Most Christians are under the impression that if you only believe, then getting to heaven is pretty straight forward. Most preachers and the various churches will tell you how simple it is to have “salvation,” and it is all for free! All you have to do is — just…simply…believe… So they tell us.
But, as you read the fuzzy details as spelled out in the bible you apprehensively find it is not at all that simple. In fact, the more you read the bible and try to find out just how you can get to that there “salvation” the more confusing, the more complicated, the more ambiguous, and the more difficult it gets. In fact, there are so many ambiguous and contradictory quotations by Christ saying that because of such and such you cannot get into the kingdom of heaven, that instead of it being so simple, we find there are so many conflicting stipulations, all of which say that you can’t get salvation, say that you can’t get to heaven.
By the time you get through examining and finding all the road blocks that are placed in your way, you find out that you just can’t get there — which means that practically everyone is condemned to go to hell and burn forever and ever. Evidently, there are only two camps. If you can’t get to heaven, you’re going to go to hell.
These are the supposedly “Glad Tidings” and “Good News” that Christianity brought.
Let us now examine the different roadblocks. In Matt. 7:21 Christ says, “Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out devils, and, in thy name, done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” In other words, despite your efforts, despite your good deeds, despite your loyalty, Christ says: you can go to hell.
In Matt. 8:10 he says, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you that many shall come from the East and West and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth…” Pretty fuzzy, but if the “children of the kingdom” are going to hell, you can be sure the rest aren’t going to heaven either.
We are just starting but already we are beginning to see the exclusions pile up, one after another, and they all add up to this: the majority of these people are excluded from entering the kingdom of heaven, and of course, therefore they are programmed, planned, and scheduled to go to hell. There is no middle road. But let us go further.
In Matt. 10:37 Christ says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: And he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” We can most assuredly assume that those who are further relegated to this category and are not worthy of him are most certainly not going to get into the kingdom of heaven, so add these millions further to the list. They, too, are going to hell. How many people do you know that have categorically come out and made the commitment that they love Christ more than they do their father or mother or their son or daughter? How many people do you know that have taken up their cross and followed him, especially since crosses are rather hard to come by, and since it is most confusingly unclear just what it is that you must do to follow him?
In Matt. 12:31 Christ says, “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” So there, if you have blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, whatever that is, you’ve had it. You have no further chance of any forgiveness or redemption or the slightest chance of mercy. From that point on you are going straight to hell no matter what and there is no further court of appeal.
In Matt. 12:36 he says, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned.” If such are the rules of the game, everybody would be in just about continuous jeopardy, because who knows, any word you might say might be the one by which you will be condemned. Isn’t that a comforting thought? This is some more of that real “Good News” that Christianity brought to you.
Let us proceed further with Matt. 13:41. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity: And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” This is, of course, rather fuzzy but undoubtedly here goes another shipload of poor souls destined for the fiery furnace.
It isn’t really so simple to get to heaven after all, is it? In fact, we have already piled up enough categories that would embrace just about every living human being.
But let us proceed.
In Matt. 15:4 Christ says, “For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Chalk up another transgression that will doom the offender to the fiery pit.
Matt. 15:22, 23 and 24 give the following story: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
So here, evidently, we have a new development. We find that the only people Christ claims he was sent to bring salvation to was the House of Israel. Apparently that would completely wash out the rest of us that are Gentiles and not Jews. Then we have the further perplexing situation that none of the Jews believe in Christ and therefore would be excluded from salvation also. So who is there left? Confusing as all this may be, and undoubtedly is meant to be, this is further confirmed by John 4:22 where Christ is speaking to the women of Samaria and says to her, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” Evidently he is spelling it out to the Gentiles: salvation is a Jewish thing and the Gentiles are so confused they don’t know what they’re worshipping. With this I heartily agree.
But let us continue. Then Jesus said unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24.) This is one of those confusing pieces of double talk where you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, but in any case, those of you who would try to save your life are going to lose it and evidently will not get to heaven.
Proceeding in the same book, Chapter 18:3, Christ further admonishes and excludes, “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Proceeding to v.6, “But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” From this we may gather that we are to act humble and become simple minded as little children again, and forget all the experiences and judgment that we have acquired through all our years of maturity, or else we are not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, if we have offended any of these little ones, those people, too, are better off if they had a millstone hanged about their necks and were drowned. Evidently these, too, are disqualified from entering the kingdom of heaven and destined to perdition. They, too, are going to hell.
We are finding that it is harder and harder to get into the kingdom of heaven. The list of those who are not going to get there becomes greater and greater, and in the same chapter v. 34, Christ says, “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Add a further huge multitude of those that did not forgive their brothers their trespasses. They, too, shall be chalked off and “delivered” to the tormentors. They, too, are going to hell.
The list is growing and the obstacles are piling up. In Matt. 19:20, it says, “The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” and Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” When the young man went away “sorrowful,” Jesus said to his disciples, “Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Now here we have added to the exclusion, which is now growing by leaps and bounds, all those people who have “riches”. It says further in v. 25, “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying who then can be saved?” A real good question. Jesus blandly gave them this reassuring double-talk, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” This is typical. If you can’t explain things in a sensible and logical way, just say, “Well, we operate in the field of magic, anything goes, and it doesn’t have to make sense.”
The doom and damnation continues. We are to be booby-trapped and caught with our pants down at the moment when we least expect. This is thrown at us just so that we will be nervous and on edge at all times, never knowing when the boom is going to be lowered. “The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:50, 51)
Vengeance and damnation proceed unabated. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
“I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
“Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:” Matt. 25:14-46.
Do you still think it is as simple as “just believing”? Far from being simple, it is getting extremely complicated and the odds are mounting not only a hundred to one but a thousand to one that nobody, but nobody, can hurdle all the booby-traps that are put in the way of getting to “heaven”. On the other hand there is no middle road. Those that don’t go to heaven all go to eternal damnation and hell fire.
But there is more, much more. There are many repetitions in the chapters in Mark, also Luke, and also John, with various embellishments and variations thereof. We are not going to belabor the subject much further. In Mark 11:26 Christ says, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” In Luke 6:24, 25, he goes after those terrible rich again and says, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” The moral here is supposed to be that if you have things pretty well under control, worry anyway, just worry, worry, worry. See nothing but doom and gloom ahead. These, after all, are “Good Tidings,” you know. Your reward shall be in the hereafter, and the chances are a thousand to one your reward shall be eternal hell fire.
We skip over the rest of Mark and Luke and so that we won’t entirely neglect John, we quote from John 3:3 where Christ says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And in v. 5, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
So there we have it, hell fire and damnation. Wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Eternal damnation. Woe unto you. Better a millstone were hanged around your neck and you were cast into the sea. Everlasting punishment. Damnation and hell. Cast them into a furnace of fire. Ye shall be cast into the utter darkness.
The Gospels are just full of doom and damnation throughout their entirety. This is supposed to be “Good Tidings” that Christ brought to the world. The salvation that your preacher keeps dangling in front of you, even by their own rules, is so ridiculous and so impossible to overcome that nobody, just about nobody, is going to qualify to be one of those that go into the “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Speaking of heaven, let us just examine what kind of a place it is supposed to be. Whereas hell is described in most graphic and frightening terms, the descriptions of heaven are most sketchy and, to say the least, very fuzzy. In Matt. 13:31, Christ says, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” v. 33, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Does that give you any kind of a picture of a place you would just break your neck to get to?
In the next chapter we find a few more tidbits and morsels that are not too descriptive but they are the best we could find. In Matt. 13 starting with v. 44, Christ says further, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.”
Does that give you any kind of a picture of heaven, or are you still puzzled about the nature of “your reward in the hereafter”? As far as I can see, this doesn’t present much of a picture of anything but a lot of double-talk, and frankly I am not at all the type that would want to go to such a nebulous and ill-described place. But just to make sure that you don’t miss the point that the other alternative is pretty horrible, the 50th verse follows the 49th which we just quoted previously and Christ there says, “And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Can you get to Heaven? Not likely in any case, and especially not so if Christ can help it.
After Christ had laid down his creed and spelled out all the suicidal advice for the destruction of those who would embrace his creed, he supposedly then organized a campaign to disseminate this teaching further into all the world. Purportedly, he then gathered around him 12 Disciples, rank amateurs, which are named in chapter 10 of Matthew. These 12 blundering accomplices, who evidently were not too bright and couldn’t seem to understand what it was he was saying, Jesus then sent forth and commanded them saying, “Go not thou in the way of the Gentiles and into any other cities of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 10:5)
Now there is a very contradictory passage here. Jesus was commanding his disciples not to spread the word for the new teaching to the Samaritans or the Gentiles, but to give it exclusively to the Jews. It is rather strange, therefore, that it was the Jews who rejected his teachings, but the Gentiles who embraced it. We suspect that it was undoubtedly planned the way it happened, but that’s what it says in Matt. 10:5, 6, namely for his disciples not to teach it to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the Jews.
In Matt. 10:21, he openly predicts what the divisive effect of his teachings will be and says, “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”
When we see all the destructive wars that were fought in the name of Christianity, such as, for instance, the Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648, we can see what he means by this prediction. During that war, along with hundreds of others, brother did rise up against brother and deliver him unto death, and in fact, about one third of all the Germans were decimated in that bloody, fratricidal religious war, with brother killing brother, and 5/6 of all the housing in the land was destroyed. By no means was this the only war that was fought in the name of Christianity, but throughout Europe, brother fought brother, Protestant fought Catholic, and the White Man destroyed himself with a vengeance, all in the name of Christ. Today, in Ireland, this is still going on. Christianity, in fact, is an exercise in self-destruction.
An interesting question about all this “believing” business is this: Why should anyone be coerced into believing anything? If you are not freely convinced about a situation on the strength of the evidence presented, or the lack of it, why must you be threatened with torture, vengeance and retribution?
Isn’t this the method used by tyrants and gangsters? Isn’t this the same method used by the Communists? Either accept communism or we’ll shoot you — that is also the code of Jewish communism in Russia, China and elsewhere.
Any belief arrived at under threat or coercion is, in any case, a dishonest one. It is a “belief” one might be stampeded into temporarily under the influence of panic or fear, but it is neither a rational conviction, nor can it be an honest belief.
Yet throughout the bible, this gangster method of threat, coercion, and fear is used to get people to believe: either you believe in Christ and all his hocus-pocus or you are going to hell, he says, or better, the Jewish scriptwriters say. What a sleazy operation!
In Matt. 10:34 he says further, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
In Matt. 12:25, Jesus really spells out the crux of the Jewish technique for destroying the Gentiles, when he says, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
We see in the previous teachings he has already said that he has come to divide, and divide he did. The more these nefarious teachings spread throughout Rome, and the Roman Empire itself, the more the process of dissolution and the ferment of disintegration set in. As these teachings spread and the Roman citizens, good people that they were, fell for all this bad advice, they became confused, they became confounded, and they became divided. They forsook the good judgment that they had built up over the centuries and they abandoned their good senses. They lost all sense of responsibility to their family. Their patriotism was completely undermined, and we know the rest is history. The Roman Empire and the White civilization that it embodied, crumbled, and fell to ruin.