Posted on Jan 4, 2013 by Tom Gilson
A rather obscure New Atheist has issued a completely pointless and unreasonable proposal. So what? Wouldn’t it be wise just to ignore it?
No, not if anyone you are leading or teaching has ever wondered about hell. Not if they are among the many thousands who have read Richard Dawkins on that topic, or have friends who have read Dawkins. Ideas like these are circulating in our culture; they are not as obscure as they might seem.
Invariably when atheists speak of hell they mangle the teaching, and they do it with an obvious axe to grind. Stefanelli’s proposal (see the linked page) is obvious propaganda—which presents a fine opportunity for you as a pastor or teacher, next time you have opportunity to teach about humans’ eternal destiny. (I wouldn’t suggest you bother with Stefanelli until the topic comes up in the course of your teaching.)
Human learning—especially adult learning—often requires unlearning. A lot of us have some serious unlearning to do with respect to heaven and hell, and how we get there. Stefanelli’s blog post accomplishes three things for a teacher: it demonstrates the error that must be addressed, it illustrates how that error can creep into culture, and it shows the propagandistic nature of the mistake.
Or in other words, it helps to show how unreasonable people can be when they’re trying to show how unreasonable Christianity is!