And what of atheist humanitarians? Are all the decent godless out there really closet Christians plagiarising, as is a frequent accusation, Christian principles? Are the reasons for being good solely about avoiding Hell or entering Heaven? If so, how is “exist in agony for eternity or exist in bliss for eternity” even a choice?
Naturally, I don’t believe for a second that reasonable, moderate Christians believe themselves, for a second, that only religious people can be good. I don’t believe those same people believe that good atheists go to hell. I didn’t believe it when I was a Christian and I don’t believe it now. In fact, when I counted myself among the chosen it was something I wondered about. Exactly how bad do you have to be to go to hell? Do you need to actually kill & rape & steal or is it enough to not believe Jesus was God’s son? I wondered, even as a child, where God was supposed to draw the line between Adolf Hitler and a simple honest man who fought for his country and took lives in its defence? They both breached “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, a very unambiguous commandment (though, given the example God sets in the same set of books as he lays down the law, it’s not surprising that a few non-accidental deaths have occurred over the years). Do you look at the reasons for their killings? Hitler was convinced he was doing the right thing by Germany by attempting to exterminate the Jews and subjugating Europe. Our honest soldier was equally convinced that stopping Hitler was the most important thing anyone could do, so he killed he who had to to accomplish his mission.
People do good things for bad reasons – like providing charity out of pure self-interest – and bad things for good reasons – like shooting retreating Nazis in the back. What I’m asking (mostly of moderate Christians, as the response from your average fundie on any subject is as predictable as the result of Brick vs Glass) is this: what is it about me that will keep me out of Heaven, if such a place exists? What is it about any decent, law-abiding, charitable, mostly honest atheist that makes him deserving of Hell when his only crime is not believing something he can’t in all honesty accept, given the evidence provided by believers?