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One of the more interesting theological propositions I've been met with lately proposes that the characteristics most typically ascribed to God force the conclusion that all "non-believers" are, of necessity, ultimately illusions presented for the sole purpose of assisting the true believers in properly exercising their belief in order to arrive at a salvation for which they are destined. This proposition begins with the premises familiar to the argument from the existence of evil. It presumes, to be right on point, that there exists a "God"; and that this God accords with these properties:

1) actually responsible for the Creation of our Universe;
2) all-powerful, or at least sufficiently powerful to accomplish all of what it aims to;
3) omniscient, or at least sufficiently knowledgeable and intelligent so that, in creating our Universe, it was aware in advance of how every detail would unfold
4) inclined to reward "good" humans with something akin to a "Heaven" experience;
5) "good," in some empirical sense which involves not wishing to exacerbate suffering more than necessary for its ends to be met;
6) morally inclined to prefer that everyone ought to act so that they end up in "Heaven" as their outcome.

This sort of set of propositions has oft been met with the argument that the supposition of a Hell or other punishment into which even the unevanglized or incompetently evangalized are condemned for their "choice" of nonbelief presupposes the inability of this sort of God to accomplish its aim to save as many as possible -- after all, why create souls which happen to be destined for Hell at all? Why, for example, create souls of people who will be born in a jungle a thousand miles from anyone who has ever heard of the "true" faith, and so will die without ever hearing what is necessary to be believed so as to appease their judging deity? Why create the souls of those whose only exposure to the "true" faith will be through an incompetent evangelist who will unwittingly misrepresent as something abhorrent, thus driving even those who might be willing away from its adoption.

But an intriguing counter to this is that such a God could indeed simply create a Universe containing only those persons destined for Heaven, and surround them with straw men, illusions of people who would be destined for Hell were they but real, enabling those Heaven-bound to believe they are interacting in a godly life. Such a proposition, it is observed, would permit our world to appear exactly as it does, and yet no person ever encountered actually would face an infernal postmortem fate. The unshakeable unbelievers, and any similar "unrepentant sinner" come across by the believer (whatever the believer's faith, for this theory transposed across all faiths having a God with the four characteristics set forth above) are, it turns out, not true persons at all, but mere illusions existing to illustrate points of use to the existence and eventual salvation of the believer. Simply put, if you are certain of your own actual existence, then you must be destined to a heavenly end pretty much no matter what, else the actuality of your existence would never have been brought about at all by a good God with advance knowledge, and instead an illusory "you" would fill your place for the sole purpose of interacting with the truly Heaven-bound.

But explaining this puts the actually-existing in a little bit of a bind, for once this bit of logic is arrived at, one must become aware that it is fine to ignore the illusory people, for they are no more than an illusion. Naturally, it may be contended that the believer is still bound by his belief to demonstrate the qualities which will wend his salvation, by treating these illusory people as though they are real; and, verily, some people who at first seem unsalvageable and might so be dismissed as illusory are in fact "real" people destined to "come around" to the position of salvation. But then, since all those real people are destined for salvation no matter what, again the true believer need not actually engage in any labor to accomplish this end, unless that is the only way that a person may be sure that they are real at all, and not simply one amongst the illusions somehow errantly believing in their own reality.

Another odd corollary of this proposition is that, if you are a Heaven-destined person, and so, real, then I, by dint of writing this at all, am simply an illusion -- but, because all the illusions are purposed toward bringing the "real" people to their destined salvations, then it is your destiny to have read this on your eventual salvational path, and to be somehow informed toward salvation by it. In short, if you are reading this, then because it is demonstrated to be possible for a "good" God to save those worth saving without actually ever condemning anyone, thus fulfilling its prescription, either this is true, or one of the vital propositions above as to the characteristics of "your" God, is false!!

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