Heaven and hell based on obedience or character? What is true justice?


A man I once knew was happy that last day I saw him. He was going to the casino after work with his girlfriend. The next day I found out this man had the blood of four women on his hands: his girlfriend and the lives of three high school girls in the car he hit while running a red light intoxicated. He was the only survivor. When the formal justice system took its course he was left with a seven year prison sentence. Was that justice? Did he get what was owed to him? Did he get what he deserved? Folks can agree or disagree with the sentence, but the vast majority of people would agree that some kind of punishment was due for the actions that were committed.

Most people have an innate sense of fairness. We want kind people to do well and those that harm to be punished. When it comes to religion, this can be a problem. Is it fair that someone born into a different belief greatly suffer? Are Confucius, Sagan, Cleopatra, Socrates and Gandhi in hell? Many Christians say no. Justice and a loving god dictate that good people go to heaven. If heaven were purely through obedience to one religion it would have nothing to do with fairness or justice, only conformity.

Is it objectionable to believe that billions of people will be denied heaven because they didn’t choose the "one true religion?" It should be. But there’s another side that’s just as unthinkable to the rational mind. The ethical flaws of justice based on obedience isn’t simply about who’s left out, but who gets in.

The deadliest act of terrorism in the U.S. before 911 was the Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people. The detonator of that explosion was Timothy McVeigh. Before execution he received his last rites. McVeigh received the Roman Catholic sacrament of the Anointment of the Sick, which is believed to forgive sins and prepare the sick for the passing over to eternal life.

Imagine if just 1 of the 168 fatalities of this horrendous crime was Hindu. Imagine that person’s eternal soul in horrible torment to this very day after having their life cut short in 1995. Is this justice? Imagine McVeigh in heaven with Jesus since his execution in 2001. Imagine this man’s soul basking in all the glory of god. Is this justice?

True justice by any reasonable non-Machiavellian might makes right definition of the term would dictate that not all atheists go to hell and not all repenters go to heaven. Christians who must follow their heart in regards to true justice dismiss the dogma and bigotry of the fire and brimstone fanatics.

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” ― Marcus Aurelius

-James Kirk Wall

McVeigh took last rites before execution

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