Hellfire

The man who raises his voice has already lost the argument. — Samurai maxim

I find myself arguing religion online sometimes. I’m not sure why. I’m fairly secure in my beliefs (or rather lack thereof), but sometimes I’m just drawn to discuss it, whether as an existentialist exercise or because someone said something that irked me. Maybe I’m still trying to work out something in my head that is incomplete like who’s on first base.*

And there’s a thing that bothers me. Actually there’s a whole lot of things that bother me, and it makes me wonder why I do it. Though, as I said sometimes I’m annoyed by someone’s presumptive comments and just gotta respond. I am such troll-bait sometimes.** So, how do I coach this is such a way that it doesn’t sound like I’m just complaining about a phenomenon I was pretty much asking for?

Pro Tip when making a religious argument: Expressing or implying the threat of Hellfire is shibboleth for being held hostage.

Seriously. When you tell someone You will go to Hell [for disobeying, not believing, staying gay, whatever], the automatic implication is I am going to go to Hell unless I cooperate fully with my captors.

It’s true for reals.

More than that, the following additional points can be inferred:

What I am saying is not what I believe, but what my captors demand I say.

I am not in this position voluntarily, though I may not try to escape.

I am not in an informed or reasonable state. I may be brainwashed, programmed or drugged. I do not know if I want to be rescued or to escape.

I am not a reliable ally. I may resist rescue. I may help my captors.

My captors are armed and dangerous. Do not approach.

My captors are devious and may try to entrap you or lure you into an ambush. Seriously, do not approach.

The Hell code takes many forms.

· Then you’re going to HELL!

· If you don’t…you might regret it.

· Well, he’s not a real Christian.

· She’s going to suffer for her sin.

· Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

They all mean the same thing:

Help me!

Seriously! Don’t say these things unless you’re wanting someone to call in a SWAT team on your current position with a hostage negotiator.

The man who draws first is the one that ran out of options. — Proverb of the frontier

* Yes!

** To be fair, I often give people online the benefit of the doubt, that they’re not trolling. But they often are trying to be clever.

Image is a standard clip piece that’s all over the web. The site I picked it up from was hosted in Russia.

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