Evangelical Christians are to be blamed for
fostering all of this after-life, damnation scare stuff we hear about, right?
Wrong. No way, Jose!
The Bible certainly speaks of a literal Heaven
and Hell, but it must be pointed out that those who know little or nothing of
Christianity are haunted by fear of the coming judgement.
All non-Christian people, from pagans to
idolaters, have that fear.
A built-in conscience—which we all
have—directs people to visit their local witch doctor or has them rely on
fetishes, amulets, or undertake a sacred pilgrimage in an attempt to earn
salvation or to appease whatever god, spirit, or image they believe to exist.
Such "life insurance" practices are
quite similar worldwide and can be traced back for thousands of years before
the advent of Christianity.
Those who advance the teachings of the Bible
cannot be blamed for launching the concept.
Concern over eternal damnation continues today
and, it says here, that this instinctive fear will continue to haunt mankind no
matter how scientifically-smart we become.
Well, science cannot factor away the sense of
right and wrong which God placed in each of us at birth.
It is our God-placed conscience which
regularly whispers to us.
Some listen to the voice, but most don't.
From a "Christian" perspective, one
must point a bony finger directly at the Roman Catholic Church for instilling a
hopeless sense of guilt that has its ardent followers doomed to a place of
misery, at least for a season.
Catholicism dogmatically claims that the
Church dispenses the graces of Christ through its sacraments—graces which
can be lost by failure to live up to its rules—and thus there is no way
to know for sure that one will make it to Heaven.
Roman Catholicism involves its members in many
forms of attempted appeasements of God in order to earn Heaven or lessen one's
time in its purgatory.
Endless Masses offered on behalf of the dead
are paid for by their survivors in the hope of lessening the purgatorial
suffering of the deceased.
Some priests, monks, nuns, and concerned
followers today wear haircloth underwear, put rocks in their shoes, flog
themselves, etc., in the hope of earning forgiveness of sins and becoming more
worthy of Heaven.
Millions of Roman Catholics all over the world
make pilgrimages to shrines, light candles, pray to saints in Heaven, wear
scapulars and medals, and employ crucifixes as a means of appeasement of God in
the hope of meriting God's forgiveness.
It must be crushing to a Roman Catholic when
someone like the late Cardinal O'Connor of New York states that neither he nor
Pope John II nor Mother Teresa (or anyone else) could know with certainty what
their eternal destiny might be.
This, he declared, was the official teaching
of the Roman Catholic Church.
If kindly Mother Teresa is possibly shoveling
coal in purgatory, the rest of us ain't got a snowball's chance!
One may also point an accusatory finger at the
evangelical Christian for instilling the fear of Hell.
Isn't the "born again" Christian
just as guilty of taking the same "Get-ready, Hell-awaits" stance as
the Roman Catholic?
The answer is an unqualified "Yes!"
However, there is a vast difference between
what the Roman Catholics threaten and what the evangelical propagates with
regard to the afterlife.
The evangelical draws his total truth from the
Bible which he believes to be the inspired and completed Word of God and allows
no room for any add-on theology.
Roman Catholicism puts strong stock in its
church tradition and history.
With the Roman Catholic, the inspired Canon of
Scripture is a part—indeed a major part—of its theological mix.
That is unfortunate because the Bible gives
clear hope for eternal life with a living Christ upon death. Roman Catholicism
The Bible points to total forgiveness of sins
NOW and a guarantee of eternal life to anyone who will honestly confess they
are a sinner and calls out to Christ for His completed salvation.
Reject or ignore Christ and you choose Hell.
Place your total faith in Christ and
you choose Heaven.
"Lord Jesus, I confess to
you that I am a sinner.
I believe that you shed your
blood and died for my sin.
I believe you provided for my
total salvation when you died and rose again.
Right now (add time and date), I
invite you into my heart as Lord and Saviour.
I ask you now to direct my life.
Thank you for saving me."
Yes, begin attending a church where, as they
say, the Holy Bible is wholly taught, and get baptized to publicly declare your
faith in Christ.