Hit Show MODERN FAMILY shows it is impracticable to deny existence of Hell when guys like Hitler existed!!!!

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On the popular show MODERN FAMILY Jay has a talk with his grandson Manny:

Manny: So you are not worried about getting in trouble you know with God ?
Jay:oh I think He has bigger things on his plate
Manny: so you are not worried about hell?
Jay : let me let you in on a little secret kid, there is no hell
Manny: seriously no hell!!! That is fantastic!!so everyone goes to heaven?
Jay: yep!! End of story!!
Manny: even bad people?
Jay: yeah they are in another section.
Manny: I was thinking about this heaven of yours that is filled with bad people.
Jay: it is not full, it is the tiniest fraction and they are walled in.
Manny: what if they break out?
Jay: they are surrounded by a lake of fire.
Manny: there are fiery lakes in heaven?  This is turning into hell!!!——–
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What do you do with Hitler? There are three posts I have done in the past that deal this subject in an emphatic way. On my blog I have two posts that thousands of people have read over the last 18 months and they are in my all-time top ten list of most viewed and the ironic thing is that both deal with hell and what do you do with a guy like Hitler if you don’t believe in hell.

The first one post dealt with Chris Martin of Coldplay and his life journey of being raised as an evangelical but leaving during his college years because of his rejection of the idea of hell. Then when he writes his best selling song of all-time  “Viva La Vida” he writes that the evil king pictured in the song  is “eternally damned,” and Saint Peter will not be calling his name.

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In the  second one Mike Huckabee caused quite a stir when he said that Osama bin Laden was in hell right now. In this post I include a portion of an article I wrote for our online church magazine back in 1999 that discusses this same subject. It goes like this:

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Woody Allen’s movie Crimes and Misdemeanors does a great job of showing that if God does not exist then people like Stalin and Hitler were “home free” in that they were never going to be punished for what they did. 

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King.

(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)
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In the third post I mention that I had the unique opportunity to discuss this very issue with Robert Lester Mondale and his wife Rosemary  on April 14, 1996 at his cabin in Fredricktown, Missouri , and my visit was very enjoyable and informative. Mr. Mondale had the distinction of being the only person to sign all three of the Humanist Manifestos in 1933, 1973 and 2003. I asked him which signers of Humanist Manifesto Number One did he know well and he said that Raymond B. Bragg, and Edwin H. Wilson  and him were known as “the three young radicals of the group.”  Harold P. Marley used to have a cabin near his and they used to take long walks together, but Marley’s wife got a job in Hot Springs, Arkansas and they moved down there.

Roy Wood Sellars was a popular professor of philosophy that he knew. I asked if he knew John Dewey and he said he did not, but Dewey did contact him one time to ask him some questions about an article he had written, but Mondale could not recall anything else about that.

Mondale told me some stories about his neighbors and we got to talking about some of his church members when he was an Unitarian pastor. Once during the 1930’s he was told by one of his wealthier Jewish members that he shouldn’t continue to be critical of the Nazis. This member had just come back from Germany and according to him Hitler had done a great job of getting the economy moving and things were good.

Of course, just a few years later after World War II was over Mondale discovered on a second hand basis what exactly had happened over there when he visited with a Lutheran pastor friend who had just returned from Germany. This Lutheran preacher was one of the first to be allowed in after the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, and he told Mondale what level of devastation and destruction of  innocent lives went on inside these camps. As Mondale listened to his friend he could feel his own face turning pale.

I asked, “If those Nazis escaped to Brazil or Argentina and lived out their lives in peace would they face judgment after they died?”

Mondale responded, “I don’t think there is anything after death.”

I told Mr. Mondale that there is sense in me that says  justice will be given eventually and God will judge those Nazis even if they evade punishment here on earth. I did point out that in Ecclesiastes 4:1 Solomon did note that without God in the picture  the scales may not be balanced in this life and power could reign, but at the same time the Bible teaches that all  must face the ultimate Judge.

Then I asked him if he got to watch the O.J. Simpson trial and he said that he did and he thought that the prosecution had plenty of evidence too. Again I asked Mr. Mondale the same question concerning O.J. and he responded, “I don’t think there is a God that will intervene and I don’t believe in the afterlife.”

The Mondale siblings: Lester, Walter, Mort, Pete, and Clifford and Eleanor Archer (adopted sister); credit: University of Minnesota Law Library Archives

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