Q + Tree = Dignity.......What???

I must say, I have yet to succeed in getting into the blog rhythm. Many many a thing interest me in the topic under which I created this blog, but so often the subject, as it comes up, frustrates me too much, fades away too quickly, or I just simply find myself too busy to feel justified in spending my time on typing it for the internet world to see...as if I really cared. Well, I suppose I do care a bit, because I like dialogue and conversation, and I'm told that's what blogging is all about. So maybe for a while I'll attempt to blog about things that I can sum up in few words and then perhaps it won't demotivate me so much from blogging at all. We'll give it a shot...

So this one goes back a few months, but I've never been able to let it go in my mind. I have this scholar friend of mine. He is a thorough Christian thinker with a master's degree in apologetics (Christian apologetics, to be clear). A small handful of you who may read this know who he is; most of you don't. Either way, it doesn't really matter, as he will remain nameless. I used to meet with him once a week for breakfast to talk about Christianity, theology, philosophy, etc. Many of the things that came out of those conversations will make it on to this blog at one point or another; some already have. My point is that I am not mentioning him so that I can attack his character. Rather, I am intrigued and often frustrated by some of the things that he believes and argues and thus, they make for good blogging material. I just wanted to make that clear: this isn't a bash-fest.

Moving on, here's one particular topic we talked about one morning over breakfast. We entered onto the subject of the traditional Christian doctrine of hell. This is a subject that I've spent so many hours thinking about over the years that I would actually just like to say "screw it" and get some of those hours back for more productive purposes. However, the devil himself probably couldn't even make that happen, so we'll just live with it. Here's the conversation. I was asking the following question, which may resemble my personal beliefs to some degree that perhaps not even I am aware of. But more importantly, it was for the purpose of discussion.

(from the human perspective) "Why does a finite amount of sin warrant an infinite amount of punishment?"

The following is his response (verbatim):

Well, a finite crime against an infinite being warrants an infinite amount of punishment.

Now here's my response to that (that unfortunately I did not have at the time). Why on earth would someone think this makes sense? From the viewpoint of a logician, this is absurd. The reason so many people in the western church culture would buy this argument (among many many other reasons, I think) is because is sounds really nice. In fact it sounds very mathematical. However, there is no real logical basis for it. Who says a finite amount of crime against an infinite being warrants an infinite amount of punishment? Why doesn't a finite amount of crime against an infinite being warrant a finite amount of punishment? Why does the punishment reflect the victim rather than the crime, or even the criminal? I'm not trying to rule out anyone's response to this, but I honestly don't think an American court system analogy would do any good here, as I'm not talking about a general consensus of morality. This subject is clearly much bigger and unfortunately, abstract.

Anyway, there's the food for thought. Please understand that I am not trying to spark a debate about the existence, reality, consequence, or doctrine of hell. That subject is way too big for right now and I have no interest in going into it as a whole. So please, any thoughts you may have out there should only relate to the above argument, not the topic at large.

There, so much for keeping it short.