The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason The End of Faith discussion


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The Hitler button

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message 1: by Hippasus (new)

Hippasus Suppose in the afterlife Hitler has been strapped to a device that will set him on fire for all of eternity. All that is needed to start this torture is the press of a button, and you have been given the task of pressing it. Would you press the button?

If you believe in hell do you believe it will consist of maximum torture for an infinite duration, or will it be something less severe than this?

What if the person strapped to the maximum torture device is a homosexual or an atheist? Would you press the button then?

As an atheist who faces this remote prospect I am curious how many people really believe I should burn forever.


message 2: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Christopher wrote: "Suppose in the afterlife Hitler has been strapped to a device that will set him on fire for all of eternity. All that is needed to start this torture is the press of a button, and you have been giv..."

Suppose in the afterlife...

Stop right there. In order to answer that question, one must actually believe in an afterlife. Without such a belief, answering the question is impossible to do. If you claim to be able to do something, having no belief that such a claim can ever be tested, then your answer is dishonest, at best.

Too many people make these dishonest claims every day. Please do not ask me to do it. It is silly.


message 3: by Hippasus (last edited Apr 06, 2012 11:28AM) (new)

Hippasus You are being frivolous. It is a hypothetical question, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am curious how many people believe even hypothetically that anyone could deserve a punishment like this.


Matthew Bryant Christopher wrote: "You are being frivolous. It is a hypothetical question, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am curious how many people believe even hypothetically that anyone could deserve a punishment like this."

Haha! Some people just have no imagination do they!


Matthew Bryant I would not, and I worry about people who think that God would too. I can see why they would interpret the Bible in such a way, but I don't think it's a fair reading considering all the imagery that is used elsewhere.


message 6: by Dru (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dru Tim wrote: "Please do not ask me to do it. It is silly. "

Seriously? Asking you to "suppose" something is silly? You can't use your imagination to ask a question and perform a simple mind experiment?

Imagine if Einstein had posed his famous "suppose we are traveling in a spaceship at the speed of light..." question and you had been there to say "whoa, I don't believe that is possible, so don't even ask me to suppose it". Then the theory of relativity wouldn't have been spawned out of that thought experiment.


message 7: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Claiming that you "would" do ANYTHING knowing full well you never will, and never could, be asked to actually DO it is dishonest blustering. Yes. It IS silly.


message 8: by Ted (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ted Dru wrote: "Tim wrote: "Please do not ask me to do it. It is silly. "

Seriously? Asking you to "suppose" something is silly? You can't use your imagination to ask a question and perform a simple mind experi..."


Couldn't agree more with Tim. The question is silly and a waste of time. What's more such a thread doesn't belong, imo, within the context of The End of Faith discussion.


Tall I ask friends who are religious, and who believe in hell and and afterlife, if the think that I, as an atheist, will be doomed to the same hell that they believe Hitler will be sent to. It's a hypothetical question designed to make them think a bit about what they think hell really means. That's all. They usually can't provide an answer.


message 10: by Rodger (new)

Rodger Jump I love Sam's comment that "Faith is what credulity becomes when it finally reaches escape velocity from the constraints of terrestrial discourse like reasonableness, coherence, civility and candor." What a wonderful expression to describe the trap door people use when cornered by obvious contradictions in their beliefs.

Ahhh, but as good as this book is, its audience is probably composed of the already converted. To reach and to persuade the doubting Christian probably requires stories. Presenting stories is how religions draw in children to be lifelong believers. So, the ebook "The Last Lunch" was published to do just that. Present the arguments of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins as conversations among coworkers at a celebratory lunch. Hopefully it will do some good.


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