Let’s see how this post goes, and if it can fly I’ll try to get theist responses to other problems atheists have with theism. This is about the ‘fate of the unlearned’ (what happens to those who die never having heard the good news of Jesus Christ) and Nathanael makes these three points. He may still want to elaborate on them as they were given in the context of a much longer comment which was not focused on this issue. Still, they are as good a place as any to begin:
1. God has made the possibility of knowing and believing in God possible through the created order and conscience (i.e. a belief in moral absolutes and a recognition that in spite of our best efforts we wilfully do what we know to be wrong either by commission or omission).
2. Anyone sincerely seeking a relationship with God and dies “not having heard the truth” would have ended up believing in God anyway while alive if presented with a fuller revelation of that God
3. Those incapable of making a rational decision on the basis on mental impairment or age will not be subject to the same standard. Do I know definitively what the boundary posts are for those conditions? No. But an all know, all loving God would.
The problems with these explanation arise because we live in a linear timeline and so believe that we can make linear explanations for the actions of god. God however exists beyond time and space, while simultaneously understanding and controlling all time and space. So:
1. As god is all-knowing then there can be no free will to willfully exercise. He already knows everything that one will ever do, and so right at this moment already knows whether that person will ever believe in him. We are meat puppets.
2. This is just a copout, but a copout that logically follows from the first point. To say one doesn’t even have to have heard the good word, just have had the certainty that if the situation had been different, then they would have believed anyway means that Jesus’s mission is redundant. No need for a crucifixion or a resurrection as god can just look at the person and decide that this person would have believed had Jesus ever come to Earth to deliver his message.
3. See 2.