About Faith and Works…?
The principle reason I left the Church was due to a lagging question in the back of my mind. I never really believed in the God I was taught as a child (I was raised Southern Baptist), but I never abandoned the belief in some entity/being having been responsible for creation.
In any case, the question was about whether Faith alone, or Faith and Works were necessary to get into Heaven. I was raised with the belief that Faith alone got us into Heaven (which I very quickly rejected).
Here was the example I came up with.
Two men who lived drastically different lives are both on their deathbeds.
One man is a C.E.O. of a weapons manufacturing company. His company was responsible for creating the weapons that killed thousands of people each year. He loved his work and was completely dedicated to the development of ever increasingly deadly weapons. Truly a despicable man of death.
The other man lived in the jungles of the Congo, and has been as close to a perfect man as can be found. He worked for free helping repair the huts of his fellow villagers. He loved everyone in his village and could always be counted on to give even the shirt off his back when it was asked of him. He was not perfect, of course, but he was as close as one can come in the mortal realm.
Now, the C.E.O. is dying. No one is at his side but a priest. The priest tells him that though he had lived a very bad life, he could be saved if he accepted Jesus into his heart and asked for forgiveness. After a sudden spell of conscious, he accepts and becomes a Christian. Later that day, he slips into a coma and dies.
The other man is dying from the wounds he received from a weapon that missed it’s mark that was manufactured by the first man’s company. There is no hospital bed or doctors to help him. More importantly, though, is that there is no priest to offer him the chance the C.E.O. had.
So, the two men have died, but only one became a Christian. He, at the last minute, found Faith.
Now, here are the possibilities-
1. Faith alone is the key to salvation.
The C.E.O. gets into Heaven because he gained Faith in God and the Sacrifice of Jesus.
The Other man goes to Hell because he never had Faith in God or the Sacrifice of Jesus.
2. Faith and Works are the Key to Salvation.
The C.E.O. goes to Hell because even though he had Faith in God and Jesus’ sacrifice, he had no good works to back up his faith.
The other man goes to Hell because even though he was a very good man and had plenty of works to his credit-he had no faith in God or Jesus’ sacrifice because he never heard of either.
Those are the two major thoughts in Christianity. Both of which I disagree with. The reason is that not everyone has heard of God and the Sacrifice of Jesus (such as the second man).
So if Christianity never got that far past it’s are of origin-that means that many of us would be doomed to Hell because we would have never heard of it. So to with the man in the Congo. He never had the opportunity to gain salvation according to the two major systems of thought. How is this Fair and how could an All Loving God allow this?
Consider how long it took Christianity to spread to most of the world. Are you telling me that EVERYONE who never had the chance to be saved is in Hell right now?
THAT is why I left the Baptist Faith. A truly All Loving God would require deeds alone to get into Heaven, as faith is not available to everyone of his children, but deeds are.
So how is it fair that those who will never have the chance to be saved are doomed?
apeman-You didn’t answer my question, but just attacked me. I doubt you even could answer my question.
Just to clear things up-I’m referring specifically to the belief that Jesus gave his life so that our sins could be forgiven.
Samson-well put. I agree. Myself, I really don’t believe that much in Heaven or Hell, but this question has always bothered me.
Just so everyone knows-
I’m an Agnostic/Pantheist with Taoist and Buddhist Principles. So I don’t personally believe in Heaven or Hell-I just wanted this issue to make more sense to me.
Here is what I was taught as a child in Church.
Unless you specifically ask Jesus into your heart and believe that he died for your sins, you’ll go to Hell. They harped on this point…a LOT.
But never once did I hear that Deeds were in any way necessary-even though this is in fact in the Bible. They honestly thought that simply being baptized and accepting Jesus was a free ticket-and they could act any way they pleased after that-which they did.
Lover of Blue-Interesting.
The second man, however, did not judge himself. How can he judge himself worthy of a place he has never heard of?
And in regards to your response on the C.E.O., there are people out there who enjoy the suffering of others. They’re known as Sadists. Perhaps he had a grudge against these people too? Granted, it’s true that most people would do it for the sake of protecting others, but that was not the person in my example.
It’s very hard to choose out of so many answers. I’ll put it up to a vote. Thank you everyone, I understand the issue much better now.