Missionaries, my dear!
Missionaries, my dear! Don't you realize that missionaries are the divinely provided food for destitute and underfed cannibals? Whenever they are on the brink of starvation, Heaven in its infinite mercy sends them a nice plump missionary.
It's kind of ironic (and very apropos) that I was looking at an article on Darwin in an old issue of the Skeptical Inquirer earlier and found a quote that expresses my sentiments perfectly – if I'd been feeling feisty I might have tried it out on this guy. As the article points out, "Darwin was not, by anyone's standards, a believing Christian," although he "consistently denied the charge" of being an atheist – and why shouldn't he have been telling the truth, since his problem seems to have been more with Christian doctrine than with God? Anyway, here is the quote, and this has always been my sticking point as well:
"... I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." (Barlow 1958)I know that there are people who get around this whole idea somehow, but I can't, and a lot of others have no problem with it, but just accept that the vast majority of people who have ever lived, no matter how good a life they have led, are going to be thrown into eternal torment by a "loving, merciful" God for not believing the right thing.