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Interesting remarks. Thanks for passing them along.

Dave, I have to admit. Your title hooked me in. :)

So I am asking, would you consider yourself a moderate Christian or a fundamentalist Christian?

And then secondly, have you read Sam Harris' latest book, Letters to a Christian Nation?

And, thirdly, do you think his position is unfair to moderate Christians in contrast to Bertrand? Who is being more consistent in his position, Bertrand or Sam?

Nice post Dave, I've always really enjoyed Bertrand Russell. A bit back I wrote a post quoting him. I agree with his opinion that "Christianity" has brought more evils to the world than virtues. But then again, I think the same could be said about 'Religion' in general.

Dave,
From what I remember of Russell's essay (I didn't reread it), was that his basic answer to the question of why he is not a Christian had to do with the problem of evil, though he seemed to ignore the fact that Christians have been dealing with this problem for 1700 years.

apart from six or seven truly devilish folks who will go to outer darkness

Nein! Where do people get the idea that the number confined to OD will be so small? I researched this quite arduously once and could not find anything except folklore that took this stance. I suspect the number will be quite large. And it seems like only those who go there will know if its final population: D&C 76:48.

Regardless, even with 6 or 7, you still have a place of confinement for the eternally naughty, and what better word to use than "hell?"

Todd, you're right, the title is kind of a hook -- which I don't do very often -- but I come clean in the first line of the post so I don't feel too bad. Sometimes good post titles are hard to come up with.

No, I haven't read Letter to a Christian Nation. I was so unimpressed with End of Faith I don't really plan on reading it, either. I think Russell is more fair than Harris is, but neither presents a balanced view of the historical role of Christianity.

David J, it sounds like you've spent more time investigating the question than I have. Here are a couple of online links that suggest it is a fairly small number: First, the entry "Hell" in the EOM states Outer Darkness (which I'll capitalize for convenience, not to make it seem more official) will be reserved for the Sons of Perdition (i.e., the devil and his angels), described as those who have "committed the unforgivable and unpardonable sin."

Second, the EOM entry "The Unpardonable Sin" states that "to commit the unpardonable sin, a person 'must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him.'" (Quoting TPJS.)

So I think it's safe to say that at least the modern LDS view is that there will be very few inhabitants of Outer Darkness.

(Speaking respectfully...) From those two points, I don't see how you get to that conclusion, Dave. I don't see how anyone makes that final leap of logic. And what's indicative here is that you didn't do it from scripture, which is saturated with heaven and hell speak. No offense, man, yours is my favorite Mormon blog, but the "fingers of one hand" stuff is complete myth. Maybe we should blog this one up on a different post.

I love that last paragraph, just love it. It's a scary world, thanks for the reminder.

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