and Hell: Interview One
by Darcy West
reprinted by permission
Roger: God let's us choose. He doesn't
send anyone to hell.
Darcy West: Roger, an abusive father
gives his child a choice: constantly praise and adore him or be beaten.
But what kind of choice is it?
Roger: Darcy, a loving father lets him
Darcy West: Roger, what would you think
of a father who said to his child, "Love me by the time you are six,
or I will bake you in the oven." In this case, the parent gives the
child a choice, but what kind of choice is it?
Roger: Darcy, God doesn't say that..he
says, "Here's the way out of hell, PLEASE TAKE IT."
Darcy West: Are you suggesting that
hell exists outside of God's control?
Roger: What do you think?
Darcy West: If hell is not a danger
that exists outside of God's control, then the analogy you used does not
work. In your analogy, you portray God as trying to protect his child
against a danger over which he has no control. Yet, in the case of the
biblegod, hell is a danger which he created. It would be as if a parent
said, "Don't go into the street or you will be hit by a car."
Then, when the child goes into the street, the parent jumps in a bus and
runs the child over.: If the parent then says, "Well, he made his
choice," would you believe that the parent did the right thing?
Roger: Darcy, hell was created for Satan
and his demons, not for humans.
Darcy West: Roger, the abusive parent
bought the oven to bake cookies. However, if he uses it to bake his children,
does that remove his guilt?
Roger: It is not God who wants people
in hell. It is Satan. Because of choice, Satan can drag some with him.
Darcy West: Roger, so now you are going
to blame Satan for God's dirty work? Satan is actually so powerful that
he is going to be victorious in "winning souls" to hell? By
the way, you never did tell me what you think of a parent who says to
his child, "Love me by the time you are six, or I will bake you in the
Roger: Darcy, that would be very wrong,
but you know what would be worse?
Darcy West: I really can't imagine too
many things worse than a parent baking his own child in an oven, can you?
Roger: This would be worse.."Hey,
you have to bake in the oven and there's no way for you to choose a way
out." God holds the way out for us and it's free.
Darcy West: Roger, okay. So it's okay
to bake your child in the oven as long as you give him a way to get out.
Why would any parent decide that his child must be baked in an oven in
the first place?
Roger: He decided that they shouldn't.
Jesus made redemption possible.
Darcy West: Roger, so it wasn't God's
idea to bake those who failed to return his love in his hell? Whose idea
Roger: No, Darcy. It was God's idea,
but it was also God's idea to give people a way out.
Darcy West: Roger, but if you think
it is wrong to threaten to bake your child in an oven, why do you worship
a God who does such a thing? Do you believe love can be bought with threats
Roger: Darcy, I don't love God because
I fear hell. I love God because he loved me first.
Darcy West: Roger, you believe that
if you fail to love your God, you will go to hell. I don't see how you
can possibly claim that it does not factor into your thinking.
Roger: Darcy, hell doesn't await me.
Darcy West: Roger, exactly. You feel
confident that you will not go to hell because you have made the right
choice. You have chosen to love God so you can have heaven. How do you
know which you really love though.... God or the promise of heaven?
Roger: Darcy, I have more than the promise
of heaven. I have God!
Darcy West: Roger, if you love God because
you want something from him (heaven), how are you any different than a
Roger: Darcy, I am no different from
a prostitute. I'm not worthy of God yet he accepts me.
Darcy West: Roger, do you think men
who hire prostitutes believe that these prostitutes actually love them?
In other words, would these men actually be flattered by these women's
proclamations of "love", knowing that such proclamations would
not be made without the promise of cold, hard cash? And if your answer
is no, do you think a God would be any more easily fooled, or flattered
by, such proclamations?
Roger: Darcy, how can I help you understand,
there's more than that. If I convert at least one atheist..I get the nifty
Darcy West: Funny. You say that as a
joke, but I think there is more truth to your words than perhaps you would
like to admit. Roger, can you really look forward to a "heaven" where,
behind the curtain, the one who has programmed you to worship him forever
is eternally tormenting those who fail to have what he alone can give
Roger: Darcy, my biggest fear is that
a time will come when you will look me in the eye and ask me why I didn't
try harder to help you understand.
Darcy West: Roger, you didn't answer
my question. The question was: Do you REALLY believe you could enjoy yourself
in the type of "heaven" I just described?
Roger: Darcy, it hurts to think of that.
Darcy West: Try to force yourself to
think of it for just one minute, painful as it is. Do you think you could
enjoy yourself in such a "heaven"?
Roger: Darcy, why do you think that
people like me want to share? Call us delusional if you want, but what
kind of person would understand hell and not warn otherwise?
Darcy West: Roger, the question, I repeat,
is this. Do you think you could enjoy yourself in the type of heaven I
Roger: Darcy, I have said it hurts to
think of it, what more do you want? If it hurts here, it may very well
hurt in heaven.
Darcy West: What I want, Roger, is simply
to know if you think you could be happy in the type of heaven I just described.
Roger: Come to think of it..there is
a verse that says, we won't experience any sorrow in heaven.
Darcy West: Interesting. So perhaps
you will have no knowledge of what your evil god does behind the curtain?
Roger: You think of him as evil. I don't.
You want to buck a God that has that much power?
Darcy West: You don't think it is evil
to eternally torment people who do not have what you alone can give them?
Roger, you suggest worshipping that which is evil simply because the thing
will harm you if you don't?
Roger: Darcy, is it smart to refuse
heaven just because you don't like the rules?
Darcy West: Roger, if you thought eternal
punishment was wrong, how could you worship a being who would do such
Roger: Darcy, I don't get to decide.
Darcy West: You don't get to decide
whether or not your God is good and worthy of worship? Then how can you
know if you love him? One final question, if you would be so kind.
Roger: Darcy, sure.
Darcy West: Who do you feel is more
worthy of respect....a man who worships Hitler to avoid being sent to
the ovens, or the man who refuses to bow to Hitler, regardless of the
Roger: Darcy, the man who refuses.
Darcy West: Roger, thank you very much.