You’re mainly arguing by assertion here. Where are you quoting from when you speak of Gnosticism as the “best answer”? My article says no such thing. I just quoted for you what my article says: “The reason is made clearest in the Gnostic versions of Christianity.” The phrase “best answer” doesn’t appear in the article.

You say the answer is that Christ’s sacrifice destroyed the devil’s hold over us, but we still need faith to receive the effects. But that doesn’t really answer the question. If someone transfers a million dollars into my bank account, I don’t have to believe in that person’s heroism to receive the money. The receipt is automatic. If Jesus defeated the devil, why is there still so much evil in the world?

When the Allies conquered Germany and ended WWII, there was no need to “identify with” the Allies to complete their victory. You didn’t have to go around waving the American flag unless you felt like being patriotic. The Allies’ militaries won the war by defeating the enemies. True, if you went around waving a Nazi flag after the war was won, you’d risk getting shot or imprisoned as a sympathizer. But there was no need for that extra step of subjectively receiving the victory, because the victory was real.

Of course, if Jesus’s sacrificial death were bogus, we might be required to have faith in it to receive the promised benefits, because the whole thing would be a mind-over-matter fraud. Likewise, if the Allies never actually beat the Axis powers, we might have to pretend they did to delude ourselves and avoiding facing some harsh truths.

It’s amusing that you find my criticism of your glorification of Hell “silly,” when in the very next sentence you say, “God in the Bible says that…” So you evidently don’t think it’s silly to say that God speaks directly in the form of the Bible.

But lay that aside, since there’s no chance we’ll settle here that fundamental difference in perspective. Still, you should be able to see that it’s a moot point whether God keeps his word, if he allows himself the freedom to have an “old” testament or agreement and then a “new” one. You idolize the very Bible that’s divided according to a radical shift not just in Jews’ understanding of God (since you’re an inerrantist), but in that deity’s revelations of his intentions. If God didn’t change his mind or at least start something new that renders his old covenant redundant, why did Jews reject Christianity? Why is the Christian Bible divided by two agreements, the old and the new?

So what would stop God from starting a third covenant in the afterlife that would free the condemned in Hell? Instead of breaking his word, God would just be adding to his previous revelations. Jews thought the revelations ended with their Hebrew scriptures, but then came the New Testament. Maybe Christians will be surprised in the afterlife to learn of a third dispensation that will add to Christianity.

You say it’s “beyond unreasonable to claim God is unconcerned with justice and morality.” Read the article and then see what you think.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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