So You Think You're Going to Heaven
Hello, and allow me to introduce myself. Just-Say-Why has asked me to be a guest contributor. I haven't really said yes, but we'll see. My name is Paul Johnson and I'm not an expert at anything, but I have lots of questions that I know many people share. I'll share my questions and any others that you send in, given enough time.
So You Think You're Going to Heaven
Do you think you're going to heaven? Do you think there's a good chance you'll make it past the pearly gates?
Let me start by saying that I hope you do.
But looking at the state of the American Christians, I'm afraid most of us are fooling ourselves. But all is not lost. Here is what I see and I'm sure you see much of the same things I do.
Ask yourself these six simple questions and think about the implications.
1. Is yours the only one, true religion. Do you try to convert or "save" others?
If you answered, yes, then you are offending God every time you do. Do you believe that God can be neatly bundled up under one church? Do you think that the knower of all and the seer of all enjoys being put in such a simple box? Doesn't the Bible tell us not to do this? Do you think that every modern religions has some things right and some things wrong? Can God even be neatly bundled up in all the correct things combined from all today's religions, without offending Him?
2, Is there only one true Bible?
Was the Bible written by man or by God? Of course many say that it was the word of God transcribed by man. God had man write the Bible? Man, with all his faults and mistakes and lack of understandings? If God wanted Man to write the Bible he must have expected and maybe even wanted mistakes. If God wanted the Bible to be written perfectly, he would written it himself, much easier. So, isn't it correct to say that the Bible was written by a bunch of men who though they knew what God wanted?
3. Does the Bible need an interpreter?
I remember seeing many interviews following the 9/11 disaster where Muslim experts would explain how the religion wasn't violent but then when asked about explicit references in the Quo'ran espousing hatred and violence, they would respond that it wasn't really meant like that. So, their book needs an interpreter. Have you read the Bible? Did it all make sense to you? All of it? Of course not. If the Bible wasn't written for everyone to read and understand then who was it written for? Should you and I even be reading this if it's not intended for us? Does God intend for us to be led and filled up with imperfect men? Does the pope make mistakes?
4. Do you own, wear, or display religious artifacts and images?
If so, do you know that this is against God's wishes for us to do this? Do you finger your beads? The Christian Bible says this is a sin, doesn't it? Of course, it also says the world is flat with four corners, but maybe that's the part that needs an interpreter.
5. What or who do you see when you pray?
Be honest with yourself, here. When you close your eyes to pray, do you see a cross? Stop and answer, before continuing...
Do you see a man on cross? If so, you're breaking the first and thus the most important of God's commandments. You can tell yourself that it's really the human incarnation of God, himself, but God said not to do that, plain and simple.
6. Do you donate to organized religion?
If you said yes, did the church spend a penny of the money on itself? On its pastors/priests/church/politics? Did it spend a penny on the church? Is your church worth more money that a house? Is this what God wants? Does God want your donations to go toward politics and government? Of course not. Read the Bible. The big expensive churches are the things that Jesus was so opposed to, and they were what the Christian religions frowned upon for centuries. However, in these days, haven't we lost sight of exactly what Jesus found so objectionable with the million dollar churches of his time? How many millions of dollars donated by kind hearted Christians, has gone into the pockets of today's unethical preachers? Is this what Jesus wanted? The 700 club? If you donate to a charity isn't that what Jesus wanted, more than making the churches and spinmasters rich?