True and Proper Christians™ appear to have a mixed view when it comes to heaven and what they think should happen to non-Christians, or even other denominations of Christian, in the event of death. As nonbelievers, we often get frustrated with Christians standing on the roadside and witnessing. But, in reality, if you were to believe that those who didn’t adhere to your own worldview were doomed to an eternity in hell or some other such outcome, you would surely want to try and save as many people as possible. That would be the moral duty incumbent upon you in the context of your worldview.
People who call themselves Christian, and I mean this in regard to the vast majority of believers who really are rather nominal (most believers in the UK, for example), appear to treat their co-workers and friends who don’t fall into the category of people who would go to heaven as, really, people they think are going to go to heaven.
The idea of heaven seems to be completely subjective and cherry-picked from the point of view of the believer such that, I imagine, it turns out that the qualifications for heaven are being your friends or a family member. If you really thought they were going to go to hell or not-heaven, you would be consistently trying to do something about it, to convince your friends or family members of the stupidity of their worldview and what they would stand to lose in the event of their death.
Those odd relationships where you get this one partner or spouse as a believer and the other as a nonbeliever are particularly interesting because, really, the believer would have to admit that their loved one, their closest ally in the world, would be going to hell for eternity. It takes some phenomenal cognitive dissonance to think otherwise.
Technically, heaven is the greatest place in human conception and hell is the worst place in human conception. If you really and truly believed in these places, then they should have a massive effect on how you run your life and how you see the lives of those around you, especially if they do not adhere to your worldview.
So here’s much of the problem. If you are a Christian and you see friends and relatives and whoever else who do not adhere to your faith, and you still have this intuitive belief that they will not go to hell or will go to heaven, then what is the point of you believing in what you do? This is the classic dilemma about whether Christianity is about faith or deeds. If you believe the people you know who do not follow your faith are going to have a good outcome to their lives, then you extensively believe that deeds are what carry the day. But what does this say about your faith?
Heaven and hell are the ultimate endgames. And if they don’t feature in almost everything you do on a day-to-day basis as a Christian, then what is the point? When I gave a talk a few years back, there was a committed fundamentalist Christian in the audience (he was also a flat-earther and someone who adhered to pretty much every conspiracy theory and the sun). We had a bit of a wrangle throughout the evening. He referred to a statement from some evangelical organisation that concluded, and I would go along with this, that 95% of Christians weren’t actually really Christian.
I think the idea of heaven and hell in the context of the average daily Christian would back this up. It’s either that heaven and hell don’t exist, or that Christians aren’t really very Christian. I hate to admit it, but those annoying witnesses that try and ram their belief down your throat and into your ears are actually far more consistent than those who don’t. I often say that fundamentalist presuppositionalists, such as those of the Westboro Baptist Church, are far more consistent than more liberal Christians.
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