Thursday, August 22, 2013

Will All Go to Heaven?

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that our society has been leaning more and more towards a belief that everyone deserves the same outcome regardless of effort or disposition.

An example may be giving the same award to 10 children who compete in a race, regardless of the outcome of the race. The first place winner receives the same exact "reward" as the tenth place "winner".

Now, I love children, and I think encouragement is a good thing, but think of it this way. Sure, the youngster who finished first may have been born with more natural ability than the child who placed tenth, but then again, maybe not.

Consider the possibility (and in my opinion the likelihood) that the child who finished first actually trained harder, put more time into preparing for the race, and was more determined to win than any of the other children.

Consider that the tenth place finisher may not have trained or cared at all, yet receives the same reward. I believe that we do NOTHING of value for this child. For when he examines his award with that of the other, he learns that it's okay not to train or to care because in the end it will all work out.

What does this teach the child about school work? What does it teach the child about vocation? What does it teach this child about life? What does it teach this child about Faith?

Well, it seems more and more I read or hear about how God loves us too much to deny us eternal salvation. What kind of a God would "punish" people? Surely everyone is going to get to Heaven somehow.

I tell you, this is dangerous talk and dangerous thinking. If you think this way, I strongly encourage you to read the Gospels and see what Jesus said.

When the poor man (Lazarus) died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' (Luke 16: 22-24)
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. (Matthew 13: 41, 42)
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25: 41)
I don't dwell on hell, but I certainly believe in it's existence. Jesus seems to clearly state that such a place or  state exists. Even if the way He described it was just in a manner we could understand, it doesn't sound like anything that I would want anyone to experience.

And that is exactly why I say it is dangerous to believe or to lead others to believe (especially to lead others to believe) that no matter what they do or do not do, all will go to Heaven.

I saw this blog post from Fr. Dwight Longenecker in which he asks regarding those who die after a lifetime of rejecting Christ
"Shall they not be held accountable for the fact that they did nothing? They did not care enough for their soul to even begin asking the questions?"
Some may have true impediments. Some may just not be able to accept the truth for whatever reason, and some may reject what they believe to be true because it doesn't fit into their life choices.

I once fit into that category. I always believed the Catholic Faith was true. I certainly did not have the understanding that I believe I do now (and hopefully continue to develop), but after attending Catholic schools for 13 years and living in a household with good examples, I still chose to choose me and my own wants over the Faith.

Oh, sure I made the silly arguments that God wanted me to be happy so this can't be bad (at least long enough to try to really convince myself), but even after I "got over" those notions, my love for self far outweighed any love or hunger for God.

During that time, many people would say things like "well, as long as you're not really hurting anyone or doing anything really really bad, God will understand."

I thank God that my friend Mike Lecompte once loved me enough to say "You know you're going to hell, right?"

Sure, that might not be the right approach for some folks, and it's certainly hard to hear (and I'm sure to say), but telling yourself or others that all will go to heaven no matter what is much worse I believe.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7: 13,14)

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