Tuesday, January 25, 2005

So, here's a scary thought. What if the standard for getting into Heaven was perfection? That is to say, if you've ever done something wrong, you haven't earned your way in.

Actually, it makes sense to me. Heaven, it's written, has no pain. It's an eternity of communion with God, where every need is filled. No hunger. No mourning. How do you earn that? What do you do to deserve a complete lack of anything bad?

It's also written that God is just. That is, He gives people what they deserve. I've looked at myself pretty hard for the past couple weeks, thinking about this issue. I'm really the only case I'm qualified to judge at all. Thus, I re-asked the question of myself: Do I deserve to go to Heaven?

That's not actually the question I asked. I considered whether I deserved Hell. And the answer is yes.

I thought about the weight of everything I've ever done wrong. Quite heavy. I tried to imagine the sum total of all the pain I've caused other people throughout my life. It's a scary thought, once it begins to add up. And regardless of the good I've done, my sin remains. It can't be undone.

Furthermore, my sins have grieved God. An eternal being, who loves me. My temporal actions have eternal consequences. So I must conclude that I haven't earned Heaven, and I deserve Hell. I speak only for myself, and I encourage others to do the same.

Does anyone think they've earned Heaven? I don't think I have.

The only reason I'm going is that I've accepted grace. It's an option for everyone, thanks be to Jesus. If salvation were fair, instead of merciful, we'd all be screwed.


11. Explain why, if your god loves us all, more than half of us are going to Hell after we die. Specifically, refute or explain the following words of Christ, as presented in the New Testament: "Many are called but few are chosen," and "Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto salvation, and few there be that find it." If your god loves all of us, couldn't he find a better way?

12. Explain what type of offense could possibly justify eternal, unbearable torture in Hell; if your sect does not believe in Hell, then refute every passage in the Old and New Testaments which describes Hell (such as 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 and Revelation 20:15). (Do not exceed 100 words.)

13. Explain how your god can be both just and merciful, when these terms apparently contradict each other.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

not that i believe in any of this, but when i read your post i thought it'd be interesting to think about it the other way around... whether you'd earned hell, even if you haven't earned heaven. i expect that this was how the idea of purgatory was born. *shrug* well, i suspect that your paragraph that begins "furthermore, my sins have grieved god" likely answers the question for you, but perhaps others (or you, despite your answer) care to dwell upon the thought. =) is the standard for 'getting into' hell anti-perfection?

Duckmu said...

But you won't be going to Hell (don't get me wrong, I still don't believe in this). Because you are not fit to judge. There is only one being who is fit to judge, according to your religion, and apparently he's willing to forgive you.

Quack Quack Emu Sound

the Razorclown said...

Chase is quite astute. I don't deserve Heaven, but I've been forgiven by God, so I'm getting in. Madness.

As to my anonymous commentor: yes, other deep questions remain. I'm still looking into this one, and there's still more to be said. Not the easiest issues to understand, obviously.

Third said...

If you ask me, to believe that there is a single, pervasive being capable of infinite forgiveness, mercy and compassion at work within and without the hearts of all things but simultaneously believe that one has misbehaved sufficiently to deserve seperation from the same is the height of arrogance.

Courtesy.

the Razorclown said...

Amazing that we've found something that could be interpreted as both arrogance and humility.

Third said...

Not so amazing when one considers the inherent arrogance of calling it humility in the first place.

Courtesy.

the Razorclown said...

Upon consideration, perhaps I am being arrogant. The difference, of course, lies in the heart. If I am, God will judge accordingly.

Third said...

It is an act of considerable courage (in my mind, at least, i know many atheists who would think it irresponsible and cowardly) to give the responsibility of judging one's own actions over to God. While God would certainly be the best judge, one way or another, i'd be too paralyzed with fear at the idea that every action i make, regardless of how i intend it, might be judged by God to have had entirely different motivations. It is my admittedly less brave habit to make my own decisions regarding my intentions, but it does free me to worry only about the transitory repercussions of those intentions in this life and those after. Frankly, the idea that a single impermanent action could have permanent repercussions would give me the screaming heebie-jeebies in a way i usually reserve for the idea of quadplegia, sensory deprivations and vegetative states, if i believed in it.

Courtesy.

the Razorclown said...

God knows the heart. The intentions. It should not be implied by my previous comment that I'm not certain of the contents of my heart. It should be implied that you do not.

Third said...

i hope the tone of that only sounded offensive and condescending, or i retract my last comment and return to the stance that it's petty and arrogant.

the Razorclown said...

Clearly, the Internet isn't the place to have this conversation. Without tone of voice, too much is left to assumption. We'll continue this face to face.

Anonymous said...

eh, wasn't trying to be anonymous, just too lazy to sign in, but when actually thinking about it, realized i could sign the post. duh. >.< every time i read this post that quiz irritates the hell out of me, though. you know it's bad if it irritates even me. =) yay for pointless posts.

-amanda

the Razorclown said...

Heh. Thanks for reading.