It’s absurd to think that some people make a conscious choice to suffer in eternal torment rather than experience the glory of Heaven. Evangelists hardly even ask whether people want to go to Heaven. Most assume everyone wants to be there and instead start with the question: “Do you think you will go to Heaven when you die?” Yet, there are people in this world who hate God to such a degree they would rather spend eternity in Hell than worship the Almighty.
I came to this startling realization based on personal conversations with professing atheists. The first I recall is a written exchange with someone I contacted via a forum for Air Force Academy alumni. The discussion made its way around to evolution, creation, and the existence of God. I engaged in that heated argument for a time but later decided to do something more personal with the main participant. I wrote him a letter and included a copy of Jason Lisle’s Ultimate Proof of Creation. It must have made an impression because exactly one year later, he wrote his first and only reply. Here is part of that letter:
I would never honor such a creature, even if it meant eternal suffering for me. Knowing that I’ve kowtowed tot he kind of evil that would condemn someone to untold horrors just because that person didn’t pledge to that evil…that would ruin me worse than any threat of torture or pain. I could never give my loyalty to such a being, knowing that it harms others in that kind of fashion, for that kind of reason. No, thank you. Even assuming you’re correct, I’ll take the lake of fire and whatever’s behind Door Number 3. [emphasis mine]
This perspective stuns me. It’s beyond comprehension that someone would choose Hell over Heaven not simply because they don’t believe in God but because they don’t like who he is. I have wondered in the past if it’s even worth it to try to prove God’s existence, which led to me to ask this on Twitter:
— Robert Rouse (@soullibertyweb) August 24, 2012
Here’s one very telling reply:
@soullibertyweb The Christian God?Probably not.Any being willing to send his creations to eternal suffering is not worthy of respect.
— askegg (@askegg) August 24, 2012
This says God is the evil one, not mankind. It turns the nature of good and evil on its head, aptly described in Isaiah 5:20. This is not a limited view among atheists. I met with another man whose “de-conversion” testimony revolved around the teaching of Dan Barker. Barker is a writer and frequent debater who strongly argues that God is evil and unworthy of worship.
Speaking for myself, if the Bible heaven and hell exist, I would choose hell. Having to spend eternity pretending to worship a petty tyrant who tortures those who insult his authority would be more hellish than baking in eternal flames. There is no way such a bully can earn my admiration. (Godless, page 170) [emphasis mine]
God does not send people to Hell without giving them a choice or a chance. As shown so clearly in the open, honest statements by the atheists above, they willingly choose Hell over Heaven because they hate God. And, no, I don’t believe hate is too strong a word here. Have you talked with people who have this attitude? How would you respond to them?