Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs is noticing that when it comes to coping with people of a different (often non-religious) worldview, some Christians have a habit of wishing eternal damnation on those people:
Thanks for putting me on your list of “people who are going to hell.” I can almost smell your Christian love.
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) September 26, 2016
I know this pathology only too well. When I briefly stepped into the debate (well, that is the official title) over abortion rights last year, I soon found myself being wished all kinds of fates by Christians, steeped as they were in the conceit of deistic certitude. Those fates are generally one of:
1. You are going to Hell
2. Your God will judge you when you arrive at the gates of Heaven (Translation: You will go to Hell, you will simply be re-directed there to dash your foolish hopes for Heaven)
This, folks is the SOP for many Christians. Their tactics for modifying behavior or keeping people in line are the old standbys of fear, guilt and shame.
My reaction to these exhortations is one of total amusement.
I don’t believe in the existence of an omnipotent deity. Nor do I believe in an afterlife.
So the idea that my fate after death is to be consigned to either Heaven or Hell, to me seems utterly devoid of intellectual heft, reason or weight. It also speaks to a fundamental conceit that many Christians suffer from; namely, that anybody else should be interested in their thoughts on my ultimate fate at the end of my life. I wouldn’t presume to speculate to their face on what I think should happen to them, because their life is their life and it’s none of my business.
The result is that my first instinct when anybody utters either of those threats to me is to engage in humour. Since the concepts they are using in an attempt to shame me are ridiculous to me, ridicule for me is a perfectly valid response.
To (1) I usually respond along the lines of “that’s OK, i hear that the parties are better in Hell”.
To (2), I usually post this link to a Tom and Jerry cartoon, which, in that very unique Tom and Jerry way, nicely satirizes the whole pathology of “if you don’t behave you won’t go to Heaven” that many children hear from their religious parents while growing up.
The other important thing to note is that invariably both of the above supposedly-threatening ideas usually get deployed in lieu of anything resembling a cogent argument. They are regarded as some magic talisman that will Shock and Awe me. They need to try a damn sight harder at actually making an argument. Then perhaps they wouldn’t need to resort to this sort of bizarrely amusing behavior.