Is Osama Bin Laden in Hell? (and Other Stupid Things Christians Argue About) | Sojourners

Is Osama Bin Laden in Hell? (and Other Stupid Things Christians Argue About)

I’m sipping on a root beer at Barnes & Noble as I work on my revisions for Forest Life. In the meantime I’ve noticed a handfull of debates raging over this photo that has been spreading around the Internet today. This makes sense given that today is the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Of course thinking people know that his death did not bring about any worthwhile social change.

Christians are notorious for arguing about things that are absolutely undeniably unknowable. They’re also notorious for trumpeting the unknowable – things like the end of the world, God’s will and the details of the afterlife. (Assuming there is one at all.) They’re always wrong about the end of the world scenarios and I have a hard time believing that God sends tornadoes and earthquakes to punish homosexuals. (Sorry, John Piper.)

Today is no different. The ol’ Jesus freaks are ranting and raving and arguing and debating over the fate of the dead, particularly the fate of Bin Laden. A rational and humane person would ideally shrug their shoulders and say something like, “well he’s dead, don’t know what he’s up to these days, hopefully he’s more humane than he was before, if he’s off in some other life or age to come.”

Sadly, I’ve mostly observed Christians arguing back and forth. The more angry Christian folk are angrily arguing that he’s burning in Hell, slinging scriptures and condemning those who err on the side of mercy and compassion.

Here’s the thing: There’s nothing loving about Hell, there’s nothing merciful about it, there’s nothing redeeming about the archaic idea of a fire bowl filled with demons and eternal suffering.

And here’s the other thing: When a  staunch opponent of faith or doubter or skeptic like myself witnesses Christians fiercely retaliating merely because they believe that someone is trying to rob them of their hate and unknowable ideas about the afterlife -- well, frankly I see more and more reason to completely reject Christianity.

Just some food for thought.

Shane Crash is a writer, blogger and author of Endings as well as the forthcoming novel Forest Life who has spent the better part of the last three years roaming aimlessly around the world trying to understand his responsibility as a human being. Shane uses his experiences, doubts and fears to create honest art. He is well known for being a radical non-violent social activist as well as a theological prankster. Shane spends much of his time traveling the country and running Pacifist Army. He speaks frequently on non-violence and social responsibility and he is a fan of Marvel Comics. Shane blogs at, where this post originally appeared.

The image of Osama bin Laden, created by designer Jim LePage, that sparked some of the debate about hell, etc., can be found in its original form HERE.