My first emotional reason for being a Christian is the one that is often treated as the least worthy reason to care about Jesus. It’s the doctrine of hell.
The doctrine of hell, some experience of post-mortem divine punishment for misdeeds in the present life is rejected by many intellectually and by even more practically. In fact, many people seem to reject the notion of God precisely because they find the doctrine of any sort of hell unconscionable. I’m not writing this to defend the notion of hell. Remember, this is in my emotional reasons section for why I’m a Christian. But think of it this way, instead of rejecting the notion of God because hell is a terrifying notion, consider the possibility that it is real. Whatever it is: eternal destruction, eternal torture, fire, darkness, hanging out with all the losers and jerk you hate and who hate you for eternity, etc, it can’t be pleasant. On top is hell clearly being terrible, versions of it have been believed by billions of people. Now, billions can be wrong and often are, but our instincts have a tendency to point us in the right direction if we consider them at the bar of reason.
The possibility of a post-mortem punishment for immoral behavior worth checking out. Here’s why I care about hell. In real life, my normal motivation for doing the right thing is usually ease in the moment. My life is set up so that moral behavior requires little effort. I’m not sure how good of a person I would be if times got tough. But nevertheless my desire for ease does cause me to consider the possibility of hell with concern. If misdeeds are punished, then that conflicts with my desire for ease. Because of the possibility of hell there are three things I can think of to do just in case (these are not contradictory):
- Seek forgiveness from whoever invented or cares about my morality.
- Be as excellent of a person as I can (not just outwardly, but learning to desire goodness inwardly).
- See if some religion seems true and adhere to it.