A popular argument taught to fundamentalist college students is what I like to call the Christian Car Bomb Argument. The beauty of this argument is that it can be used to justify the most despicable actions in the name of love. It basically turns morality on its head. The argument may vary in many of the details, but basically it goes something like this:
If you knew that there was a bomb in your friend’s car wouldn’t you do what ever you could to stop your friend from getting into his car? If you really loved your friend, you would stop him or her from getting into his or her car at all costs, right?
The argument goes on to explain that Sin is the car bomb and Hell is a spiritual death. So if you really loved your friend, you would do what ever it took to make him or her swear their allegiance to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior… because God so loved the world that he sacrificed his only begotten son so that we can be with Him in Heaven and be granted eternal life forever and ever. If non-Christian friend doesn’t believe this, they will not be forgiven from sin (the bomb) and they will go to Hell for all eternity to be torture forever and ever. Therefore, a good loving Christian must do anything and everything (moral or immoral) to believe and worship Jesus. The ends justify the means and anything goes. All options are on the table because the fate of someone’s eternal soul rests in the balance.
There are a couple of problems with this argument. Let’s start with the fact that if there is no evidence for the existence of a Car Bomb in my car, I would ignore my friend’s warning. Especially if the bomb squad came and couldn’t find a bomb anywhere and my friend still kept ranting and raving about the car bomb. My friend might even say that you have to trust him or her or have “faith” that the bomb is real, but after awhile and a ton of evidence to the contrary, I would just assume that my friend was off his or her meds and get in my car and drive away. My friend might then say that it was still a bad idea, because no one knows the time or the place in which the car bomb might explode, but that it will explode “soon.” In other words, the fact that I drove the car and it didn’t explode is not evidence that the bomb doesn’t exist. In fact there can never be evidence that the car bomb doesn’t exist to my crazy friend.
The second problem is what I pointed to earlier that this argument teaches Christians that any and all actions (including immoral actions) are justified if it will save someone’s eternal soul. Christians are free to lie, cheat, steal, and even use physical force to save their friend’s eternal soul. After all, who cares if you hurt your friend’s physical body if you can save his spiritual life, right? Even Jesus said this when he talked about cutting off a thieving hand and plucking out a lustful eye. Con your friend, bribe him or her to come to a meeting, use fear, and even your sexuality to win his or her soul for Jesus. Like I said, anything is permissible. Don’t worry about sinning yourself, because Jesus died for your sins already and God will understand. The ends justify the means. Incidentally enough, this was the same reasoning used during the Spanish Inquisition for the torture on non-Christians. It doesn’t matter how much the physical body is tortured as long as you can save their eternal soul.
So next time you hear a Christian talk about the car bomb or some other variation on this argument (and there are many) you can ask them for proof of this “sin” thing and proof that you will go to Hell. You can tell your Christian friend that if you knew there was a bomb in his car, you would just show him the damn bomb and if he still didn’t believe you, you would let him drive off.
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