Is there any other way to get to Heaven?

I had my cousin the evangelist visit and stay at my place this past weekend. I warn him evey time not to engage me into any kind of religious debate but he never learns.

During one of our conversations I asked him if someone (like a tribesman living in some remote jungle), having never been exposed to the Word of God, would go to Hell.

His answer was that if that somebody had been exposed to the Word and had subsequently rejected the message, then this person would surely be condemned to an eternity of torture. But if that someone (like my tribesman friend) had never had the opportunity to know the Lord, then that person would get a pass at the Pearly Gates and be forgiven. I told him the Bible says the only way to get to heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart. No exceptions. He gave me the ol’ “I’ll get back to you with the passage”.

Not exactly being a Bible expert, is there a passage that jives with what he claims?

Well, you could always with sufficient technology create a wormhole into Heaven and invade.

Then, God would wish he DID want a starship.


From the part I emphasized here, I’m assuming that you are a mainstream Christian believer. Welcome to SDMB if you are new, BTW.)

(Emphasis mine.)

Well, first, where in the Bible does it specifically say: accepting Jesus into your heart?

ISTR* that Acts asks whether you have obeyed the truth.

There is a whole list of different things that the Bible says about salvation. I don’t have it handy, maybe one of the fine folks here can help me out.

Meantime, just what did Jesus say in Matthew, chapter 25?

Have you fed the hungry? At least, to the best of your ability? Hmmmmmmm?

  • for newbies: ISTR= I seem to recall

Thanks for the welcome. been lurking for a while, started commenting a few months ago.

No, I’m not a believer. As a matter of fact, I’m one of those dirty atheists:D

Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that the “into your heart” bit was a direct passage. I’m just going by what was continuously drilled into my head when we went to church. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ, get baptized, repent.

This site mentions the following:

Seems to me like if you’re one of the unlucky ones to have never been exposed to the Word of God, you’re going to Heck!

If your cousin is right and someone can still get into heaven as long as he or she have never been exposed to the Word, then evangelists are putting people into serious danger by exposing them to the Word! I would be really pissed off if I was in my small village in Africa heading towards guaranteed salvation when, with no warning, some evangelist comes by and exposes his Word to me. Now, I have to either accept Jesus into my heart to be saved or risk going to hell! Before, I was definitely going to get in. Stupid evangelist!

Of course, if he’s wrong about the loophole but right about the way into heaven, then God is condemning people (and lots of babies!) to hell without them even having the chance to find a way to find faith. Seems pretty arbitrary to me.

Haha, brilliant… this will drive him nuts! Leave those tribesmen alone you dangerous Word spreaders! You are potentially sending those people to hell!!

Modern Christian dogma rarely reflects actual Scripture. Fundamentalist Christians will make up whatever rules best suit them, and then cherry-pick whichever Bible verses fit their delusional beliefs, even if they have to twist the words around a bit.

Regarding people who have never been exposed to Christ (such as Amazonian tribes who’ve never had contact with outside people) – the most common rhetoric I’ve heard is that there are NO such people. Jesus Christ WILL reveal himself, in some manner or form, to every single human being on Earth, perhaps as a vision or a dream, and that person will have one chance to accept him as the Savior or reject him. There are no exceptions.

However, that’s dogma not scripture. If you’re looking for a bible verse that specifies such a thing, good luck finding one. (Not that such a petty thing as lack of scriptural support would ever prevent these idiot Christians from believing in such claptrap.)

There’s always John 3:16 and following:

If Yahweh is real, and loving, and really sent his perfect son/part of himself to die for the sins of the world, it doesn’t make much sense that you have to believe in Jesus to get the salvation.

On the other hand, if Yahweh is merely a meme, it makes perfect sense that it includes the concept that belief is required for salvation. Better replication that way.

A quick scan of the online NT for ‘heaven’ reveals the following hints from one Matthew:
Be poor in spirit, or be persecuted (Matthew 5)
Forgive people who sin against you (Matthew 6)
Do the will of god (Matthew 7)
Acknowledge Jesus, and he’ll do the same for you in heaven (Matthew 10)
Don’t be rich/give to the poor (Matthew 19)

Most anything else would appear to be supposition and guesswork.

Isn’t there that bit about Jesus saying “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light. There is no way to the Father except through me.”? To me, that implies that the OP’s tribesman is going to be in the same boat as all the other non-believers, if there turns out to be a Heaven as Christians envision it…

This can be much more effectively summed up with a Venn diagram.

First, one must show conclusive proof of the existence of heaven.

BTW, you might also opt to quote the prophet Homer Simpson.

First, one might ask, “Why should I care?” The answer is usually along the lines of Pascal’s Wager: that you can’t afford NOT to care. Sure, if you’re all materialist and turn out to be right, then no biggie; but if it turns out after you die that you SHOULD have worried about Salvation, it would be Too Late.

Then, I point out that many, many religions have existed in human history and thought, most of which purported to be the only way to a good outcome in an afterlife. So why listen to this particular spiel? Quoth Homer Simpson: “What if we pick the wrong religion, and every week we’re just making God madder and madder at us?”

Now your friend brings in a third option: if you were never dealt a hand in the game (never got proselytized to), you can’t lose (go to Hell)! So why ante up? And therefore, since proselytizing surely sends more people to Hell than to Heaven, aren’t they doing more harm than good in so doing?

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?”

I think you’re supposed to take the stairs.

and then? Should I knock?

I thought some lady already bought those stairs. Does she allow other people to use them?

I’m agnostic but used to be Catholic. The official line from the priests was “We know you can get to Heaven by being a good Christian. We don’t presume to know if God, with all of his mystery and vagueness and what not, provides other ways to salvation.” Of course, lots of evangelicals would say I was listening to the Whore of Babylon, so what are you gonna do?

My favorite author, C.S. Lewis had Aslan (lion Jesus) say something along the lines of “All good you do is done in my name and counts towards heaven, even if you don’t realize it.” I always thought this made sense, but I don’t know about the biblical basis of such a statement.

I believe that Christian groups which believe in predestination claim that people who haven’t heard of Jesus weren’t going to go to heaven anyway, but I always thought predestination was pretty stupid.

God created that tribesman and knew exactly where he would be at every moment before God created the world. God is Love, and desires all to be saved. IMHO there is no way that God will condemn that tribesman for not being told about the Lord.

Now how that plays out, perhaps a form of reincarnation, perhaps a last minute visit by the Lord, perhaps Jesus will come to him directly. Also the Word states that if you seek God with all your heart you will find Him.

You have to remember in a way God has politely told you it’s really none of your business

He says “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. By the same hand I mold the righteous, I mold the unrighteous.”

In otherwords, mind your own business and let God handle it :slight_smile: