Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.
My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell
Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."
By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN
Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.
And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.
And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.
Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.
What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"
“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”
Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."
The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.
As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.
But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.
Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.
For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”
The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.
Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?
We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.
My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out
Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN
As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.
When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.
What happens when we die?
Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.
But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.
Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.
The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.
Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
What does Jesus say about hell?
Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.
The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.
Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.
What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?
The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.
A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1] reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:
. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.
At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.
Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”
Is there a second chance after death?
The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.
How long does the punishment last?
Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.
Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.
Am I going to hell?
The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.
He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.
The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.
My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.
Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?
If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.
God wants all people to be saved, that is why Jesus died for all of our sins...and according to the Bible all of us will have our chance to bow before Jesus and be saved...That is really all I am going to say about it.
...The name calling an childish behavoir seems to be coming from the atheist on here, I Dont see name calling and disrespect coming from anyone else...So this "child" is out, the discussion seems to have taken nasty tone to it. I am going to talk to my son who seems to be more adult then some of you on here.
specifically I am speaking of Sam's insulting what I believe and Bill Hick's name calling below on Oct 3..When you have to resort to this, it is just not nice...I see that some people just come on here to bash others...
why did you go on for 2 another paragraph and then an entire additional post after proclaiming "That is really all I am going to say about it"?
Get real. Atheists don't bash people. You helpless religious nitwits can believe what you need to believe to make your lives comfortable. What we bash is the totally unsupportable and unprovable (and, in the opinion of any rational person, unbelievable) notion that there Is some mysterious super person controlling our lives. Even worse, you believe you must grovel on your knees and "worship" this mythical being. How can you honestly believe such blatant bullshit?
c: you don't see proxy threats being tossed around by christians on this blog? perhaps you should open your eyes
c: some come on to bash others, and some come on to proclaim that only those who think like they do are right with god. my harsh words are in response to what i see as the unmitigated arrogance of some believers. if that bothers you, don't read my posts.
Athy: They have to believe it, because they belief that disbelief in the biblical god will draw his wrath
God isn't. That is really all I am going to say about it.
I live in Seattle. Mars Hill Church is a cult. The few people I know that joined that church went off the deep end and pretty much abandoned all of their other friends that weren't in the cult. It's frightening, actually, and I have no idea why it continues to grow. I guess people like being in cults? Mark Driscoll is insane.
No need in being a fwaidy cat.
Hell is for children. Pat Benatar said so.
yes, this is an opinion, based on a tangible most Powerful and Superb MATHEMATICAL EVIDENCE:
GOD never sends good people to Hell.
=UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES=
It's not mathematical evidence, it is mathematical speculation.
Hey people has no one heard this yet? THERE IS NO HELL AND NO HEAVEN ! The catholic church invented this. WE we humans create our own hell or our own heaven right here on this earth in this lifetime. Try to digest that and think about it.
Ask yourself where are you right now in heaven or in hell? And what are you going to do about it. It's your choice. Only you can change it.
The default for man is having a god. False gods lead to slavery. Americultians have the gubmint god. He has his fingers in everything.
@anybodyread: the default for man has been fear of the unknown which he chalked up to a god. We understand you need your binky and will throw a tantrum when we take it from you but It is time to grow up..
If you dispense with the idea of hell, what will christians threaten atheists with?
That's a good question to pose to a fundie.
Remove the wolf at the door, and what can they threaten us with?
Plus, they are salivating at being there watching us non believers getting thrown into the fire pit.
It will be heaven's version of reality TV.
They will need something to watch for all of eternity, right?
Without proxy threats, Christians will have to lead by example. That is the last thing they want to do
niknak: some of those destined to hell (in their minds) are those they know personally, perhaps family members. would they be comfortable watching their brothers or sisters crying out in torment? would they be happy spending eternity with the being that would sentence them to it?
In the minds of the pious, I meant
I've always riled up at the negative motivations for Christianity myself and even though the other participants in this thread are among the most vile and likely to retaliate with crudity, I though I would post a link to some of the positive motivations one might find in a walk with Christ, for anyone interested.
I've always riled up at the negative motivations for Unicornity myself and even though the other participants in this thread are among the most vile and likely to retaliate with crudity, I though I would post a link to some of the positive motivations one might find in a walk with Magic Unicorns, for anyone interested.
That's how absurd you seem to us.
walking with god is bad because since he's imaginary, if you go "walking with god" in the woods, no one will call for help if you break your leg
Brilliant, End Religion. I'm definitely using that one.
Ok, so Mr. Mark Driscoll seems to know exactly the choices that mankind has– choose Jesus, or be condemned to eternal damnation in Hell. Wow, what a revelation; haven't heard that before!!
So according to Mr. Driscoll, people like Gandhi, who served humanity their entire life, practiced non-violence, would end up in Hell, and Mr. Driscoll knows this for a fact. And people who have caused enormous suffering to others all his/her life can end up in Heaven just because they accept Jesus??? In other words, if I want to do willingly hurt someone and still end up in Heaven, all I would have to do is to accept Jesus? Not surprising why this logic appeals to so many people.
I have a feeling that if there is a heaven and a hell, Mark Driscoll might not end up where he expects.
i use that ghandi reference all the time..and they always say..yeah..he's burning in hell....i find that really funny too..but i guess the defense would be(i'm christian SURPRISE! LOL)...we don't know what he did to deserve his acclaim..or should i say..why he did it...if everything about mahatma gandhi is true..then he did live in Jesus' image and though he didn't claim him..he proved it..and if he did those wonderful things he did for personal gain, power, respect..but had it showcased like innocent to be a media darling..then YES..even doing all those things don't change the fact the didn't do it for others but for himself. Christians believe that all Human beings sin. Except one. Follow that one...this is my first post on a blog..i'm proud of myself=)
We can thank Rousseau, Freud, Marx, and their followers who created our Politically Correct culture for the abandonment of the belief in hell. An individual human being bears no responsibility for his actions – blame everything on mom and dad, society, "the system," anybody. Throw in that nonsense called self-esteem boosting, and you end up with a society full of people who think they can do no wrong.
Hell means that God regards people as adults, that they have free will, that their actions matter, that they can choose to distance themseles from other people and from God.. Liberalism doesn't like adults, as adults like to be independent and responsible for themselves.
If you think Freud and Marx are related to political correctness at all, you truly are remarkably stupid.
I suspect that the downfall of western civilization has more to do with personal greed than with lack of religion. And some of the greediest people out there are the ones who are shouting "praise the lord" the loudest.
"An individual human being bears no responsibility for his actions – blame everything on mom and dad, society, "the system," anybody. Throw in that nonsense called self-esteem boosting, and you end up with a society full of people who think they can do no wrong"
Christianity, by design removes all responsibility for actions. Blame it on Satan, "we are all sinners" "the devil made him do it" "hate the sin love the sinner".
Their is no personal responsibility at all in christianity.
Break the rules?
That's OK you are forgiven.
Atheists want to hold people accountable for their actions.
Christian want to forgive them.
Alex: Your god is a pr1ck. Thanks for playing
Freud built his theories on a sandy foundation. He had a wet nurse. But what the hey, it's science.
Marx's father 'Heinrich Marx converted to Lutheran Protestantism in 1816 or 1817 in order to continue practicing law after the Prussian edict denying Jews to the bar.' wiki
That's because neither god nor hell exist. And, yes. this is strictly and opinion.....just as everyone else
"an opinion" was how it was supposed to have read
It blows my mind that two thousand years later we're still angsting over stories about man-gods and rib-women and talking snakes and how the sublime and divine creator of the universe will condemn you to an eternity of unending, unimaginable torment if you fail to worship him in the right way. And if you do manage to avoid that the alternative is you get to spend all eternity worshiping him anyway. Because if I was god I know I'd spend all my time and effort demanding that I be worshipped constantly. I mean, why else make a universe if you're not going to fill it with beings that constantly tell you how great you are, right? Wait, is... Is god insecure? That actually explains so much.
Christianity really is the most successful existential virus ever. All you have to do is start early, threatening toddlers(you know, those cheerful little people who believe ANYTHING you tell them, like stories about talking snakes and rib-women)with promises of eternal torment and you can coerce them into doing anything you ask for the rest of their lives! Religion is so wonderful! I mean it's an absolute good right? Where would we be without it?
When will you children all stop masturbating over your imaginary, all-powerful, wrathful father figure and grow up? Nothing's changed since the days of Galileo. All religious types are still unable to conceive of a universe without mankind squarely in the middle, center of all creation. It'd be laughable if it wasn't so incredibly pathetic. Seriously, wouldn't you guys rather go visit Saturn or something than playing the same silly millennia-old games, chanting to the sky god and waving your antelope-blood-encrusted genitals around?
Also CNN is a sucker for giving this Driscoll huckster a chance to shill his wares. Just another fraud with his hand out in the long tradition of spiritual 'leaders', always ready to fleece the rubes.
You have the gubmint god. No need for another.
Hell was made for satan and his fallen angels...JESUS, Redeems mankind Through His Death on The Cross!
"For all have sinned and fallen...Missed The Mark of Perfection. Through the Atoning Death of Jesus, Mankind has a way out! From Hell.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John Ch. 3 Gospel – Means Good News... Free To All...
'Salvation By The Gift / Grace of God! Through Faith! "
When I offer someone some popcorn from my bowl, I don't smash their fingers with a hammer if they don't want any. Hell is an evil idea, and I won't call it "good" just because you and your god say it is. Biblegod is EVIL for simply allowing any hell to exist at all. "Perfect love" that "casts out fear" wouldn't allow hell to exist at all, period.
Where are all the fundies?
Did those mean ol' atheists hurt yur widdle feewings with all their disbelief of your magic man?
Don't worry, mommy will make it all better and read you a bible story and tell you how much the magic man loves you.
And you can take solice in how wonderful it will be to see god cast all those nasty atheists into the eternal fire pit when the big erection comes in few years.
Won't that be fun?!?
Better make sure you wear your Sunday best and pack a good picknik. It will be just like your forefather's did when they went to see a lynching.
Oh what fun times those were in your family, right?
Another delusional article. They seem to be coming one after another now. oy "Should WE abondon hell" Who is We? Each person believes or does not believe in God or Heaven or hell on their own. Who is We? Whats with the group think? Well, heaven is real, and hell is real. Jesus spoke more often of hell then he did of heaven. We must ask God to forgive our sins through faith in Jesus and His finished work on our behalf. He is the Savior. He is the One who gave Himself so that we could avoid eternal death-HELL! Recieve Him now if you haven't yet done so, and you will know His peace and forgiveness of sins.
No thanks bro. I've read that book you follow and it is one seriously messed up collection of fairy tales.
Ah Stephen, that writer IS speaking for you, and all you people who believe in the magic man in the sky.
If you believe in the magic man, then you have to believe in it all. I don't think there is a choice really.
You believe in the bible, and that it is the word of god with no exceptions, then you have to go along with all of it, hell included.
Make believe is make believe, so why not a time out room?
stephen, another fractured fairy tale along the lines of the one you believe in
stephen: what makes you think that man is a "sinful" being?
translated,edited iron age hearsay?
Sam. Torah, Tanakh and of course B'rit Hadashah (New Covenant) all make it very clear that man is sinful. God is Holy, we are not. If you would like specific verses I would be happy to provide some. May you find peace with God through faith in His Son and His atonement.
Stephen: So, man's writings says man is sinful? How do you know that those writings represent the mind of god?
Peace be to you too
Sam. "Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins". ...Solomon Ecc. :20 "Who can say, I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from sin?"...Prov. 20:9 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselve and the truth is not in us". ...I Jn. 1:8-9 Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah taught us that: "he that is of God hears God's words" It is not a good sign for someone to say that they cannot discern the difference between the words of men and those of God. These men were moved by the Spirit of God to bring us His revelation. May you find peace in Yeshua.
Those who perform these "Good Deeds" now, shall never go to Hell.
"UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES"
When one person speaks to an imaginary friend, we call them crazy, but when millions speak to the same imaginary friend – we call that religion.
When a young child still believes in santa clause, we call that cute.
When an adult still does, we call that creepy......
"Extraordinary claims require extrordinary evidence." Carl Sagan
Faith is not evidence. Neither is interpretted ancient hearsay.
Few sane people believe in witchcraft, but millions believe in priestcraft.
i have felt spiritual, but it often correlates with a couple handfuls of psilocybin in my belly
Just seeing if you all were paying attention on the clause thang.
"You can't fool me, there's so such thing as a Sanity Clause"- Chico Marx
this ministers job is to preach the " truth " . cant he see how laughable that statement is?? my dad knew the " truth " too and hed bloody up your face if you disagreed with him.. phsyco.. fanatical , closedminded phsyco..
of course he can't see how laughable his statement is. arrogant people cannot see their own arrogance
For Christians the "Truth" is determined by the Bible. It is very simple, If the Bible says it- It is true. That is what a "Christian" will live by and cling to. You will never be able to convince a true Christian that there is one thing about the Bible that is Untrue, if you can they wouldnt be a true christian.
Just because you don't like the idea something does'nt mean it is'nt truth.
Lastly, the truth that you cling to has changed over the years. At one point in time im sure you believed something you dont believe now, that is not real "Truth". That is you believing in whatever you want whenever you want. which you have every right to do so, and I encourage you to believe in what you want. But understand that the Bible is unchanging, Whether me, you, or the rest of the world believes in it.
Hell, whether people want to believe in it or not, is unchanging. You must decide.
The bible is full of contradictions and inaccuracies. There is no proof that any of the supernatural events described in the bible ever happened. There is no proof of any god, devil, heaven or hell.
You are free to believe what you want. But your belief doesn't make it true.
My belief that the Bible is True makes it truth to me, that is the only truth I desire to know.
I would also like to know of one contradiction the Bible has, I don't believe you can tell me one.
"Just because you don't like the idea something does'nt mean it is'nt truth."
Just because you like the idea of something doesn't mean it is truth.
"My belief that the Bible is True makes it truth to me, that is the only truth I desire to know."
Good for you. Stick your head and the ground and enjoy the view
Anthony, I don't have time this morning to do your homework for you. Just google 'biblical contradictions' and you will find multIple listings doc umenting the many example.
"But understand that the Bible is unchanging"
Really? Why are there so many interpretations of it?
Come on, Anthony...answer the question
the bible has not been unchanging. in fact, there have been translations and edits along the way
If the bible is so true, then why are there two versions, and why are there so many different religions based on it?
In fact, if the bible is so true, then why are there so many different religions?
There should be just one religion according to your logic.
The bible is a pile of made up goat herder stories and fables. Most of which were stolen from earlier religions and local lore.
Just because you believe it to be true does not mean the rest of us have to.
Your choice to believe in fairy tales is yours alone, but regardless of how much you believe, it does not make it fact.
There are 2 different versions because it was originally written in Greek and Latin. One word in greek or latin, can have 2 or 3 different meanings in english. just like any other language translation, theres not one direct translation for every word. and even though there are 2 different versions, the messege is the same and constant throughout the bible regardless of the translation: Jesus is God's son sent down because God loves us, and whoever choses to believe in that will have eternal life.
and please, tallulah, let us know what these contradictions are
Look up ISA 14:21 and DEU 24:16...
RGGR. Why did the powers that be feel the need to edit the early writings and later produce the KJS if they all meant the same thing?
why would a supposed infallible god need translations of his "word"? either he only wanted people in heaven who spoke Aramaic or he didn't care less that the translation was left in the hands of fallible people and therefore compromised. It's a losing game no matter how you look at it.
Goo News you are absolutely right, the problem is the bible says in Romans 3:10 "there is none righteous, no not one."
and Romans 3:23 says " for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God"
Remember when trying to decide who God is and isnt. You have to use a source. If you believe the Bible is the Holy word of God then "who" God is and "what" he will do must be determined by what is revealed through his word.
If you dont believe the Bible is the holy infallible word of God, then your beliefs will come from whatever you "think" is true.
anthony: if the bible is the holy word of god, why are there so many interpretations? was god not able to be clear, or was god intentionally ambiguous?
Anthony: Will you answer, or are you yet another preach and run christian?
No, he just drowns them in floods, or starves them in famines, or hits them with lighting bolts, or just plain ol' smotes them.
You religious people are delusional.
I am so glad I don't live near any of you.
Religious people are like pitt bulls, one never knows when they will snap and kill.
again, there are different interpretations because the bible was originally written in greek and latin, and one word in greek and latin can have 2 or 3 different meanings in english. However, regardless of the translation, the message is the SAME: God loves the world and everyone in it, so He gave us a way to live with him, and thats through Jesus, his son, and if you put your faith in Him, you will have eternal life
Pretty certain he's also referencing the whole many different branches of christianity and such...
3 people: Person 1 : Devoted his/her live to helping others but has no religious preferences.
Person 2: A sinner made many lives miserable and was cruel even to animals , but showed up and worshipped as required.
Person 3: An extremist, A Hater. Kills as many of the other religions guys, gals and their children as they can before they go in the name of religion.
Who would be rewarded and who punished? Ask yourself what makes sense and about the role of power and control in these things.
All will have their chance to accept Jesus as their saviour...and repent their sins...but depending on how you lived your life an how closely you chose to live a good moral life on earth, your rewards in heaven will be decided. But they all will have an equal chance to go to heaven since Jesus will give all their chance to accept Jesus and repent their sins.
And if they all choose to reject the Jesus as their saviour...they will all go to hell...but there are different degrees of punishment in hell also, as it says in the Bible.The worst offenders will have the worst punishment. Even someone who has lived as 1,2 and 3 will have a different punishment than someone who lived as 1,2,or 3. If on judgement day they reject Christ.
showing up and worshiping as required will have nothing to do with your eternal life. A man who accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour is a new creature, old things will pass away. You would not see a Christian behaving the way you described. However a murderer who accepts Christ is new, All men have sinned and come short of God's glory, one thing, whether a white lie or murder, is enough that God cannot allow us to be united in his perfection. This is the ultimate form of Forgiveness though. All men are equally judged, There is no preference of rich vs poor, good vs bad, But each and every person will account for his own actions.
This is why Christ is so important, no matter how good we try to be, how many people we try to help, In light of who God is it is meaningless without submitting ourselves to the way he desires it to be. The Bible says Jesus is the only way to heaven, I accept this.
It is your choice and we will only find out once it is too late to change anything.
anthony: you do know that your proxy warnings are dumb, don't you?
anthony: what authority do you feel allows you to speak for god? that you have a passing knowledge of translated, edited iron age hearsay? how incredibly pompous can you be?
wow you guys chillax. anthony isn't thinking hes higher than anyone else, and he doesn't think he's better or has the right to judge. it says all that in the Bible, and he's just letting you know. If you read the Bible, you would be able to say the same thing to someone else. Anthony's telling you because God's salvation is a gift. It's free, we don't have to do anything in return, and God's sharing it with us.
RGGR: Anthony expects that people can fear the (empty) proxy threats he puts forth. That is insane. Whether it is in the bible is not relevant to many folks, myself included
Abandon Hell? My good sir, look around...we are living in Hell!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.