Mad as Hell

Written By: Robert Brinsmead   

There is something profoundly wrong about any religion or theology that declares that people who don’t believe certain things or believe a certain way are on the way to perdition, cannot be saved and are damned. In the first place to promise all good things to those who believe a certain way and to warn that all bad things will happen to those who fail to believe,  is nothing but intellectual, emotional and pyschological thuggery of the worst kind. I want to illustrate that the “persuasion” on this level is only one step removed from Augustine’s justifying the use of force to get people to church and Christian baptism, using Christ’s words from the NT, “Compel them to come in” – That was only one small step from converting people by the edge of the sword. Guthrie, a Roman Catholic scholar, in his book, ‘The Downfall of Christendom’, points out that even after the early church Councils, most of Christendom remained in the grip of Arianism.  It took another 400 years for the theology of Athanasius to triumph, he said, and most of this success was by the edge of the sword.  A common method used was for the Bishop to convert the Queen, the Princess and the women of the king’s house, and by this win the King of each Barbarian Kingdom over to the Athanasian Creed, and when the king was converted, he would then decree that all must believe this or be put to the sword. Easy ha!

First the intellectual thumb screws are applied – ie. if you don’t believe such and such you are going to hell, you are condemned already, you are lost, etc.

Then the next step is to apply the physical thumb screws.

Let me put this another way: It is impossible to declare that certain people are condemned by God without ending up wishing them to be condemned and even being mad at God if he fails to condemn.  This is what happened to Jonah.  He started out preaching that Ninevah would be punished, and then was angry when they were not punished.

I remember we had an institute in Yosemite.  The man in charge of the camp ground was a devout baptist.  When he heard that our group did not believe in his doctrine of hell, he was, as mad as hell.  He wanted to stop us using the camp ground for our Institute.  I am sure that if he found out that God had no intention of throwing all but his kind into the lake of fire, he would be as mad at God as Jonah was.

Let me tell you something my research into early SDA-ism turned up.  After the passing of time on the 22 October 1844, the little band who clumg to their faith believed that the door of salvation was shut to the wicked world, which happened to include a lot of their good Christian neighbours, who did not go along with their date-setting fanaticism.  These shut door Adventists (which included James and Ellen White), saw themselves shut into the Ark and the rest of the world shut out.  As time passed, and the end was not materializing, they came to the view that they must pray down the seven last plagues on the heads of their neighbours.   And so they started praying to this effect – for there appears to be a precedent for this kind of piety in the book of Revelation; namely, the righteousness of calling on God to show his vengence on the opponents of “the faith,” by pouring out most fearsome vials of wrath.
You see, those Adventists started out saying that God was going to punish all those who did not accept their message, and ended and praying for God to punish them.

The next step is logical too; to do God’s punishing work for him.  Thus it was that the church found its hands stained with a lot of blood.  The first step was to demonize those who did not believe what the church believed.  The second step was to think ill of those whom they had demonized.  The third step was to become an agent of God to punish those they had demonized.  The concientious objectors to such physical violence (Like the Mennonites, the SDA’s and the strict Brethren) just apply the phychological/social persecution of shunning and ostracism, which in many cases is just as painful and inhuman.  These actions are just as responsible for grinding up human bones – it is the same old intellectual, physchological and social thuggery.  It is all contrary to human freedom.  It is all anti-human.  Luther certainly got it completely wrong when he said that to sin against charity was nothing compared to the sin against faith.  It has been said of John Wesley that he was more concerned with the blasphemy of God’s name than the blasphemy of God’s children.

If you are confident that certain people are on the road to perdition, you cannot but think ill of them, cannot truly love them because you have already degraded them and thought ill of them. Don’t add to your blasphemy against God’s children by saying you feel sorry for them.  In saying stuff life this, you are just hissing down on other people from on high.