10. Only for the sake of argument, if I were to astonishingly find myself face to face with a supreme being, I would expect to be judged on my life as a humanist, and how I treated others, (just as most Christians plan to be judged on character, not on the actual Ten Commandments). If my positive actions were ignored, and I was instead judged on using my intelligence to doubt religious doctrines created by human sinners, I would rather be eternally punished than bow to such an unfair tyrant who made things seemingly impossible for humans to succeed at this horrific game.
Right away, it should be noted that this argument comes down to “I don’t want Christianity to be true”, not “here’s a reason to think that it isn’t true”. Much less is it a reason to reject all forms of theism.
But I’ll agree with Smalley that an unfair form of judgment would be a problem for Christianity. This, therefore, would seem a comfort to the atheist: Either one will be judged on one’s character, or one can claim the moral right in the situation.
Or, rather, it would be a comfort if it were true.
None of us can claim moral perfection. None of us can claim the right to enter heaven. Even if God said “I’m only going to judge you based on what you, in your life, have told people about how they ought to live”, none of us can rightly claim to live up to that standard. Much less can we live up to any standard befitting a perfect being like God.
Really, what Smalley appears to be saying is that he deserves to go to heaven, and that the only question here is whether or not God realizes this.
But this is, like most of the items on his list, born out of a deep misunderstanding of what Christianity actually teaches. No one is going to be judged by their professed beliefs. People will be judged by our hearts and minds–how good we really are.
Those of us who realize that we aren’t nearly so good as we know we should be start to get nervous at this point, and the idea of forgiveness starts to look very interesting. But Smalley is saying that he doesn’t need forgiveness. It’s no wonder that he isn’t interested in learning about Christianity; he insists that its main concept is of no use to him.
Yes, that is obviously false. And this means that anyone who takes this approach has no right to say that it is intelligence, rather than ignorance, which is the basis of his rejection of Christianity.
Christianity teaches that we can all enter God’s presence, so long as we’re honest enough with ourselves to admit that we are moral failures and seek God’s forgiveness. It is self-righteousness, not intellectual questioning, that is the path to hell.