Monday, October 22, 2007

HMOH #2: Destination?

Over the weekend, in talking with someone I met for the first time, I was asked a question that wasn't mine to answer. (If it is relevant, this person grew up in a home with a Jewish parent and a Christian parent). We were talking about church and that I am okay with my kids going to the Methodist church with their dad. Methodists don't tend to preach fire and brimstone and that all non-believers are going to hell, at least not to my recollection. My kids' dad took them to another church recently where I KNOW they preach and teach that concept, and he and I agreed that that wasn't a good place for the kids. I don't need my kids worrying about my salvation, much less worrying that I'm going straight to the pits of hell. I'm pretty sure their dad doesn't think I'm going to hell...I'm pretty sure he doesn't worry about my soul.

The question was, "How can anyone who is Christian NOT think you're going to hell?"

Good question. So, what's your answer? Do you think I am going to hell? If not, how does that fit in with your personal concept of Christianity?


Stef said...

I answered this question in response to your comment on my post below. I'll quote myself:

I would think less of God if I thought that you, Stacy, could waiver back and forth between saved and not saved. Not that I don't admire your intellect and think that you are one of the smartest (and nice smelling) humans... but you are incapable of getting climbing between heaven and hell. I'm sure that you're aware that you don't know everything. Even the smartest person who ever lived was wrong about certain things. To think that it is up to our reasoning, logic, and intellect to determine our eternal fate is unfathomable to me. Don't you look back at things that you thought just a few years ago and are slightly embarassed about what your brain concluded (whether it be about faith, a person you loved, a scientific thing like the world being flat etc..). Don't you think that it's possible to look back at this time now and feel embarassed about what you think now? (I'm speaking to everyone here, myself included). What if you had died a few years ago when you were a camp counselor? Heaven? What if you die now? Hell? To think that our mindset has something to do with our salvation is a ludicrous thought to me. And, if you believe in free will... and that God hasn't preordained every aspect of life means that not only is God not in control of your salvation, but also not in control of when you die... meaning that salvation 100% on YOUR shoulders. What if someone is"supposed" to die when they're 72, but because there's free will some guy chooses to kill them now before they had a chance to get saved... are they going to Hell?

If you died today I would have to assume that you would go to Hell. But I really don't know. What if God did elect you, and this atheism is just a "phase?" You did profess Christ previously. It's not for me to know.

Stacy said...

What I'm getting from this post is that no one should be claiming anyone is damned to hell...or is that just a Calvinist thing?

Judge not lest ye be judged and all do you think people who DO judge others to hell based on their lack of Jesus is inappropriate (even when they can so righteously point out how it is OK for them to do so?)? I personally do, but then heaven/hell isn't an issue in my mind.

Of course I did see "A Letter From Hell" on that I don't even want to post here in case some innocent child happens upon this blog. I'm sure you can find it. It was scary...and for me to say that, I'm sure you realize, it's pretty significant. I'd probably take physical action against someone if they showed that to my kids. Yikes.

Stef said...

I don't "judge" people to Hell :-)

I do think that if you're not a Christian you're going to Hell.

What I was saying in my blog is that we'll never know what people end up being (atheist, christian, muslim, jew, etc) until the end of their life. Who knows, you may become a Christian again... and I may become a Muslim. I very strongly doubt either of those will happen.

I am quick to share my faith if I think that someone wants / needs to hear it. But even then, I'm not quick to discuss Heaven and Hell. I rarely think about Heaven, although I probably should more often. The hope of Heaven or the fear of Hell is not my motivation in life, it's not my motivation for my faith, and it sure isn't my motivation for sharing my faith. If there was no such thing as Heaven, I would still be Christian. I would still follow the rules that I believe were given to me by the One that created me, and I would still share my faith.

To me the hope of Christianity is not the hope of Heaven. That is probably not good for me to think that, but this is what it is to me: The hope that I speak of when I mention hope, is the hope of something eternal and unchanging. Not necessarily that WE are eternal. I'm not sure what Atheists put their hope in, I'm sure it's love of humanity, money, success, all the other things that I find myself placing my hope in as well. But, like I've always said in everything that I write... there is NOTHING that you can rely on in this world. You can lose money, you can lose loved ones, you can lose your job, you can lose everything... but if your hope is placed in the eternal God of the Universe then whenever "circumstances" come up in life which take away those things, you can remain happy. That is what my hope is.

Yes, I think it's inappropriate for Christians to go around damning people to Hell. Yes, it's an aspect of our faith... but I'm not sure how productive it really is other than brainwashing little children. But that is only my perspective, and one that probably should be changed. I would probably share my faith more fervently if I realized how bad Hell actually is, and how magnificent Heaven actually is. I guess I'll go watch the Hell video now

Does that make sense and answer your question?

Stef said...

I just watched the Hell video. That is exactly why I am a Calvinist. What is worse than Hell? Probably nothing... but I would think that even worse than going to Hell is thinking that you are the reason someone you love is Hell. If that were the case, I would not believe in God either, or I might believe in Him, but I would hate him. I couldn't worship that God.

Jared said...

“The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God.”

I love Jonathan Edwards’ classic wild-eyed tale of bloodlust and terror. But it sure scared the shit out of me when I read/heard it as a 14 year-old boy. (He was, ironically, a Calvinist minister). Unlike Edwards, this new era of moderate Christianity has watered down its message and increased its “tolerance” so much that I believe they’ve actually forgotten the message in the new covenant…. Or else they sugar coat it to avoid scaring the holy jebbus (or is it Hell?) out of pliable minds.

How can anyone who is Christian NOT think you're going to hell?"

The answer is simple. They must.

Heaven Jarrod said...

I think a small detail that conflicts with what Stef means and what Jared just said is time-oriented. Technically, as Jared said, ANY Christian should believe you are going to Hell, IF you died right now. Stef's point (I think) is to say that you are still alive, so no human can say where you are GOING to go. "Stacy is going to hell" is probably the most arrogant thing someone can say, because they are implying they know God's ultimate, eternal plan, and how an individual will fit into that plan.

I guess a more accurate statement would be "All non Christ believing people at the time of their death go to Hell." Maybe I'll walk around saying that to people instead :-)

Jared said...

Got me on a technicality!'re telling me there's a chance?!?!?![/Lloyd Christmas]

-Hell Jared

Pastor Gavin said...

Most of the scriptures that are used to present a horrible, fire-and-brimstone hell are taken out of context. Jesus' most graphic description of Hell is in a parable and Christians don't take the other parables that Jesus shares as literal events. Rather, Jesus was using beliefs and world views of his day to present a point about what it means to live justly. Further, when Jesus tells his followers what it takes to stay out of Hell it has nothing to do with believing in him and everything to do with caring for the least of these.

Some Christians believe that when Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, he did this for everyone. Whether you believe in him or not, whether you follow him or not, he has died for your sins and you are saved. If this is true then Christianity isn't about making sure you go to heaven. Instead, it is about cultivating the relationship you have with God so that when you get there you will get along with the God who you will be spending eternity with. This isn't necessarily what I believe, but I believe it is closer to Truth than thinking that God is waiting for you to die so that he can judge whether you believe in him properly so he knows where to send you.

Bird said...

As a Christian who's sympathetic toward Christian universalism -- NOT pluralism -- I find it hard to suggest that anyone is going to hell. I'm not saying I don't believe in hell; I'm just saying I think there's a chance, a decent chance, that no one has to go there, unless, as C.S. Lewis has said, the doors are shut from the inside.

Dixie said...

I think "hell" was created by old guys in robes in a synagogue somewhere in the desert 3000+ years ago... to keep "their flock" in line. If there is a hell, we are there now. What could be worse than starving children, incest, rape, murder, elder abuse, cancer, war, AIDS in Africa... need I go on? This is hell. Now we can only hope that after this life, we get to do something else... If I get there before you do (and theres a good chance of that), I'll try to come back and tell you about it.