Ask Your Preacher
Basically, the biggest thing I do not understand about Christianity is the concept of being sentenced to eternal damnation. In all my experience, I have been told that God is wise, loving, and caring towards all. And without a doubt, He must be if He created this wonderful world. But wherever I have searched, it seems the one condition for going to hell is not believing in Jesus. Unless I am wrong, this would mean that the average peaceful, celibate, Buddhist monk who would have spent almost his entire life demonstrating nothing but kindness and love towards others (and perhaps has never even heard of God or any Christian doctrine) would be sentenced to everlasting torture in a pit of fire. Whereas you could have a normal American man who claims to believe in Jesus and goes to church but is not honest and does not even try to practice things like kindness, love, or compassion towards others go to heaven. Christianity says this man ends up going to eternal paradise when he dies, while the peaceful monk roasts.
To me, this is not right, and it would make more sense that with all of the different and diverse religions of the world, one’s afterlife would be determined not by his beliefs, but by his thoughts and actions towards himself and others. And another thing, many if not most, religions (except Buddhism as far as I’m aware) promise torment in the afterlife if you are not a follower of said religion. What makes Christianity any different? Because it’s the “right one?” As far as I’m concerned, I could argue any other major religion’s case as much as Christianity’s. Others have ancient texts that have documented miracles performed by supposedly divine characters. I believe in a God, no doubt, but I would think if He was so wise and powerful as to create the universe, He would not sentence a peaceful and loving soul (let alone any soul) to such a thing as eternal damnation just because we weren’t His follower. It makes more sense that such a God judges by one’s actions. Beliefs should be irrelevant, mainly because every religion is capable of scaring people into following it. I’m just as concerned about Islam being correct as I am Christianity. If I am not one or the other, I burn forever. This makes no sense. Please give me your opinion.
A common misconception is that people are saved because they are good. If making good choices were the standard for going to heaven... no one would make it there. We go to heaven because we want to be with God and because we commit our lives to faithfully living for Him (Eph 2:8). Heaven is a perfect place, and no one is perfect... therefore, no one deserves to go to heaven. If imperfect people go to a perfect place, that place ceases to be perfect. That is why all sin is deserving of hell (Rom 6:23)... all sin separates us from the perfection of God's existence. The only way back to God is through the blood of Jesus (Jhn 14:6). Buddhism (among other religions) may be able to teach you some good morals, but it can't cover your previous sins. Only Christ can pay that price (1 Jn 4:10). Only Christianity provides the whole and verifiable truth (read "Who Wrote The Bible?" for proof that the Bible, unlike other books, was written by God).
When God designed mankind, He made us in His image (Gen 1:26). One result of that design is that all humans have eternal souls. That is a positive thing. God intended for Adam and Eve to never die and to always enjoy the blessings of fellowship with God in the garden (Gen 2:8). Eden was a perfect situation, and it was our sin that destroyed that perfection. Mankind sinned, and that sin causes us to die (Rom 6:23). God gives us the freedom to choose life or choose sin; the fact that we all choose to sin is not His fault (Rom 5:12). Heaven is a perfect place, and if God allowed sinful people into heaven, it would cease to be perfect. Our actions and choices have condemned us.
God, however, wishes to save us from ourselves. He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (Jhn 3:16). He provided us with the Bible, which shows us the path to receive salvation (Rom 10:17, Rom 1:16). We should not blame God for those who go to hell any more than we should blame a doctor when his patient refuses to take their medication. It is true that many people will go to hell (Matt 7:13), but God doesn’t desire that any should perish (Ezek 18:23). God sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ, even though we didn’t deserve Him (1 Jn 4:14). SB