Of the arguments I’ve seen, the only path to Heaven is accepting and believeing in God – having a personal relationship with him. These arguments continue on to say that no ammount of good can buy your way into heaven, because even the slightest sin, the littlest of lies or foul thoughts, is infinite evil compared to the pure goodness of God. If this is the case, if the smallest ammount of evil is infinite compared to God, then wouldn’t all ammounts of evil, just the same, also be infinite?
Think of it this way: can you describe something you have no knowledge of? If you are blind, can you describe and measure the plumage of a bird or the coloration of a beautiful sunset? Of course not, because you have never experienced it. To experience something, I believe, is to take some part of it into your existance. For God to judge evil, God cannot be infinitely good – he must have some form of sin inherent. If lies are sin, then God cannot discern a lie.
So why is it that ‘functional atheists’, or ‘false Christians’, or whomeever, can’t make it into heaven?
Woah, heavy stuff going on here!
I’m actually going to defend some religious people a little here. Sorry about that.
First, evil doesn’t have to be literally infinite to be repulsive to an infinite being. I think they’re just saying, in effect, “one is infinitely far from infinity.” They then generally go on to say that God is offended or repulsed by even the slightest sinfulness. Even so, it’s hard for me to see how God could be offended or repulsed by anything I could do. If he has no character flaws (conceit, pride, etc.), it seems to me that at most he could be disappointed. And even then he couldn’t be surprised if he’s all knowing.
I disagree with your argument that a God who is not evil can have no knowledge of evil. First, you can experience something without becoming like that something — watching a murder doesn’t make you a murderer. Second, evil could be defined as an absence of good, and although I think that’s philosophically shaky, it would also address the problem. Saying that lies are a lack of truth, however, makes sense, so someone who always tells the truth should be able to discern a lie (although they might not know when they are being lied to).
I think you’re on the right track with the topic of what can be discussed, but I’d prefer to take the whole concept a little further. How can people talk about God if they don’t really know what God is? It can be very enlightening to have a long conversation with a religious person in which they try and define God’s qualities. God is good — but what is good? God is all loving — but what does that even mean? God is timeless — then why couldn’t the universe be timeless? And don’t even get me started on the people who say that every religion’s god is the same god.