Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: Do you believe in a God who rewards good and punishes wrong-doing?


B: Well, firstly I'm an agnostic - I don't know whether or not God exists, but if

there is a God I hope he or she doesn't punish wrong-doing.


A: But why not? We punish murderers and rapists on Earth, so why shouldn't the same people rot in hell?


B: Because in my view, I'd prefer to discover an understanding God than a God

of vengeance. I'd find it hard to believe in a God who makes people suffer.


A: But nobody has to suffer. Everybody is free to choose between right and wrong.


B: Well, that depends on whether we really have free will. I happen to believe that

our choices can be traced back to their causes - some hereditary and some environmental.


A: But if you followed that line to its logical conclusion, you'd pardon all criminals.


B: Not at all. Other people are part of the environment and they have a right to react to wrong-doing to protect society.


A: Then why shouldn't God send evil people to hell?


B: I would agree with you if the purpose of hell was to rehabilitate people back into heaven, but hell is usually associated with

torture and eternal damnation. Civilized countries don't base their prison systems on violent institutions which don't give people a second chance.


A: But God gives people second chances. None of us is perfect, but we have time to confess our sins and to ask for forgiveness.


B: Before the day of judgement, yes, but we can't help what we are and we should be given time to develop even after we have met our creator.


A: But who can say that we will develop into civilized beings. Surely, God has the right to cut his losses.


B: I still maintain that an understanding God would prefer rehabilitation to torture.