The Baptist church I pass by going in and out of my neighborhood has a new sign up this week. It says:
"To get to Heaven: It’s whom you know that counts."
As you can probably guess, I’ve got a problem with this. They are referring to the passage in the Bible about Jesus being the only way to heaven. John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
There’s nothing in the book that says you’ll go to heaven if you honor the 10 commandments. In fact, there’s very little in the Bible about getting to heaven, so I can understand the religious grasping at this bit of information.
But what this statement implies is that someone who leads the worst possible life can get into heaven with a deathbed conversion…just like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, he’s dying and suddenly decides he needs to save his soul (Luke 23:40-43) and sure enough, Jesus accepts him into Heaven.
This is in complete contrast to a person who might have lead a good and selfless life, but doesn’t accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Even if this person saved thousands of lives, lead a moral life and sacrificed their own, by Christian logic, this person would still go to hell. Makes perfect sense right? The Christians obviously have no concept of karma.
But this leaves some open questions…like, what about the millions of people who lived and died before Christ came along? What happened to all of them? Did they go to hell since God hadn’t yet gotten around to knocking up his virgin?
And considering the communication systems of the time after Christ, it took many hundreds of years for the message of Christ, carried by word of mouth, to propagate around the world. Seems like a terrible way for an omnipotent being to get such an important message out to the world. I would think He could find a better way to broadcast it to everyone quickly. I guess you work with what you have or maybe He just doesn’t care that much about us.
Basically, I’m left with another message from the church that I just can’t understand. But everything they say raises questions in my mind. I can’t seem to put it together in a way that makes a coherent story. But in their minds, they know the truth. However, they only think they know the truth, that’s why it’s called faith.
"I’ve never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith — it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe." – Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein