Why should people of other religions be sent to Hell because they happened to be born into a non-Christian home? On the surface, it seems a valid criticism of Christianity that it would be unfair of God to judge those born into other religions on the basis of their acceptance of Christianity. However, the criticism fails on more than one level.
The Christian God is not fair
The first assumption - that the Christian God is fair - is false! Wait a minute - a Christian admitting that the Christian God is unfair! Yes, you can quote me on it as long as you quote the rest of this paragraph. God created human beings with conscience that 1) tells them when they do wrong and 2) tells them that God exists. When we violate our conscience (something that all human beings have done), we know that we have sinned. Those of you who have never sinned can stop reading now and click here. Christianity says that all have sinned1 and, therefore, fall under the judgment of God.2 In order to be fair, God must judge all sin.3 Therefore, in order to be fair, God should condemn all people to hell.4 However, the Christian God is not fair, since He chooses to save those who accept His mercy.5 Those who want to experience the fairness of God will receive just that - God will judge them fairly.
For the rest of us, who prefer mercy to fairness, God will save us, whether we be Hindus, Buddhists or whatever.6 Those who haven't heard the gospel will be judged on the basis of the information they were given and how they responded to it.7 It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out whether or not you are doing what your conscience tells you to do.
Do you really want direct proof of God's existence?
Believe it or not, things could be much worse and "unfair" had you been created as an angel instead of a human. Atheists often complain that the evidence is insufficient to believe in God and would have preferred to be in a creation where they could see God directly. This sounds good on the surface, but God's judgment on those who have direct evidence of His existence is significantly more severe. The angels, who have seen God directly, have no latitude regarding sin. In other words, all angels who have sinned - even one time - have already been cast out of the presence of God and will be thrown into hell at the judgment.8 Personally, I am glad that I am a human, and have not seen God directly yet.
Those who are born to non-Christians homes are at an unfair disadvantage
The second incorrect assumption is that those who are not raised in Christian homes would be disadvantaged. People, especially atheists, assume that I was raised in a Christian home. The fact is that I was raised in an agnostic home - so I am one of those who has been treated "unfairly" by God! I never heard the gospel until my 30's, but I knew before I heard that I wasn't doing God's will. Those who respond to their conscience will be led to the truth. Those who want to justify their unbelief will be judged according to "fairness."
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3)
- What will happen to the people who have never heard of Jesus Christ?
- Why Would God Create a Person Who Would be Destined for Hell?
- Many are Called, But Few Are Chosen
- The Bible Says Hell is a Place Located Under the Earth: An Atheists' Myth
- Do Sociopaths (People with Antisocial Personality Disorder) Disprove the Existence of God?
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
- But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. (Ezekiel 18:24)
- For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (Romans 2:12)
- And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds... And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15) - Judgment is based upon the evil deeds we do, not the "good" ones. As in a courtroom, guilt is determined by our breaking of the law.
- But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love
with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made
us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
- For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Romans 11:32)
- See page What will happen to the people who have never heard of Jesus Christ? for more information about how God judges on the basis of individual knowledge.
- For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; (2 Peter 2:4)
Last updated April 28, 2006