I’ve said it again and again on this blog:
Questions about what Christians believe about hell – and mostly, whether all non-Christians are going there – are HUGE outside of the isolated regions where evangelical Christianity is still strong. In fact, this story – in which Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, weighs in on the issue – would suggest that the question is now being posed even within the previously “safe” confines of the bible belt.
It is difficult to overstate the significance of this issue. Most Christians, I think, seem normal enough to non-believers. We live beside them, work with them, share extended families with them, and even do business with them. We all seem to get along fine.
So what, they are thinking, gives here? Is this what Christians secretly think about us? Are they thinking that, because we don’t understand their God the same way they do, we are not going to receive mercy from him?
Well…is it the way we think?
My impression is that a lot of believers wish the question would go away. Its understandable. In some cases, believers are embarrassed to admit they don’t really understand the issue. In other cases, they are afraid of (or just plain awkward about) what non-believers will think if they say- yes, that is what I think! On the other hand, I’m sure that some are afraid of what other believers (especially, their leaders) will think if they disagree with the traditional doctrine that condemns all non-believers to hell.
But one thing is for sure. This issue is not going away. And its time for Christians to begin to deal with it in meaningful ways.