This is why Pascal’s wager, wherein one bets in favor of God rather than risking damnation, is one of the stupidest ideas ever articulated. If there is a God, He knows you were just a good betting man splitting the odds—insincere but scared.
After the Prodigal’s return, both brothers are with the father. Both brothers are in the same location, sharing the same reality: their father’s love. But because of the difference in the content of their characters, one finds the father’s love to be Heaven, and the other finds it to be Hell. Hell is a condition of loss. It’s not a place. “Hell” and “Heaven” are both experienced as the presence of God: the merciful experience joy, the merciless sorrow.
According to Girard, the Bible shows that violence does not come from God; rather, God sympathizes with victims. Seen this way, the incarnation incarnates God in the person of Jesus, in order to become himself a victim. God’s only earthly throne is a cross. His only “revenge” on his enemies is unconditional compassion and forgiveness. This view is the opposite of satisfying the blood lust of an angry god modeled on the pagan deities and the theological theories of atonement. Rather, the Incarnation and Christ’s murder points to the futility of violence and to the path of salvation through all encompassing empathy. Christ, in Girard’s view, was not the ultimate sacrifice but a rebuke by God of sacrificing anyone for anything… including some concept of “truth.” Rather than demanding some sort of justice, Christ sets the example of turning the other cheek. “Forgive them,” he asks for his killers.
—Frank Schaeffer (via gospelofthekingdom)