Orginally published on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 8:36 AM
by Todd Rhoades
I received an email this week from my friend Geoff Surratt about a new series of posts he's writing over at his "Inner Revolution" blog. Geoff writes, "I recently received the following letter from a sincere member of our church. I think her questions are excellent and very thought provoking with deep implications." This girl asks some good questions. Read her letter and Geoff's response. What do you think? Here's the letter:
I am 18 an have been a member of Seacoast for about a year or so. I am looking for some answers to some big issues I am struggling with. My boyfriend and I are both Christians, but we are at a crossroads right now and though we believe in God, Jesus, and WANT to believe in Christianity, we are struggling.
First off, we started reading the old testament and a good bit doesn’t make sense. For example, in the story of Job, towards the end God starts to talk about a fire breathing dragon. Another example, I do not remember the specific book, but a woman looked back and was “turned to a pillar of salt.”
In addition, God does not seem like the same God in the old testament as he does in the new testament. But I don’t know how that is possible, if God is all knowing, then he would know what would work in managing his people and what wouldn’t work so I do not understand why or how he would have to change his ways.
My last problem is my biggest problem. I have a great friend who is Muslim. He is an incredible man, he is very faithful to his religion and the God he knows. I just can not believe that a just God would send him to hell for picking the wrong religion. That is not just to me. I am quite aware of people saying that everyone has a opportunity to be exposed to Christianity and therefore if they do not choose it, it is there fault for not going to heaven. But I can not believe in that and I know you can not just pick which parts of Christianity you want to believe so I do not know how to continue being a Christian. If I grew up in another country with a different religion and culture, I am sure I would grow to believe in that religion just as I have grown to believe in Christianity. And as a Christian if somebody was to tell me that being Muslim is correct I would disagree and not change my ways. So why should people who were raised differently and taught to believe in something different just instantly hear about Christianity and convert. I do not feel that is even slightly reasonable. They think that the God they worship is correct and they live by their standards and try to serve the best they can...clearly there is only one God, so will that God tell those people too bad, you should have listened to the Christians, now go spend eternity in hell. Because under NO condition is that just in my mind. I feel a just God would judge your heart and my friend, who does not think Christianity is right, would not have to spend eternity in hell because he practiced what his culture taught him, and did the best to serve God the way he knew and THOUGHT was right. His intention is to get the same place, he just thinks there is a different way to get there. Does he really deserve to suffer for eternity for that?
I know this is a lot. But me nor my boyfriend can not seem to find answers, especially regarding this last issue. So I don’t know what to do. I can’t continue to consider myself a Christian if I don’t believe in everything about it. I want to be a Christian and I am hoping I am ignorant and misinterpreting but if I am not misinterpreting, I do not think I can go on.
Now, click here for Geoff’s response, and leave him (or us) a comment. How would you have responded to this young woman?
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