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Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 10:55:42 MDT Print View

This is an earnest question/call for debate. I have no agenda to convince anyone one way or the other.

I was raised as a Christian, said prayers at meal time growing up, went to church some, was baptized, went through confirmation as a Methodist, etc. I am a pretty practical person and have read the bible once all the way through, the New Testament 2 times. I used to be involved in a men's bible study group where we read the Bible and other leadership/Christian oriented books and discussed them. It was during those meetings that I really became aware of the fact that the Bible states the following two simple facts...

(No1) In order to go to heaven you must believe and accept Jesus Christ as your savior, that he is the son of God, and that he died on the cross for your sins.

(No2) Hell is a real place and that it is a place of infinite torture and suffering.

So if you take those simple facts and do the basic math...there are about 7 billion people on the face of the earth, roughly 33% of them would categorize themselves as "Christian" in a survey...that is 2.3 billion people. If you are generous and assume 50% or those that categorize themselves as 'Christian' truly accept Jesus Christ as their savior and that he died for their sins, that leaves 1.15 billion people out of 7 billion people. (A liberal estimate in my opinion).

That means that AT BEST 16% of the human population is going to heaven. The other 84% are burning in eternal hell and damnation. That means you have to believe Jeffery Dahmer (big time saved Christian in prison) is living in eternal bliss in heaven and Ghandi (not a Christian) is burning in eternal hell.

The other aspect to this argument that is suspect is if the best God can do is design a system whereby 84% (or more) of his beloved children burn in eternal hell, then you must assume evil/the devil are more capable and powerful than God...which does not mesh with what the bible says.

I am earnestly curious to hear arguments against this. As I thought about this over the past several years I have been surprised both that I had never heard this argument nor was I able to find much discussion of it. If you Google variations of 'Do all Jewish people go to hell' it is discussed in regards to Jews but never in regards to the world population argument, at least that I could find.

Edited by TylerD on 03/19/2012 11:02:38 MDT.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
um... on 03/19/2012 11:07:12 MDT Print View

there are no gods, just people with questions and greedy people who will exploit those with questions.

my church is the wilderness at twilight. my religion is self reliance. my faith is in myself and the goodness of others.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/19/2012 11:09:20 MDT.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Rob Bell Book on 03/19/2012 11:09:08 MDT Print View

Ty-

Rob Bell does an exploration of this in his book "Love Wins". I think you would like
the read, agree or not with him.

Edited by oware on 03/19/2012 11:09:43 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:25:14 MDT Print View

I am Catholic. My church interprets that scripture passage by cautioning that we need to take into account the purpose, place and time when Jesus made his statement. He was talking to a Jewish audience. The great debate was the way of the Law versus the way of Jesus. Jesus was preaching that the Law was not an end to itself, and that He was the fulfillment of the Law. He was the way!

It should be noted that in both the Gospels and the various letters and books that comprise the New Testament bible -- the sacred author took pains to compare/contrast between the Law and Jesus as the way. The emphasis was always on explaining the way of Jesus -- and the dead end of the Law (because it was fulfilled by Jesus' redemption). There was really no mention other religions being complete dead end's as well!! The focus was on Jesus being the way to salvation. Obviously, as believers, we have faith in the way of Jesus as being the best that works. Believers of other faiths are similarly confident of their own paths.

Given the above, and given that God Himself is love -- He is most unlikely to condemn everyone to hell who isn't a Christian (for all different reasons). That makes no sense.

Edited by ben2world on 03/19/2012 11:30:28 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:27:17 MDT Print View

My wife says it best, and her and I have had this conversation a few times before.

Basically, I think that is crap, too. An all-loving God isn't going to condemn most of his creation to hell for being born into a different belief system.

So, here is the gist of what my wife says: God will manifest himself to be what people need him to be in order for them to better themselves, improve their lives, live as upstanding citizens of humanity, and care for one another. If that means he takes the form of Buddha for Buddhists, God for Christians, or Allah for Muslims, then that is what he is for them. Many religions claim they have the one true god, but that is impossible. Should we be so daft as to claim superiority over other peoples because we pretend to KNOW absolutely 100% our god is the right one?

Remember, God did not create any religion. Humans created religion along with all the ills--and good--that come with it. Most of the time we're preaching and fighting not in the name of God, but in our misconstrued and obtuse conception of what we think religion is.

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:33:40 MDT Print View

Well put Ben. I think more people should read the gospels than attempt to interpret the Bible from third party sources (not too many on this forum has ever read either source).

"God did not create any religion"

If you believe in Christ as a diety then yes, he did.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:34:20 MDT Print View

Ok - I will bite. A little. I try not to discuss religion much on the 'net.

Don't forget, the best God could do was create Eden where there was no burning in eternal hell or even death for that matter. His was a system where no one spent eternity away from Him. Our own free will ruined that scenario. The scenario that we, not God, created would send 100% of us to hell. I think it truly shows how great God is that he would give us a ANOTHER path to avoid eternal damnation when hell is something we have so easily earned. What have we done to earn another chance?

To answer your 2nd question - All it takes is one sin to keep someone from heaven. Think of the best, most kind hearted person you know - Ghandi, etc. Per the Bible, that person will not go to heaven without Jesus. If Dahmer was truly saved, he will got to heaven. God is love, but he is also wrath. Sodom and Gomorrah are examples.

If the devil were truly more powerful than God, he would not be sentenced to reign in hell for eternity. God is the one who banished him there.

Good questions.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 03/19/2012 11:47:27 MDT.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:36:14 MDT Print View

Ben - my wife is Catholic and believes basically the same thing you said or a variation of it. My problem with that is that I have read the bible and I don't see that written anywhere. What I do see is it specifically stating that what is being said applies to all human beings universally and without question. It seems like if God/Jesus had meant it only to apply to Jews, he would have stated such. I don't see it so I can only take this as theory until proven otherwise.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Rob Bell Book on 03/19/2012 11:38:44 MDT Print View

David - Thank you for the book suggestion. I just put it on my checkout list at the library. Thank you I will read it.

Edited by TylerD on 03/19/2012 11:40:21 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:47:48 MDT Print View

Ty Ty:

Given the prevalence of the many religions of the day... the absence of any saying that all those other religions were nothing but dead ends should be saying something to us as well. The emphasis only on the Law as a dead end should be equally telling. Putting the two together...

Jesus made the very strong statement only to the Jews -- and I believe it was His way to get them to realize that the Law has been fulfilled, and now, they must follow him the rest of the way. The Law can only get them so far... and not far enough to reach salvation.

But the above aside, the most telling to me is this: God is love. What does love do?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:50:19 MDT Print View

"What does love do?"

Love Hurts - Boudleaux Bryant

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
love? on 03/19/2012 11:52:35 MDT Print View

love can break your heart.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 11:57:28 MDT Print View

"Given the prevalence of the many religions of the day... the absence of any saying that all those other religions were nothing but dead ends should be saying something to us as well. The emphasis only on the Law as a dead end should be equally telling. Putting the two together..."

Ben makes a good point. I think it's also important to note, TyTy, that you're asking the question from a strictly christian perspective, not from an overall 'religious' perspective. As Travis' wife says so well, god presents to believers in the way they can best 'see' and understand. If you look at your question from a much broader 'religious' perspective, then your math comes up with a very different calculation. Just using one book is a false starting point.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
CS Lewis on 03/19/2012 12:02:10 MDT Print View

Lewis, an atheist who came to Christianity through reason, describes hell as being
"locked from the inside".

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: The basic math behind Christianity... on 03/19/2012 12:02:59 MDT Print View

"My problem with that is that I have read the bible and I don't see that written anywhere."

Read the traditional gospels as they focus on salvation. Look at the gospel of Thomas from Nag Hammadi for a slightly alternative view (the kingdom of God is in all of us).

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: CS Lewis on 03/19/2012 12:07:58 MDT Print View

I love CS Lewis' writings. The Screwtape Letters was an exceptionally inventive way to get his point across, and I believe quite unique, at least at the time. Mere Christianity is a wonderful read as well. I also remember discovering The Chronicles of Narnia in my 20s, and going through all the books twice, catching more with each reading.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Whoa, slow down, slow down... on 03/19/2012 12:13:29 MDT Print View

Religious conversations and debates very often go too fast and end up being unproductive.

You will notice that all the religious people have already begun to forward assumptions without substantiating them. I call on anyone that is forwarding the premise that a god exists, there is only one god, and this god is Jesus to back up and support your claims.

Start with the first step:

1. How are we to know that a god exists?

1a. Please be specific. If what you are using to substantiate the answer you give to this question is indistinguishable from imagination, there is literally no reason to believe you that I am aware of. For example, if I told you that while backpacking here in Sweden I ran into an elf that has magical powers like invisibility, would you believe me? Why or why not? What would it take for you to believe such a claim?

Until we can resolve this first step, I don't see how we can go on to other assumptions, unless of course we accept them as a given, for the sake of argument or otherwise.

Also, please make your intentions clear so the debate does not get muddled. For example, if you are a Christian, please be clear about this and don't argue from positions outside of your belief system. All too often will Christians argue like they are deists, for example. If you believe in a specific god (i.e. Jesus), that is a specific claim that you need to support. You can't have your cake and eat it too, either Jesus is the one true god, or he is not, so don't defend the premise of a deistic god that you obviously don't actually believe in.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 03/19/2012 12:18:09 MDT Print View

Cesar:

The topic is more specific: it is about Christianity and what it teaches about salvation / condemnation of believers vs. non believers. I think you have a separate agenda in wishing to talk about whether God even exists or not. Please feel free to start a new thread -- so folks can post their thoughts on a much wider topic.

Edited by ben2world on 03/19/2012 12:28:13 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Whoa, slow down, slow down... on 03/19/2012 12:19:03 MDT Print View

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus was the only Christ and that he was resurrected.

I cannot prove to you that a God exists. I believe this is called faith.

On the other hand, I am not sure how we can prove the spiritual realm through materialism. The two are separate, which is entirely the point.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: on 03/19/2012 12:27:57 MDT Print View

I am well aware that it is specific. I question the assumptions that the OP rests on, i.e. that a god exists to begin with, and that this god is Jesus.

I don't see why I ought to start a new thread, and submit that my post is perfectly relevant to the topic at hand. Before you can talk about salvation through Jesus, you have to prove that Jesus is the one true god.