There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of indignation…. I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty.
This quote comes down to two main objections. What are they? Which would you tackle first? What would your response be to a friend who said this to you? In what direction would you try to move the conversation? Answer any or all of these questions below, and check back later this week to hear Brett’s response to this challenge.