite time scale attached to it. It also implies belief in God to be the single most important moral action. The biblical God's omnibenevolence can still be questioned on the grounds that he prefers belief-inspired actions to regular good actions with infinite consequences.