Who do you think gets to go the Heaven? Tiger Woods, George Bush, Mother Theresa, Adolf Hitler, Billy Graham, President Obama, The Pope, Benny Hinn, Joseph Smith, Buddha - who? If you are like most folks, you are thinking, "that one, "nope, not that one," or "Hitler; definitely not." There are others that will say, "We just don't know, we can't be the judge. God alone is the judge." Now that's playing it safe.
So, who gets to go to Heaven when they die? And more importantly, how do you get there?
If you read yesterday's blog entitled, Have You Wondered Why Man Can't Fly and the Church Can't Get Along?, then you know that there are many opinions - and a lot of myths about the Christian religion.
Most Christians would say the Bible is the 411 on the "Who Goes to Heaven" game. And for sure, there are other thoughts on the afterlife. Billions of folks claim to be Christians, we've discussed that before. For those that are atheists, we have previously discussed that too. For those that just want to believe in god, any god, I have addressed that as well HERE.
Today's blog is addressed at those that want to go Heaven. It is not a debate, but a discussion.
As we discussed yesterday, there are many views as to how to worship God as a Christian, but few disagreements as to what the "central truth" of the Bible is. The Bible contains the Jewish Torah; the Law and the Prophets, as well as the Gospel Accounts of Jesus, the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, the Revelation of John, and the Epistles of Paul. There are 66 books in what is called the biblical canon.
It took a few hundred years for this collection of writings to be "approved." And yes, there are some other books that were written, but like most church folks, they could not agree on them. The reason, they were not used is that they were NOT consistent with the "central truth." Their inclusion would have caused wide spread contradictions to the 66 collected books.
I know, it all sounds a lot like "chance," so how could it be God? First, take a look at the "central truth" which is called the Nicene Creed. If we can't agree on this, then we are not Christians. Whoa, brother David! Look, you can't be a Christian because you decided to be one, you can't be a Christians because your parents were, or because you were baptized, or because you attend church, joined a church, or signed a commitment card or think that you are a good person because you didn't commit a sin that someone else did. You, can't. That would mean that Christianity is a philosophy subject to the whims of man, changing culture and intellectual pursuit. It's not.
The difference between all other religions is NOT that Jesus said: "I am the truth the way and the light, and no one comes to the Father but by me." It is the simple fact that Jesus rose from the dead to prove his promise to you and to me as a sacrifice for your sins.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity again, becomes a lie, not a religion. Think about it. How stupid would billions of folks feel to get to the end, and find out Jesus was not there? Heaven then becomes an eternal paradise without love, light, or the promised lack of pain and sickness in which we live as floating souls. That does not sound appealing, now does it?
For the record, the historical Jesus was written about in both the Bible, and by Jewish historians; most notably Josephus. Only agenda driven; narrow-minded intellectuals will say that Jesus did not exist, and that He did not rise from the the dead. Why? According to the Pharisees and the Scribes, the lawyers of Israel, everything was to be recoded with the utmost accuracy. That is one reason why the Old Testament Scriptures have little, or no meaningful discrepancies, in nearly 6,000 years! Furthermore; it was a Jewish law that everything legally be established by 2 or more witnesses. HERE is the account of everything that happened to Jesus pertaining to the central truth, as prescribed by the laws of Israel.
For those that think that the Bible is filled with mistakes, send them to me. I'd be glad to take a look.
For the moment, I am going to assume that we can glean something meaningful from the Bible - namely how to get to heaven. Good evangelicals will use some "tools" like the 4 Spiritual Laws or Romans Road to convince sinners to repent. They both contain excellent truth - but seriously, unless you are convinced that you to are a sinner, it is just more Bible talk.
If a heavenly afterlife is the benefit of some moral merit, then what is the criteria? As humans we tend to focus on others behavior. I am sure you can think of one person right away that does more bad stuff than you. Name the act: smoking, drinking to excess, promiscuity, cheating, stealing, pornography, abortion, murder, speeding, lying and the list goes on and on. Who makes these rules anyway? If you don't believe the Bible, how do you know it's wrong? Just because you detest lying, doesn't mean that it bothers me to cheat on my income tax.
So, what about heaven? Here is what I think - ain't that why you read this blog? I think Heaven of like going to the gym. We go to the gym to get exercise because we know it's good for us; that's the reason. One of the benefits of membership is losing weight, meeting others, and some casual talk as we wipe our ugly germs of the hand-grips for the next person.
Profound don't you think? Some of us that go to the gym are in near perfect shape, and others, like me, are more than a few pounds overweight. The facts are like this: all of us are going to die, all of us have germs, and most of us would like to think that the afterlife is going to better than this. HERE is more on Hell in case you are worried about that.
The real question is this? Do you need some spiritual exercise, are you happy with your life, do you feel a real purpose to your being, are you guilt free, not having any cares in the world? If you can close your eyes and sit quietly for 5 whole minutes, try telling yourself that you've never done anything deserving punishment. But please, don't tell yourself that there is someone else worse than you - I'm sure you don't hold a candle to Hitler - or Mother Theresa for that matter. Just remember, even she needed a savior. Can you sit there and be certain that you are going to Heaven? Can you sit there and tell yourself you are free of guilt?
Where are you going, and do you know for sure? Tell me about it.