Teaching on Hell—Worse Than Child Sexual Abuse?

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4–5)

Well, Richard Dawkins, an atheist and the author of The God Delusion, recently made a controversial statement during an interview that raising your child to believe in hell is worse than sexual abuse. Dawkins tells the interviewer, “It seems to me that telling children such that they really, really believe that people who sin are going to go to hell and roast forever … It seems to me to be intuitively entirely reasonable that that is a worse form of child abuse that will give more nightmares, that will give more genuine distress” than being sexually abused. (You can view the whole video clip on YouTube.)

Now, Dawkins is known for his extreme distaste for Christianity and the God of the Bible. But his outrageous statements in that interview show his open rebellion against God, and they stirred a lot of debate. Even some secularists have been upset with what he had to say.

Really, as I’ve said many times, Dawkins is trying to convince himself. He is, so to speak, putting his hands over his ears and yelling at God, “No, no, no! I refuse to believe.” And so, as Romans 1 tells us, he “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.” While he is in his earthly body for such a short time (very short—compared to eternity), he wants to yell at God and essentially be his own god! But there will come a time when his earthly body will die (like everyone else), and then he will face his Creator and answer for his outright, willful rebellion. I pray for Richard Dawkins. Unless he repents, his future is one in hell for eternity, but that’s not God’s fault.

All humans (including Richard Dawkins) sinned against our Creator—we sinned in Adam. Our Creator then stepped into history to pay the penalty for sin and offers a free gift of salvation. When we sinned, we really told God we didn’t want Him. Now we live in a world where we have a little taste of what life is like without God.  And we don’t like it—we want to blame God. But it’s not God’s fault—it is our fault because we sinned in Adam. God wants to save us from what we did—He wants to save us from eternal separation from Him in hell.

In one article, a reporter in the UK, Melanie Philips, wrote about the anger that comes from Dawkins and other atheists in regards to Christianity, and the danger of their celebration of the decline of the culture. (You can read her full article at this link.) And while she says she is not a Christian, she clearly acknowledges, “Such people may not believe in God but they were not born with these moral values encoded in their DNA.” Morality, she says, was “given to the world by Judaism and Christianity.”

Philips also admits, “Without this particular religious underpinning, our society will lose the moral bonds that instill respect and care for other human beings. Without a belief in absolute truth, it will succumb to the dominance of lies.”

It’s interesting to hear an unbeliever pointing out that the erosion of biblical authority will result in the decline of the culture. It’s the same thing Answers in Genesis has been saying for many years. And you know, I wrote about the decline of the culture 25 years ago in my book The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years—and we’re seeing that decline happen today, both in the UK and in the U.S.

Of course, atheists like Richard Dawkins celebrate whenever biblical authority is eroded in some way in the culture. Dawkins’s statements are the result of his rebellion against God.

And the fact is, morality and even the ability to reason come from the fact that human beings are made in the image of God, as described in the Bible.

Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness” (Romans 2:15).

You see, there is no other valid starting point. In our Creation Museum, located in the greater Cincinnati area, we have an exhibit area in the Walk Through History section that examines how our starting points affect our thinking. I encourage you to read this article by some of our staff members describing the starting points area of the museum. I also urge you to read the newly updated and revised edition of The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years, where I explore the erosion of biblical authority in Western culture and how evolution and millions of years are affecting the culture.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

Note: I thank AiG researcher Steve Golden for his help in composing this blog post.