You know, my servants, that I’ve made “religion” a bad word, even though everyone has one. Yes, everyone has a belief system that deals with ultimate questions, including where one goes when one dies. What I love most are the fools who claim to have no religious beliefs, and yet will argue day and night against those with different religious beliefs. Atheists are a prime example. All they talk about is religion, and all they do is defend their religion against others.
But do you know what I enjoy almost as much as atheists showing themselves fools?
OK, I’ll tell you.
It’s protestants and Catholics arguing among themselves, accusing one another, and condemning one another to Hell.
Yes, it’s rare that either group is so explicit, but underlying each side’s respective dialogs on religion is the underlying suspicion held by one group that most adherents of the other group are going to Hell.
Admittedly painting with a broad brush, let me summarize the view from Hell. Protestants believe that Catholics have corrupted the simplicity of the gospel with “religion” (which is why they protested in the first place). Protestants believe Catholicism is a religion of works, and its adherents fail to adequately understand salvation by grace through faith. Catholics, on the other hand, although being a little slippery on this point, at a gut level believe the Catholic Church IS the church of Jesus Christ on earth, so that, by definition, one who does not belong to the Catholic Church is, by definition, going to Hell.
This tension was brought to my attention most recently by an interesting blog post over at patheos.com’s Bad Catholic blog entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus — The Smackdown.” Written by “Marc” in response to a YouTube video with the name “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” the post is a well-written response by a Catholic to counter a well-done defense by a protestant of the idea that “religion” is antithetical to a relationship with Jesus, necessary for salvation. Marc makes a good defense of “religion,” and Catholicism, which he rightfully infers, is the religion targeted in the YouTube video.
Here is what you need to know, my servants, the eternal home of human beings is not determined by labels, protestant or Catholic. The eternal home of individual human beings is dependent upon one thing: their spiritual state on earth based on a spirit made alive by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
There are many protestants that have never been made alive, i.e., born again by the Spirit of God. They may be protestants on earth, but we call them friend in Hell.
And, of course, there are many Catholics that go through the motions and haven’t a clue as to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We do see a tendency among Catholics to rely on the outward appearances of ritual and tradition to ensure their salvation.
Here’s the bottom line, my friends: Hell is full of those who called themselves protestants and Catholics on earth.
Who is not here?
Those protestants and Catholics and anyone other “good servants” whom God calls Christians.