Common atheist argument: “No one could enjoy heaven knowing that billions are tortured in hell.” It is an invalid argument. The reason- it happens on earth every day and no one cares.
You may have heard this common argument that atheists use when talking about Christians in heaven:
“No Christian could enjoy heaven knowing that billions of people are being tortured in hell.”
Here is a typical example of the argument’s use:
The point is this. How can anyone enjoy Heaven, knowing that while you have eternal bliss there are people experiencing eternal suffering? Unless you belong to an insular religious community or a cult, it’s almost certain that you know someone – a friend, a relative, a loved one, an idol who inspires you – whose religion of choice is different than yours, or who has no religion at all. How will you be able to enjoy Heaven in the certain knowledge that that person is, at the same moment, suffering the torments of the damned? What if it’s a spouse, a parent, a best friend, a child? (Some theists claim that watching the damned suffer is one of the rewards allotted to those who reach Heaven. About this no more will be said.) How can Heaven be any sort of reward at all if it means eternal separation from the people you care about, all the more so if those people must suffer without release while you are powerless to help them? And will you, a saved soul in Paradise, be content to kneel and worship the same god who, elsewhere at that same moment, is pouring out the flames of his wrath upon your lost loved ones?
That paragraph is reinforced here.
Another example: Why The Christian God Does Not Exist – “you and your child go to Heaven, but your spouse does not. They are burning in Hell, being tormented by demons and constantly reminded of their loved ones being in Heaven and they can never see them again. How terrible! Are you going to be able to enjoy eternal paradise, while the love of your life is being tormented in Hell fire for eternity? Of course not, unless your sick and demented!”
The atheist wonders how a Christian could live knowing that such suffering exists.
This is an invalid argument. The reason it is invalid is because every American – Christian, Jew, Muslim and Atheist alike – happily lives with these conditions each day without any problem. Across planet earth, approximately half of the population are living on less that $2 per day. Approximately one billion people are living on $1 per day. They live, obviously, in wretched, miserable poverty. Tens of thousands of children die each day of starvation. This video summarizes the contrast:
The fact is that Americans can happily live their lives while billions of people live in rudimentary shacks, starving, without any medical care. These impoverished people are experiencing hell on earth, while those living in America, by comparison, are experiencing heaven on earth. Even the poorest poor in America, living on welfare, food stamps and Medicaid, are a hundred times better off than someone living on $1 per day.
You would never hear anyone say, “It would be impossible to live happily in America knowing that billions of other people are tortured by starvation and disease every day.” That is silly. American’s are quite happy with their opulence.
How can Americans happily live in their opulence while billions suffer through hell on earth? It’s easy. It’s called “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”