Eternity, Hell and Heaven

Some of the world’s religions end their story in a dreary underworld where all the dead will share the same fate; others believe that good people will be rewarded in a paradise while the wicked will be punished in a different place. Among the religions which believe in punishment, some expect it will be temporary, rather like purgatory, and all religions, with one notable exception, believe that the intensity of punishment will vary to suit the crime. The one exception is the Christian Gospel of Wrath which proclaims that people will be cast into hell simply for not being Christian and will receive the same torment as the most cruel murderers. 

 

Heaven and Hell

 

The Christian Gospel of Wrath is reductionist in the extreme. Disciples of Wrath admit that the universe contains billions of stars and multi-billions of planets but only one of those planets is of interest to their God. The universe may have existed for billions of years but the only significant period is from Eden until now. When disciples of Wrath stand on a street corner warning sinners that they are ‘one heartbeat from hell’ they sincerely believe that the sinner’s eternal fate can be determined by a spontaneous, emotional decision. One what basis would a passer-by choose the religion on corner A rather than the religion offered on corner B? Disciples of Wrath believe that the eternal fate of billions of souls comes down to a decision as blind and impulsive as a coin toss. For calling the toss wrongly, the poor ‘sinner’ will be condemned for all eternity to hideous torments. No other religion in the history of the world is so simplistic and brutal.  

 

The Christian Gospels of Love and Anti-wrath dismiss these beliefs as illogical, unbiblical and nonsensical.  Disciplines of Anti-wrath are not sure what happens after death except that eternal torment is irreconcilable with the God of love, and that divine judgment based on some narrow sectarian notion of ‘the one true religion’ is irreconcilable with a God of justice. Why would God not have mercy on righteous Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans and even atheists?  Ultimately, the Gospel of Anti-wrath does not pretend to know who will be rewarded or punished, for what duration or to what degree. Disciples of Anti-wrath place their faith in an eternal God of love and justice, although persistent evil and injustice in this world demand an enormous leap of faith to hope that things will be different in eternity.

 

The Gospel of Love offers a dramatically different view of life, death, the purpose of our existence, and our relationship with the divine.  The Gospel of Love was almost entirely lost when Augustine successfully imposed his Gospel of Wrath as the official theology of the Roman Empire. Even more was lost when Luther and Calvin reduced Christianity to a puppet show of predestined marionettes.  The Gospel of Anti-wrath has erased the most egregious aberrations of Wrath but it is the equivalent of a book with three quarters of the pages ripped out.  The remaining theology is fragmented, and disciples of Anti-wrath fill in the blank pages with their personal theories and imaginings, which are inclined to be rational or ‘spiritual’ rather than Biblical.

 

What did Christianity look like before it was made into a weapon of mass conversion by the Gospel of Wrath, and before the Gospel of Anti-wrath left it fragmented and disconnected from its divine source? The diagram from the Judgement essay will help explain the Gospel of Love quickly and simply.

 

Gospel of Love salvation

 

Every human life is a personal journey which begins with birth.  Every new life is endowed with freedom of will. This cornerstone belief of the Gospel of Love is vehemently denied by Augustine, Luther, Calvin and disciples of Wrath from all fatalist religions and pessimistic worldviews.   

 

In the modern world, freewill may seem as natural as democracy and human rights, but for much of human history these ideas were utopian fantasies or criminal heresies.  Freedom is dangerous, which is exactly what the story of Eden tells us. To anticipate the danger requires knowledge, and the only way to know for sure what is dangerous is to experiment with the boundaries and suffer the consequences. Freewill often causes suffering, which is why Augustine and the Reformers insisted that the will is evil and depraved. 

It is certainly true that the will can appear to take on a life of its own when our desires clash with those of our neighbours; when we want the same thing and are driven to fight for it.

 

Freewill is a precious gift, but so dangerous that it requires a user’s manual.  If there is a God who created the universe for a purpose, the manual should be available to all users, in all geographic regions and all historical periods. This is the moral and ethical role that religion claims, but no single religion has been available to the entire human race.  Where is the guide book to be found? Is it coded into our genetics? Is our conscience the user’s manual for freewill?  

 

It is quite possible that compassion and altruism are coded into DNA. Irrationally altruistic behaviour is widely documented in the animal kingdom, and human beings often behave in ways that make no sense within a framework of survival of the fittest and selfish genes.  When we take a closer look at religions, although they may superficially vary as dramatically as dinosaurs and elephants from butterflies and sea slugs, they all share common features. The most basic of these is the Golden Rule.

 

Disciples of Wrath will scream heresy at the suggestion that all religions are remarkably similar at the molecular level but Jesus distilled all the Old Testament laws down to two principles, one of them being the Golden Rule. The most important (commandment) is this: Love the Lord your God. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. (Mark 10:29-32) 

 

Any form of Christianity that clashes with either of these elemental commandments sounds a warning bell. Zealots of Wrath do not love neighbours who are infidels, Liberals, doubters or atheists, no matter how moral and righteous they may be. The dividing line between benign faith and a malignant belief system is the Golden Rule.

 

Nothing could be simpler to understand or more difficult to practice than the Golden Rule. This is what is meant in the diagram by ‘incomplete response.’  No one has yet mastered the Golden Rule, and there are many reasons why. The first is that it takes time. Throughout history, multitudes of humans died as infants. Augustine’s doctrine of damnation for unbaptised infants presented a complete denial of their freewill, as does the modern doctrine of sending infants directly to heaven. For the Gospel of Love, the death of these infants results in an ‘incomplete response’ because they had no opportunity to exercise their freedom of will.  Something is missing and left incomplete. 

 

Those of us who live to adulthood are free to make bad decisions which cause suffering and good choices that bring healing. Some actions produce instant results (saving another person’s life, or taking it), but we do not always get the result we seek, and it can take many years for all intended and unintended consequences to reveal themselves. Good deeds can produce regrettable results (high on the list are well-intentioned parenting choices which produce severely damaged children), and acts of cruelty can have positive results (that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger).  Millions of people die while they are still trying to figure out the difference between good and evil, and why it matters.  Something is missing and left incomplete.

 

A significant number of people in this world discover that the Golden Rule is the recommended user’s manual for the human experience.  When we cooperate with our fellow human beings and with the laws of nature, rather than try to impose our will upon them, order begins to emerge from chaos.  Our desire to cooperate does not prevent others from rebelling against law and order. We cannot escape crime and we cannot escape war. These things are imposed upon us.  Even if we fully embrace the Golden Rule and live saintly lives, making progress through sanctification toward salvation, we will never complete the process in this world.  Something is missing and left incomplete.

 

This world is imperfect. All religions and philosophies offer different explanations and solutions. Buddhists offer reincarnation, successive rebirths until the soul eliminates illusion and ego to become one with the universe.  Utopian atheist systems anticipate a future heaven-on-earth created by highly evolved inhabitants and their technology. Augustine’s solution was Purgatory, a cleansing transition between earth and paradise. Luther and Calvin insisted that God alone will glorify the elect, eliminating carnality with a new, sinless body.  

 

The great theological problem for Christians is Jesus. He may be their Saviour, but he is the cause of damnation for multitudes of non-Christians.  Disciples of Wrath either ignore the problem or declare that it is the source of Jesus’ glory and his pleasure.  Disciples of Anti-wrath refused to believe that the absence of a Saviour could be a cause for damnation, even if this means reducing the role of Jesus from Universal Saviour to a local Holy Man who was not literally the son of God, not born of a virgin, and not necessarily resurrected from the dead.  Jesus creates a major theological problem in both traditions of Christianity: Wrath and Anti-wrath. In one he is incomprehensible and in the other, virtually irrelevant.  Jesus was not a problem for Early Christianity or for the Gospel of Love.

 

The first book of the Bible - Genesis - describes the beginning of the human experience. God presents the Garden of Eden’s rules which are immediately contradicted by a mysterious adversarial character in the form of a talking serpent. The bewildered humans are left to decide who is telling the truth. The God of the story does not intervene in the human choice.  The story of Eden encapsulates the human experience.  We are born into a world filled with conflicting beliefs, values and messages. We strive to make good choices – which may be selfishly good for us but bad for our neighbours – and then we experience the consequences, which may be unexpected and inexplicably delayed.

 

The Biblical story of Eden is left unresolved. God warned Adam and Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would cause instant death. That did not happen, at least not in an immediate, literal way. We do not know what Adam and Eve learned from their experience. We do not know if they repented their decision and were forgiven or if they remained under God’s wrath. They story is left unresolved in precisely the way that human lives are left unresolved in this world.

 

The final book of the Bible - Revelation - describes the conclusion of the human experience. The dead are resurrected for 1,000 years. This transitional period between temporality and eternity is a time of healing and learning. Deceased infants will become adults. Believers will have plenty of time to compare belief systems and analyse their private decisions over dozens of generations and their public choices over centuries. At the end of the 1000 years an army of adversarial characters will incite human beings to rebel. The humans will be left to decide who is telling the truth. This will be the ultimate exercise of freewill.  A stark alternative will be presented between cooperation and rebellion, between good and evil.  The choice will be made by rational beings with a clear knowledge of the consequences. The decision will not be based on fear, guilt, blind faith, or ‘religion.’

 

Why, you might ask, have you never heard of this before? 

 

Many believers in the Early Church expected a literal, future resurrection of the dead, otherwise how would their deceased children be numbered among the righteous?  How would their parents and grandparents, who died as righteous Pagans ever know Jesus as their Saviour.  It is important to note that salvation, for Early Christians, was not something symbolic and imputed. Salvation meant ‘deliverance from the penalty AND power of sin.' As suggested in the chart above, salvation is the completion of a process that begins in obedience and sanctification.  Salvation requires supernatural assistance. Christianity is the only religion that makes the audacious claim of providing a Saviour, therefore it is the only religion that requires a time and a place for the unfinished business of salvation to be made complete. The 1,000 year resurrection is essential if the process of salvation involves human freewill and divine assistance. The Early Church understood this perfectly well. 

 

Augustine disagreed. He became an implacable enemy of freewill and then rejected all belief in a literal future resurrection of the dead. Augustine wrote many books condemning the ‘Millenarians’  and ‘Chiliasts’ (terms referring to  the 1000 year resurrection described in Revelation) who held these beliefs. The Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 condemned belief in a literal, future thousand-year reign on the earth as a superstition.   

 

What did the Reformed Gospel of Wrath think about a future resurrection of the dead?  Luther translated the Book of Revelation into German but did not believe the book should be part of the Bible.  In the preface to his translation Luther wrote, ‘About this book of the Revelation of John, I leave everyone free to hold his own opinions. I would not have anyone bound to my opinion or judgment. I say what I feel. I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.... Moreover there is no prophet in the Old Testament, to say nothing of the New, who deals so exclusively with visions and images. For myself, I think it (the Book of Revelation ) approximates the Fourth Book of Esdras; I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.’    

 

Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book of the Bible but avoided the Book of Revelation. He was adamantly opposed to all belief in a future, literal 1000 year resurrection: ‘But not only did Satan stupefy the senses of mankind, so that with their bodies they buried the remembrance of the resurrection; but he also managed by various fictions so to corrupt this branch of doctrine that it at length was lost. Not to mention that even in the days of Paul he (Satan) began to assail it, (1 Corinthians 15,) shortly after the Chiliasts arose, who limited the reign of Christ to a thousand years. This fiction is too puerile to need or to deserve refutation. Nor do they receive any countenance from the Apocalypse, from which it is known that they extracted a gloss for their error, (Revelation 20:4,) since the thousand years there mentioned refer not to the eternal blessedness of the Church, but only to the various troubles which await the Church militant in this world… Those who assign only thousand years to the children of God to enjoy the inheritance of future life, observe not how great an insult they offer to Christ and his kingdom.’  Note how Calvin, like Augustine in his conflict with Pelagius, distorts the enemy’s arguments.  Millenarians did not claim that the reign of Jesus was limited to 1,000 years, but rather that the temporary resurrection served a necessary purpose prior to eternity.

 

Augustine, Luther, Calvin and other disciples of Wrath taught that the dead go directly to heaven.What do they do in heaven for all eternity? Theologians of Wrath have surprisingly little to say on the subject. It appears the Saved-from-Wrath will do nothing very much apart from praise God. They will be holy people, perfectly holy. The new citizens of heaven will require a total moral and emotional makeover. Cynics might call this a religious lobotomy.

 

It is not impossible for an omnipotent God to transform sinners into saints. The question is – why?  If humans from this world need to be completely reprogrammed for heaven, why was this world necessary in the first place? The Gospel of Wrath denies that human freewill plays the slightest role in salvation. God alone is responsible. Why did God not place the elect, programmed for perfection, directly into heaven?

 

What about the damned?  Why did they exist? Why did they suffer in this world? What did they learn?  Disciples of Wrath will not shed a tear over the Hitlers, but what about dear friends who were never saved? What about their own precious flesh and blood who died unsaved? How can disciples of Wrath enjoy heaven thinking about their rebel child or overly rational friend condemned to eternal torment?

 

Disciples of Wrath believe that once the elect have been fully glorified and every speck of sin has been removed, they will fully share God’s perspective. A seminary of Wrath instructor was fond of saying:  ‘When you are in heaven you will be so sanctified that you will be able to see your own mother in hell and rejoice, knowing that God’s perfect justice is being carried out.’  

 

The Saved-from-Wrath in heaven will not progress in their holiness. They will neither work nor play. They will remain perfectly obedient and nothing will ever change. It is difficult to imagine that God created this vast, complex, endlessly surprising universe for such a static eternity.    

 

What does the Gospel of Anti-wrath have to say about heaven? Not very much. Disciples of Anti-wrath simply admit they cannot explain why this vast, complex, beautiful and terrible universe needed to be created, why human suffering was necessary, or what the ultimate purpose was. 

 

The Gospel of Love provides a plausible, Biblical and compelling vision.  Human freewill requires time and knowledge. The Gospel of Love provides a transitional time and place for human freewill and divine justice to be fulfilled. Those who choose to live in harmony with God will become the inhabitants of ‘heaven’ while those who prefer rebellion will turn towards ‘hell.’

 

Some disciples of Anti-wrath scoff at the ‘religious’ obsession with separating good and evil, because they believe a universe without opposites would be as lifeless as a battery without positive and negative poles.  The current would cease to flow.

 

The Gospel of Love holds a different view. Good and evil can exist independently; in fact no stable, long-term social system is possible until they are separated. The energy source is not circular but linear, moving in one direction from low potential to high potential in a process called transformation. Positive transformation is a constant drive to seek improvement, to move from good to better, from rough to refined. Eden may have been ‘perfect’ in the sense that evil was absent, but it was not perfect in the sense that every possibility was fully realized. Adam and Eve had the potential for extraordinary physical and intellectual accomplishments that were never realized.  

 

In a system of positive transformation, new developments build upon older achievements. Positive transformation continually sets new standards of excellence and opens new doors of discovery. Every new innovation can be transmitted and shared. In a system of positive transformation, the energy constantly moves forward. Negative transformation is the opposite. It is a steady process of decay and destruction. The differences can be illustrated with the example of the neighbour who keeps his house and garden in exemplary condition. In a system of positive transformation, other neighbours would be inspired to take better care of their homes, which would improve the quality of the neighbourhood. In a system of negative transformation, the neighbours would vandalize and destroy the offending beauty. 

 

Our experiences in this world oscillate between trial and error, between creation and destruction, between progress and decline. The first twenty five years of our lives are molded by the history, values and beliefs of the culture we are born into. We spend the next twenty five years struggling to distinguish truth from misconception and falsehoods.  During our final twenty five years, we discover the mistakes we have made, and try to correct them, but the energy has already shifted to a new generation which is suffering from our mistakes and making their own. And then it is all over, we are dead and gone. This is a child’s world, forever starting over with a blank slate. Great civilizations rise and fall. Important knowledge is lost. Little accumulates except destructive power.

 

It is difficult in this child’s world to imagine what would be possible if we did not have to constantly rebuild what has been destroyed, and if we could retain our full memories rather than leave our children with half-understood fragments. It is difficult to imagine bodies that do not weary and die, which are not afflicted by sickness and weakness. It is difficult to imagine all that we could learn and do in time without end.  Billions and billions of planets throughout the universe are waiting to be discovered, inhabited, and developed. This is a vision of eternity worthy of an Almighty God who created a vast, complex universe.

 

Epilogue –The Consequences of Belief       

 

question

 

A strong case can be made that the Gospel of Love’s explanation for the existence of the universe, and the relationship between humans and the divine, is remarkably complete and coherent. A temporary resurrection is necessary if freewill is a fact. Buddhism offers a similar solution, except that there are multiple reincarnations and reincarnated souls have little or no memory of past lives which would enable them to grow in their understanding of cause and effect. And Buddhism has no god.  If salvation requires divine intervention by a personal Saviour then a temporary future resurrection is essential. This theology of a Saviour is unique to Christianity but salvation is available all who choose good over evil.   

 

The Gospel of Love does not fully explain why freewill is so important in the divine plan or why suffering is necessary, although we can speculate that freedom creates power which can be used or misused. That may be why this current life is short, to minimize the damage done during our apprenticeship years. The Gospel of Love lends itself to many fascinating speculations but the fact is we don’t know what happens beyond the grave. The best we can do for now is ensure that our eschatological speculations do not conflict with the worldview that guides our mortal life.  For example, how foolish to claim to believe in an almighty God of Justice while taking it into our own hands as if God is helpless to render justice. It is madness to claim to believe in a God of Love and then spew wrath into the world.

 

During the 20th century the principal causes of war were political ideology (fascism and communism), and struggles for political independence. Religion was mostly secondary to culture and history. Many Christians in Europe had adopted a Gospel of Anti-wrath, and religion was increasingly a private matter so that people of different faiths could live and work together for the common good. Religious fundamentalism was regarded as a throw-back to the Dark Ages which would eventually be eradicated through education.

 

In the 21st century religion is back, fundamental, polarizing and militant. The Islam doctrine of Wrath is a seemingly inexhaustible source of terror and violence. The Christian Gospel of Wrath is preparing for Antichrist and Armageddon. Rather than decline, fundamentalist religion is growing in numbers and intensity. 

 

Why is religious fundamentalism becoming so powerful? Why have so many Muslims adopted a Conservative form of religion that looks for inspiration to the values of past centuries?  Why have so many Christians embraced a Conservative form of religion that is opposed to modern science and contemporary culture?     

 

Part of the answer can be found in the eternal human longing for freedom. Human history is a long struggle against oppression, suffering and ignorance.  Men and women had to fight for democracy, for the abolition of slavery, for equal rights for women, and for laws against discrimination based on religion race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.  Modern medicine and technology, which have greatly relieved hunger and disease, were developed by people who dedicated their lives to decreasing the suffering of others. Universal education has liberated millions from superstition and ignorance. The struggle for freedom has a noble history that showcases the best of human nature.  Science and free thinking have been our friends.

 

Religious fundamentalists see a different side of the eternal human longing for freedom. They see dark forces which pander to the worst of human nature: lust stimulated by pornography and increasingly decadent popular culture, greed unleashed in grasping consumerism, gluttony bloated into obesity, and selfish individualism that breaks up families, destroys communities and leads directly to the destruction of all that is good and holy.

 

The lesson of Eden is that unrestricted freedom of will is a dangerous power that can be used for good or evil, creation or destruction. Modern democracies have permitted personal freedom to a degree unimaginable by any previous regime in human history. We are free from hunger and oppression, free to indulge our pleasures and passions, free to push the boundaries and reject all values and traditions that stifle our freedom. Has this freedom created a better world?  Has it produced happier individuals, stronger families, or superior nations? 

 

Religious conservatives answer no. Unrestricted freedom has produced disoriented individuals, broken families, and nations governed by greed. Many Liberals share this observation. It is devilishly easy to misuse freedom. Given a choice between bran pellets and Eggs Benedictine, most of us will opt for richer taste and higher calories. The Internet has made the collective knowledge of humanity instantly available, at little or no cost, but are we more inclined to study the lessons of history or click on a titillating photo that leads to celebrity gossip?  If unrestricted freedom is the problem, what is the solution?

 

Conservatives believe that freedom must be repressed. The best way to protect individuals from anti-social, self-destructive desires is to restricted their freedom and limit their options. The oppressive Taliban was different only in degree from grim Protestant Puritans and repressive Catholic kill-joys. The Gospel of Wrath terrorizes neighbours and inflicts severe punishments upon unacceptable behavior by cutting off the hands of thieves, shaming adulterers and unmarried mothers, hating homosexuals and abortionists. A world governed by zealots of wrath is an ugly, repressive place. The path toward repression of freedom leads directly to the demonization of liberty and Liberalism as the enemy of all that is holy. Christian zealots of Wrath are engaged in a ‘culture war’ with the demonic forces of decadence and depravity. 

 

True, the world is plagued by decadence and depravity, but no one is fully exempt from bad behaviour, just as the most wicked among us are capable of kindness and generosity. Good and evil are not polarized between disciples of Wrath (the defenders of good) and the rest of the human race (hell-bent on destroying the world with total depravity). These ideas are fueled by the traditional doctrine of Original Sin, which describes the reprobate as evil to the core and the enemy of all things holy. Atheists and disciples of Anti-wrath are uncomfortable with these views, but so long as they are not expressed in violence, they are defended as a legitimate exercise of free speech and freedom of religion.

 

Radical Islam has moved far beyond rhetoric to acts of extreme violence. The world struggles to understand why Islam is such a violent religion. How can the violence be stopped? We are shocked to see a woman caught in adultery dragged into the public square and stoned to death by an angry mob.  How primitive!  How barbaric!  Yes this is precisely the punishment prescribed by Judeo-Christian theology (Deuteronomy 22:22).

 

We are shocked when Radical Muslims react with extreme violence to Christians trying to ‘win’ their lost souls to Jesus. Yet the Judeo-Christian bible prescribes death to anyone who advocates worshipping ‘other gods’. (Deuteronomy 13:6-12).  The Koran is no more barbaric than the Bible. It all depends on how it is interpreted. Zealots of Wrath see the world through a lens of inherent depravity which must be stamped out with all available force.  As zealots of Wrath gain dominance, they become increasingly violent.  This is made clear by innumerable historical examples of Protestant, Catholic and Muslim regimes.

 

Radical Islam believes it is called to conquer the world in the name of Allah, and to use violence if necessary. When the Israelites conquered the Promised Land, they did so with extreme violence and destroyed every living thing in the conquered cities – men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. (Joshua 6:21) Christians conducted the Crusades with the same savagery, authorised by Holy Writ.  

 

The most worrying aspect of Radical Islam is that it believes itself to be the one true religion, destined to conquer all nations and replace all other religions. The good news is that anyone can join. The bad news is that stiff-necked infidels will be punished. This Muslims Gospel of Wrath is identical to the Christian Gospel of Wrath which believes that salvation is only possible through Christianity and that the God of Wrath will torture stiff-necked reprobates for all eternity.

 

It has become painfully clear to Muslims disciples of Love and disciples of Anti-wrath that Jihadist terrorists are not their brothers in Islam. The Islamic Gospel of Wrath is a cancer that devotes itself to killing the organism which gives it life. This worldview was clearly articulated when the Al-Qassam Brigades threatened Israel that ‘we love death more than you love life.’  The Islamic Gospel of Wrath is a disease that will destroy Islam and the entire Muslim world if left to run rampant. Many Muslims have supported Radical Islam for its defense of traditional values.  Morality, integrity and charity cannot be defended by brutality.  Muslims who follow the Gospel of Love must take a stand against Islamic Gospel of Wrath.

 

The Christian Gospel of Wrath is virtually identical to Islamic Gospel of Wrath. It is driven by a core of zealots who are quite prepared to impose their worldview upon their neighbors by force.  These disciples of Wrath recruit support by defending traditional values from the decadent ‘culture’ that surrounds them. They strategically choose ‘enemies’ who will consolidate their base.  Decent people are drawn into the army of Wrath because they believe the world is a battleground between good and evil. Fundamentalist prophets of Wrath claim to defend all this is Holy from ‘the culture’ which has been hijacked by homosexuals, pornographers, drug dealers, abortionists, idolaters and God-haters.

 

The world has reached a tipping point.  The old systems are exhausted. The old religions and political systems have been hijacked. The old worldviews have drawn the battle lines in the wrong places with the wrong people. If we continue to allow radicals and haters to polarize us, we are doomed. 

 

The great tragedy of the modern world is that zealots of Wrath have recruited multitudes of decent people who seek peace, purity and freedom from suffering, but have become disturbers of peace and the cause of suffering. Disciples of Anti-wrath have become the most ardent defenders of the Golden Rule, while turning away from divine revelation and the supernatural transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Terrible mistakes have been made, which is why so any people distrust or despise Christianity. The root cause is always tied into a theology of Wrath which flows from the doctrine of Original Sin and is manifest in condemnation and judgment. Wrathful Christianity is like a society plagued with a police force that kills innocent people for arbitrary reasons but the offending officers are never held accountable. They are always absolved, and the situation continually gets worse until no one trusts the police force or the government. Disciples of Anti-wrath lament the bad reputation of Christianity. Some of the kindest and gentlest souls advocate that if we just speak softly and humbly and apologize a lot, all will be forgiven. This is pure nonsense. No one is going to trust a violent police force (or a Gospel of Wrath which condemns multitudes of innocents randomly) until bad laws are revoked and bad cops are disarmed. Do we have the will and the courage to fix the problem? That is the believer’s dilemma.   

 

Return to The Mystery of Belief 

 

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