What is the worst event that has ever happened in human history?
When I ask people this question, they usually say something like the Holocaust, WWII in general, September 11th… All of the events have something in common: they are all events in which a large number of people died. So the measure of how bad an event is is how many people die. Furthermore- the person or people who allow these horrible things to happen are evil and wrong- no matter what their philosophy was or how right they may have been in some ways.
This was a truth that I confronted my senior year at Pepperdine. People who kill large amounts of people are evil and wrong, no matter the reason why.
We were reading Elie Wiesel’s Night in my 20th Century European History class and discussing the scene in which he describes bodies being thrown into furnaces. And I couldn’t help but be reminded of that thing I said I believed in… hell.
And I said- to a class of 20 people or so- something like “This indiscriminate killing of masses of people is so fundamentally wrong and it’s not even as bad as what we believe hell is like and if God allows this to happen to thousands of people then I can’t believe in God anymore.” My professor asked me to stay after class. He was concerned.
Something had snapped. In my mind, I was confronted with the faces of the billions of people who had died before me who had not confessed Jesus as their personal savior and who would be suffering fates worse than death. And that they had to suffer because this really nice, loving God said so. It was absurd and it simply could not be true.
I couldn’t believe in hell anymore. And I couldn’t believe in a God who would allow his creation to suffer an unimaginable fate for all of eternity because they got it wrong.
After this realization, the rest of my faith unraveled. It didn’t happen all at once, rather, the spiritual world that I had believed in crumbled slowly- piece by piece- over the course of several years. It was as if a stone veil was chipped away from my eyes- and I saw more and more holes in the story I had once clung to so strongly.