This podcast has fantastic dialog between opposing view points. Go to A Christian and an Atheist to listen to some more, they will challenge you.

PS. If you are not willing to go where ever TRUTH leads you, then maybe you should ignore this post.

other episodes:

On hell (1)
Hell (2)
Freewill vs Sin
Killing babies to save their souls

(there are 82 episodes in all)

There is a great question posted at Kingdom Grace that has got me thinking:

Is it or has it ever been God’s intention to punish mankind?

I gladly call myself a Christian Universalist or an Ultimate Reconciliationist. I have to be. Even though I do not know if it is true or not, I do know that there are enough verses and concepts throughout the scriptures to make this position at the very least possible if not probable. So I have to put my hope where God puts his hopes. It is his will that NO ONE should perish. Ultimately all creation will be reconciled, things in heaven, on earth and under the earth.

I would almost say that if you did not at the very least have a hope that Universalism is true than you are not a Christian. Of course I don’t and won’t say this, but  I do think it from time to time.

This is not to say that I am not human. I would like to see some roast eternally, but in reality, these are few and far between. Most I’d just like to see hurting for a weekend or two.

My stance is that “righteousness and justification comes through the faith OF Christ and that he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world. We will all be justified by grace through faith. And we will all be judged based on our works.”

If Jesus’ life is any indication, it is us religious types that will be judged harshest! God’s people, first Israel and now the church, have always been the first to be judged. Our purpose here on earth is to be a beacon of hope and to manifest the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. Share the gospel? Yes. But as a demonstration. Our purpose, from Abraham on down, was to be God’s blessing to the nations. And it is my firm belief that Matthew 25 is about seeing Jesus in “the other”. Jesus uses the Pharisees own doctrine of exclusion and subverts it, turning the tables and challenging them with there own eternal destiny.

So my answer is: No, It never was God’s will to punish. There will be judgment but I believe it will not be punitive but restorative judgment.

Why is it we insist on focusing on SIN (law) instead of Christ and His Kingdom? Are we really that much different than the Pharisees of old?
Comment by Spherical on Pragmatic Eclectic

“You want to make Christians look bad?

Ask them to explain what happened to a person like Mahatma Gandhi — a kind, non-violent, respected, revolutionary, non-Christian man — after he died.

Honest Evangelical Christians will tell you what they believe: He’s currently rotting in hell.

Atheists and Jews and gay people will suffer the same fate, too — unless they convert. (And since these Christians ‘love’ you, they’ll do whatever it takes to ‘save’ you from the misery.)

It doesn’t make them very popular, of course, but if accepting Jesus’ divinity is the only path to heaven, then those who don’t believe in it have to suffer forever… Right?

That seems downright cruel and unusual for anyone with a decent moral sense… and yet, it’s supposed to be a cornerstone principle for Bible-believing Christians.”

Friendly Atheist

This is why I may be leaving my faith. Not my faith in a loving God by my faith in christian religion; the conservative, evangelical faith; even the traditional, orthodox faith.

In reality most Evangelical Christians will tell you what they want to believe: Only God knows. But their interpretation of the bible calls for an honest and couragous answer: I don’t know only God knows BUT he is probably rotting in hell.

This IS downright cruel and unusual for anyone with a decent moral sense. And it is a cornerstone principle for “Bible-believing” Christians.

My problem is that this immoral act of eternal damnation is at odds with my view of a God of Love as portrayed and embodied in Jesus. So what is a person to do?

to be continued