Are all Athiests going to hell? Even the "good" ones?

First of all, I just want to point out that I am a very devoted Christian, and I’m very impressed with the intelligence of this board, hence me joining it. It’s been a long time since I found a message board that wasn’t full of spamming morons and idiotic flame wars.

Now here’s my question. Let’s say someone doesn’t believe in God but they are kind and virtuous throughout their life. The person donates to charity, treats everyone with kindness and respect, and is just an overall good person. But the only problem is, this person completely rejects any existence of God or Jesus being a Savior. As a matter of fact, this person finds the existence of God to be almost laughable.

Do you think someone like that would go to Hell?

Even with all those redeeming qualities, would that person still be considered “bad” because he or she doesn’t believe in God?

Personally? No. Then again, I’m pretty sure I don’t make the rules.

According to some interpretations and formulations of Christianity, the answer is yes, yes they will. Personally I find those formulations absolutely contemptible, but of course there’s that whole rule-making role again.

as an atheïst I say; There is no such thing as “hell” [or heaven]

When you’re dead, you’re dead.

Nothing there anymore. If you get burried you might make good soil for some flowers. If you get cremated [like I will] you just make some more air-pollution.

Unless you try to get cremated in Georgia, that is. :slight_smile:

LMAO :slight_smile:

good for the daisies though.

Frankly, if I die and there is a afterlife I would become a believer:p

According to many denominations of Christianity, yes. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person if you don’t accept Jesus Christ into your life.


As a Christain, I think it is fair to say that most denominations hold the view that unless you are a Christian, you are not saved, and “going to hell.” I suspect that they have it wrong, but I have some rather unorthodox views on the subject for a Christian.

If some omnipotent diety were to punish you with flames and torture for all eternity for not believing in said diety, and not loving and worshiping the diety, etc., that is not Jesus. That is in fact a devil, not a God. Moreover, since eternity extends infinitely, such extreme punishment, extending forever, is inappropriate for even history’s most extreme criminals (Hitler, Stalin, etc.). During and after the Nuremberg trials, we didn’t torment the accused and convicted, we hung them with as much sensitivity to not being cruel as possible. To suggest that God is endlessly cruel to those who disobey Him is to misread his message entirely, and also His actions.

As noted, there are certainly Christian groups who believe that the specific faith/belief in God is so important that no one who does not believe can be saved.

Others would take different approaches. For example, some of us look at Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 2 and find a different interpretation, especially in the lines that say

One view of this passage is that God will judge persons by their attempts to do right, even if they have not understood that they were being called to God.

(Those who look on the rest of Romans as a declaration of what all people must do, rather than a statement of the Christian response to God, would disagree, of course.)

What is a “bad” atheist? One who goes to church? :wink:

I am a “good” atheist (meaning I do as I believe and do not go to church) and I am quite sure they would not want me in hell even if there were such a place.

Indeed unorthodox for a Christian, since ISA 33:14 ("…everlasting burning…"), MT 18:8 ("…cast into everlasting fire…"), MT 25:41 ("…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…), and JUDE 1:7 ("…vengeance of eternal fire…") show pretty clearly that the “hellfire” Christians have it right, according to the guidebook they all seem to agree upon.

This is one of the things that made me reject the Christian god in the first place. A god who could permit, much less ordain, the infinite torture of a finite being for any offense whatsoever is unworthy of the love and respect of the lowest human who ever existed. Fear, maybe, but not respect…and certainly not love.

A co-worker of mine, who was trying to convert everyone in the engineering department (among whom were several avowed atheists), answered my denial of hell with a big grin on his face saying, “You’ll find out.” I told him that if I knew it were true, it was nonetheless unacceptable, along with the god who ordained it.

Check MT 25:41 (KJV, cited above). Jesus,allegedly, said it, and he wasn’t in a particularly benign and forgiving mood at the time.

What if right after you die, God gives you one more chance while he’s standing before you to make a decision? I’m a Christian and believe that God loves us all and desires none of his creation to go to Hell. His Mercy abounds and since he sent Jesus to experience life as a Human Being, he must know the struggles we go through and how hard it is for some people to decide what to believe.

I do think that he gives us all many opportunities where we wonder about life and death and how and why etc, and he waits for us to either chose Him or wonder about it some more. I have to believe, knowing how much he loves us all, that he does whatever he can to open unbelievers eyes, but has to leave the final decision up to them.

“Go”? Where is there to “go”?

Does the data stored in your PC’s RAM chips “go” somewhere when the electrical impulses maintaining it are removed?

Why would the data stored in my brain “go” somewhere- to say nothing of how- when the electrical impulses maintaining it finally ceases?

During a discussion at a Jewish youth group, this subject came up. Someone pointed out a bit of Pirkey Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers, a book full of comentary on life by long dead renowned Rabbi type people) that essentially says that if a person does what he/she thinks is right, he/she has a place with G-d. While it was argued that this means that suicide bombers will actually be rewarded for doing what they conceive to be the right thing, the concept is an intriguing. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that this would apply if a given individual/society followed the 7 noahide laws. (These are basic laws set up after the flood to govern the behaviour of people, and include such gimmes as “Don’t murder,” “Don’t steal,” “Don’t eat animals while they’re still alive,” and “set up a judicial system to make sure that these and other good laws are observed”)
Well, now that’s one (of many) jewish points of view

Well let me increase the stakes.
I like to think I’m a good person as defined above. I also respect much of Jesus’ teachings, especially ‘do unto others…’. However I don’t think there is any evidence of the Resurrection (just some books written decades after the event).

According to some Christians, I’m going to Hell forever. According to others, I’ll spend time in Purgatory. According to others (there are a lot of Christian sects), I’ll make it past the Pearly Gates.

This contradiction between religions means I don’t worry about the afterlife. If they can’t agree on something as basic as this, why would they be right about anything else?

This is very sweet, but what sort of God gives me a scientific mind, offers no evidence that He exists, then says triumphantly “You didn’t believe - go to hell!”

Are you saying an omnipotent God doesn’t know I want evidence?

I’ve often wondered the same thing, though I would change “want” to “need.” I tried for quite a few years to believe, tried to ignore the evidence issue, prayed for more faith and all that. It just didn’t work, and trying made me very unhappy. Now I admit that it’s all just a story, and I’m quite happy, and, I think, “good” as well.

Agreed. Back when I was trying to believe, it was always in the back of my mind that even if I did believe in the Christian god, I didn’t like him very much.

Things like this made it easier for me to stop trying to believe. I’m always amazed at how much pleasure some Christians take in telling us non-believers that we’re going to hell. If hell were real and I thought someone were going there, I wouldn’t be grinning about it. I’m just not vindictive enough. Of course there are some Christians who are more kind-hearted, and they want to convert me because of genuine concern, not desire to win a debate. But I know plenty of the grinning, “you’ll find out” variety. Compared to these Christians, I am a far “better” person, atheist though I am.

Well, that would be easy and fair. If I’m wrong and God told me so I’d say that I did my best with what he gave me. I would expect a loving god to give me that chance to say that I was wrong.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand how God could let anyone go to hell. I don’t think even the most evil person to ever live deserves that much punishment, and I would hate any God who thought they did. But then again, I had to remember that I am incapable of understanding the things God does. But if we were made in God’s image shouldn’t we be able to have some comprehension of his morals, at least enough not to consider what he does to be pure evil? In my opinion sending anyone to hell precludes the possibility of there being a loving God. So either God’s morals are completely alien to us, having no relationship whatsoever to our own, or there is no hell, so of course good athiests can’t go there.

I don’t know if you read the bible or not - but my suggestion would be to read Romans. There is evidence out there - if your willing to believe it. The evolution theory isn’t 100% complete, so if you believe that your going by faith as well. It’s all a matter of choice. You have to understand that he created us and as a Father he has to discipline his children and show them the way. Now there will be kids who will rebel and push him away, but he still loves them and will wait until they decide to return, but he will never force anyone to him. He wants you to chose to love him, but if you reject all the beauty he created in this world and the beauty of yourself as a human being, how can he prove himself to you?

Don’t you have the chance to say that now?