Living in a house with two clergy has its quirks. Lately, the discussions have been around the concept of Universalism.
For those of you how don't know, Universalism is the belief that ALL people will get into Heaven. I will not speak for Nick, but I will say that I am a Universalist.
There are many who believe that there HAS to be a Hell. The argument goes, "If people are going to go to Heaven anyway, why should they behave?
If you think about this, it is a very childish way of looking at people. It gives people no consideration for the maturity we would like to assume of the "sapien" part of Homo Sapien. It really is a very negative way of looking humanity. All the humanists out there should be really upset by this. It says that the only way that people will do anything that does not directly have a positive impact upon them is to have the reward of Heaven dangled out in front of them.
I don’t know, but this just does not feel very good to me.
Now, as I said before, I am a Universalist. I believe the gift of Heaven is out there for all of us. And if it is a gift, then it means that there is nothing that we can do to earn it. To earn it means that it is NOT a gift, right? So Heaven is a gift, and being a gift, it cannot be used as a carrot to dangle in front of others. If God uses Heaven as a bribe, then God is no better than Santa rewarding “good little girls and boys.”
As Christians, we profess to believe that Jesus died for our sins. We are told that this is a gift. Gift means gift. If we have to earn it, it is not a gift. If we have to pay for it, it is not a gift. If we have to be good little girls and boys, then Jesus is no better than Santa.
So the question becomes: “Well, what about Hitler? Is Hitler in Heaven?” (No need to play around with Jeffrey Dahmer! Go right for the big guns!)
If we are the ones worrying about Hitler, aren’t we passing judgment on Hitler? Don’t we violate the “Do not judge lest ye be judged” thing? Why should we care if Hitler is in Heaven or not? Does it make Heaven any less “heavenly” just because Hitler is there? (Just like “does it make marriage any less a marriage if gays are also getting married?”)
Then people say, “Well, Hitler SINNED!” (And that is “sin” with capital letters!!)
But isn’t sin, sin? Don’t we say that the wages of sin is death? So that means there is no rank to sin. Either we sin and deserve death or we don’t sin. It does not say that the wages of certain sin is death while the wages of others sin is to feel kind of bad. If we sin, we deserve death. Full Stop. (“Period” for us Americans.)
So to say that some people deserve death for their sins, but we only deserve a punishment, if not a full pardon, for our sins is definitely to go against all the judgment stuff we profess to believe.
I am probably a heretic, but I would rather think we have a God who can forgive not only my sins, but the sins of the world. (Isn’t that what Jesus did?) And isn’t it rather presumptuous of me to think that my sin, deserving of death, is less than someone else’s sin, deserving of death.?
If we believe we deserve pardon for our sins, whatever they may be, how can we then expect full retribution for others sins?
However, in my opinion, jumping right to Hitler prevents us from doing the hard work of realizing how we want forgiveness while wanting others to pay for their sins. We want justice, as long as it is justice toward others. When justice is to be extracted from us, we want leniency.
I may post more. I don’t know. All I know is that this discussion has been going on for centuries and will probably continue.