In the faith system I came from, not wanting sinners (i.e. Democrats) to burn in hell was a sign of weakness. It was mushy.
You know what else was weak? Girls. That’s why we couldn’t be pastors.
So what do you do if you’re a girl who wants to be seen as strong, logical, rational, totally-able-to-lead? You get real cool with hell.
Gandhi? Hell. Unreached peoples? Hell. Sweet old ladies who supported a woman’s right to choose? Hell, for sure.
I could condemn you to hell without flinching, and that was my way of proving that I wasn’t weak like the other girls. I could hear all your arguments about innocence and intentions and mercy and shrug. My God was a man’s man and I was a man’s girl.
This, my friends, is what you get in a patriarchal religion. Girls trying to prove they are man enough to be trusted by condemning people to hell. And the therapy has been pphhhheeeewww pricey.
Because the logical arguments for hell are pretty weak. The Biblical arguments are inconclusive (please don’t leave your favorite proof text in the comments, we don’t do that here). The ethical arguments are sort of disturbing.
And you know what? That part of you that cringes at the thought of sending people to hell? That part of you that was afraid of hell? God made that part too. Emotions are not inferior to logic! Feelings are a way of knowing! Those feelings are there to clue you in to something real: that compassion and fear are opposing forces in this world, polar destinies for every moment. One we call heaven and one we call hell.