Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knocking on Heaven's Door

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, says American Evangelical Christians are in the midst of a “theological crisis.” At best, the crisis represents a major failure in Evangelical education; at worst, Rev. Mohler said, it represents a “repudiation of the Gospel.”

Strong talk. So what is this monumental crisis that so threatens Christendom? It is the fact that 52% of American Christians believe that non-Christians can get into heaven when they die.

The numbers come from a Pew follow-up survey run to double check an earlier survey they ran a few months ago. Critics of the first survey said that the original finding that 70% of Americans believed people of different faiths could get into heaven argued that this couldn’t be true among Christians. The new survey proved them wrong.

74% of non-Hispanic Catholics believe Heaven is open to nonChristians, as do 70% of white mainline Protestants.

Still holding the line, or better barring the door, are African Americans and white evangelical Protestants. 60% of Black Christians believe that Heaven lacks an Affirmative Action program and promotes a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to people of faiths other than their own, and 66% of white evangelicals hold to the hope that Heaven is a restricted country club.

But that still leaves over a third of both groups who do have an open-door vision of Heaven, and that should be enough to worry any old school believer in Jesus as the only way to Heaven.

I sympathize with the old-schoolers. Letting nonbelievers into Heaven is like letting nonJews into the Chosen People’s Party. Well that isn’t going to happen. We didn’t put up with exile, expulsions, Inquisitions, pogroms, and genocide for nothing. We suffer because God loves us best! In fact that’s how we know He loves us best: He lets people beat the crap out of us! And if they don’t do it, then He does it Himself. What a God.

I’m not ready to accept this survey without asking a few questions first: Like where are all the Hispanics? Why survey only non-Hispanic Catholics and Protestants? Did they do this survey on Cinco de Mayo or something? And why are black people so eager to keep other people out of heaven? You’d think they’d feel awkward sitting in Heaven’s Diner under a sign that said No Jews or Hindus Allowed.

Anyway, I’m sorry more and more Christians are becoming more open-minded. If they start teaching that anyone who lives a righteous life has a place in Heaven there won’t be much to separate them from us Jews, and then they might put pressure on us to let them into our members only Chosen People’s club. It’s easy for Jews to discriminate against Christians when Christians discriminate against us, but if they change we might have to change as well, and then everyone will be Chosen and then there won’t be anything cool about it. When everyone can wear Dolce & Gabbana it just isn’t Dolce & Gabbana anymore.

So please, Christians, get some backbone and bar those pearly gates to the nonbeliever. And if Peter won’t keep the riffraff on the other side of the velvet rope maybe it’s time to promote Torquemada.

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