One of my son’s friends is an atheist. He makes it very clear that he has no interest in talking about God and I respect that. I don’t fear for his soul, I don’t feel the need to evangelize, to share the Gospel message or otherwise try to convert him to my belief system. And yet I call myself a Christian.
Can I, as a Christian, believe that there are other paths to God? Or other worldviews? As a Christian I have been taught the terrors of Hell. Christianity professes that Jesus Christ is the only path to God and Heaven. So if I am a Christian, and I accept the tenets of the Christian faith, shouldn’t at least part of my life’s purpose be to bring this boy over from the dark side?
And yet, I don’t do it. So that either makes me cold and heartless, caring little for the fact that this person is going to spend eternity in Hell, or I simply don’t believe he is going to Hell because he has a different opinion than me about God.
I respect other opinions. Not only do I respect them, I have done enough reading, questioning, doubting of my own that I can even appreciate how someone arrives at their conclusion that there either is no God, or at least that there are many paths to God. So again I ask the question…am I a Christian?
Can I pick and choose which parts of the Christian faith to believe in and still call myself a Christian? Can I believe that Jesus was God and died on the cross claiming that through His death we receive life and yet not believe that unbelievers will end up in the fiery pit?
I cringe at the words saved and unsaved, believers and non-believers. To me, these terms create division, not harmony. Exclusion as opposed to inclusion. Jesus himself created much trouble among the religious leaders of his day by including the excluded.
As I read my Bible, I don’t see a panicked Jesus, desperately trying to save souls. If Jesus is God, and knew of this terrible place called Hell, why would it be good enough for Him to only reach those who had ears to hear? To me, it seems as if he’s perfectly happy to move on from people who don’t wish to hear His message, understanding that not everyone will get it.
So that makes Him either as cold and heartless as me with my lack of evangelizing or He simply didn’t worry because He knew that His work on the cross would save everyone, regardless of whether they heard or understood or even accepted or denied His message.