Biblical, Schmiblical, part II

There is a fascinating discussion on the Christian Alliance for Progress blog, on a story about Jerry Falwell, who corrected the Jerusalem post, that had reported that he thought that Jews would go to heaven. He said "I continue to stand on the foundational biblical principle that all people — Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc. — must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven."

The discussion, basically, is about the biblical basis (or lack thereof) for universalism (in shorthand, this is the idea that Jesus died for everyone, not just believers. Most liberal Christians, are, at this point, at least functional universalists) Both sides of the argument are quoting scripture. You could quibble, but the reality is, really, both sides are right, if you read the bible literally. In other words, scripture is far from clear on this subject. There are absolutely things both in the gospels and in Paul's letters which suggest that no one goes to hell. And, there are things both in the gospels, and in Paul's letters, which very much suggests the opposite.

I think we have to call a draw, if we're going to depend on literal readings of the bible for the whole argument. One of the most interesting comments, though, on that discussion was this: "If you are right, then why would Jesus say 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance' Mark 2:17 If everyone is going to heaven, why would anyone need to repent of anything?"

Funny. The whole discussion was about something that no one really knows anything about at all. That is, what happes to us after we die. What about what happens right here, right now? For me, hell is life of oppression, hopelessness, meaninglessness, unmet need, and violence. And what we need to repent of is our complicity in creating hell on earth for far, far too many people, sometimes in the name of God.

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