L. Alfred James

There Is No Peace Without Hell

By L. Alfred James The human race needs the doctrine of hell. Yes, you read that correctly: we need it. It is the only way to end the cycle of violence in the world. Don’t believe me? Take it from Miroslav Volf, a Croatian theologian who has carefully reflected on human violence. He has been prompted to do so largely because of his own experience of the clashes between the Croats and the Serbs. Volf has seen and experienced brutality firsthand. In fact, one town that was near his own … Read More »

I Don’t Believe In A God Of Judgment!

By L. Alfred James “I could never believe in a God who sends people to hell forever. That accomplishes nothing good at all!” I’ve heard this statement, or something just like it, in very scholarly of settings (during a formal debate) and in informal settings (chatting at a coffee shop). It stems from a legitimate appreciation for the grace of God. However, it reflects a serious failure to think carefully about the relationship between mercy and justice. God is Good There are several hidden assumptions in this statement. Foremost among … Read More »

Does Hell Need To Be Forever?

By L. Alfred James “I could never believe in a God who sends people to hell forever!” I’ve heard this statement so many times, I’ve lost count. People who make this statement usually don’t realize it, but they are implicitly making some other (very serious) claims. To be sure, they are implicit claims, and they are almost never made explicit, but they are part and parcel of this statement. What are these claims? Nothing Is Important Enough To Justify Hell (Or God Is Not Just) A person who says that … Read More »

Is Hell Really Just?

By L. Alfred James How could it be just for God to send a person to hell forever, or even for him to “allow” a person to consign themselves to hell forever? Isn’t eternal punishment overkill? Doesn’t it seem like a lack of justice? This is among of the most common questions people have about the doctrine of hell, and it is often a serious intellectual stumbling block for people who are seriously investigating Christianity. The Principle of Proportionality One of the most important components of a theory of justice … Read More »

Why Does Hell Exist?

By L. Alfred James In their gigantic hit song, Devil Inside, INXS singer Michael Hutchence spoke for millions of people when he said, “It’s hard to believe we need a place called hell.” Hell is, without a doubt, hard to believe in. It is not overreaching to say that the doctrine of hell has been the greatest stumbling block for intellectually minded people who are investigating the Christian faith. And this doctrine has proven to be a difficult concept even for spiritually mature Christians to hold on to. In fact, … Read More »

Does God Send Good People To Hell?

By L. Alfred James There is no Christian doctrine that is harder to accept than the doctrine of hell. The idea of people being punished forever is extraordinarily unpleasant. And, according to the Bible, anyone who does not trust in Christ for salvation will end up in hell. In the eyes of many people this amounts to believing that “God sends good people to hell simply for having the wrong religion.” Bad people suffering in hell forever is bad enough. But good people? How could a loving God do such … Read More »

If You Had Been Born In India, You’d Be A Hindu

By L. Alfred James We are currently dealing with objections to Christianity that assume religious pluralism. This is the idea that all religions are true in some vague, undefined way. Religious pluralism is often expressed by the saying, “What’s true for you is true for you. And what’s true for me is true for me.” And one of the most powerful ways to argue for this view is to claim that… “Religions Are Culturally Relative!” I was once having a chat with a couple of close friends of mine who … Read More »

But There Are So Many Different Religions

By L. Alfred James We’ve explored several proofs for God’s existence and the truth of the Bible. We are now reviewing some of the most popular objections to Christianity. The first issue to tackle is religious pluralism. This is the idea that all religions are true in some vague (and typically undefined) way. This is also sometimes called religious relativism. On this view, religious truth is relative to “what works” for each person. This belief is often expressed by the saying, “What’s true for you is true for you. And … Read More »

Don’t Be Fooled by the Pretty Parables of Pluralism

By L. Alfred James Last week we dissected the intellectual attitude of those who compare the religions of the world to blind men groping around an elephant, or those who compare the religions of the world to multiple paths leading up a mountain. These parables are claiming that the religions in the world are all equally valid systems of truth and equally valid ways of having a relationship with God. The official name for this belief is called religious pluralism because it argues that there is no one single religion … Read More »

Don’t All Religions Lead to God?

By L. Alfred James You have probably heard the parable about the blind men and the elephant. It’s an ancient Sikh story with many variations. But the gist of it goes something like this: A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to their town, but none of them knew what kind of creature it was. Out of curiosity, they sought it out, and when they found it, they groped all about it. The first man, who was grasping the tail, said, … Read More »