Okay, I’ve been mulling over this for a while now and its one of those logical twists where perfectly innocent premises lead to insane conclusions.
Well, here is the chain of argument.
Premise 1: God is real, if believe in God and do good things, you will get into Heaven
Premise 2: The Utalitarian philosophy that we should perform actions that maximise the “pleasure” of the population and minimise the “pain” is correct.
Premise 3: The “pleasure” derived from going to heaven is immesurable greater than any deed done on earth.
Premise 4: The “pleasure” of any one person going to heaven is the same as another person.
Premise 5: When a person dies, they are judged based on their past lives whether they are deemed worthy enough to go to Heaven.
Premise 6: There is a possibility that a person may “lapse” from Christianity, that is, previously, they had a chance of going into heaven but now they do not since they have renounced their faith.
Based on these Premises, I can logically conclude that I should go out and murder as many Christians as I can. I accept that if I kill somebody and do not repent, I would be denied access to heaven, thus decreasing the amount of pain in the world, however if even one of the Christians that I have killed would have lapsed some time in the future had I not killed them, then the two acts would cancel each other out. For every other Christian I kill after that which would have lapsed, I am raising the total “pleasure” of the world. Since the amount of “pain” I bring upon Christians that would not have lapsed are immesurably smaller than the amount of pleasure derived from one more person going to Heaven, it is justified to kill any number of Christians if at least two of them have lapsed.
Now, clearly (or maybe not if you want to argue it that way), the “right” course of action is NOT to go out and kill Christians, however, which of the premises can be attacked to bring down the argument or is there a flaw in my chain of reasoning?