Anyway, my question is; I've been told that most people go to hell even though they're nice people at heart. They just aren't quite nice enough, or nice in the right way, to get into heaven. So my boggle is, does anyone truly deserve to burn for eternity? That seems like a harsh motherfucking punishment for someone who, say, never murdered anyone, right? How does the Catholic church justify their belief and worship of a god who has such a seemingly warped sense of justice?
Quoth Bartleby: "I remember when eating meat on Friday was a hell-worthy offense."
They justify it through fear. If you're afraid enough of something, they'll conform to what you think their ideals should be. And just like any part of society for good or ill, ideals can change over time. Remember when it was fashionable to be a little hefty? Yeah, me neither, but it was, once. The term "rubenesque" has lost a lot of its old meaning and has gained some decidedly nasty overtones (ahh, denotation versus connotation, an old favorite argument of mine), but at one point, it was the standard of beauty. Nowadays, it's the thin, perfect models they always show as society's "standard".
It's much the same with faith. You don't go to hell for associating with a woman menstruating anymore, because society deems it acceptable. If you want a bacon double cheeseburger for lunch on Friday, you can eat it without worrying for the state of your immortal soul.
I don't argue whether or not there's a God up there; I believe in something, but defining that something holds no interest for me. For argument's sake, let's say it's the Catholic God. I don't believe He has a warped sense of justice at all; it's just that pesky thing called "free will" He freely gifted us. A couple of people with enough power and education frightened the unwashed, huddled masses into believing that everyone is born tainted, and if we die without being brought into the light of God, we're sent straight to to a burning place, no matter if we're ten seconds old or ten decades old.
I don't buy into original sin, it's one of the major fundamental differences I have with Catholic dogma. I find it hard to believe that on one hand, there's a God that made us in his image, in his perfection, but he's petty and cruel enough to let everyone everywhere be stained for all eternity... until some magical water washes that sin away. I prefer to believe we have a tabula rasa when we first come into the world, and it's how we conduct ourselves during our lives that differentiates where we spend our afterlives.
I'd go so far to say that God had nothing to do with the Bible. Man had to do with the Bible on God's behalf, and man is innately imperfect in his understanding of the Divine. So politics, economics and personal ethics had to make up for the understanding he lacked when he wrote the Good Book.