I have this theory that what we believe is 99% based on our experience, and 1% spiritual or intellectual convicts. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but in my experience, most of what we believe is directly related to the world(s) we have been exposed to.
And that includes me.
So I am going to start blogging about questions I’ve raised the last two years that I had never wrestled with before I traveled. I know some of you have asked these a long time ago. I grew up in a bubble, so you will have to forgive me.
Today I will talk about hell.
I grew up believing that hell was for everyone who wasn’t one of us. Of course, there was always a few questions about hell that I had, but my conversion to Calvinism (which I’m not anymore) helped me deal with those problems. Calvinism helped me see that 1) man was so depraved he really wouldn’t choose God anyway. We were lucky any of us were “picked” because hell was our chosen choice 2) people in hell really want to be there, and there are no people who are burning and regretting it. (At that time, I had an agnostic friend who told me if God turns out real, he will still choose hell. This helped solidify my point.)
In short, I had intellectual answers for my narrow experience.
Then it got personal.
1) I went to a Buddhist funeral of an elderly person and was the only Christian there. Then I told my Christian friend about it who cried and said, “and she’s burning in hell just because she never was exposed to Jesus. Doesn’t that bother you?”
2) I went to Cambodia. Stood in front of a tree where, during the genocide that claimed 2 million lives, innocent women and children were slammed against the tree until their head cracked open, then they were buried alive. And I thought, “and according to my faith, these people are burning in hell because they died before hearing. We condemn people for torturing those on this life, but its okay to torture people in heaven?”
3) Besides those who have never heard, some of my Asian friends have but just can’t understand the gospel. And I GET IT. I initially was repulsed by Buddhism because it says my husband can have 10,000 wives in heaven. But the misogyny in Christianity is just as hard to stomach on a surface level. But according to my source, if my friends die in a motorcycle wreck before they’ve fleshed out this Christian thing, they will go to hell.
In short, most Christians in the US have no problem saying their babies they miscarried are going to heaven? Why? The Bible doesn’t say they are going to heaven (and the Bible doesn’t even say a baby has a soul at conception as far as that goes); its just personal, so people believe what they want because its personal. Well, in the same way, unreached people groups are personal to me. I think if every Christian had traveled and met people oversees who had never heard, most Christians would accept that God can save people after death too. But since most people haven’t traveled to third world countries, its easier for them just to slap the label “liberal” on me and continue to believe their fetus’ are in heaven but my friends are going to hell.