Then I will suffer in hell for all eternity.
I have expressed a lot of anti-Christian opinion. If this turns out to be the biggest mistake of my life, then I will pay the ultimate price. It stands to reason, then, that I should be very careful in what I say. Rest assured, I have said nothing against Christianity without a great deal of prior thought. And to the best of my ability, I have attempted to present my case in a rational manner.
Should I ever find myself at the judgement seat of Jehovah, the only defence I can give is: I did what I thought was right, as clearly as I was able to divide truth from falsehood as a rational human being.
I have debated with many Christians, and the question “What if you’re wrong?” regularly comes up. It tends to be used as a final question, when all attempts at intellectual persuasion have failed. It is a manipulative appeal to emotion, rather than to reason – specifically the emotion of fear. It is understandable to be afraid of something that is undeniably real, but this is an attempt to frighten someone into believing in something, using the fear that it might be true. It is the adult version of the monster in the closet.
My emergence out of Christianity, after almost two decades as a Christian, was a painful and difficult transition. At any stage, I could have taken the easy route: to stop thinking deeply and simply believe. This would have meant an end to nagging anxiety and the respect of friends who had ostracised me. But I chose to pursue truth no matter what the consequences.
Now, the idea of hell is more amusing than frightening, and the anxiety I once felt about this place reveals the extent to which I had been brainwashed.
How is it anything other than cowardice, if I allow irrational fear to dictate my actions? Is it noble to abandon my convictions about truth, because I’m afraid to be wrong? Is faith based on fear even real faith?
The manner in which these questions are answered is what separates the rational, courageous truth-seeker from the superstitious trembler.