Christian Hamartiology Explained: Discuss

This thought-provoking image is from the Hellbound movie blog.



Alice said…
Jesus said a man will be judged according to his works. This has always puzzled me in the light of the doctrine of original sin where we are all supposedly born into damnation.
thinkythink said…
Stalin's crime is really also "Not being a Christian". Which kind of makes it even more shocking. Technically all he has to do is accept Christ and then he's "in".

Some Christians would claim the child is 'in' as well because they are under the age of accountability. I have never quite been able to figure out what that is and how one can argue that from scripture.

I can no longer accept the doctrine of eternal conscious torment. I have friends who tell me that without it, God would not be just...but I can't find a scrape of justice in an eternal punishment for a temporal crime, or worse still a crime of ignorance or omission. If there is any form of punishment, I can't believe it is permanent, because the nature of God revealed to us in Christ and throughout the Bible, is a redemptive one. His actions have always provided room for redemption. Any disciplines have always had the purpose of redemption.

Just my thoughts. I will follow this discussion with interest.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Robin. Thought provoking indeed. I think the debate is only just getting started.
Robin Parry said…
Perhaps this cartoon is not quite fair to Christian theology.

Christians have traditionally said that people are condemned to hell for sin.

Consider this analogy.

A patient has a fatal disease.

The doctor offers a cure (Christ).

The patient does not take the cure.

The patient dies.

What killed the patient was the disease not their failure to take the cure.

The girl's sin — that disease which kills her — is not "not being a Christian"; it is . . . whatever her sins are.

So the picture sets out the situation as perceived in classical theolgy in a somewhat misleading way.

Nevertheless, what we still feel very uncomfortable about is the suggestion that Stalin's disease has the same results as the girl's disease when one seems to us to be far more terrble than the other. That, I think, is where the issue really lies.
Keith DeRose said…
1. Not all Christians. 2. I agree, Robin: On common Christian views, folks aren't really punished specifically for not accepting Christ, but generally for their sinfulness. Failing to accept Christ is more why they don't escape punishment, rather than what they're punished for or are guilty of. 3. As thinkythink points out, on many Christian views, there's an issue here of whether the boy had reached the age of accountability.

Still, I've always found it strange how often those Christians who object most heatedly to the thought that, say, Hitler might suffer less than everlasting conscious torment, seemingly out of concern for justice for the victims, turn out to themselves hold views on which very many of Hitler's *victims* also suffer everlasting conscious torment.
James Goetz said…
The picture would have been fairer if it showed a dead Muslim teen instead of the child.
Robin Parry said…

Good point!

Peter Gurry said…
Wow. That certainly gets at the heart of the issue for many today.

I see at least three problems with it: (1) is neglects original sin which has enormous importance across Christian traditions; (2) it says nothing of the varying degrees of punishment experienced in hell; (3) Robin's point above is probably the biggest one.

The title is pretty bad too since it says nothing about what sin actually is. So the graphic doesn't explain Christian hamartiology at all. Oh well.
Anonymous said…
Are people really this ignorant or is it how they choose to misquote Jesus and Christians as fools?

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