Who gets into heaven?

In your religion do you have to have a certain amount of goodness or just be the best one around? Does God grade on the curve?

In the Looking Glass did the Carpenter go the heaven because he ate less oysters than the Walrus? Or was he just as bad cause he ate as many as he could just like the Walrus?

It is my perception that society has basicly gone to hell lately and that the majority it morally bankrupt before we even start. So does God say “to Hell with all of you”? or does he say “you lived in a bad place but you did your best”?

Yes, but what is God’s perception? I would think that’s the truly important issue. If you could post the memo on that, I’m sure we’d all be most grateful :slight_smile:

Seriously, in my religion (population: 1) I feel towards hell the way that Lincoln was quoted on slavery – first for those that desire it for themselves, and secondly for those that desire it for others. It does disturb me that some people would be infuriated if there was an afterlife and I wasn’t in hell (yes, some people have told me this.) And really, I don’t think such a thing exists, because I really don’t think anyone can rack up an infinite amount of demerits in a finite amount of time, so if there is a heaven I imagine everyone goes there – or that everyone at least gets equal treatment (Sumerian dusty room for eternity, nonexistance, etc.) But that’s just MHO.

I’m on the guest list.

Are you sure? 'cos if you’ve seen the guest list, could you please check to see if I’m on it too? Thanks.

As I understand it, Christianity teaches that where you go after death depends on what youbelieved, not on how youbehaved.

Believe the right stuff all your life – go to heaven.

Believe the wrong stuff for a while, then take up belief in the right stuff – go to heaven.

Believe the wrong stuff all your life – go to hell.

Believe the right stuff for a while, then abandon it, or drift away, or even just waver – go to hell.

Failing to believe the right stuff means going to hell, no matter how good your behavior was. Being good earns you no points whatsoever if you failed to believe the right stuff. Buddha, Ghandi, those kinda guys, they’re all in hell now (according to the Christians).

I’m unsure how it’s handled if a believer in the right stuff behaves badly. Perhaps it’s assumed that believing in the right stuff guarentees good behavior? So no attention need be paid to the behavior of the believers? Or do bad behaving right believers ever go to hell? Can a Christian clarify this point, please?

There are so many perspectives on this question that it’s hardly worth answering (sorry justinh, I mean no offense).

Hazel: Here’s my attempt at clarification (I’m a Christian, but mine isn’t the only viewpoint, so expect a few more clarifications in due course - you asked for it!):
God exmaines the heart, by which I mean not the meaty pump, but the inner motives and attitudes of the person; what a person has inside them will be expressed in their actions and words; it isn’t possible to trick God by pretending to believe the right
things. As regards the finer points of who gets in and who (if anybody) doesn’t, and indeed what hell actually is, I’ll leave that for others to hack about.

Sorry, that isn’t much of an answer.


Did you mean all of Christianity or just Protestantism? Protestantism made the challenge of “faith over works”, but it’s hardly universal. Catholicism pays a great deal more attention to works. Universalists (today joined with Unitarians) believe in universal salvation. Calvinists believe in predestination. I’m not even sure what Eastern Orthodox folks believe.

As for me personally: I’d probably adhere to universal salvation, except that I don’t believe people need to be saved (i.e. people are not inherently bad, in my view). So I’d say, if there is a Heaven, God’s not exclusive; perfect love, by definition, can’t be.

OK, strange story coming up. My Grandmother on my Mom’s side is a very mentally ill, very hurtful person. She severely abused all of her children, both mentally and physically. She works as hard as she can to hurt members of our family and to keep them fighting with each other (she hasn’t been successfull lately). She is also a very self-righteous devout Catholic who gives a lot of money to the church, mainly so that her children won’t get any of it.

Normally the Catholic Church doesn’t presume to actually sell spots in heaven, but 2000 was a Jubilee Year or some such thing which apparently means they could do so. Being out of her damn mind, my Grandmother actually purchased spots in heaven (to the tune of several thousand each) for me, my mom, and my sister. She didn’t buy them for my stepfather or my half brother (my stepfather and my mother’s son) because she didn’t recognize them as her family or something. It was really bizarre to get these cards from the Vatican letting us know that we had spots reserved for us. We threw them away.

If someone wants to buy my spot, shoot me an email or something. I kinda wish I still had that card, because I bet I could sell a spot in heaven for a lot of cash on eBay.


Guest list? In a rather good book, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, there is a rather outstanding poem, the name of which I can’t remember.

The protaganist has a long Arabic name and is awakened one night from his sleep by an angel writing in a book. The protaganist (same name as the poem, drat it!) asks the angel what he’s doing there.

The angel replies, “I am writing the names of those who love God.” So, the protaganist asks if his name is there. The angel checks each page and says, “No, it does not appear here.”

With that, “Pro” says, “Pray, then, that you write my name as one who loved his fellow man.” The angel scribbled a bit and then disappeared.

The very next night, “Pro” was awakened again and the angel showed him the book of those who love the Lord. “Pro’s” name was at the head of the list.

Make of this what you will. I just find it an interesting view.

Hmmm, that is interesting, Monty. I always thought one of the most compelling Bible verses is from Matthew 5:

My biggest criticism about Protestant Christianity is that it focuses too much on the afterlife being based on belief. It seems to cause selfishness and arrogance in too many cases to have this dual afterlife, and this judgement, because people who believe that they are saved have no motivation to do good things. Of course, a Protestant will say that people should do good things anyway, but how often do we see Christianity twisted to focus on what everyone else is doing, rather than what we, ourselves, are doing?

I think that thinking long and hard about compassion and love before acting would do a lot of people a lot of good – myself certainly included.

My apologies, I typoed. That passage is in fact from Matthew 25.

It seems to me that most of the qualifications for heaven are extra-Biblical. That is, they have been formulated by various religions based on the reading of allegorical meanings and other methods of interpreting the Bible. Also a great reliance on a lot of the traditions developed over the centuries.

Isn’t the flat statement about the “raptured” 144000 in Revelation about the only definitive word on the subject in the Bible itself?

Let me tell a vision, as if it were a memory, and for a moment, let this memory be yours, that you might feel what I felt as I knew this moment.

I had died. That moment was now here, of which I had so often spoken, and the day was now come when Judgment would be real. I was lost, in darkness, and in bitter cold. Though at first I did not know it, I realized anon that I was buried in my sins. Though each one was no larger than a snowflake, nor heavier than a grain of sand, I was weighed down, and frozen by that bitter cold weight.

Every harsh word that I had uttered to one hurting already from as many other wounds; every soul that I despised; and every glance I hurriedly withdrew from my brother in his need now sat upon me. I was alone, with each bitter hatred and every selfish greed that I had ever had. And with me too was all that I had never done when sweet charity made clear what was mine to do. The hard cold weight of sin was what eternity held for me. But a strong hand drew me forth from all that drift of despair.

Then I stood upon the gate of Heaven, and saw the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. And all about Him was the host of Heaven. Ten thousand Angels, and ten thousand more, and every Saint whose name I ever heard, and then yet another host of Saints and Angels whose names no one I know had ever spoken. All stood silently, awaiting My Lord. My heart quailed, for I knew I was not fit to stand even on the farthest fringe of this glory. Yet I must look into the face of God, and know His Judgment. I cannot tell you of all the tears I wept.

And I looked into the face of my Lord. And He Sang! And all the Host of Heaven joined Him, singing of His joy, that I would stand among them. This is the Love of God: that He can stand amidst the Saints and Angels, and make all Heaven ring with His love for one sinner.


(emphasis mine)

And there - I feel - is the crux (no pun intended) of the matter - if, when you meet with God at the gates of heaven, you can say “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28) and mean it, then I feel that you are going to be welcomed.

As for the conflict between faith and deeds:

“Good works” are simply a way of showing the world the faith that is inside you.


It is the belief of (in my experience) most mainstream Christians that God’s love is not exclusive. Human beings choose by their (our) own free will to go to hell. God will always be willing and wanting to bring anyone and everyone to heaven, but in order to do that, the person must accept the pain involved in loving God – which, as far as I understand it is basically what keeps us from accepting God (or “believing in God” or “following God’s will” – however you put it, it just means loving God and therefore seeking to do His(Her?) will). But again, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “The doors of Hell are locked on the inside.”

And, out of curiosity, Fluiddruid, do you understand the doctrine of predestination, or were you just mentioning it as some theological term used by Calvin? I’m a Presbyterian myself, and I still don’t fully understand what Calvin meant.

Christian Universalist checking in. Meaning I believe that Christ’s sacrifice was effective for all of mankind (past, present, and future) so all will eventually be reconciled to God. Many essays about this on my (apparently headache inducing) site at: http://drewcosten.tripod.com/salvation.html

So a guy dies, and he goes to heaven. He’s getting the tour, meeting Buddha, Ghandi, lotsa interesting folks. He can’t help notice a big wall, and behind the wall he can hear a bunch of voices. He finally gets up the courage to ask Peter “whats the deal with the wall?”. And Peter says, oh, the Christians are over there. They think that they’re the only ones up here.


Just for the record, let me affirm that, IMHO, Tris was, by parable, speaking the absolute truth.

The whole “salvation” thing gets hairier than any other issue, in part because no two people seem to mean precisely the same thing about it.

However, in a thread over on Pizza Parlor where devout conservative Catholics, evangelicals, liberal Christians, an Antiochan Orthodox, and everything else under the sun were involved, there was some general consensus that *we are saved by the grace of God – not by the orthodoxy of our belief, our good deeds, or anything else.

To have faith is, at rock bottom, to trust God’s love for us and His willingness to forgive, whatever the fault. Only in the sense that man as rational animal needs to categorize what sort of God it is who loves and forgives is there any question of “faith” in the sense of holding belief in doctrine being involved. And if one sincerely places one’s trust in God and therefore follows His commands, to the best of his or her ability, does “being good” (“works” in Christian-speak) come into play – because if you mean that you take Him as your Lord, then you mean that you’re going to try to do His will – and deeds, not words, prove that you meant what you said.

Me, I’m content that He loves me and has so engineered the world that good things have happened in my life – and I trust Him to do with me what is consistent with His love and His plan for the world at the proper time, including at my death. I’m not expecting to “go to Heaven when I die” – I’m expecting that whatever He has in mind, I’ll experience as if it were Heaven, because it will be His will for me. I’m moderately convinced that I am going to be given the chance to make good something that I screwed up on badly a long time in the past. And that trust is good enough for me.

Works for me.