Can God Make a Soul So Evil That Even God Cannot Love It?

I know that I am not alone in thinking that particularism is flawed. Eschatological Particularism, the idea that God can not or will not “save” every one and every thing, relies on a belief in a God who is either not omnipotent or is not benevolent. One of these must be lacking, or else God would spend all of eternity trying to reach every last soul, even if we accept that every person must submit to playing by some arbitrary rules set that God has imposed on itself to make creation into a game.

The only argument I have ever heard against Universalism, given the assumption of a loving creator, is that we have “freewill” to choose to be saved or not. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but it negates the idea of freewill in that we had to be created first. If Damnation is the default, and we have to choose not to be damned, then the act of Creation is the act of damning, and thus there is no inherent choice in whether or not to play the game, only whether or not to submit to the rules imposed. That,  I have to point out, is not freewill.

So, I ask you, if there is a creator who can do all things, but chooses not to love us all, then how is that being worthy of reverence? How loving or powerful is a God who spends eternity fuming that we did something bad, especially if we believe that simply thinking something is a sin, and condemns souls forever? Not just to boredom or even discomfort, but to misery! That is not a God I can love. No temporal sin warrants eternal punishment.

That is why I reject the ideas of eternal damnation and original sin. My vision of God is a being of love, encouraging us to do better and treat each other with kindness; in short, to love each other as God loves us. Any less is a being unworthy of my worship or devotion.

Chalica Day 6: The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;

The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “The department of theological science concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell’. If you know much at all about Unitarian Universalism, you know that we don’t have a unified view of an after-life, and certainly no concept of eternal damnation. In short, we have more of a view on Hell, being that we are against it, than we do Heaven, though the later sounds nice. I look at eschatology, then, as being more about a view of the goal of the religious philosophy. Most religions are selfish and focus on what happens to the ego after death. Our eschatology is about what we leave behind. The goal of our religious movement is one that requires continuous tending throughout the generations: We have a goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. Simply stated, but as impossible to achieve as the tests of Hercules or the trials of the Judges of Judea.

This is, again, rooted in our only quasi-mystical belief, which many of us look at as more of a hypothesis to be tested eternally, in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. If we all have worth waiting to be fostered and manifested in the world, then there is a moral imperative to seek a peaceful world where each person is free to learn and experiment with the limits and possibilities of human potential, secure in the knowledge that they will be treated fairly and that they will understand the responsibilities they have to their communities and the world.

It is a very humanist goal, but we are operating from the truth, as we know it. Though I have my own experiences, as do others, there is no clear sign of the hand of any god in the modern world, and if any can be seen in the artifacts of human history, they are far from universally convincing. We have a world that humanity has altered when possible and adapted to when we could. Our species may have done more to alter the shape and future of the planet than anything since it coalesced from the rocky belt of our infant solar system. It is up to us to decide how to use that power, and whether we will act in a way that honors our collective humanity and our reliance on each other to advance culture and science, or if we look at the future as a competition where we cling to our limits and deny others the dignity that we would each demand for ourselves.

We rarely speak of heaven from the pulpit, and many fellowship halls hear the word spoken somewhat less than monthly. What UUs have in the place of a glorious group afterlife is The Beloved Community. It is a little different in each imagination, and ultimately that makes it better in theory than it may ever be in actuality, but it is still so far away that there is no real room, yet, to argue other the window dressings and carpets. We seek a world where, ideally, everyone has the chance to build their own vision and direct their own lives. Beloved Community includes everyone who chooses to participate, and allows room enough for those who wish a bit of isolation, too. You cannot say that you have liberty for all unless you allow your critics room to voice opposition, after all. We seek a world where all of this can happen peacefully and with respect. That is UU heaven.