Happiness in the Afterlife [Questions that Haunt]

I have been astounded and gratified at the number of questions that have been submitted for this new series, The Questions that Haunt Christianity. Scores have come in, many from atheists (thanks to The Friendly Atheist for the shout out). Other questions have come from doubts, and from wavering believers. You can submit a question via my website; if your question is chosen, I’ll be in touch to let you know about the post, and to ask whether you’d like your name (and links) used or not.

As a reminder, a question will be posted every Tuesday. I look forward to all of you answering the question — and debating each other’s answers — in the comment section. On Friday, I’ll post my own response.

Our first question comes from Bart Mitchell:

I come from a long line of skeptics. I know the story of my great grandmother who told my mom while holding a bible ‘Only fools believe in this’. My father told me that religion was a tool to enslave the weak minded, he passed last year. Both my deceased grandfathers held all religion in contempt. The only Christian in my family was my grandmother, and she was firmly in the ‘liberal’ side of the faith. My experience with Christianity is solely as an outsider.

My question: If I were to accept Jesus and ask for salvation, how could I ever find happiness in the afterlife knowing that most of my family was sent to hell for eternity? If they somehow have a chance to get into heaven despite their clear disbelief, why should I bother with Christianity, since I will have that same chance of redemption?

How do you think Bart could enjoy eternity if his family’s not there? Or, if they are there, why should he become a Christian?

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