Theists: if you had to guess, what would you say your God(dess) does with atheists post-death?

That’s pretty clear, right?

Poll in a moment or three.

Think I’m covered either way, so long as the Norse pantheon retains jurisdiction. Thor doesn’t get offended by little things like a lack of belief in his actual existence. Long as I don’t show cowardice in battle, I’m good.

Laughs at them a little, and then invites them in.

God should have a sense of humor, or it isn’t my god.

Thor is a warrior, sir, not a war-god. He doesn’t expect you to fight jotuns; that’s his job. And I expect he, like his inestimable comrade Tyr, would be more distressed by treachery than fear.

Old One-Eye is the war-god. And frankly he can’t be trusted. He rewards his favorites by killing them himself (well, okay, often he has the valkyries do the actual whacking) so they can fight on Der Tag for him, and in the meantime wanders about Midgard stirring up shit for the hell of it.

I am surrounded by strong, aggressive people with flaming red hair, by marrage, and my brother-in-law’s actual name is Thor. So I have the Norse thing covered as well. :wink:

I forgot to explain my answer!

I am, of course, pretty much an atheist, so technically I should be disqualified. I voted because if I were going to follow any god, it would be Athena or Thor. As Oak pointed out, Thor doesn’t care whether you believe in him or not, but Athena accepts votaries as long as they are clever. I can’t imagine she cares what hapepns to those who don’t worship her as long as they are not assholes.

My beliefs aren’t covered under any of the options, so I had to vote for something else. The thing is, I don’t view our souls as being entirely separate, and while I’m still pondering over exactly how inter-related we are, I do think that it tends to both make an afterlife and reincarnation, as most people would see them, not really make sense.

I tend to view our souls as part of a collective, that humanity is more of a single larger entity than a bunch of individual ones. My current view is that our lives are like a bunch of little samples of that, going through life and learning and experiencing things, such that our individuality is simply an illusion, and so carrying on that individuality in any sort of existence after our lives doesn’t make sense. It’s sort of like taking a glass, dipping it in the ocean, and then purifying it before pouring it back in; depending on the perspective, that “soul” is simultaneously living an afterlife, being reincarnated, and ceasing to exist.

I also don’t think this sort of process affects theists or atheists in any meaningfully different way relevant to the OP.


I am technically a Christian but I can’t believe that God really cares if you believe in him or not.

He will welcome all people with open arms (after whatever time you need to serve for your misdeeds in purgatory, of course) regardless of your faith.

Jeffrey Dahmer too? Stalin? Pol Pot?

Just as some people need killing, some souls need absolute destruction. Of course, if God exists she is not obliged to listen to my objections, and would surely be able to point out the flaw in my logic.

I chose the third option but my true opinion would be somewhere between the second and the third. I take it that Jesus will judge every person according to whether they did good works when presented with the opportunity to do so [Matthew 25:31-46], noting that the verse “depart into the eternal fire” does not necessarily indicate unending suffering but possibly instead an ending of existence. (See numerous threads in GD for further discussion.)

Judaism has said since Talmudic times (fifth century AD) that “the righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come”.

The World to Come is basically the good Jewish afterlife, whatever that’s like. We don’t have much of a tradition of speculation on that subject. We’d generally rather argue about stuff like whether it’s OK to eat rice during Passover.

There is a Jewish hell, called Gehenna. It’s not eternal, or at least not eternal for the vast majority of people (some Jews would say that exceptions get made in cases like Hitler or Stalin). The maximum sentence there for a normal sinner is one year. We have a prayer we say for dead people, which you’re supposed to say every day for 11 months for either one of your parents. It’s 11 months, not 12, because we wouldn’t want to imply that our parents are wicked enough to spend a whole year in Gehenna.

We have made a list of what you have to do and not do to be considered “righteous”, if you’re not Jewish. It’s called the Seven Noachide Laws:

  1. No idolatry. There is considerable debate and disagreement about exactly which non-Jewish religious practices constitute idolatry. We generally agree that what Christians and Muslims believe and do isn’t it. Most Jews would probably agree that any religion involving human sacrifice probably is idolatry.
  2. No murder. Note, not “no killing,” but “no murder.”
  3. No stealing.
  4. No sexual immorality. Again, there’s debate about what exactly constitutes sexual immorality. Things like adultery and rape are generally agreed to qualify. Some Jews would say male homosexuality qualifies, some, like me, wouldn’t.
  5. No blasphemy. There’s debate about what exactly constitutes blasphemy. I think it’s claiming to act in the name of a god while doing something evil.
  6. No eating flesh from an animal while the animal is still alive. Sorry, that means no stone crab claws.
  7. You have to establish and live by a system of laws and law courts.

I actually use Hitler when I think about it but I feel all can (eventually) be redeemed.

(This thought keeps me from killing annoying people, as well.)

The first option although there may be the possibility of annihilationism.

You know, if you’re worshipping a deity who behaves pretty much like Darkseid, you may wish to reexamine your faith journey.

I certainly do care, and I’ve got my eye on you, Skald. All this flirting with atheism and vacillating between Thor and I is tremendously tiring, and not amusing in the least. If you’re not going to worship me, please do so in an interesting manner. Or else.

The argument I use, though I am not a Christian, is summarized thusly:

When Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen, and demanded proof, Jesus eventually showed up and mildly chastised him for it. * But he still gave him that proof.*

In other words, I imagine God bringing them before him and saying, essentially, “Yo, believe in me now? Entrance door’s to your right.”

Of course, all the early poll options made me uncomfortable anyway since I don’t believe in an eternal hell–just one that is a fair punishment for the wickedness you pulled off in life.

Eternity is an awful long time for a guy to reform, though. If they never repent and redeem themselves, then they can of course have eternal hell. Door’s always open, though, in my personal view.

Basically I see no particularly fair way for there to be infinite punishment for finite sin, so unless the soul of a Dahmer remains unrepentant and murderous for all time, he’ll eventually get to heaven.

There’s no vacillating between you and Thor, O Goddess. Thor doesn’t care whether people worship him or not.

But since you are now on record as caring about being worshipped, may I take that as permission to start a crusade? I see no reason why St. Peter’s Basilica cannot be made into a temple for you–or, if you prefer, razed and replaced.

This is exactly why I eventually stopped believing in hell. If God is just, I can’t really see how a finite crime, as any crime on Earth is, can justify an inifinite punishment.

More directly to the point of justice pertaining to the question Skald asked, at what point does a soul cross the line from not needing absolute destruction to needing it? The only way I could see it making any sense is, like Zeriel says here, if such a hell exists as a manner of cleansing the sins and that soul remains eternally unrepentent.