So we got email taking us to task for an argument made on the show. I am copying it with some minor edits.
I am a Christian who has been listening to your program for about a year now. On the whole, I enjoy your programs but I have a problem with you on this issue outlined below.
I have heard you say that in Christianity a person can do ANYTHING they want – steal, rape, torture, murder – and still get in Heaven on a last minute Death-bed confession, and that Salvation is based ENTIRELY on Faith, IRRELEVANT of actions or deeds.
I am sorry but this is absolutey UNTRUE.
Salvation is NOT based entirely on Faith. See what Jesus said Matthew 25:31-46. Didn’t these people have FAITH and believe in Jesus? Yes they did! So why are they still going to Hell then? Read what it says in James 2:14-26 where Faith without Works is Dead and will lead you to Hell.
There is NO such thing as a last minute Death-bed confession to be “Saved” either. Salvation requires Repentance, Restitution, and a change of heart and lifestyle.
- Repentance ~ is a deep regret for past wrongs, not just saying “Oh Sorry about that” and then walking away.
- Restitution ~ making a genuine and full attempt at righting the wrong we have done.
- Change of Life ~ making sure we don’t repeat the same injury over and over again.
Repentance WITHOUT Restitution is INVALID. Restitution is the EVIDENCE that our Repentance was genuine.
Christianity is not just based on Faith alone. Christianity is a Life LONG committment of Good Works and helping others.
In conclusion, when you say that “Christianity teaches that a person can do ANYTHING they want and still get into Heaven” this is nothing but a blatant LIE. The Bible does NOT teach this. Jesus NEVER taught this. His Disciples NEVER taught this. The early Christian Church NEVER taught this. My Church (the Roman Catholic Church) has NEVER taught this. NO serious Christian on earth would believe that you can do ANYTHING you want – rape, steal, torture, murder – and still get into Heaven. This is absolute BULLSHIT!
Are you saying these things just to discredit “Christianity” to make us all look Unjust, Evil and Stupid?
If I believed what you were saying – I would renounce my Christianity immediately – at such an unfair and asinine system!
So I recommend you please get your facts RIGHT before you bash Christianity and Lie about what we believe!
Hi, thanks for watching our show and for your concern about our factual accuracy.
Your message made a lot of sense when I got to the detail that you were Catholic. Here in Texas, the great majority of Christians are Protestants, with Southern Baptists being the most common. Protestants tend to put a much higher emphasis on “salvation through faith” as opposed to works than Catholics do. I understand that this is not what your church teaches, but the fact remains that many people who consider themselves True Christians just as much as you do, believe exactly that salvation is through faith alone, not works.
Don’t believe me?
- Here’s a sermon titled “Salvation Is by Faith Alone.” In it the author says, “There is no room for human merit, believe me.”
- Here’s a classic historical sermon by 18th century Protestant Jonathan Edwards. Edwards compares all people to loathsome insects, and says that no amount of “good works” can be sufficient in the eyes of God to wipe away the fundamental evil of mankind.
- Here is a religious tract by prolific comic artist Jack Chick. It is not a parody. In the story, the law abiding sheriff goes to hell, while “Terrible Tom” goes to heaven for exactly the kind of last minute conversion you say is impossible.
Look, we agree that this kind of theology is immoral. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t widely believed. I’m not sure whether one of us really did say “in Christianity a person can do ANYTHING they want.” If so, that was a little bit of careless wording; I would have said “Many Christians believe that a person can do anything they want.”
But who’s right? Your letter quoted a lot of Bible verses supporting your point, that the Bible says what you think. Jack Chick also quotes a lot of Bible verses that he feels makes the opposite case. You and Jack have a fundamental difference of interpretation, and it’s not a trivial disagreement. I’m sure you’re aware that centuries of wars have been waged between Catholics and Protestants over issues that are far less weighty than this one.
As an atheist, my perspective is that the “correct” interpretation of the Bible isn’t a meaningful statement. Real moral behavior arises from an understanding of the consequences of your actions — hurting people is bad, not because it offends God, but because human dignity is an end in itself. Therefore, I am probably much closer to agreement with your views than to the views of Jack Chick. But I still don’t believe in your god.