Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Argument from Love Against Traditional Christian Theism


Hassoun, Nicole. Eternally Separated Lovers: The Argument from Love, Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming). 


Here's the abstract:
A message scribbled irreverently on the mediaeval walls of the Nonberg cloister says this: ‘Neither of us can go to heaven unless the other gets in.’ It suggests an argument against the view that those who love people who suffer in hell can be perfectly happy, or even free from all suffering, in heaven. This paper considers the challenge posed by this thought to the coherence of the traditional Christian doctrine on which there are some people in hell who are suffering and others in heaven who are not suffering. More precisely, it defends the following argument:
1. No one who loves another can be perfectly happy or free from suffering if they know that their beloved is suffering.

2. Anyone in hell suffers (at least as long as they are in hell).
3. Anyone in heaven is perfectly happy or at least free from suffering.
4. There can be no one in heaven who is aware of the fact that his or her beloved is in hell. (1, 2, and 3)

The paper argues that the first premise is eminently plausible and that those who accept the traditional Christian doctrine should endorse the claim that some of those in heaven love people whom they know to be suffering in hell. So, it concludes that there is reason to reject the traditional Christian doctrine.
And if a copy should find it's way to my email, I wouldn't mind it in the least. Update: Thanks!
Although I haven't yet read the article, I've read a persuasive variation on the argument from Thomas Talbott in his book, The Inescapable Love of God. Links to a bunch of his papers and books can be found here.

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