Teenage dating from a christian perspective
I think I lasted something like 12 days and then gave up. I had an experience that actually made me think of this very inconsistency.
I was at church (I still go to church when I’m back at home, to avoid arguments with my parents), and after the service I was milling about in the foyer and came across my uncle talking to another fellow in the church. They know it’s crazy, but they still believe it anyway. So why aren’t we rushing around to get everything done, continually updating our wills, always making sure that funeral plans are arranged, etc.?
A good book is NT Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” which has a chapter on hell that’s quite interesting.
Also, CS Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” presents a very interesting look at the question.
Many Christians do take extreme measures – and they are criticized for that, too. Many Christians also respect other people’s rights to make their own decisions.
I take some time to visit atheist blogs – and blog myself – for precisely the reason that I believe one’s eternal destiny is important.
I don’t need to constantly “build up my faith” in the existence of magnetism. Hence, wearing a seat belt makes sense if it is their duty in this life to take care of it until the time is right.
I forget the exact conversation topic, but my uncle said jokingly, “Hey, just make sure no burning bushes start talking to you, or people will think you’re crazy.” He said it as a joke, but it got me thinking that what he essentially said was that people today (presumably including himself) would see Moses as crazy. But to get back to your point, Luke, I think what you’re pointing out is a fact of human nature itself. I mean, it’s a struggle for most of us to even contemplate these things. Same thing with Christians – beliefs about hell are uncomfortable, so they try not to think about it except when they feel compassion towards “saving” people from it.
We could point out the same thing in atheists as well – why don’t you live every moment of your life knowing that you will die? We do because we feel it’s important, but in our everyday lives, it doesn’t cross our minds. Not thinking about hell helps them live a normal life in the same way that not thinking about death helps us do the same. But, these are still good questions, things that Christians often ask of each other.
Besides the mundane answers like laziness, shyness, etc., the answer, I believe, lies in the fact that if they really meditate on the idea of hell they could not believe in a loving, just God. Prayed about it–no insights received as you might expect. If God is good and hell is real then we must redefine what we mean by good as it pertains to God. They believe their son, whom they love dearly, is going to be tortured forever. I wonder what it means to demand consistency from people who subscribe to a (supposedly) delusional “you got word that soon, the Nazis were going to invade” Well, how soon?
I think a lot depends on whether there is a specific date or whether it’s just something vaguely in the future and not expected to happen tomorrow. His parents intellectually know that he is going to die at some point but they don’t expect it to happen soon and they certainly don’t expect it to happen tomorrow.