Now this may have been answered before, but I did a quick search and it’s kinda difficult to word the search correctly so I’ll post it anyway.
My understanding of Christianity is limited and based mainly on various slightly unproductive discussions with my Mother (who is born again) so bear with me here.
I am led to believe that the Christian God is a “just” God, and as such would be expected to pass fair and unbiased decsions on his people. Now, I am not one of these people (call me Agnostic for want of a better way of saying it). I wouldn’t mind it all to be true (the bible and Christianity), but prove it. That isn’t the issue though, at least not in this question, I know the standard arguments given, belief can’t be proved etc.
What I really want to know is, what happens if one has not taken Jesus into his life but is a good person. I think I’m not that bad. I haven’t broken any major laws anyway ;-), unless speeding counts. But a better example would be what would happen to a person who lived a Christian (read followed commandments or similar) virtous life but never accepted Jesus or the Christian faith into his/her life? My Mother leads me to understand that unless Jesus is accepted then one cannot enter the Christian heaven. Now assuming that the Christians of this world are right and everone else is wrong, how does that make God just.
One can live a blamless life and still goto hell should it exist, or has my Mother got the wrong end of the stick here. I’ve quizzed a few of her born-again friends and never really received a satisfactory answer. So can anyone fill me in here?
There is a variety of religious person who walks in the sweet solemnity of faith, with a smile in thier hearts consistent with a certainty of salvation. Such as these tend to be disinterested in theology. I commend thier example to you. You don’t have to figure it out.
Surely that is the point I do have to figure it out, or why ask the question. That it is “blind faith” does not answer everything, or in fact even anything, at least not to those of us (and I take your answer with a small pinch of salt if I may, if not apologies for taking it in a disrespectful fashion) who question in a rational (at least from our point of view) manner that which may often not be answered in such a rational way.
Apos makes a common agnostic argument:
If there is a God that would damn me for being honest about my beliefs, said God is not worthy of my worship.
The RCC used to make a distinction of where the virtuous pagen would go vs where a proper Christian would go. This was the doctrine of Limbo (“nice place, but you can’t see God” Hi Tom~!). This has been abandoned of late, and those who would have gone to Limbo are now going to Heaven.
Calvinists (think Puritans) hold that everybody goes to Hell unless God happens to pick them - and God’s reasons for such selection are unknowable. This is the doctrine of the Elect.
I’ll shut up now, and let the believers take the floor.
—Apos makes a common agnostic argument:
If there is a God that would damn me for being honest about my beliefs, said God is not worthy of my worship.—
Actually, I’m an atheist: the “arguement” is not particular to any group of people. Either it makes sense or it doesn’t. It’s sort of an inverse Pascal’s Wager: but this version actually makes sense. Basically, it’s: Well, I don’t believe, or have any reason to believe. If, however, there actually is a god, and I somehow missed it, this god could either be moral enough to forgive my ignorance, or so nasty as to hurt me for it that it’s not like he’s worthy of worship in the first place.
Please note that I said “agnostic argument” NOT “an argument unique to agnostics”.
The argument itself reflects the possibility of a deity - that is an agnostic position.
The fact that the argument is used by agnostics, atheists, and possibly Taoists (for all I know) does not change the fact that the position itself is agnostic.
Sorry, perhaps I should have not used the shorthand term “agnostic argument”
God is the judge. He is all knowing, all powerful, merciful and loving. God created the universe and rules it according to his will, and no sparrow may fall that he does not note. God is responsible for all that occurs and if He chooses, He will reveal His plan.
Do not be troubled by people pretending that they know all of God’s plan and how he will judge you or anyone else, they know neither. Know that you are a beloved creation of a loving God and that He gave you free will, and that you shall use that free will as a part of his creation.
I’ll try a go at it. I believe in the biblical teaching that one must accept Christ as Savior to go to heaven. In other words I agree with your mother. John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.
John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth upon him.
Acts 4:12 - Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
Romans 10:9 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
1 Timothy 2:5 - For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
That’s just a few. And I think that God is still just (not that He needs my defense) because He has clearly provided a way for all to come to Him. It’s their free choice. He won’t force anybody. I know that there are many people who live a good life and are good people but according to God’s word that’s not how we can come to Him because all our good works can never be enough to merit heaven. Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Psalm 14:2-3 - The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Also, Romans 3:10-11, Romans 3:23.
So even though you haven’t broken any laws and have been a good person, you still can go to heaven only by acceptance of Christ and His sacrifice for you. One would have to live a perfect holy life before God with no sin whatsoever (includes thought, word, or deed) in order to gain heaven. Clearly no man can do this for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23. That’s why we need a Saviour. We simply can’t be good enough, no matter how hard we try. Jesus took our penalty for “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, Romans 6:23.
I’ve heard it explained in this simplistic manner : Imagine all of us with a rock that represents our good works and the moon represents the perfection we need to reach. We all throw our rocks, some will go much farther than others (some live better lives than others, are good people, etc.) but no one is going to be able to throw their rock and make it reach the moon.
So, in closing I have to answer you and say that those who’ve lived very good lives, even lived by Christian principles can’t enter heaven without acceptance of Christ as Saviour because no amount of goodness is good enough. Jesus would not have had to come and suffer if we could be good enough. The cross of Christ shows that God is still just because as I said the price has been paid, the way is open for all who will come. But there is only one way and one way only for everyone. Why would anyone not want to accept such a wonderful gift?
—come to Him because all our good works can never be enough to merit heaven.—
Some of us, however, don’t think even bad works can merit abuse.
—Why would anyone not want to accept such a wonderful gift?—
Because it is not god’s to give. If I’m not good enough for this hypothetical God, then that’s that. No amount of pagan blood sacrifices and magic rituals can make me more or less deserving of anything.
There are plenty of people who aren’t fundamentalists who still hold the belief that Jesus is the one path to Heaven. I’d estimate that 75% of the Christians in my church would say this, perhaps more, and the Disciples of Christ are a reasonably liberal group (enough so, anyway, to get our national convention picketed by Fred Phelps and his Legion of the Undead [Hi, Fred!]).