New York Times FAIL Watch: In Which Ross Douthat Begs for Other People Go to Hell
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
If Hell does not exist, Ross Douthat claims, God ought to create it--and put some of those other people in it for eternity:
A Case for Hell: [T]o believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices. If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re like home runs or strikeouts in a children’s game where nobody’s keeping score. In this sense, a doctrine of universal salvation turns out to be as deterministic as the more strident forms of scientific materialism. Instead of making us prisoners of our glands and genes, it makes us prisoners of God himself. We can check out any time we want, but we can never really leave.
The doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real, and, indeed, that we are the choices that we make. The miser can become his greed, the murderer can lose himself inside his violence, and their freedom to turn and be forgiven is inseparable from their freedom not to do so. As Anthony Esolen writes, in the introduction to his translation of Dante’s “Inferno,” the idea of hell is crucial to Western humanism. It’s a way of asserting that “things have meaning” — that earthly life is more than just a series of unimportant events, and that “the use of one man’s free will, at one moment, can mean life or death... salvation or damnation”...
Seems to me that Ross Douthat's God has some words directly addressed to him:
And [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican! I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying: 'God be merciful to me a sinner!'
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted"...
"[T]hey seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith: 'By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive'..."