Who gets into heaven (assuming there is one)?

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  1. MellowFellow

    MellowFellow Fapstronaut

    I assume you find the true religion, follow the holy texts, and worship God(s). But not everyone has an equal opportunity to do this, so how are those people treated in the afterlife? If, for the sake of argument, Catholicism is the true religion then many people have an advantage in being brought up in the Church but many more people do not. Seems to me that some people are disadvantaged, e.g.:
    • Uncontacted tribes who haven't even heard of Jesus.
    • People who have been indoctrinated into false religions or atheism.
    • People who have studied the options to the best of their ability and have come to the wrong conclusion.
    • Fellow Christians in different branches/sects of the religion.
    • People who might have accepted the true religion in the future but were killed by a misfortune or an injustice.
    • People who died in the womb or in childhood (does baptism or similar matter?).
    • People who don't have the inclination and/or the capacity for studying religion.
    • People who were born before the advent of the religion, e.g. pagan philosophers or prehistoric humans.
    • People who might have accepted the true religion but are put off by the actions of the church.
    Seems harsh to send those people to hell or limbo for something that was beyond their control. But it also seems to devalue the true religious teachings if you say "well, this is the right one but if you're good you can get into heaven anyway." The second option also doesn't go well with the claims to absolute and universal moral truth that religions usually have (but I think it's the position of the Dalai Lama).

    I think the ideal situation would be that every soul has equal access to truth and falsehood and equal opportunities to pursue the right path or to fall away into falsehood and evil. That doesn't seem to be how things are - which seems unfair. Maybe I'm using individualistic or humanistic ideas which don't apply? In some religions there are many lifetimes in which a soul can perfect itself which seems fairer than having one confusing lifetime to get it right.
  2. What you say makes a lot of sense and i pretty much agree. I very much believe in God and heaven, so my opinion on this is pretty controversal (since it goes against what the bible says). I i believe that your deeds are your pass to heaven and that even those are subject to be judged according to situation. Because its easy for a a guy who grows up in a well to do christian family with no worries to be good, whereas someone who grows up on the ghetto with drugs and gangs on every corner has a disadvantage. Part of me also believes in multiple lives. Its not a fully formed belief, but it makes sense in a lot of ways. Firstly, for the reasons you mentioned, we would get a chance to experience multiple circumstances to test and shape our souls. Secondly, if we only get one life, what happens when a baby dies? That was their one and only run? Do they get an automatic pass to heaven with no test? So, i think we should just do the best we can in the situation we're in and with the knowledge available to us.
    BlueDragonfly and MellowFellow like this.
  3. It’s interesting you used Catholicism because they’ve already thought of your questions.

    The Catechims of the Catholic Church teaches:

    Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

    836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."320

    837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"321

    838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

    The Church and non-Christians

    839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325

    The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ",328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329

    840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

    841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."330

    842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

    All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331
    843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

    844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

    Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333
    845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

    "Outside the Church there is no salvation"

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
    848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338
  4. Castielle

    Castielle Fapstronaut

    This is the only one on your list that I agree with. Everyone else you mentioned has every opportunity to accept God, like everyone else. I absolutely do NOT believe babies who die go to hell. That would be insane. They are the epitome of innocence and have never sinned. I do not agree with the concept that since we are born with a sinful nature, babies are already "unclean" and need to be baptized, when they've never sinned and their hearts are pure. Also, sprinkling some water on someone's head when they have no idea what's going on is not baptism. Water doesn't become some magical salvation power just because you call it baptism.

    I believe God judges the heart. The first group you mentioned, people who have never heard of Jesus, I'm a little fuzzy on, but what I will say is that the Bible says (rightly) that the very Earth we live on declared the existence of God. Anyone with a brain can look around them, or even within themsleves, and know that all of this must have had a Creator.

    Now, I'm not sure if I agree that those people will go to hell because they've never heard of Jesus, if they discover the One true God and put their faith in Him. Because again, God can see our hearts. Maybe they don't have the word "Jesus" to describe what they believe, but God knows.

    Also, another group of people I believe are somewhat "except" from hell would be people who have a severe mental handicap. For the same reason as babies, they are obviously incapable of learning or even understand who or what "God" is, so it would be unjust to punish them for that.

    But everyone else, we all have the capacity to accept Jesus. We all have the ability to look around us and think "huh, I wonder where all of this came from?"

    As far as who gets into heaven, that would be anyone who has accepted Jesus as their Savior. The Bible says "If you declare with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

    Here's how I see it: basically, God is 100% holy and pure, and he can not come in contact with anything that does not meet that standard of perfection. None of us meet that standard of perfection. We have all broken his law, at some point or anything, in some way or another (with the exception of babies, and possibly people with mental handicaps), and therefore we must pay our dues for breaking that law. Just like on earth, when you go before a judge because you stole something, the judge doesn't care if you're an otherwise good person, or if you've never done anything else wrong. I mean, to a degree that might effect your sentence, but it's not going to get you off altogether. You still broke the law and need to pay for that.

    So we broke the law, and we are destined for prison (hell). Maybe that seems cruel to some people, but here's the part they are ignoring: God provided another option. The other option is for someone else (Jesus) to pay our fines for us. That legally wipes away our wrongdoings, and God chooses to see us as pure, because he is full of forgiveness and mercy and grace.

    So all you have to do to have your debts cleared away is accept that you have those debts, believe that Jesus died to save you, and that God sent him and raised him from the dead, and accept that he is your Savior, and therefore deserves your devotion.
  5. Castielle

    Castielle Fapstronaut

    I'm unsure of why you think that isn't how things are. Not everyone has equal access to, say, a Bible, that's for sure. But we all do have equal access to God and to His creation, which points to His existence.

    We also definitely all have equal opportunities to pursue evil or pursue good. I can't think of any situation in which someone is bound to do evil, with no choice of their own. And if that somehow were the case, and they literally had no choice (somehow... this is very hypothetical), then I'm sure God would see that in their heart and take that into account.
  6. Castielle

    Castielle Fapstronaut

    "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I grew up in a Christian home, and I'm every bit as guilty of breaking God's law as that drug addict. None of us are worthy, no matter what we do right. So it can't be about our actions, it has to be all about God's grace and Jesus' sacrifice. There is not a person on this earth, past or present or future, who could live a pure enough life to attain heaven on their own. That's the entire point of what God did by sending His son to die for us. If we say otherwise, if we pretend we can attain heaven on our own accord, we spit at the feet of the cross. Because if that's true, then what was the point of Jesus?
    MLMVSS likes this.

  7. I totally agree to an extent. (And for the record, ive never been a very deep thinker, i just have an inner feeling and belief in God, i dont usually analyze much). But there are two points that always get me. One, if we are all sinners and the only way to heaven is through Jesus, then why be good at all. Im as much of a sinner as a murderer, so why not kill and rob? As long as i accept Jesus and repent im good to go. The second is, you say we all have an equal opportunity to accept Jesus, but what about people who never heard of him. Are you doomed to hell if you live in a remote african tribe? And what about a thousand years ago when even less people knew about christianity because their was no way to communicate or spread news quickly? Were all the people out of the loop doomed to an eternity of hell? Something always seemed off about that to me. (Im sorry if i this comes across as hostile, its too easy to misinterpret text. Im just throwing my opinion out there. I obviously dont 'know' anything for certain, so you may very well be right.)

    *Edit* Sorry, i missed part of what you said and i just noticed you did cover one one of my points very well. I like what you said about people feeling God in their hearts. I believe that too. People who call God by another name name still believe in Him and worship him, therefore they should not be condemned to Hell. And it makes sense to me that a person with no belief in anything higher than themselves might be condemned, because that 'is' a choice whether youve heard of Jesus or not.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
    MLMVSS likes this.
  8. @Castielle You say we all do have equal access to God and to His creation and can realize and accept the one true God, even of we never heard of Christianity. And that it's in our hearts that matter and God can see it. I might be Taoist and still get into heaven, according to you, right? Because my heart is pure, I accept one true God (Tao) and do not act evil. So what's the point to accept Jesus?

    And if you say when now that you have heard of Jesus you are not allowed to disbelieve in him. It only applies if you have not heard of him. So now it does not matter whether your actions and heart is pure and if you believe in one true God (whatever name you give to him) you would still go to hell. Why? Above you said that it's purity in actions and heart, and belief in one true God that matters, not accepting Jesus. So why suddenly it does not matter anymore?

    MLMVSS Fapstronaut

    I personally believe that, although accepting Christ is a requirement for eternal life, God set up a sort of system where we can have the ability to hear of God. God has the perfect balance between just and mercy; He won’t lean too far on one side. And dooming people, simply because of the surroundings they were born in that they couldn’t control, just doesn’t fit His characteristics imo.

    Too true. I think it’s also important to remember that God isn’t a hateful bully whenever He does this. He views sins very seriously. Sin is corrupt; it goes against the glory, the love and the perfection of God. Despite His love for us, He cannot break His own laws just to save us; that would also make Him a breaker of His own law, and as a perfect being, He won’t do that. Instead, Jesus willingly sacrificing Himself and atoned for ALL and EVERY sin we’ll commit. His death wasn’t a one-time thing, but rather a blessing that we can grasp onto even now, if we just accept Him as our Saviour. And best of all, Christ’s sacrifice was not against the law of God, as someone’s doing restitution, meaning it’s a completely valid process.

    Amen. As we know, God views all sins as the same: it’s something hindering from perfection, and thus something not allowed in His kingdom. He views a liar or a bully the same way He would view a murderer in this regard.

    However, when it comes to REPENTING of those sins, they are quite different. If you told a lie, you’ll have an easier time mending it. You might only need, say, a spiritual bandage, obtained by telling the offended the truth combined with sincere, prayerful repentance. But, if you did life-related abuses, such as the unauthorized creation (sexual sins) or destruction (murder) of life, it’ll take more work that a mere bandage won’t fix. But, through the grace of Christ combined with our faith and good works, we can repent of even those.
  10. MLMVSS

    MLMVSS Fapstronaut

    We need to have faith in Christ. Faith isn’t just believing; faith is also DOING. Hebrews 11 does a great job at addressing this. Through faith, Abel offered a sacrifice that pleases God more than Cain; Enoch was taken into Heaven, etc. they weren’t saved just because they believed. They were saved because they acted. Abel had to sacrifice the best of his animals. Abel didn’t just keep it and offer a more inferior sacrifice; he acted in faith and trusted God. And so on.

    Jesus commanded us to love God, and to love our neighbour. If we have faith in Him, we also have to DO what he has commanded of us, not because we have to, but also because we want to.

    Yeah, she did well covering this point, but I feel I should also add. I believe the Church is on the earth to bless our lives. Sure, people can live a life of sin then suddenly have a sudden sincere heart when they’re 90 and dying, but they didn’t reap of the blessings for those 90 years of his/her life.

    I think it depends on our outlook, really. Some people have bad experiences with Christianity, such as living in a Christian cult like that one cult in the USA who pickets at dead soldiers’ funerals and screams terrible words about gays, but it’s also important to realise that, although it’s based off Christ’s teachings and is led by Christ’s rules, it’s still nonetheless a gospel consisting of imperfect people. I believe these people will also have a chance to hear the good of Christianity and the love of Christ if they haven’t. Same with those who have never heard of the gospel. HOW this will be done is not solidified, but this does fit God’s just and mercy.
  11. I agree, but too many people dont see it that way. They think "as long as i believe in Jesus and repent before i die, then its all good"
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  12. I agree with some of what you’re saying but I disagree with your view on baptism to a point. These things do become more than their material form, they become sacraments which treat body and soul. Is baptism magical? No since magic is an illusion. Baptism does however imprint a mark on the soul and that imprint is the rebirth of the souls access to sanctifying grace, and sign that person is part of the new covenant. Now God, in his relationship with mankind, has shown that what we do as indivuals has the ability to either negatively or positively impact other people’s lives; look at Adam and Eve; what Adam did impacted the rest of humanity and God allowed it to impact us because God gave Adam the responsibility of being mankind’s first father/patriarch. It’s very possible that parents who do not baptize their kids during infancy could be greatly neglecting their children’s spiritual well-being. Furthermore it doesn’t add up that the same God who required circumcision for infants as a sign of being part of the old covenant, the people of God, would somehow now be opposed to infants being baptized, which is the sign of the new convenant and people of God. If that same God allowed an action on an infant to impart on them a spiritual reality in the OT then why not the same for baptism in the NT?

    And please don’t read a “I’m right and your wrong” tone. These are just questions I’ve had as a Christian and ones I’ve gone through in my head when I reconcile the very real belief as a Christian that the same God in the OT is the same God in the NT.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2018
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  13. MLMVSS

    MLMVSS Fapstronaut

    Having a firm foundation in Christ isn’t something that happens in an instant. Just like concrete takes days to turn from a runny mess to a solid stone, obtaining such a foundation will take time. It takes months, years, even a lifetime to develope a strong, study foundation in Christ.

    They are just bringing along their own spiritual damnation when they think like this. They literally cannot progress in their spiritual journey if they have this attitude. Just look at the story of the Ten Virgins and how unprepared the five were. It’s just sad to see this belief so rampant due to their slothfulness, honestly.
  14. u376

    u376 Fapstronaut

    well i have heard that there is not only one type of hell or heaven
    there are different levels of hell and heaven
    the highest level of heaven or eternal bliss is the salvation or ..........one in which our soul got free of this birth death cycle..............souls of god realized person slowly got dissolved in all dimensions.....
    but now for the people like us who are grey .......i mean a mix of good and bad
    we are made to paid for our sins .......and in the same way we are rewarded with heaven bliss for sometime.....time period depends on the amount of good deed which we had done
    this is is my belief ........and i have seen this on a youtube channel named LOGICAL HINDU......
    i know our beliefs differ.......and i respect yours.......
  15. MLMVSS

    MLMVSS Fapstronaut

    Yes, this is my belief also, although I wanted to give a perspective of Christianity as a whole rather than specifically get into my beliefs.
  16. That does make sense
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  17. kingpietro

    kingpietro Fapstronaut

    I guess everyone

    Everyone except if you commit suicide
  18. SolitaryScribe

    SolitaryScribe Fapstronaut

    I was recently listening to a Podcast that kind of struck me. Essentially there was a priest who was talking to his congregation about heaven and he said that we should be happy if we were to find Hitler in heaven. Not in the sense that Hitler was free from sin, for we know very well he wasn't. But rather that God's mercy is far beyond our comprehension.

    "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways" - Isaiah 55: 8-9

    What we often perceive as the destination of certain people or who is righteous and unrighteous can be completely wrong! I think we will always lack the full understanding and comprehension of God's immense mercy and compassion.

    For me personally, I believe that if someone is trying with all their heart to live in purity and goodness, with love towards others, even if he doesn't know the Gospel or Christ, he will have a chance to accept Christ when he dies. I also believe that those who suffer physically in this world due to circumstances outside of their control, such as the sick and starving children in Africa, they will inherit the heavenly kingdom right away. They have bore their cross in this life, and their suffering will be a crown of glory in the next life.

    That being said, God's mercy is beyond my comprehension... so who really knows who will end up in heaven and who will end up choosing hell.

  19. Very well said.
  20. u376

    u376 Fapstronaut

    this is undoubtedly one of my favourite topics
    i have always been fascinated with these kind of mysteries.....like afterlife , cycle of death birth and law of karma

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