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  1. I assume this post & story is meant to remind us that every moment could be our last, and thus we need to “get right” with God ASAP.

    If so, it touches on something that’s bothered me for a long time. If you’ve already explained this Steve, I apologize, but I’m curious to know whether you think babies are born sin-free. That is, if a baby is born today and dies in a week (before he/she has a chance to accept the divinity of Jesus Christ), will he/she be sent to Hell?

    Adults presumably need to get their affairs in order as soon as possible, for death could occur at any moment, and if this happens before repenting of their sins, they’re going to be tortured eternally. Does the same apply to babies?

  2. Live Tree or Die

  3. Interesting reads from speculators, but neither have an answer that is absolute. If ignorance of Christ means you automatically get into heaven then what about people who have never heard of Christianity. I had asked you Steve a little while ago, that there are still tribes in Brazil and South America in general who have remained isolated from the rest of manknind for thousands of years, and have never heard of Jesus or God. Are they destined for Hell because of their ignorance?

  4. “there are still tribes in Brazil and South America in general who have remained isolated from the rest of manknind for thousands of years, and have never heard of Jesus”

    They do have the testimony of their conscience and creation and have sinned against it. These people go to hell for willfully sinning with knowledge, for breaking Gods law. A baby does not have the faculties to willfully sin, even though they are a member of adams fallen race. God is just in both cases. I hope this helps.

    Jim

  5. Jim, what *exactly* do you mean by “testimony of their conscience and creation”?

  6. @Jim

    That statement doesn’t really make sense, I have to agree with Nohm, can you please clarify? I mean say you were born in one of these tribes, or heck, say you were a Navajo Indian in the 1500s, you have no knowledge of God or Jesus, your people, and your family believe in ancestral spirits, you don’t even know there’s another continent across the ocean, let alone where Israel is. You believe that these people would go to hell? It SOUNDS like you are saying because these people are BORN there and have never heard of Christ they will go to a hell they have absolutely no clue about? How exactly is that ‘just’? You don’t have any control over what society or place you’re born into, you could have just as easily been born in the remote jungles of Africa, been a Bushmen where you are likewise isolated from the rest of humanity and suffer the same fate.

  7. My “conscience” is clear on the matter: the God Steve and Jim both appear to believe in is a fiction. However, it does not tell me “no Gods exist”.

    @Steve – thanks for the links. I really wish you’d have used your own words to respond, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. You were right: it’s impossible for me to choose between Christian theologians. Like the apologists, they all claim to have a handle on the truth, and yet I find their messages to vary wildly – even to the point of contradicting each other.

    Based on those links, I’m going to assume you DO NOT believe babies go to hell. If I were to extrapolate a bit, I’d guess you believe that once the child has the capacity to understand the nature of sin and salvation and grace, he/she then makes a choice about whether to accept it or not – and thus Hell becomes a possibility. Correct?

    If so, then I suppose that’s consistent and relatively “just”. Can’t condemn someone for something he/she can’t have any chance of participating in or understanding.

    However, the stories you occasionally link (like the one in the subject of this thread) confuse me. If repentance is of the utmost importance, wouldn’t the best plan be to repent and then kill yourself before you’ve had the chance to sin again? Christianity’s fascination with death creeps me out a bit, not the least because death seems to be a goal for some Christians; and it seems to be a logical conclusion to the theology espoused by the theologians you’ve listed. Heck, I’ve recently encountered an apologist looks forward to death.

    So Steve, can you help me out of this conundrum? If babies get the benefit of the doubt, for the rest of us, wouldn’t the safest bet be to repent and then commit suicide? After all, we’re talking about the difference between eternal bliss and eternal torture.

    I’m not asking this glibly…

    • Whateverman wrote: So Steve, can you help me out of this conundrum? If babies get the benefit of the doubt, for the rest of us, wouldn’t the safest bet be to repent and then commit suicide? After all, we’re talking about the difference between eternal bliss and eternal torture.

      I’m not asking this glibly…

      Since you know that I trust in the Word of God (which, of course, you believe is fiction), here are my answers, straight from the Bible (albeit, just a few Scriptures):

      Matthew 10:22 (New International Version)
      “…he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

      1 Corinthians 15:2 (New International Version)
      2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

      Colossians 1:22-23 (New International Version)
      22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.

      Hebrews 3:14 (New International Version)
      14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

      2 Timothy 2:12 (New International Version)
      if we endure, we will also reign with him.
      If we disown him, he will also disown us;

      1 John 2:24-25 (New International Version)
      24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.

      The point of all this is to stand firm until the end. That’s the assurance we have that tells us we are indeed saved. It’s called the perseverance of the saints.

      Someone who gives up by committing suicide has not persevered until the end.

      Still, I don’t know how big God’s grace really is. But since I’m not convinced that someone who kills himself goes to heaven, I’ll just stick with the Word says.

      I hope this was helpful.

  8. Nohm says:
    Jim, what *exactly* do you mean by “testimony of their conscience and creation”?
    vintango says:
    or heck, say you were a Navajo Indian in the 1500s, you have no knowledge of God or Jesus, your people, and your family believe
    Whateverman says:
    My “conscience” is clear on the matter: the God Steve and Jim both appear to believe in is a fiction. However, it does not tell me “no Gods exist”.

    Conscience (with knowledge). This is a moral knowledge that transcends cultures and generations. Though culture and generation may effect it to some degree, at its core is a moral absolute that leaves us without excuse for sin. Some may argue that moral values are relative and the bushman or the 1500 navajo indian are therefore not fit for hell for their sin. I would submit the same main points that I recently did while reasoning with my agnostic friend David.

    We know from creation there is a creator
    I once asked an atheist while pointing to a coffee shop if he would believe me if I told him a tornado had come through town and whipped up some big glass pains, bricks, mixed us some mortar, picked up an espresso machine, and left in its wake a functioning coffee shop. He responded “By your analogy you have no idea how evolution works”. He was correct, I should have stated that multiple tornados came through at different times and created the building.

    We know from the basic state of the world that something is wrong
    Why do people cry at funerals? Why are mothers so madd about drunk drivers killing their children? If you come home from work and your wife says “our puppy was hit by a car and killed today” instead of “I just made your favorite dinner for you” why does it upset you?

    We know from our conscience that we have all done wrong personally
    My friend David claimed that his sin wasnt that bad and he didnt need Gods forgivness for it. I asked him if he ever got angry with someone else for something they had done. Of course he had. I asked him if he had ever done some of the same things, of course he had. He therefore proved that he was capable of making moral judgments, but only exercised that capacity in others while giving himself a free pass. The first time that you have passed a moral judgment you have proven that you know right from wrong in a basic level. Therefore you are without excuse for having done wrong yourself. This was the main point I wanted to make. This is only a rough analogy, please dont bash me to much for it. We all have done wrong with knowledge that it is wrong, including the bushman. We are guilty criminals who have not sought or worshipped the creator who is unseen, and we have not perfectly loved our neighbor who is seen. Guilty.

    “You don’t have any control over what society or place you’re born into, you could have just as easily been born in the remote jungles of Africa, been a Bushmen where you are likewise isolated from the rest of humanity and suffer the same fate.”

    That is a most humbling and terrifying truth. Ancient cultures had many signs pointing them forward to the sinless Christ (who would bare our sin upon Himself) and men were saved by a basic childlike faith in Him (even the jews who had the clear written law of God). So now there are people such as the bushman who sees his sin, the testimony of creation, and seeks after the creator. There are so many testimonies of God sending missionaries or appearing to them in dreams and visions that they trust in the messiah and are saved. Sadly most would rather trust in their own good works or religious duties then in Him.

    The God of the Bible is not throwing pretty good folks into hell for never hearing of Jesus. he is throwing willful sinners who created to worship Him and love their neighbor into hell the same way a good judge throws criminals into prison. The main problem is seeing ourselves for what we really our, it is easier to say we are not that bad.

    Thanks for reading this far if you made it, there is some serious, undeniable Biblical truth mixed in with the rest of my rambelings.

    -Jim

  9. “wouldn’t the safest bet be to repent and then commit suicide? After all, we’re talking about the difference between eternal bliss and eternal torture.”

    Whatever man…

    The Gospel is not primarily about you going to heaven rather then hell. It is foremost about having your blind heart opened to see what a life of sin you have lived and seeing the beauty and majesty of God in Jesus Christ. That He bore our sins and suffered under the wrath of God for us when we didnt even love or care about Him. You will not want to return to sin after truly seeing Him… but He hides Himself from the proud and gives grace to the humble.

    -Jim

  10. Jim, I read and re-read your post to try and make better sense of it, but you haven’t answered the basic tenet of my argument, I get a sense that you tried to approach it but backed off because to admit it would sound bigoted and monstrous because it is. The Navajo had no knowledge of God or Jesus… none. None of the Native American peoples did, not till the Spanish Catholics came over to convert them. But for the generations past there was no knowledge of these things, there was an ocean separating them on both sides from Europe and Asia. They didn’t know anything about the bible or Jesus. Lets pretend for a moment that somehow, they did… that would mean every single, Native American. EveryONE of them would purposely forget or chose not to worship God, and they will leave no evidence of this in history or legend. There’s no sign of that. Even more to the point, pretend you’re an ancient Sumarian, or Greek, we’re talking Pre-Hebrew here, you have your own gods, your own pantheon, and have never heard of God, in fact your gods, predate the God of the Hebrews, are you destined for Hell based on this ignorance? I suppose to draw this back to the original point made on this post, and to also tie into the points that you made Jim, If ignorance of God isn’t an excuse for adults regardless of where they grew up then children who die before getting saved are destined for hell as well, because they are still born with original sin. Preachers and Pastors are reluctant to say this because its a monstrous thing to say and goes against human nature. The reason we cry if our dog dies, Jim, and the reason we don’t want to say that dead babies will burn forever in hell is because of compassion. Compassion helps us survive as a species, its not innate in humans, many animals possess the trait, and I do mean many. Piranhas, in a feeding frenzy, do not kill their own kind, they swarm and tear at their prey, but they don’t attack or kill each other, its clear that even they possess a certain amount of compassion or even ‘morality’ with members of their own species. Gorillas have been observed mourning the death of a family member, even becoming depressed or angry, and even becoming agitated or upset when observing violent actions in life or even on television. This all makes sense from an evolutionary stand point, and also explains why Christians ‘don’t want to see people burning in hell’ and also why many people reject the idea of hell, and opt to go with the “I’m a good person route”. By working together, cooperating and caring for one another, we continue on as a species, we survive, have kids, and usher in a new generation. Species that don’t do this aren’t as successful, and in some cases die out and disappear from the Earth. That is why we will typically help people in trouble if we see them injured or in dire straights. The thought of another human being roasting in eternal fire is monstrous to us, and we will want to do what we can to help those people in the way we think is best. Or. For some people, they will simply be unwilling to condemn anyone to that fate regardless of how bad they might be. They’ll be compassionate towards people who have sinned, and in turn believe that no one deserves or is destined for that fate, including themselves as they are essentially, a Good Person. Or they won’t believe in Hell at all. Now if you want to debate Evolution Jim and call it a tornado I’d be willing to talk about that now.

  11. Oh I also forgot to to mention, another reason people also reject the Christian God and Hell through a human sense of compassion, or tend to embrace the idea of a ‘Loving God’ is because they don’t believe the God, or Divine parent who created you, would be so LACKING in compassion. One analogy that Ray Comfort makes all the time is that if a judge let a murderer or a thief go free, “You would call him a corrupt Judge” as if the alternative isn’t corrupt. Yes I would call a judge who does not punish thieves and murderers a corrupt judge but I would also call a judge who punishes a thief by throwing him into a pit of burning fire for Life + Infinity, corrupt as well. How do I know this? Because we don’t punish OUR thieves that way, if you stole 10 dollars and a cop caught you, you’d be guilty of a misdemeanor, pay a fine and then go free, if you stole a few thousand dollars, you might MIGHT do some jail time. But in most countries on this planet you would NOT be thrown in a pit of fire to burn (Yes I know some countries could put you to death, but these are the ones that we pretty much agree on as being barbaric or monstrous) for your entire life. You might say, of course we don’t do this, but God’s laws are different, and I shoot back and ask, Why not? Why should our laws be any different from Gods? Why should we not burn to death all people who violate the Ten Commandments? We don’t, because we have compassion, and its only logical that Him who created us would have compassion as well.

  12. Jim: Um, the Gospel IS about going to Heaven. It you see the beauty and majesty of Jesus and accept him as savior, that’s where you’ll go. Also, there are tribes in South America, South Pacific and other places who don’t go to school, who don’t learn other than how to communicate, kill animals for survival, do work for their communities and frankly not much else. They might learn morals as it applies to their culture, but it’s not of God.

    Let’s say said there’s a tribe in a remote jungle. Let’s say the Amazon. Said tribe’s numbers are dwindling. A man has to, in order to keep the tribe from dying out, impregnate three women so that they can grow in numbers. By doing this he is keeping his culture, way of life and family alive (he’s unmarried, as their culture doesn’t have this. Recall the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. That’s what this tribe is.). Is he going to hell?

    Whateverman, that’s a valid and fair question based on what you’re hearing. However, suicide is a sin, as you are killing someone (yourself).

  13. So Jim, you seem to be answering “yes” to my question: the safest bet would be to repent and then commit suicide.

    Correct?

  14. “So Jim, you seem to be answering “yes” to my question: the safest bet would be to repent and then commit suicide.

    Correct?”

    No, bizzle and his man centered theology that is more concerned about getting something for nothing (going to heaven instead of hell) then the glory of God is saying that. What I am saying is you were created to worship God and when you see Christ for who He is your number one passion will be to glorify and worship Him in life or in death.

    -Jim

  15. Vintango – I would love to talk more nad will later. To be clear though… the navajo goes to hell for sinning against the knowledge of God he does have an against his neighbor who we should love as ourselves. When God creates man with a basic golden rule and man breakes that rule God is not obligated to sen that man a redeemer. Its not that the navajo man deserves to go to heaven but God has failed him in not sending the message of Christ. it is that true believers do not deserve to go to heaven but deserve hell like the navajo man. It is by Gods grace that any man is saved. To say that one willful criminal deserves pardon because another criminal was pardoned is a mute argument.

    -Jim

  16. Jim wrote:

    I once asked an atheist while pointing to a coffee shop if he would believe me if I told him a tornado had come through town and whipped up some big glass pains, bricks, mixed us some mortar, picked up an espresso machine, and left in its wake a functioning coffee shop. He responded “By your analogy you have no idea how evolution works”

    Exactly. Your analogy is a straw-man because you have no idea how evolution works. When people claim anything resembling “a tornado came through and made a coffee shop”, then it won’t sound as silly.

    If you’re going to argue against a point of view, it’s probably best to have some sort of understanding of that point of view first.

    He was correct,

    Yes, he was correct that your argument makes no sense. It’s just a variation on the “747 from a junkyard” silliness.

    I should have stated that multiple tornados came through at different times and created the building.

    Because you wanted to really make it clear that you had no idea what you were talking about? I don’t understand why you think you should have done that.

    In evolution, what is the tornado (in your example) analogous to? Where is the analogy to natural selection in your example?

  17. “Exactly. Your analogy is a straw-man because you have no idea how evolution works.”

    Thats because evolution is a fairy tale for grown ups who hate the one true God. I am familiar with the theory though.

    “In evolution, what is the tornado (in your example) analogous to? Where is the analogy to natural selection in your example?”

    The tornado is the theory of chaos creating order. It is not intended to represent the chapter in the evolution fairy tale called “natural selection”. It only signifies the general undertone of big bang/evolution that are commonly held together by the modern athiest. I think it is fair and accurate (of course i bees dum and not smartz like them there athiests).

    The problem with athiests is not an intellectual superiority, it is a moral depravity. We all have that problem, athiesm is just one outlet for it, manmade religion or piety is another popular one. It pleased God to being all of these thing to nothing at the cross of calvary though.

    -Jim

  18. Thanks for the response Steve. I don’t entirely agree that the scripture you quoted rejects the idea, and I don’t think the Bible supports the idea that suicide equates to “giving up”. However, I concede that the picture is unclear at best.

    With so much emphasis placed on avoiding damnation, I’d think that suicide immediately after sincere repentance is an obvious solution. Christian doctrine (the kind generally accepted across all denominations) seems to point towards it, at least…

  19. Jim said: Thats because evolution is a fairy tale for grown ups who hate the one true God. I am familiar with the theory though.

    I’m not sure what you’re familiar with, but it certainly isn’t the theory of evolution.

    Jim, you don’t need to accept evolution in order to have a passing understanding of it.

    And the problem isn’t that you don’t accept evolution. The problem is that what you call ‘evolution’ is a total mischaracterization and fabrication of the theory. And if I can see that you have a complete and willful misunderstanding of something that we can both observe (specifically what the theory claims – not whether it happens or not) – why should I trust you on the things I can’t observe?

    For review:
    Understanding a theory is not accepting a theory.

    Why should I trust you on things I can’t observe when you are so wrong on the things I can observe?

  20. vintango said: Even more to the point, pretend you’re an ancient Sumarian, or Greek, we’re talking Pre-Hebrew here, you have your own gods, your own pantheon, and have never heard of God, in fact your gods, predate the God of the Hebrews…

    Unfortunately, this is where you lost a few readers. See, nothing pre-dates God. It all started with Adam, doncha know, so there are no ‘pre-Hebrews’. Steve has already admitted that if evidence contradicts the Bible, then the evidence is wrong. If reality contradicts the Bible, then reality is wrong.

  21. Jim, if you or your children have ever taken antibiotics, how do you reconcile it against your views on evolution? Either evolution is wrong and antibiotic treatments don’t work, or…

    Well, you get the picture…

  22. Its really hard to refute Evolution at this point when its so obvious that not even Ray Comfort can completely discount it. See I’ve heard Ray say he believes in micro-evolution because the evidence is impossible to ignore. From the different species of dogs, to Darwin’s finches, to even viruses such as HIV, all living things that survive and pass on their traits with variation lead to significant changes overtime, its observable and backed by overwhelming data, so much that to say it doesn’t exist is foolish.
    What Ray seems to constantly ignore is ‘macro-evolution’ in which he drags out the Crocoduck and other goofy shops, and routinely ignores any evidence anyone presents to them of real, actual transitional forms, ie. Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthal, Homo Halibus. that show changes over time in Hominids. He will even continue to repeat this ‘lack of transitional forms’ speech over and over again despite evidence to the contrary, which to the layman might come off as dishonest or perhaps even a lie….
    Back to your points Jim, your argument is still unclear. Or at least what I have gleaned from it is:
    – You believe that every Navajo Indian and Native American that was born before Christianity was introduced in the Americas is burning in hell simply because they were unfortunate enough to be born into that location where there are no bibles and no information in general on God or Jesus Christ. And that God chose to put those people there knowing they would have no way to turn to Christ. Therefore God chose ahead of time that those people would burn in Hell without any chance of being redeemed. Does this sound like the act of a just and loving God? Does this not, as a human being with a conscious, sound wrong, racist and monstrous to you?
    Your other point, of Chaos creating Order is also wrong. Chaos didn’t create Order, Chaos created Chaos. The nature of the universe is change, not stagnation. While it is true that there is some order in the universe, in the form of the strong and weak nuclear force, gravity, etc. chaos is still all around you. Our sun is in a constant state of nuclear fusion, converting hydrogen into helium and other denser elements, the very elements that our bodies, the planet, plants, animals, atmosphere, etc. etc. are all made of. This is physics, its science, and provable and the reason why we have atom bombs, nuclear reactors, and other such modern marvels.
    As we speak super novas occur through out our galaxy, meteors threaten to impact with the earth and other worlds, and our sun will eventually enter a life cycle where it encompasses the whole of the Earth. We’ve looked into the far reaches of outer space, finding stars similar to our own, some with planets similar to our own. Someday in the future we may just find signs of life on other worlds, perhaps with intelligence to rival our own. Will they be so similarly hell bound?

  23. Awww man, how did I miss thread? lol.

  24. They’re called “Prebrews,” perdita.

  25. Vintango said:

    ” burning in hell simply because they were unfortunate enough to be born into that location where there are no bibles and no information in general on God or Jesus Christ.”

    ..

    “Does this sound like the act of a just and loving God?”

    Again, I dont believe this. I believe anyone that is burning in hell is there because they have sinned with knowledge (more or less then others) against God and their neighbor. God has enough of a testimony in creation and the conscience so men are without excuse. Our own judgments against others also prove we are without excuse for our own sin as I stated earlier.

    So God created man, man rebelled against him, and God properly deals with said man. There is no fault in the God of the Bible for giving just punishment to sinners. The fault is in your understanding of how vile and wicked sin is and how much of it you personally are guilty of (as have I). It comes back to self rightousness, that is why you try to paint God in the comment I quoted. Like a criminal going to jail that talks about how corrupt the judge is, or how hte man is trying to keep him down. The fact that God would offer a savior to bare our sin at all is beyond love.

    2 Cornithians 5 … we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    SO to be VERY clear: I do not believe anyone, navajo or otherwise, goes to hell for not hearing about Jesus. If anyone simply does what is right they have no need of a savior, as there is no sin to be saved from. If you can find such a person let me know.

    I actually do enjoy talking to you guys btw.

    -Jim

  26. No, he doesn’t have enough testimony in creation. Maybe for you, but there’s a lot of people that don’t consider that to be evidence. Not to mention that one piece of evidence is hardly something to base a conclusion on.

  27. Jim, you’re argument is wavering, I can tell you don’t want to sound like a monster, but you can’t avoid it if you believe what you claim to.

    – You believe anyone that has sinned with knowledge against God and their neighbor is doomed to hell. What does this mean EXACTLY? You’re either asserting that only people who know about Jesus and God can go to hell because of their sins, while those who are ignorant go…. to heaven? Nowhere? Purgatory? or Hell? OR you’re asserting that no one anywhere on this planet can escape sin, because they were born with some sort of knowledge of the God of the Christian Bible instinctively? I’m inclined to believe the latter, but this would contradict your statement of not believing that anyone, navajo or otherwise, goes to hell for not hearing about Jesus. Unless you’re being sarcastic.
    But going back to the point of the statement again, how would, in your opinion, these Native Americans ever receive forgiveness for their sins? If they don’t have any knowledge of God or Jesus then they can not repent from their sins, as you have stated; If anyone simply does what is right they have no need of a savior, as there is no sin to be saved from. If you can find such a person let me know. That seems to me that you’re implying that no such person exists or has existed within mankind, and you’re correct, I’m certain every human being has sinned against the 10 Commandments on some level, but AGAIN if you were an Indian, with no knowledge of these commandments how would you know you had sinned when you are living your life by the moral codes of Navajo civilization? If redemption comes only through admitting your sins to Jesus or God, then there is no way anyone without knowledge of God or Jesus can ever reach heaven. If they can not go to heaven, a heaven they know nothing about, then they must go where Jim? Hell. You can not have it both ways, either you believe these people are damned because of their lack of belief or they’re not. And if they’re not damned then they’re destined to go to where when they die? Heaven? Purgatory? Where do you believe those people went when they died?

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