If there is a Hell which is torment, and some people go there, and if there is a Heaven, which is bliss, and some people go there — how can the people in Heaven be happy?
If they know that people are burning and suffering for ever and ever in Hell, how can they be happy? Since salvation is touted as an individual thing, there will be sisters, mothers, children, friends and neighbors in Hell. How can one enjoy Heaven knowing this?
God could erase the memories of the blessed, true, make them forget all about those in Hell. But is such a God of Lobotomy, Lord of Imperfect Recall, good? And if the curiosity of the blessed is so dimmed that they do not even wonder about the missing people, the nonexistent mothers and fathers, then what is left of their individual minds and souls, except a hollow shell droning unending praises to its manipulator?
If the blessed knew, God could still tell or make them not care — after all, Heaven or Hell is an individual decision. But isn’t ordering such a thing callous (“Forget your father! He is burning already!”), and isn’t forcing it even worse? (“My father? He is in Hell by his own choice. I feel no sympathy.”) Heaven would be full of misery, or full of monsters.
Then again, maybe God’s host of angels masquerades as those that are not present. That would be trickery and lying, massive betrayal, and deluded bliss. Such a lie would never be revealed if perpetrated by an all-powerful God, but it would still be a lie, and probably the worst possible betrayal of those in Heaven and those in Hell.
Maybe Hell isn’t as bad as it is made up to be. Some theologians say, I’ve heard, that Hell isn’t torment at all — just an absence of God, where the soul withers alone, filled with its selfishness and such, not happy but not able to care about or comprehend its distress. What is that but a Hell of Lobotomy, a Damnation of Neverending Alzheimer’s Disease? How is that any better, or more merciful, than a lake of fire?
Maybe there is no Hell, and those that are not blessed simply disappear, cease to exist. Then Heaven is no happier a place for that — the blessed have an eternity to contemplate people that they will never see or hear again, and an eternity to praise the mass murderer, the diabolical quietus of souls behind this device.
Maybe Hell is temporary, a few million licks of flame until the soul is pure, or maybe there is reincarnation, life after life for souls until they reach Heaven. Then, eventually, everyone gets into Heaven. But why? The argument is that life, lives, Hells, things like that, just purge and purify the soul until it’s ready for Heaven. Why is God then willing to create us imperfect and not ready for Heaven? “To give us free will” is hardly an answer if the only end to suffering is breaking down under the Dictator’s endless cycles of browbeating, screaming and suffering.
Maybe everyone gets into Heaven without cycles or detours. Then, again, why this corporeal life and existence? Why all this uncertainty, suffering, misery and misfortune? Why aren’t we then created into the eternal bliss of Heaven? I cannot think that this world would “prime us for better things” — can anyone think that a soul newly come into Heaven would say “Gee, this is so much better than starvation and rape! I’m impressed, Lord Jesus!”
And again, if everyone gets into Heaven, what unsubtle mindrape would God be forced into to keep Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy and similar souls in harmony with those of their victims? If everyone gets into Heaven, Christianity is a cruel joke, and life a pointless and unnecessary period of suffering and doubt. Indeed, if everyone gets into Heaven, into eternal bliss and joy, aren’t murder and suicide suddenly very moral and good acts?
(And, additionally, as a solution to the harmony of souls in Heaven: Heaven could be being alone with God — forever. Brrr. Imagine eon after eon telling Him (sorry, nonsexual It) how great and merciful It is, and never seeing another living soul. That wouldn’t work unless your love of wife, parent and child was like hatred compared to your love of the Lord; not something I find a pleasant thought. I think that eventually you would be crying for release, unless you were already too high on God’s presence to care.)
If dividing souls into the blessed and the damned is wrong, and so is saving all — why, then there is logically only one thing for a Good God to do: if there is a Hell, we are all going to burn. But that is not Christianity.
Thank heavens I’m an atheist, and this is just juggling the fever dreams of others.