Hello all, I’m new here. Not a Christian myself, just a Deist. But I’m a Deist who’s interested in what happens in the afterlife, if there is one. I’ll start with my initial thoughts on universalism in general, not just Christian universalism.
I never liked the notion of eternal hell growing up as a kid. I can’t imagine any God worth the name sentencing any of his creations to eternal damnation for sins that were ultimately finite, or for different opinions on religious beliefs. Some may argue that He doesn’t “sentence” them, that they choose to go there, but that still means he knowingly created a place of eternal suffering, separation, and pain for those without faith or those who sinned enough. But I still don’t think it’s just to leave them in that state for eternity. And, if one had to have faith in Christ to be saved and nothing else could do it, then the millions or billions of humans who lived anywhere from 300,000 to 2 million years before the Bible would be screwed. And it makes sense that justice should be corrective vs retributive. It would be consistent with a God that is defined as love.
Then again, I can think of some horrible monsters throughout history (Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc.) and I have a hard time imagining how any of them could be saved, based on the choices they made that led to the spiritual conditions they were in when they died. I know none of them usually intended to become evil, but they still caused vast pain and suffering and created ripple effects that have lasted to this day. Perhaps it’s just a human limitation of mine, but I have a hard time imagining how God could love someone like that unconditionally, or allow them the opportunity of eventual redemption, after going so far over the line.
Even though I’m sure whatever judgments or temporary hell rendered by God to the most unjust among us would be NOTHING pleasant, they would be ultimately temporary, meaning everyone will end up in the same place eventually, just taking different paths and different amounts of time to get there. Does this somehow cheapen free will (a squirrelly topic on its own)? Does it make our choices less significant? Does it weaken our sense of urgency to be as morally upstanding as we can be in the here and now? Should it change how we view those who commit acts of evil, or change how we deal with them with law, military force, etc.?
I’m a bit conflicted on this topic, in case you couldn’t tell, although it’s also possible I’m spending too much time torturing myself with wondering about things I may not be able to understand from a limited mortal perspective. I’m in my early 20’s and I’m still trying to form a cohesive worldview in the spiritual sense, but I don’t find myself attracted to any mainstream religions. It’s important that I find my spiritual footing, as I’m headed into the Air Force as an officer soon.
So, I’d like to hear all of your best philosophical and moral reasoning arguments in favor of universalism, and I’d appreciate if you addressed some of my concerns about the notion. Feel free to quote from the Bible if you think it may help drive a point home, but I don’t personally see the Bible as a source of inerrant authority, so it’s not enough proof in and of itself for me.