Not Wanting to Offend you to Hell

The other day, one of my Facebook friends posted a message about their faith.

They wanted others to know that they were a Christian but had friends who did not believe and they were ok with that.  They did not want to “judge” their friends or their beliefs.  Her posting stirred me up as I have seen way too much of this before.

I tried to be polite in asking of they felt that their beliefs were the only “correct” just to see how far their tolerance went.  The response was that it was correct for them and maybe not for others.  Curious, I pushed a little further and asked if Jesus was the only way to heaven.  The response was that it was for God to decide.

If you cannot stand behind a basic principle of Christianity, then chances are you are not really a Christian.

You might go to church and pray.  It is very possible that you read the Bible and do all of the things that Christians do, yet you are lacking being a Christian if you do not feel that Jesus is the only way.  If there is another way, why would Jesus have to die?  It makes no sense.

No I know many people who do not believe.  I would like to say it is ok, because I do not want to offend them, but I cannot honestly answer that way.  For me, I care too much for you to be ok with you going to hell, simply because I did not want to offend you.

My friends who are not Christians understand this and are ok with it.  They honestly see me as caring for them in my insistence of the need for Christ.  If my faith said that there was only one door but I refused to tell you about the door, how much can I really care for you?  By not wanting to offend you, I am sealing your fate.


Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

11 responses to “Not Wanting to Offend you to Hell

  1. And that’s why when christians tell me with earnest words and earnest intentions that they exercise doubt and skepticism of their faith-based beliefs, I tell them they are not being honest with themselves or me. They believe and then use doubt to reinforce their beliefs. This is not doubt as we usually exercise it and certainly not healthy skepticism. It is a self-assuring practice, a soothing mechanism to lull their brains to sleep.

    The problem here is that your beliefs do not necessarily describe reality. That you believe there is only one way to avoid hell does mean it is necessarily so. In fact, I just read a good piece about those who believe jesus is the way are worshiping an idol of god (and so are truly damned to hell!)

    Go figure.

    What you consider ‘care’ is nothing more than your arrogance in action based solely and wholly on your faith-based belief you are correct. Whether that makes you a ‘true’ christian any more than someone who does not believe as you do is quite open to legitimate debate just inside the theology itself and downright delusional out side that framework.

    • Do you try and persuade me from my beliefs because you do not want me to waste my time with a false reality?

      “your beliefs do not necessarily describe reality”
      I like that line.

      • I try to persuade you to respect what reality has to say about certain claims rather than have you trust your beliefs to describe it. By doing so you will free yourself from faith-based belief, see your place in reality for what it truly is and what you make of it, and live authentically in the here and now fully present, fully responsible, doing good for its effects, caring honestly about others for their sake, being compassionate with others to lighten life’s travails and reinforce our common humanity, to champion knowledge over superstition and apply skepticism to claims that turn us into slaves suitable for tyranny. I do so to gain you for an ally in our common pursuit to promote secular liberal democratic values over Iron Age dogma.

      • I am not sure how I am not present or fully responsible for my actions now.

        ” doing good for its effects, caring honestly about others for their sake, being compassionate with others to lighten life’s travails”

        Before I believed, i struggled with these concepts as they were contrary to what I held as true. The ideas do not seem to mesh with evolution or the natural selection process, as you spend valuable time, energy and resources helping those who are not in a position of the fittest. I find it interesting that people who are against religion and will embrace the idea that after millions of years of evolution, that people should stop trying to make sure that the strongest survive and instead promote a life of trying to build up the less fortunate and those who would not survive on their own.

      • The ideas do not seem to mesh with evolution or the natural selection process.

        Sure they do; it’s called ‘kin selection’. We come with a neural net (mirror neurons) that allows us to experience what we see others experiencing, and because we care more about the people we know than those we do not, we tend to show more empathy with the success of kin than the success of strangers. (A common adage to describe this connection is that ‘blood is thicker than water’ meaning we have an obligation to kin we do not have with strangers). We have evolved to utilize this part of our brains, to see ourselves in the Other, and act accordingly. The closer the Other is to us in familial bonds, the more likely we are to ‘read’ them correctly.

        In terms of the mechanism of evolution, namely, natural selection, does this trait increase the number of offspring we have who reach maturity? Well, I don’t know about you, but I have found that people who can more easily and demonstrably empathize with me I tend to view much more favourably than those who cannot. My spouse tells me I’m a very good listener, someone who understands and empathizes a great deal, someone who can utilize this trait to raise children successfully by empathizing with their concerns and dealing with them in a fitting manner compared to someone who cannot. Combine this with a ‘natural’ tendency to care more about kin than strangers, and we can understand better why families that support each other more than families that do not tend to have more children reach maturity. This is natural selection at work.

      • Why do we have an obligation to the weaker of our kin? To have those who are weaker breed and produce additional weak offspring does not benefit us at all. The theory is good at trying to explain why we form a bond more with family as opposed to strangers, but society pushes us to reach out and support those who are not our family and in need of help, so that act would not fall under ‘kin selection’ would it?

        if you had a blood relative who was stronger and smarter that you, would it not make more sense to allow him to breed with your wife to produce a stronger offspring than what you could produce? Now I know that is not how humans work as we form bonds with our mates, but that is how it should if we are trying to preserve the species is it not? Why do we tend to choose one partner as opposed to many, which would again be more beneficial to ensuring our kin survive?

        Your ability to empathize serves a social benefit, but it does not make you a stronger breeder. i think it is a great ability to have, but it shows more how different we are from animals than like them. Another way that humans are uniquely different than the animal kingdom.

        I was reading about kin selection and one of the animal examples they use to demonstrate it was the honey bee. I find that amusing as the honey bee population is dying off which would sort of demonstrate that kin selection is not really in line with natural selection.

      • Xander, I think you’re confusing natural selection with survival of the fittest. What constitutes ‘fit’ according to natural selection is the genetics behind producing the greatest number of successful offspring who reach maturity and reproduce. That’s it. Survival of the fittest muddies this understanding by shifting the focus to individuals who survive to reach maturity and calling this achievement ‘fit’. But that’s not what the term ‘natural selection’ means.

        This describes a mechanism that brings about genetic changes (allele frequencies) in populations that leads to speciation. It does not describe a purpose or meaning or intention or obligation to repopulate but a mindless unguided natural mechanism in play between genes and the environment in which they operate wherever life does repopulate. You’ve taken this notion and inappropriately applied it to mean something it does not: a philosophy one lives by to produce strength in offspring. At best, this is selective breeding that is not natural but intentional and individuals select mates for all kinds of reasons they deem to be ‘fit’. It’s important we don’t confuse the two uses of the same term.

        Kin selection simply refers to a biological preference to aid those with whom there is a closer genetic relationship than those more distant. It does not mean our intentions to reproduce are subject to what benefits the species the most or what pairings produce what. As far as our individual genes are concerned, they couldn’t care less. But in the conglomerate of populations, we can see a preference emerging we call kin selection. Whether that trait aids or hinders the promulgation of the species is somewhat moot; we have inherited the trait in our species because it has gained dominance in our gene pool regardless of our attitudes about it.

        All life is subject to some level of ongoing natural selection and this produces a very real measurable effect. Some life is also subject to selective pressures that are artificially imposed. (Human culture is one such pressure.) The latter does not negate the former but mitigates its affect. Humanity has been mitigating its affect for some time now, which is why a majority of the species, for example, requires corrective lenses to see well. But one doesn’t need acute vision to sneak up on a cabbage whereas one does if one wishes to avoid predation. But in the scope of selecting an individual mate within the local environment, corrective lenses may or may not be a mitigating factor in that individual selection. We don’t care what the majority view of the species may think about the fitness of the genes that tend to produce the need for correct lenses and it’s rather silly to think we contemplate this issue and grant it consideration when the opportunity to engage in sex arises. Other local factors are far more and immediately relevant and it is here that we find our biology in action and only later try to rationalize it. Arguing that there is no benefit to aiding kin is just such a rationalization because we tend to do exactly that.

      • xander

        You are right. I got mixed up on terminology.

        For me, i have rarely seen an example of animals sacrificing themselves for another of their own kind. I can see where insects and animals alike will make a choice, if you can call it that, to “suffer” for the greater good of the species, but nothing like what we see in humans when people will give all that they can in order to benefit the life of a person who has some form of defect. This could be mental retardation, MS, autism, the list could go on. This is not a normal response in the animal kingdom. It was not always been a normal response in humans either until recently.

        Before I believed, there were people i cared about, based on relationships that i had for them, but at the same time there were many who i would not go out of my way to help. There was no compassion for those people and there was nothing wrong with that, at the time.I have a hard time identifying with your notion of doing good for their effects as that was not my reality at the time.

        Now, i have been changed by my worship of God and i can whole heartedly embrace that idea, but without God i do not see where helping others for its own sake is either a good or a bad notion. It is simply a choice of a person.

      • People undertake long term caring for all kinds of reasons and motivations, usually for fairly selfish ones (especially earning ‘brownie points’ for a later reward or to mitigate negative behaviours… like heaven, for example, to atone for sinning, or to fulfill a promise and/or pay a debt or be punished). But this isn’t the kind of biological empathy I’m talking about where people act contrary to their own best interest to aid another not for reward but because they feel compelled to respond this way. This is what we hear repeatedly from people from all walks of life who act in ways later called ‘heroic’, who tell us they didn’t think about what they were doing but simply acted, and usually justify the action to come to the aid of another without weighing the danger to themselves by claiming ‘anyone would have done the same’. They see grave danger and react without thought… pulling the person from the burning car, running into the burning house because they hear the cry of a child or pet, jumping into the raging water to rescue another, driving into an oncoming vehicle not stopping while children cross the road, and so on. I’ve even read reports of a police officers chase down and corner suspects who then face the choice of being arrested or jumping to their deaths only to have the police officer risk life and limb to save them. Anyone who has served in the military and seen combat has seen the full gamut of behaviours that almost always include unthinking self-sacrifice on behalf of others in grave danger.

        This behaviour has roots in our biology. No belief in god is needed or required. But we certainly hear people attributing to god the timely and heroic and selfless intervention by others.

      • I agree that a belief in God will not cause that behavior to be displayed as I have seen people who do not believe step up and risk all for another. Believing in God does not make one a better person.

        My question is how did our biology develop so that some of us would display this behavior and others do not.

  2. That should read, “That you believe there is only one way to avoid hell does not mean….”

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