I had planned to continue the salvation discussion this week, but instead I think I'll address this matter. I've been asked various questions as of late but most of them boiling down to,
What if you're wrong and eternal torment is true?
There are various aspects in the answer to this, and I would be lying if I said this wasn't an uncomfortable question. But I think the first thing to say about that, is that I cannot base my beliefs on "what if's". By that same logic, just about anything could be true or untrue. For example one could say,
- What if God does not exist?
- What if Christianity isn't true, and Islam is?
- What if life is really a complex computer program, and humanity is unknowingly enslaved by octopus-like robots?
- What if there's tiny green aliens that live inside my body, where they have nightly disco parties?(that could explain my difficulties in sleeping, lol)
The next thing is, is that the perspective I hold now (that God loves all and will save all), has had a positive impact on my own life in numerous ways. One being that I feel closer to God and feel free to love him, without some ever passing fear that hes angry at me and is going to incinerate my loved ones. More over than that, I think if ones perspective is that,
God eventually gives up on most people and will torture them forever, if they don't accept the right beliefs
...then your attitude towards people will likely be as short-lived and conditional. No matter how much and how long you want to "save the masses from brimstone" it always wears on you to a point that you just sort of shrug your shoulders and fall back into a state of apathy, that can only be (momentarily) cured by a preacher's terror tactics. Hence most of Christian culture today seems surprisingly unconcerned by the overall destiny of mankind, that is supposedly marching their merry way into the devils human cauldron.
I know this firsthand, because such perspective is what brought about the breakdown in my own faith. But if your perspective is like mine, that,
God never gives up on people and loves them unconditionally no matter their beliefs
then your attitude towards fellow humanity will be of the same, ever-loving, persevering vein.
Now if eternal torment is true like orthodox Christianity says, which perspective is likely to "win" more souls to God? Which perspective on God would an unbeliever most likely want to serve and love? The one that is planning to damn you forever if you dont jump through all the religious hoops, or the one who loves you no matter what and wants to transform your life for the better? I would say the later, and that would probably explain the reason why I can talk to people about God and spirituality that before, would not be willing to hear me out. All too often, I hear other Christians say,
Well everyone on earth has heard about Christianity!!!! They have no excuse!
Yeah, they've most all heard the "turn and burn" self-righteous, judgmental, homo-phobic Christianity, that has committed tons of atrocities supposedly in the name of Christ. Very few people have really heard of Christ and the perspective that God loves everyone where they're at unconditionally. And that's the perspective that will draw more people to Him if anything.
Lastly, I really like what Bishop Carlton Pearson said in his book The Gospel of Inclusion, on this very matter,
I'd rather be wrong for overestimating the love of God, than underestimating it. I'd rather err on the goodness, greatness, and graciousness of God than the opposite.
As simple as this statement is, I couldn't agree more. It makes more sense in my mind to believe that God is much more compassionate and understanding than the kindest "Mother Theresa", than to believe he is more sadistic and merciless than the cruelest "Hitler". Ive thought about it several times, and I don't believe I could even go back to worshiping God from the perspective I once held. I have thought about it and examined it far too closely, for it to not make my stomach churn and make me feel depressed...hence what started this spiritual journey to begin with.
The god(yeah I'm not even going to capitalize it) of orthodox Christianity is one that wouldn't even be worth serving, if that were indeed his nature. As dangerous as it might be to say...I honestly would have no interest in worshiping a god so obsessed with his own cosmic ego, that he'd gamble the eternal destinies of mankind and torture billions of unfortunates for all eternity. I would have no interest in worshiping a god that allowed the world to be entrenched in sin and destruction, only to redeem a few undeserving souls...all in the name of so-called "justice". Such a god I could only fear and be terrified of. Such a god I could not love with all of my heart, soul and mind as the Bible commands. And I think if every Christian were deeply honest with themselves, they would come to a similar conclusion.
We have no real way of proving one way or the other, but I believe the Bible provides us with much evidence of Gods unfailing love...much of which I have been trying to share here. And I believe that is why God put me on this journey and has let my heart leap to the most astounding plateau of my faith I have yet experienced. I don't believe God would drop this in front of me only to raise false hopes and to coax me into some false sense of love for Him. Because He is not really cruel, and is far more loving and just than most give Him credit for. And when you put all of the Bible into transcendent, divine perception, I believe it is ever so clear and wonderful. That is the God I serve, that is the God I trust.