Reader Henry Kantrowitz is right. Christians understand that the Christ is the only way to eternal life in oneness with God. Being a Christian only can define those who confess that Christ, the Messiah, the fullness of God made manifest, is their Lord and Savior, being so by giving up life selflessly as atonement for the sins of humankind. Christianity is not a social club. It is the faith of those who confess that Christ voluntarily gave up life for their sins, nothing more nor less. Those who do not accept this are, by definition, not Christians, no matter how often they go to church, pray, do good works etc.
However, everyone, including Henry, does have a chance of going to Heaven – being one with God. According to Christians, it is only via the path I mentioned above. Christ, the fullness of God, appeared throughout the ages as many understand the Jewish scriptures and other sacred writings. Christ was made manifest in the person of Jesus of Nazareth over 2013 years ago and gave birth to the Christian faith as it is known today in all its ramifications. Tolerance has nothing to do with it. Either you believe in Christ’s sacrifice or not.
If you are not a Christian, that is neither good nor bad, that is just the way it is. It was good of you and your wife’s sister to tell your mother-in-law the truth about not being a believer in this salvation. Many who use the title “Christian” are only fooling themselves, since they do not believe either.
We all have free will. Whether or not you are going to Hell or Heaven is all a personal choice. We will all have the opportunity to know the truth and follow it. I believe that this is a truth that few have had revealed to them completely and which few fully understand. We all have a destiny to be one with God — the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and universal perfection of love and unity. Whether we choose to fulfill that destiny is up to our own free will. It is a choice that sadly few choose to make in this life.