Yeah, don’t tell my son he’s going to hell. Just…no.

While I have been frolicking around the periphery of a officially sanctioned faith, identifying with Christianity in an ‘on again, off again’ basis, I think that it’s no secret that I’m still fairly open. Whether it be the Australian Christian Lobby celebrating that fact that an anti gay marriage, anti legalisation of abortion candidate won in my electorate on the weekend or the fact any belief that advocates that it is the only way means that, by default, a really large group of people must be branded as ‘wrong’, organised religion has begun to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

My eldest son has a friend (they are 9) who has apparently been telling him recently that he (Jasper) is going to go to hell because he does not believe in heaven.

Shut. Up.

Over the last few years I’ve expressed annoyance at the fact that people stereotype Christians. I’ve hated the fact that they are seen as judgemental, basking in the knowledge that they are the guardians of the only way.

But I’m suspecting that, because I’ve found a few comfy little progressive niches on the Internet, I’ve kind of lulled myself into thinking that most Christians are left wing, and the judgey- judgers just tend to be more vocal. Sure the ACL was pretty vocal this morning in the radio about their delight in the defeat of my preferred candidate but most Christians aren’t like that.

I’ve actually become biased, but in the other direction; deciding that Christians are ‘good people’ and that, for example, if my son is best friends with a boy from a family that identifies strongly with that faith then all will be fine and dandy.

Until that awkward moment when your 9 year old comes home and tells you that his friend frequently tells him that he is going to hell because he doesn’t believe for sure in God and heaven.

Much ranting ensued. Much, much ranting. I believe that at one stage I told him that any god that would do that to someone can kiss my bum.

What sort of crap must be filling a child’s head for him to actually conceptualise the idea that his friends will be going to hell.

‘How to fuck up your kid 101’

It’s all very well for me to tell myself that Christianity is about peace and love, but in actual fact are the vast majority of Christians judging the almighty crap out of anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe?. My son likes the idea of god and heaven and thinks that there probably is both, but is open to other ideas because I’ve taught him that we don’t have all the answers.

And, for this, another child tells him that he is going to hell.

Well, you know what? I’m glad I have the kid who is open to other ideas. I’m glad that I have a child so doesn’t think that he has a mandate on certainty.

So here’s the where I stand. No one book has all the answers.
We just don’t know.
Am I going to keep searching spiritually? Sure, I think that there’s lots of unexplained stuff out there and I plan on thinking out it and exploring it for the rest of my life because it’s fascinating and I love it. There’s a lot I like about Christianity and I’m not going to just abandon all that I’ve learnt.

Is Christianity the way to God? Sure, if that works for you. But if believing in a Christian god means that you reject other systems of belief as heresy then screw it. Yeah, it’s one way.

But, Jesus said that he is the only way.
And I don’t believe that.

Why? Because a small indoctrinated child opened my eyes.

You know what, do what works for you but try not to screw up other people on the way. Fill the world with love and light and be a good person.

There- a 12 word manifest.

Have at it, people.

36 thoughts on “Yeah, don’t tell my son he’s going to hell. Just…no.

  1. Welcome to the Church! You are absolutely right that it is full of some really judgemental people and that can catch you off guard when you least expect it. What’s worse is they can quote chapter and verse of scripture to back up their views and see nothing wrong with that. It makes Christianity one of the most frustrating and unclear religions around (although the little glimpses I have had into inside world of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism suggests that this is not true and I find New Agers super-judgemental in their own ways).
    I am part way through reading Mark Borg’s Evolution of the Word – which is the NT in chronological order. What really comes through is there is more conflict and confusion than agreement between NT writers. So anyone claiming to say “this is the real Christianity” has to be very selective.
    So it comes back to what makes sense to you and does it give you life. If it life destroying – run! and run fast!

    • It certainly add validity to soemthing, in my opinion, if debate and uncertainty is embraced rather than denied or swept under the carpet.

  2. And therein lies the problem with so much of Christianity. The youngster if older he would probably have found a better more delicate way to tell your son that truth. Most people who do not follow God don’t want to hear what is said on the subject of heaven and hell. But the fact is that Jesus, The Son of God, or God Himself, in the flesh, said that He is the only way to the father. It doesn’t matter one hill of beans whether we believe it or not. We choose to scoff at it at our own peril. God is God and He does what He says He will do. We have free will and therefore we are able to pick and choose what we believe but we also choose the consequences of that choice. I would agree that it is better for a parent to teach the truths than a boy in the playground. But when I explain to people about heaven and or hell it is because I love them and want them to experience the fullness and beauty of a life lived for God. If I am right, when I die I will be fine, if I am wrong it won’t matter because life will just end but in the meantime I will have lived a blessed life. I choose to believe.

    • There is a huge and interesting comment stream opened up by this post. But I really just want to reply to Jennifer and Eva.
      Two sisters (if I may say so) on the journey. One have followed along the way and has tremendous faith, and is searching for belief. And quite rightly being very careful to discern what is right and wrong. The other full of belief but I wondering where is the faith?
      It may just be a throw away line at the end of your post. But I have also heard it from others selling beliefs as a kind of cosmic life insurance that it has me worried. They say: “We might be wrong, but if so we all die anyway, but if we are right it will pay off handsomely”. When I buy life insurance its because I don’t believe I will really need it. So beliefs based on ‘this could be a problem when we die’, are no beliefs at all.
      The question I ask is where is our faith in the life the we live today? What does it change about the way you treat the next person you meet along the road? Show me your god in the way you treat the poor and dispossessed and then I may believe.
      God bless you both. Christ is risen.

    • I know that if I had, say, a cure for cancer or something that would change a life that I believed with absolute certaibty would work, then i would be desperate to share it with people. I would be upset and disheartened if they didnt listen, or believe. And I know that you come from a position of love.

  3. Hi Eva, I feel somewhat sick at heart to read your post. As a christian of 50 years, I agree that christians can sometimes be very insensitive – sadly I have been that way myself. But I hope that, in the long run, you don’t give up on Jesus too quickly.

    If a christian believes in hell, then, as Jennifer says, they have little choice but to tell people (though whether they should tell children is another matter). But I don’t believe that is what Jesus taught – if you haven’t read it already, you may like to check out Hell and Rob Bell.

    I think the statement of Jesus that he is the only way to God (John 14:6) has also been misunderstood. Clearly the Bible doesn’t consign the Old Testament Jews to hell because they didn’t know Jesus, and in fact the Bible also hints that everyone will be judged according to the light they have been given. I believe Jesus is indeed the only way to God, but he has opened up the way for all whose hearts are open to God, no matter how little they actually know.

    Christians behave badly. So do non-believers. I think we have to judge christianity (1) by Jesus himself, and (2) by how christians are changing, not be how they are at this moment. You might like to watch this short video – This is water.

    I’m really sorry about your experience, but I hope it doesn’t piss you off too much in the long run. Best wishes.

    • I agree that we cant judge Christianity by the behaviour of its believers. None of us are perfect, no matter what we believe and it doesnt determine the validity of out views. Hell, Hitler liked dogs but it didnt stop him from being a heinous evil killer!
      What this has done for my is question my underlying assumptions, I guess…

  4. The anti-gay marriage, anti-legalization of abortion candidate who won in your riding is a product of religious belief, supported by people who care more about their religious ‘Truth-through-faith’ opinions than they do about causing real harm to real people in real life. That’s the blunt fact of the matter fatheists like to pretend is some fringe element they can safely ignore while they grocery shop and cherry pick bits of religious belief that looks pretty enough to purchase. I don’t care how one tries to rationalize teaching children about hell as if it were real; the product is learning how to fear life. And that’s mentally deranged that causes real harm no matter how nicely you might find the idea gift-wrapped in this warped version of religious ‘love’.

    • But cherry-picking what we like out of life is the norm, isn’t it. We all choose to take what we like and reject what we don’t. It’s easier for me to reject Christianity when I’m dealing with absolutists. I can say ‘this is all bunk’ and walk away. But when I read Spong or The Christian Left there is so much good there thats its hard to walk away.
      Many Christians dont believe in the bad stuff, and theres no mandate that they should; theres plenty of wiggle room for interpretation.

  5. I’m very sorry your child experienced this. I remember a child going home in tears from a Vacation Bible School(VBS) at the church I attended because he’d been taught that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus was going to hell. He believed in Jesus, but his father wasn’t sure. In fact, was leaning toward not believing. The child was hysterical because his father was going to hell. 😦

    • Oh, and I’ve found that the liberal/progressive Christians(at least in my area) are few and far between. They may wear that label, but they still believe in some sort of Heaven/Hell and who’s going there paradigm.

  6. Hello. Thank you for your post. I agree with much of what Jennifer (“May 09 2013” post) said.

    Here are a few thoughts of mine (philosophical/theological) that you (inspiration agnostic) may want to consider on your path to finding the truth:

    If we are to find the truth, we must be careful that we don’t dismiss what potentially could be truth, just because it doesn’t fit our model or notion of what truth should look like. (especially if we say that we haven’t found it yet, we then have no logical grounds upon which to say “this is what is should look like” ).

    Now, concerning belief systems, they can fall into the following categories (for our purposes):

    X: My belief system is the only truth and only way (as to attaining eternal life).

    Y: I embrace all belief systems, and think they lead to the same destination.

    Z: I embrace no such belief system and there is no spirtual reality(religious).

    Now if a person holds to view Y, then there is an apparent conflict between proponents of view X & Y (not only does X exclude Y, but Y excludes X, indirectly).

    Y excludes belief X because a central component of belief X is that it is the only truth. So since Y embraces all things, it is essentially saying that X, as to it’s entirety, is not true. In other words, it’s logically impossible to be a proponent of view Y, as the following example demonstrates:

    Let’s say view X says that Jesus is the Son of God (i.e. the Eternal God, Son of the Father, who became a man, died for sins, bodily arose, and is Christ), and let’s say view Q says that Jesus was a mere man or either never existed. Views X and Q, as to their entirety, are mutually exclusive: it’s impossible to say the Jesus existed and didn’t exist, at the same point in time…or that He always existed as God, but had a beginning as God.

    Point: Although X’s rejection of Q is more apparent, Y’s acceptance of X and Q (and all other beliefs combined) is also apparent.

    Now: Proponents of X may very well be making a claim that X is true, and the only truth, not because they’ve examined all other potential truth candidates, and found them to be false, (because that’s impossible to research), but the they’ve examined the content of X, and found it to be consistent with reason. Hence, if all tenents of the reason of X are true, and the ultimate tenent of X is “X as to its entirety is the only way to finding truth & God”, there’s good reason to believe that this last piece is true as well, especially if previous tenents of X were “It’s credible to believe that Jesus is God, as evidenced by His resurrection, and its embracement by disciples who died for what they saw” & another previous tenent of “God does not lie or contradict himself”–

    Proponents of Y embrace Y, not based on examining the content of the beliefs they try to be all inclusive of, but rather by a lower principle of “fairness”…If joe in his basement goes insane one day and tries to start a new religion..I guarantee you, I might be a bit skeptical as to its veracity. People should embrace a belief based upon its consistency with reality—not based upon trying to be fair to the people who hold that belief.

    Now to embrace Z, is in fact to embrace a belief system (though not as liturgical and religious as the others). People often say, “well God, if you exist, just appear and show me.”…Well, truth is, God did just that, 2000 years ago, and humans still didn’t believe He was God and killed him. What more evidence do we need?

    Conclusion: it’s not reasonable to hold view “Y”,..and for the evidence based skeptics, view “Z” is not too reasonable as well. Now, I grant you, view X is not the only other option, in that view W may hold pieces of view X, or none at all.

    However, if I were you, I would pay more attention to beliefs that say “this is the only way”…in that there is a peculiarity in that belief, the significant of which should be studied and evaluated as to why?…why is it necessary to embrace this pecularity? Perhaps God may grant you belief upon examining the ramifications of this pecularity.

    • Thanks Bruce- I appreciate the time and thought that you have put into this comment.
      For me, a belief that claims to be the ‘only way’ raises alarm bells. I cant and wont believe that essentially the entirity of human existence is to be denied heaven because they hadn’t heard of eternal salvation. The Only Way will always exclude many people, through not fault of their own, and so I will never embrace it. Even if it does turn out to be the truth. I’ll be the first in the picket line, in Hell, waving a sign saying ‘Down with god’.

  7. I don’t get it. How can Jesus be a way to God but not the only way, when one of the things Jesus taught (supposedly) about being the way to God was that he was the only way to God? It seems weird to grant half of that while objecting to the other half. Was Jesus divine or not? Was Jesus right about the nature of God or not?

  8. Yeah, this kind of stuff chaps my hide. As one of maybe three progressive Christians that live in America’s Bible Belt, I despair at finding anyone with religious maturity above a nine year-old. And yet sometimes they surprise me. But I’m talking about their arrogance here, not mine.

    Antway…

    Since we seem to be focused on John 14:6, I’d suggest you start there and give it a really close read—that and the 3-4 chapters leading up to it. I’m not saying you haven’t, I’m just reflecting that the more I study it, the more I get out of it. Most Christians seem to use it as Basic Jesus 101. (And, btw, when I survey all of Christianity, it more resembles Bruce’s Y than X.) For me, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” is the graduate course in Christianity.

    When I look at the preceding chapters in John, I observe Jesus wandering through the marketplace on his way to the upper room. He passes a veritable international smorgasbord of believers, non-believers, Jews, Gentiles, seekers, skeptics, followers, and folks just out to get lunch. Note his response, or non-response, as the case may be. When he finally does get to this pivotal verse, look who’s left to hear it: just the final 11, only those who’ve made the whole journey with him. For them, Jesus is the way, etc.

    This is not the way of a nine year-old.

    Keep on keeping on, Eva. You’re on the way.

  9. Yeah, this kind of stuff chaps my hide. As one of maybe three progressive Christians that live in America’s Bible Belt, I despair at finding anyone with religious maturity above a nine year-old. And yet sometimes they surprise me. But I’m talking about their arrogance here, not mine.

    Anyway…

    Since we seem to be focused on John 14:6, I’d suggest you start there and give it a really close read—that and the 3-4 chapters leading up to it. I’m not saying you haven’t, I’m just reflecting that the more I study it, the more I get out of it. Most Christians seem to use it as Basic Jesus 101. (And, btw, when I survey all of Christianity, it more resembles Bruce’s Y than X.) For me, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” is the graduate course in Christianity.

    When I look at the preceding chapters in John, I observe Jesus wandering through the marketplace on his way to the upper room. He passes a veritable international smorgasbord of believers, non-believers, Jews, Gentiles, seekers, skeptics, followers, and folks just out to get lunch. Note his response, or non-response, as the case may be. When he finally does get to this pivotal verse, look who’s left to hear it: just the final 11, only those who’ve made the whole journey with him. For them, Jesus is the way, etc.

    This is not the way of a nine year-old.

    Keep on keeping on, Eva. You’re on the way.

  10. Hey Skip, so if John 14:6 is the graduate course of Christianity, what about one of the earliest recorded preachings of the free grace gospel by Peter, and that directed to the unbelieving in Acts 4:12? The content here would seem rather elementary given it’s placement in the timeline of Christianity, and given the fact that it’s addressed as a core tenet to an unbelieving audience.

    It should be noted too that if a true Christian (one who believes the gospel that Jesus is fully & eternally the only God with His Father, who became a man, Messiah, who died for sins, and rose bodily) thinks that others who believe differently can be saved, the fact that he or she believes in universal salvation does not invalidate his or her being a Christian (and thereby saved, according to Biblical Christianity). In other words, a Christian can believe in universal salvation;

    However, in the age the bible designates as “the grace age” it should be noted that what constitutes a true Christian is that that one has believed/counted true the gospel (aforementioned) at one point in his or her life. The effects are enduring…in fact everlasting life, forgiveness of sins, and can’t be forfeited. If someone, after believing that Christ (with His Father, and Spirit) constitute the only true God, decides to believe that other gods exist, he or she is still a believer, in that their salvation cannot be forfeited. Now, if someone has never counted Christ with His Father and Spirit as constituting the only True God, but says that Christ is God, along with Allah, and the Myriad of Hindu gods/goddesses., then that person was never a believer. There are many verses that support this, but this is the gist…(ask me if you’re interested).

    Though many Christians condescendingly and angrily speak to the unbelieving, we must be careful to not throw out the baby with the bath water by saying the concept of “Christoexclusivism” is unbiblical. There are many places which demonstrate this.

    A counterargument to this would be the Scriptural allusions to mortals (unbelieving) being present during the millenial reign of Christ (when he returns). Off the cuff, I think of Isaiah 13:9-12, the end of Zechariah 14:16-19, and the reference to the final rebellion at the end of the Revelation. These are examples of mortal beings who are either allowed entry (and then subdued) in the kingdom of Christ on this earth, or are the offspring of mortals during that 1000 year period. And given that the Scripture says that glorified saints will neither marry nor are given in marriage during the millenium (and there is no mention of God creating additional mortals during the millenium), it is highly likely that these are mortals from this current age who passed into the kingdom age, who are spared when Christ obliterates nearly the whole unbelieving populace on this earth.

    It should be said though, that during this grace age, Acts 4:12 is in effect, and Christ, who is Yahweh of the Old Testament, said “Besides me, there is no savior” Isa 43:11, and John 8:24, “…Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” speaking to the unbelieving religious elite of his day. Though, a select few mortals will be spared when He returns.

    • Though, a select few mortals will be spared when He returns.

      You believe this on the basis of faith alone yet pronounce it as if true independent of your belief. From where I’m sitting outside of the faith bubble, this comment reads like delusional thinking – tinkering with this bit of scripture to inform that bit to assemble a faith-based view that is entirely of your own making – and then extended into the world as if it were capable of describing it. It’s not. It’s not capable because it is not adjudicated by reality, tested and found justified by what is external to the faith-based belief. It is dependent only on you. That’s why any faith-based belief is without merit in the world of knowledge because how it is assembled is divorced from it by faith. And that’s foisting this kind of stuff on children is not just extraordinarily arrogant but highly confusing in that its presentation – like the statement you end your comment with – does not differentiate how this statement is a belief based solely on faith is not a knowledge statement about reality but presented as if equivalent. Yet, when push comes to shove, I suspect you are unaware that you have no rational means at your disposal to successfully explain to me or anyone else – including children – how you can differentiate your faith-based beliefs from delusion when you don’t allow reality to play its role in arbitrating your faith. This is where the actual equivalency lies – between faith and delusion – presented to children as if your faith beliefs were equivalent to knowledge about reality.

      And we wonder why children are scared by this kind of crazy and confusing indoctrination – about alternate realities containing gigantic parental figures with awesome powers distributing pleasure and pain on an eternal scale based on accepting faith statements as if they were knowledge statements but – unconnected to the reality these children inhabit from adults they are biologically geared to trust! It’s a recipe for inflicting life-long negative effects.

      • To tildeb,

        The topic of faith is rather interesting. There is much to be said concerning the relationship between reasonable faith (ie belief) and blind faith.. I’ll spare you an exhaustive treatment, but I would define reasonable faith as follows:

        That which fills the gap between empirical probability and full certainty.

        This is a rather interesting subject because everyone has reasonable faith in something. I’m sure all of us have demonstrated this in the unseen engineer who generated calculations in designing the very building we work daily in.. What if he were drinking that night while producing those calculations? We weren’t there to view him calculating, yet we risk our lives and test his wits by sitting in the structure daily… It’s not absolute blind faith that the engineer made erroneous calculations necessarily because the building functions rather well as far as we can see… Hence the probability that he was blasted drunk the night he designed the building is rather low… Hence it’s not blind, but reasonable faith that one has in the engineer who designed te building…one could say with near if not full certainty that at 12pm tomorrow, the second floor will be intact. This assurance is based upon empirical or inductive reasoning (that thee building works ok), which leads one to extrapolate a reasonable conclusion about past events (that he was not drunk during design) and or predict accurately about future events (that the second floor will likely be intact tomorrow noon).

        Likewise, the book of Hebrews defines [reasonable] faith as : “the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.

        My reasoning for embracing the bible does not rest purely on some whimsical blind faith, but of reasonable belief… Some categories of support include biblical archaeological evidence, textual consistency of the scripture, extra biblical attestation and validation of the scripture (showing reliability of dating and authorship), prophetic proofs, scientific backing , (proofs from religious experince) not forgetting to mention the fact that Christ lives, answers prayers, and changes the lives of those believing in him. Additional proofs are philosophical. I’d be more than happy to share evidences with you.. Just let me know, or I can direct you to some course material of mine to listen to.

        Regards,

        • Bruce, I understand you wish to utilize one sense of the ‘faith’ to make it seem that justified confidence is shared by all and so appears to be quite a reasonable perspective. But faith in the religious sense is not the same, is it, or it wouldn’t be faith. Under your simile, we have confidence when we board a plane that it will fly and so you claim we have faith of the religious kind. But this simply isn’t true. Aerodynamics, for example, deserves confidence because planes fly all the time for everyone everywhere (unless something goes terribly wrong). That – and not our hope – is why we have confidence that it’s a good explanation: it works consistently and reliably well independent of us. In other words, reality adjudicates aerodynamics and not our hope in the things not seen. If the explanation didn’t work reliably and consistently well, we should abandon it. No faith of the religious kind is needed or deserving of consideration in this context of the word ‘faith’.

          The ex post facto evidence you raise is carefully selected to support your faith-based position and not the other way around. That’s why you ignore the mountain of contrary and conflicting evidence to your faith-based claims. You ignore biblical scholarship that raises significant issues with the numerous conflicting historical scriptural claims. You ignore the lack of evidence in archeology, geology, paleontology, astronomy, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, and math where there should be substantial evidence. You ignore studies that show no causal effect that should be present, and so on. This is the reality that arbitrates your claims and it is not an ally. A simple comparison between faith of the religious kind and faith as confidence reveals itself in, say, chemistry where no matter what gender, ethnicity, religious belief, language, or culture the person utilizing might be, water at sea level boils at the same temperature. Compare that confidence with the religious belief you hold. Your is determined for you almost entirely by the geography of your birth and the religious beliefs of family into which you are raised. What’s true in religious claims doesn’t matter, you see; what matters is what you’ve been taught to believe and this teaching tends to be highly correlated to the local geography of the predominant faith-based belief. That – and not what’s justifiably true arbitrated by reality – is what you are attempting to justify by carefully selecting only that which supports your a priori faith-based beliefs. And that’s why your beliefs are in conflict with other similar faith-based beliefs. This – and not respecting what’s independently and justifiably true in reality – is what you are now teaching to the next generation of believers. And by doing so, you insure the conflict continues with conflicting religions. No equivalent conflict exists in, say, chemistry.

          Religion divides people and establishes identities that are problematic in respecting what’s true over and above what is believed to be true. And this leads to some measure of conflict with science (particularly evolution), conflict with best practices in public policies, conflict with laws of equality, conflict with respecting secular values, conflict with critical and creative thinking, etc.. Because religious faith does not value what’s true over what is believed to be true but extended into the public domain as if equivalent to knowledge, real people are caused real suffering that is not just unnecessary but ethically indefensible. And it all starts with parents who teach their children to respect and obey what they themselves believe.

    • ”My reasoning for embracing the bible does not rest purely on some whimsical blind faith, but of reasonable belief… Some categories of support include biblical archaeological evidence, ”

      If you are interested in archaeological evidence then maybe you might like to read the work of Israel Finkelstein and Professor Zeev. Herzog?

      They have demonstrated beyond doubt that Moses was a fictional character, that the Israelites were never in Egypt that the Exodus never occurred and the conquest of Canaan is nonsense.
      These facts have been known for around 25 years by every renowned archaeologist in the world.. But who’s going to officially announce it?

      As Jesus mentions Moses on several occasions this does not bode well for the Son of God, Christianity in general, or Islam.
      The problem for religion, is that science eventually reveals truth, exposes myths and those that perpetrate them.

      Judaism is based on false premise and this makes Christianity and Islam just so much nonsense.

  11. When Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the light” it needs to be read in the context of John’s wonderful opening passage: “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God.” Jesus is talking here as the Son of God who is Himself God. (This is expanded on in Hebrews as being above the angels).
    So he is really saying God is the way – no one comes to God but through God himself. It all about removing all intermediaries from our path to God. This is the great truth of Christianity.
    Unfortunately, we misread this passage and see Jesus as being separate from God and being the new gatekeeper. This turns him into a demi-god and places him “below the angels”. By this interpretation he has stolen the gates of heaven and put his chief disciple in charge of who can enter or not. Entry is then permitted only to those who subscribe to the correct set of beliefs. God’s merciful love for all creation is lost.

  12. Bruce and others,
    Eva has just been in touch with me and asked me to let you know that she is having computer problems of some sort and is locked out of her blog. She will hopefully be able to correct this on Monday and be answering. Please accept her apologies.

  13. Eva, I want to apologise so much for answering your post in the way that I did. Please forgive me. It seemed to have opened a pandora’s box of theological opinions from all sides. A cacophony of words with each one busy pointing out how they are right and others wrong. I am sure much of it is confusing and not helpful in answering your hurt and annoyance at the treatment of your dear son. I have prayed, agonised and shed tears over all of this and what to say to you. I think we have gotten away from the simple truth that
    1. God is
    2. God is love, that He loves you and desires a friendship with you.
    3. Jesus is/was his son, sent so that we could see God
    4. Faith is a gift. You are on a journey looking for faith. Find and trust the giver of the gift and you will obtain the gift.
    5. All of our walk with God, into faith and eternal life is a choice that we make. We can choose yes or no,. Nothing is forced upon us.

    I think that that the friend of your son was playing a game along the lines of “My dad’s bigger than your dad” with the direst of consequences attributed to “‘his” biggest of all Dads. I am sure you will handle this well.

    Again I am so so very sorry for any the above that I may have caused. I don’t want my words to be a stumbling block for anyone

  14. Jennifer, what a beautiful reply.
    Sins of omission are the worst. I had meant to say in my reply to you both that my response comes from identifying fully with both of you. The places your words come from, I have been many times. I have sat in church and thought – it all makes sense but I have no feeling that it matters. And I have felt God close to me but nothing makes sense. And I have felt totally alone from God and god-ness and the world has carried on.
    Jennifer, your words bring us back so well to the truth. thank you. David.

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  17. When we were little do you remember my sister’s Mormon friend (aged six) telling her that when you die you go to heaven where people can ride on friendly tigers and eat lollies all day and it’s brilliant? We became Mormons for a brief period in the 80s.

    I still want to ride a tiger… which kind of sums up my struggle with the whole faith thing. I want to ride a friendly tiger but is it a real possibility?

    I liked your response David Earle.

    • I don’t remember but I only have about. 3 memories up to the age 25 so that’s not surprising! But there were a LOT of Mormons around weren’t there? No wonder our parents were all so staunchly atheist.

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