By Atheist Tooth Fairy (ATF)
In learning about the oh-so-many flaws of the Christian dogma, one issue I rarely see come up in discussion is how the Christian God determines who deserves the 'reward' of heaven.
Now, I do realize that some denominations shun the concept of “Being Saved”, that the more fundamentalist Christians proclaim as a requirement to gain entry to God’s Heaven.
However, it seems the majority of Christians we see come in here tend to believe one needs to “Be Saved” or one will burn in Hell.
So for the sake of debate here, let us assume that an adult can't reach those Pearly Gates by using the ‘works’ method and one really must accept Jesus as one’s personal savior and/or be “Reborn”.
My first problem with this heaven concept, would be with the children who have not yet reached this “Age of Accountability”, that so many speak about.
Obviously the more common Catholic school of thought was, that if one was baptized (usually as an infant) that this infant would go to heaven if it should die. Without this baptism, the infant would be lost to a special place called “Limbo”.
I believe this Limbo dogma has been rescinded recently and all these babies are now safely in heaven.
Amazing in itself, that the Pope can move such ‘mountains’ with God, don't you think?
So I’m fairly sure that if any baby or young child were to die, that it would go right to heaven, but if not, then certainly God would not put them in the same Hell as adult non-believers.
Moving up to the next level now...
I think we can also safely assume that a murdered child/infant, who may not have even heard about Jesus, also wouldn't be sent to Hell.
When Limbo did exist in the minds of the Catholics, these same murdered children/infants (but unbaptized) would land up in this Limbo, but I’m pretty sure for everyone else, they would also go right to heaven.
In any case, I doubt any sect believes such children would land up burning in the fires of hell.
So now we covered the child issue of heaven, so let’s move on to some situations that pertain to adults now.
Let’s look at some hypothetical situations and try and decide who goes to heaven and who doesn't.
If I were to murder a ‘Jesus Saved’ adult, would that murdered person go to heaven or hell. I think we can assume they are probably destined for heaven?
Now suppose that I murder an "UNSAVED" adult. Well now things get a bit tougher to reconcile. Do we just assume that because they didn't have their full life opportunity to find Jesus and be ‘Saved’, that they have no destination, other than hell?
Once again, suppose that I murder an "UNSAVED" adult. Oh but this time, we add a ‘fly into the ointment’. This time God knows that at some point in their normal human future, this unsaved adult would have found Jesus and been ‘Saved’. Thus, at the time this person was killed by me, they were not YET saved, so what does god do with this unsaved person that would have been saved; if I hadn't killed them prematurely and taken away their normal expected lifetime?
Sure seems they would go to hell, for they hadn't been Saved YET, and what one may have done in the future doesn't seem to count for much. After all, if we were to include all that would have found Jesus, anytime in the future, then why wouldn't God allow a billion years of time for us to find Jesus. Why do we get only several decades to discover this very important piece of information. He could have least given us a few hundred years to discover him, as folks in the early OT days tended to live.
Did he realize by reducing our life span that he cut us short in the time we had to find this Jesus?
This time, let’s talk about my own fate for having taken another person’s life.
Suppose I kill an innocent person today, but a year from now I find Jesus and become saved through his 'grace'. The next day I get hit by a car and die suddenly.
Does this mean I get to go to heaven, even though I had killed an innocent person?
From my understanding of how this ‘saving’ stuff works, it sure seems I would get my heavenly reward, and be right up there with all the ‘good’ folks who hadn't murdered a soul.
These little questions keep getting tougher, don’t they.
So this one won't be any easier I’m afraid.
Now let’s take two of these situations and combine them into one scenario.
This time around, I murder an "UNSAVED" adult on Monday, but one that God knows would have been Saved on Tuesday, as this person had already made plans to go to the ‘right’ church and was ‘destined’ to accept Jesus into their hearts.
Alas, what they may have done on Tuesday never took place because I killed them on Monday.
Once again, a year later I go to the ‘right’ church and find Jesus and become saved by his grace.
So now I’m Saved in God’s grace and earned my just reward of heaven.
The unsaved innocent person I killed can't enter heaven’s gates in an unsaved state.
Does god give this murdered person one last chance to repent right there on the spot?
Does god tell this former human, that he knows they would have converted in their normal human future, so they might as well see the light and convert right now, or suffer the flames of hell.
Bascially a last minute ultimatum, is being offered by God here.
It would SEEM if I kill an unsaved person, who in their normal future would have found Jesus, that this person is now destined to spend an eternity in hell?
I on the other hand, get my nice fluffy cloud (complete with harp) and bask for eternity in wonderful happiness, while the person I murdered is tormented in flames because they were too slow in finding this Jesus before I did-them-in.
I do have some further thoughts now that I’d like opinions on:
If we assume these children, babies and 'almost' saved adults, who met an early demise, get to go directly to heaven upon their death, then what was the point of their existence as humans on this earth?
What point is there for God to make us live as flesh and blood humans on this earth, if we all will exist for the rest of eternity (a very long time I must point out) as some form of spirit being?
Why not just create us from the start, in the spirit form we will spend all of eternity?
Where is the logic in the god requirement for most of us to suffer all the things that humans tend to suffer, in the course of one human lifetime on earth.
How is it fair that most Christains must suffer a full human existence in order to gain the keys to the locks of heaven's gates.
Why is it that children, babies and those who have chosen to be saved via Jesus, but who die prematurely, get a free pass to heaven without having to live out the normal human lifetime on earth.
If some get this free pass, then why don't most humans get the same free pass to nirvana.
If god's great plan/rules says we must begin life as humans, live out a full life on earth, and aren't allowed to skip this human step in the grand scheme of things; then how is it possible that a small percentage would get to bypass these rules of god's plan.
Doesn't it make a lot more sense if there really is a creator god out there, that he would create us in our eternal form right from the start. If we do then screw up, then he would just take our immortal lives away, rather than using this human stepping-stone process Christians claim is necessary; for reasons that baffle me.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)