Christian Apologist Drake Shelton's Hellacious Views on Hell

Submitted by RWMaster on Sat, 12/03/2016 - 07:08


I'm not sure I expected that anyone could top Christian apologist Steve Hays on his incredibly bigoted defense of hell, but Christian apologist Drake Shelton's hero W. G. T. Shedd (and Shelton by association) takes the evil cake.  In his post Shelton first quotes a lot of the Bible on damnation and I don't have much to disagree with there.  It really does teach all that stuff.  But then he starts defending it.

Ironically Shelton closes his review of Keith Parsons' chapter in "The End of Christianity" on hell with this:

...the scripture (Gal 5:20) calls heresy a work of the flesh. Ideas are moral. You see God is a divine mind which means union with Him is something intellectual. To think is in the genus of being, but to think wrongly is ethical, in the genus of ethics, and is to separate from God. Let any Christian reader take this to heart. 

I agree that ideas have moral implications, but my views of others are not so black and white.  While it might be emotionally satisfying to rail against everyone I disagreed with as though every departure from my perspective was indicative of a moral failing of theirs, it would be intellectually dishonest to think that it couldn't also be (aside from me being the one who happens to be wrong) a combination of the subjective mixture of ignorance, honest error, neurodiversity, and common cognitive bias.  There's just not such a tight fit with the cultish "heresy = evil person" equation, but sometimes there are some stand out issues that make you wonder.  Condoning eternal torture is one of them.

In this post I'm going to show just how "demonstrably delusional" Drake Shelton and W. G. T. Shedd are, because they are amazingly wrong about so many things that are even beside their main point.  Enjoy.

Shelton reveals he used to have a conscience:

This was the primary reason I was a Christ rejecting pagan in my childhood and teenage years. It was my assumption that the God of Christianity, though he may be the true God, could never punish his creatures with eternal torment. The very idea was grotesque to me and was my primary excuse to live however I wanted with no fear of punishment. 

Shelton delusionally assumes that everyone with a similar opinion has the same motives from his one personal experience.  That's called a hasty generalization.  Not everyone who rejects Christianity on principled grounds does so for the sake of getting away with absolutely anything.  Also, it's not actually possible to get away with absolutely anything, since there are real world consequences to immoral actions.  Christians cannot simultaneously sell the worldly benefits of their Christian virtues while putting down the moral lifestyle as undesirable in and of itself.

Shelton says:

God created man perfectly righteous in the genus of being. His constitution was completely directed to good not to hell. This is why Adam’s sin was so heinous.

So Adam and Eve had 100% motivation to do all good and yet somehow they managed to do evil.  Well that sounds entirely plausible.  No wait, the heinous thing is that they actually believe that.

Shelton claims:

If our opponents were consistent they would deny the reality and eternality of heaven.

To be consistent with the remedial correction of hell theory, heaven would have to be a temporary place designed to send you to hell eventually as though Yahweh's primary desire isn't supposed to be wanting everyone in heaven (Ezekiel 33:11).  So the temporary hell theory is consistent with that even if it isn't consistent with other unprincipled assertions of Christian scripture about eternal damnation.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

The objection, that a suffering not intended to reform but to satisfy justice, is cruel and unworthy of God, is refuted by the question of St. Paul: "Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? God forbid: for how then shall God judge the world ?" Rom. 3:5, 6.

This delusionally begs the question as though because the character Yahweh does something, that makes that type of action by definition justified.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

Endless punishment is rational, in the first place, because it is supported by the human conscience. The sinner's own conscience will " bear witness" and approve of the condemning sentence, "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Rom. 2. 16.

This delusionally assumes that when Yahweh's laws are violated any given individual will necessarily feel guilty about it because of the "intrinsic" nature of the crime.  Let's take an easily verifiable example.  Living the homosexual lifestyle is a sin punishable by death and warranting eternal hellfire according to Christian doctrine.  Do you think 60 year old gay couples are feeling any tinges of guilt about their relationship?

Of course, if you are this type of Christian, other people's feelings and worldviews don't exist.  All human consciences do not align on all issues and Shedd's argument makes a straight forward fallacious argument to future events.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

The final judgment is not a terror to good works but to evil. Wilt thou, then, not be afraid of the final judgment?

If anyone stepped into the court of some third world dictator after having vacationed in their country for a month, I imagine just about anyone would be afraid because who knows what kinds of values this king would have?  The odds of some kind of clash would be high.  It makes sense to fear amoral power.  That doesn't make the moral paradigm behind that power correct.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

Keep the law of God perfectly, without a single slip or failure, inwardly or outwardly, and thou shalt have praise of the same.  [...] It is not necessary that a man should commit all kinds of sin, or that he should sin a very long time, in order to be a sinner. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. One sin makes guilt, and guilt makes hell.

"Don't worry, just be perfect" is insane advice and zero comfort.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

The opponent of endless retribution does not draw his arguments from the impartial conscience, but from the bias of self-love and desire for happiness. His objections are not ethical, but sentimental. They are not seen in the dry light of pure truth and reason, but through the colored medium of self-indulgence and love of ease and sin.

And the proponents certainly aren't jerking off their moral centers in their brains to the extreme at the expense of their core humanity, right?  It is delusionally evil to make compassion and human happiness a crime.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

The knowledge that future suffering will one day cease would immediately relieve the awful apprehension of the sinner. 

This delusionally concludes that no one ever feared any punishment that was anything short of eternal.  It is downright crazy to say shit like this and Shelton would come back and defend every line item here like a total nutcase.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

...evinced by the universality and steadiness of the dread of it.  Mankind believe in hell, as they believe in the Divine Existence, by reason of their moral sense.

So everyone believes that hell exists?  Shelton and Shedd are crazy.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

...a permanent and general fear among mankind cannot be produced by a mere chimera, or a pure figment of the imagination.

Of course, this only applies to the extent that various versions of hell have captured the imaginations of various demographics of people over the ages.  Made up ideas can do that.  Also, Shedd is probably aware of the concept of "fear of the unknown," but doesn't bother addressing it or distinguishing it from his delusional conclusion.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

Men have no fear of Rhadamanthus, nor can they be made to fear him, because they know that there is no such being. "An idol is nothing in the world." 1 Cor. 8:4.

This is simply jaw-dropping stupidity and abject ideological solipsism.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

If the Biblical hell were as much a nonentity as the heathen Atlantis, no one would waste his time in endeavoring to prove its non-existence. What man would seriously construct an argument to demonstrate that there is no such being as Jupiter Ammon, or such an animal as the centaur? The very denial of endless retribution evinces by its spasmodic eagerness and effort to disprove the tenet, the firmness with which it is entrenched in man's moral constitution. If there really were no hell, absolute indifference toward the notion would long since have been the mood of all mankind, and no arguments, either for or against it, would be constructed…

This delusionally assumes everyone that doesn't believe in hell is out to disprove hell (on top of the other delusions that everyone knows about and believes in hell already).  It also delusionally assumes people who set out to disprove hell necessarily spend a lot of time doing so.  It also delusionally assumes that because people disagree with it, that must make it more right.  Gee, if that were the case, what contentious side of every issue wouldn't be true?  And it delusionally assumes that people don't make arguments against all sorts of silly things and have done so throughout history.  It's called skepticism.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

...sin is actually being added to sin, in the future life, and the amount of guilt is accumulating. 

Do they have the option of repenting after Judgement day?  Then I've stopped blaming them for what they cannot control.  The delusional Calvinists on the other hand have not.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

That endless punishment is reasonable is proved by the preference of the wicked themselves. The unsubmissive, rebellious, defiant, and impenitent spirit prefers hell to heaven...

So would you like to be raped or shot in the head?  Shot in the head?  See, you wanted to be shot in the head.  Makes perfect sense.  If you are a delusional Calvinist who think this respects free will in some sick way.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

"They hate both me and my Father," says the Son of God, " without a cause." John 25:24, 25.

And after all this, we're expected to feel sorry for the Christian god?  That poor omnipotent, perfect being.  [/sarcasm]

[Note, That verse is John 15:24-25, btw, since there is no chapter 25 of John.]

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

In this vicarious atonement for sin, the Triune God relinquishes no claims of law, and waives no rights to justice. The sinner's Divine Substitute, in his hour of voluntary agony and death, drinks the cup of punitive and inexorable justice to the dregs.

Yes, Jesus had a bad weekend once.  Quite comparable to the full extents of the experiences of humanity.  Especially that eternal suffering part for most of us.

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

...he who rejects it must through endless cycles grapple with the dread problem of human guilt in his own person, and alone...

This delusionally assumes people are unable to process guilt outside of the conceptions of this Christian worldview.  Has he ever even spoken to someone outside of his cult?  Or like listened?

Shelton says:

Let the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment then be a settled issue.

Because quoting another author saying a whole bunch of delusional, evil things settles this issue.  Some Christians actually have consciences, you know.  Like that "embarrassing" Eastern Church Shelton is so proud to disown for their openness to less than absolutely evil doctrines.

Shelton says:

Parsons exposes more of his American brainwashing on page 249 when he argues that Christianity is unreasonable...


There were some other things to respond to from Shedd and Shelton, but I've paraded before you all of the most obvious supplementary delusion of this Christian worldview.

Lastly here is the main argument from Shedd that is supposed to justify eternal punishment for the finite crimes on earth:

...suffering that is penal can never come to an end, because guilt is the reason for its infliction, and guilt once incurred never ceases to be.  The lapse of time does not convert guilt into innocence  [...]  When a crime is condemned, it is absurd to ask, "How long is it condemned?"

Balanced people recognize that there is more than one value than just justice and that playing any one of our moral values out to this extreme at the expense of all others is evil.  

Shelton quotes Shedd to say:

...another reason for the endlessness of sin is the fact that rebellious enmity toward law and its Source is not diminished, but increased, by the righteous punishment experienced by the impenitent transgressor.

So you have to keep stabbing the cornered animal for all eternity to get this particular reaction.  That's great.  Again, most emotionally stable, normal, good people, with properly functioning consciences, recognize this as sick.

The famous theologian John Calvin decided that eternal punishment not only wasn't an issue, but in fact the sufferings of the damned would be one of the viewing pleasures of heaven!  However, in reality land, when kids are prone to torture animals, for example, we diagnose them with mental health issues.  Of course, this is religion.  Let the sickening rationalizations begin (er, continue).


First of all, to close, if we are even looking at the issue of "justice" that means that a morally *perfect* god has accommodated the existence of evil in some way.  This is logically impossible since the accommodation of any evil for any reason whatsoever necessarily counts as a moral blemish on divine actions that are supposed to be perfect.  Secondly, even if we lower the standard of moral "perfection" to accommodate the existence of evil, finite crimes from finite fallible beings cannot deserve infinite punishments.  Temporality isn't the issue, equal value is the issue.  The question isn't about Hitler.  It's about a 7 year old who barely tasted her era of moral accountability, committed the smallest sin possible, didn't repent and submit to Jesus, and was hit by a bus.  She deserves the bare minimum of eternal punishment in this Christian worldview without the possibility of parole.  And so, even grading on the curve, this god is off the charts evil.  Thirdly, the only way to get it back on the charts is say that Jesus was lying about hell.  And then he's just evil for lying about such a horrible idea for masses of impressionable people to get all tangled up about.   But again, at least the evil is finite.  Fourthly, this of course sets aside the issues of proper divine management of spiritual resources since to give all humans a fighting, fair chance it would require that everyone have a sufficiently long life, that they all had properly functioning brains, that they were all encultured with the correct moral values and spiritual teachings, and given all the support they would need throughout their lives so that in all likelihood (with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent shepherding god at the helm) no one would be lost.  Surprise, surprise, the world is nothing like this thanks to the implausible plot devices of Lucifer's rebellion, the corruption of Adam and Eve, and allowing them to have children who would be unfairly subject to these ridiculous terms.  Fifthly, and so despite being an all powerful, all knowing, and morally perfect being, and despite expressing the desire that no one should be punished for punishment's sake (Ezekiel 33:11), that all should be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), that no one is responsible for the sins of their parents (Ezekiel 18:20), and that even one lost "sheep" is worth his while (Luke 15:4), our pseudo lord and savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:14 confesses that there is no mysterious greater good at work here since he loses the vast majority of his flock in the end.  Proverbs 22:6 even says, "Raise a child up in the way he should go and he will not depart from it."  Why our supposed heavenly father does not heed this obvious advice is implausibly beyond my moral comprehension.  Sixthly, even in the extremely unlikely event that a mere mortal managed to get themselves in such an unrepentant funk that it was going to perpetuate itself for all eternity, a chemically balanced deity with the competing desire of "kindness" or "compassion" would instigate some kind of mercy kill or eternal coma after a reasonable finite amount of retribution had been served.  Seventhly, the moral of the story is, only sick fucks ignore this kind of stuff and defend eternal damnation.  So set down the cult think, grab a conscience, and stop."

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