Why is believing in God crucial for entering Heaven?Imagine a man who lives a totally blamless life. He is kind, honest, generous, peace-loving and helpful. All his actions are dedicated to...

Why is believing in God crucial for entering Heaven?

Imagine a man who lives a totally blamless life. He is kind, honest, generous, peace-loving and helpful. All his actions are dedicated to improving the lives of others and he works tirelessly for charitable causes. This man never does a bad act. BUT, he consistently denies the existence of God. He simply does not believe in God and spends his life refuting God's existence.

When he dies he discovers that he was wrong and, in fact, the Christian God does exist. Should God send this man to Heaven or Hell?

10 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I don't necessarily think that all Christians would necessarily state that believing in God is a necessary pre-requisite for going to heaven. There would be a minority that would argue that God would judge everyone on how they have lived their life rather than whether they believed in God or not. Unfortunately I think we are all aware of the existence of many "Christians" who really don't live their lives as if they are.

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Well, this is entirely a matter of opinion. I think that this man should go to heaven. After all, he is only a man and not perfect. I believe he would be forgiven. If he lived a good and honest life then he does not deserved to be punished.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

@ no.5

So you're saying that heaven is an exclusive fan-club party for Jesus's followers. You can be a multiple murderer or drug-dealer, but you'll get to heaven if you personally claim to recognise Jesus. You could be barely sentient but you can go to heaven if you 'accept' Jesus. However, the wonderful altruistic guy in Chicagogirl's story gets sent to hell because he couldn't see any proof of Jesus.

Does that sound fair to you?

(Also, your metaphor is flawed. The student in your story makes genuine positive efforts to meet everybody and he is a real, solid believable thing. Jesus, however, has never invited me to anything. He has remained stubbornly and perversly silent. Jesus does NOT make any effort to introduce himself to anyone, the total opposite in fact, Jesus insists you believe in him blindly without any evidence what-so-ever. (Then he sulks and sends you to hell if you rationally conclude that his silence implies that he doesn't actually exist, (and he'll send you to hell for denying him even if you were the kindest human who ever lived.))) 

Like I said - eNotes forum - not really the place for such huge religious topics.  I said it is sort of like this.  There's no way to take an entire belief system and explain it in 4500 characters.  Come on.

And to your question "Does that sound fair to me?"  No.  It certainly doesn't.  If getting into heaven were up to me  (yikes) a lot more than just the drug-dealers would be in trouble.  My upstairs neighbors who have the audacity to release their huge dog at naptime every afternoon for a mid-day jog around the condo, for example, people who don't leave enough room by 3 inches in right turn-lanes for those of us turning right, all subwoofer owners, telemarketers and the creators of Facebook... just to name a few.

Again - good thing it is not up to me.  I never explicitly mentioned Jesus in my post - but since you brought him up - the "belief without evidence" is a common complaint.  I can't speak to that as I am one of those people who has experienced the evidence you are looking for.  I'm not out to prove God is real nor convince anyone of that.  I just wanted to say that I don't believe it is as complicated as so many think it is.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is such a bigger conversation than the eNotes discussion forum can possibly provide room for...

Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not about being good people.  Christians believe that God created humans to know Him and love Him.  That's pretty much it.

Let's scale this down, Chicago.  It is sort of like this: let's say you decide you want to personally MEET and get to know everyone in your colllege.  Everyone.  So you send out an invitation to this club you've created... you invite your entire college - all they have to do is swing by, meet you, and you'll let them in the club.  It's YOUR club after all.  You can make membership whatever the heck you want.  So a bunch of people come by - meet you - decide they like you and come in.  But others come by and meet you and decide your club is not for them.  They don't want membership.  You are disappointed and you hope someone in your club will convince them that you are actually worth getting to know, but you don't force them to like you.

Well, one day you have a big party - members only (this is the heaven part).  It goes on for days and it is a pretty fabulous party.  You stand at the door greeting each of your friends by name.  Some of them you haven't seen in years - nor spoken to - but they recognize you and you them, and you let them in with a smile.  Some of the people who rejected you lurk across the street wishing they had given you a chance.

But then a group of people you've never seen before come to the door.  They hand you their resumes and say - "Here's a list of why we are cool.  Let us in."

What?  The only requirement was to know you, not to be cool.  So you say, "Sorry - you seem cool - you really do.  But I don't even know your names.  Do you know mine?"

"No," they say.  "Funny story - we heard about you a while back and decided you were an idiotic idea.  We didn't actually think you existed.  Isn't that funny?  But you do - and even though we never persued you before - now that we see you and your party we're up for it now."

"Well, sorry.  I wish you would have come by to meet me earlier."

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to go along with #3 here.  Even if we assume that this man did some wrong, if they lived a very good life and tried hard to do what they thought was right, this very good man deserves (at least according to the idea of christianity that I understand) as much as anyone else to get into heaven.

Not all Christians believe that accepting Jesus as your savior or whatever else is the ultimate key and the only way to get into heaven.  There are sects that believe that the atonement of Christ applies equally to all people, whether or not they accept him vocally or in any other way.  It was unconditional, just as God's love for his children is uncondtional.

But other sects will claim that you cannot get anywhere without accepting Christ as your savior in whatever way they find acceptable.

So personally I would say the guy deserves to get in, but it is all going to depend on who you are talking to.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

First of all, such a person does not exist.  Everyone does wrong.  I can't prove this scientifically, but I'm sure it's true.

If you accept this (which Christians do), then it follows that all people are in need of being forgiven.  According to Christian beliefs, you need to accept that Jesus died for your sins in order for those sins to be forgiven.  By that logic, the Christian God would not allow anyone who does not believe in Christ to enter heaven.

So Christians would reject the premise of your argument -- it is not possible for anyone to life a pure life and so all people deserve damnation unless they accept Jesus as their savior.

By Christian doctrine, then, your hypothetical person cannot exist.  It seems illogical then to try to figure out what the Christian God would do in a situation that cannot exist according to Christian belief.

 

cann1976's profile pic

cann1976 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

A correction here will do. ALL Christians value the presence of Christ in their lives. Again, ALL Christians believe that, we must believe in Christ to go to heaven, "I am the way, the true and the life... This implies that, its only through Him that, a Christian will go to Heaven, at least at these grace period. Anybody can argue blindly, but the Holy Bible is the only Christian manual and contains all these that am saying here.

True believers don't make arguemment like this, its a sorts of "kids" talk. thank you

bor's profile pic

bor | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I am a Catholic, and CG's position has been subject to debate for many centuries, even among theologians.

The Bible says such as "no one comes to the father except through me". The Bible also states many thoughts and aphoristic teachings.

I also believe in the concept of a Purgatory, even though the Bible makes no such referenence, only in passing words.

The teaching IS, the primary punishment of Hell is not being able to meet the Diety who created the Universe. Does this mean a person can go to Hell, not to suffer, only be estranged to God?

Has anyone ever Sister Lucy's book, "Lucia, in my own words"? She describes an account where the 3 children, including her, witnessed a vision in Hell when the Blessed Mother opened it to see.

She described it, if I remember right, as souls floating about in endless torment, etc.

As the Bible says, no person knows when the end will come, that is known only to the Father. I believe the question asked and answer is not defacto known to anyone either but the Father himself (or herself, ha)!

If the Bible is silent on Purgatory, can it be silent about an afterlife of eternal damnation for humans as described?

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

@ no.5

So you're saying that heaven is an exclusive fan-club party for Jesus's followers. You can be a multiple murderer or drug-dealer, but you'll get to heaven if you personally claim to recognise Jesus. You could be barely sentient but you can go to heaven if you 'accept' Jesus. However, the wonderful altruistic guy in Chicagogirl's story gets sent to hell because he couldn't see any proof of Jesus.

Does that sound fair to you?

(Also, your metaphor is flawed. The student in your story makes genuine positive efforts to meet everybody and he is a real, solid believable thing. Jesus, however, has never invited me to anything. He has remained stubbornly and perversly silent. Jesus does NOT make any effort to introduce himself to anyone, the total opposite in fact, Jesus insists you believe in him blindly without any evidence what-so-ever. (Then he sulks and sends you to hell if you rationally conclude that his silence implies that he doesn't actually exist, (and he'll send you to hell for denying him even if you were the kindest human who ever lived.))) 

chicagogirl's profile pic

chicagogirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

*sigh* OK, Pohnpei, here-we-go... let's define our imagined person as; as-good-as-it-is-possible-for-any-human-to-be-given-humans-are-not-universally-good.

The point is, why is an extremely good man, who far exceeds the average Christian's performance of good, kicked out of heaven simply because he didn't believe in God.

Does the non-belief out-weigh all the good things he did?

And why won't Jesus forgive you unless you believe in him?

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