Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Problem of Hell part 3

In my last post dealing with Keller's view that men basically create their own hell I acknowledged there is some truth to that. Although I thought the "hell is our own psyche" to be a little weak, Keller does attempt to deal with man's apprehensions about hell. He offers an interesting anecdote on page 72 that shows that it is not the Christian who believes in the contradiction, but the western mind. He writes,
In one of my after-service discussions a woman told me that the very idea of a judging God was offensive. I said, "Why aren't you offended by the idea of a loving God?" She looked puzzled. I continued, "I respectfully urge you to consider your cultural location when you find the Christian teaching about hell offensive." I went on to point out that secular Westerners get upset by the Christian doctrines of hell, but they find Biblical teaching about turning the other cheek and forgiving enemies appealing. I then asked her to consider how someone from a very different culture see Christianity. In traditional societies the teaching about "turning the other cheek" makes absolutely no sense. It offends people's deepest instincts about what is right. For them the doctrine of a God of judgment, however, is no problem at all.
Basically, American culture abhors the idea that men are evil. If there are a few evil men, then they should go to hell, but those would be a few exceptions, perhaps those like Hitler.

In my phone conversation with my college friend he tied this with the problem of evil. Why would God allow some of the most wicked and seemingly non-purposed evil. But notice the question, "WHY?" When we ask the question "Why?", we are not asking about the specific scientific facts or even the reasons why a particular person did what he/she did. We are asking intuitively why God has allowed any particular evil event to happen in our lives.

I'd like to offer two brief answers in my next post.

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