Honestly, it's one of the best facts about life that major religions like Christianity and Islam are false. There is no hell, no billions of people suffering eternal conscious torture. Simple non-existence after death is literally infinitely better.
— Counter Apologist (@CounterApologis) August 2, 2018
I have often heard atheists express sentiments like this, so when this tweet popped up today, I decided to reply. My reply was simply this:
“Christianity per se does not include the belief that ‘billions of people suffer eternal conscious torture.’ It does include the belief that, to borrow a line from MLK, while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice. Surely you would like that to be true, no?”
Let’s unpack this. The final section of the Apostles’ Creed reads as folllows:
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Note how there is no mention here of the nature of suffering for the lost. Consequently, the Apostles’ Creed is fully consistent with various theories of posthumous punishment (e.g. divinely inflicted torment; self-inflicted torment; destruction/annihilation). Nor, for that matter, is there any discussion of the ratio of saved-to-lost. Thus, the Apostles’ Creed is also consistent with belief in universal restoration (e.g. as in Origen and Gregory of Nyssa).
What the Creed does outline is the fact that the creation will ultimately be set to rights, that God’s perfect justice will be done (Matthew 6:10), that all will be well (Isaiah 3:10), that every tear will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4), that God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Thus, as I said, Christianity minimally commits us to the view that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.
With the exception of those persons who are themselves interminably wicked and opposed to justice, the rest of us surely ought to hope that this vision of reality is actualized, that God’s perfect justice will be done, that all will be well, that every tear will be wiped away, and that God — the absolute and transcendent source of all goodness — will be all in all.