God decides who can enter Heaven, not the extremists

I am having a problem with the prolonged diatribe on the virtues of southern, extremist views of Christianity expounded in this newspaper over the past week.

For ANY Christian, Muslim or any other religion, to tell ANYONE, Christian, Muslim, or any other religion that they are not going to meet in heaven is, I believe, to usurp God’s right to decide.  My immediate response to this judgment is, who died and appointed someone else God?

This narrow approach to salvation is abhorrent to the sensibilities of many Christians and other religions. I would not want any of these individuals deciding on my future resting place.

Why do any of these ‘religious’ feel they must control people?  Who do they think they are?

Most governments in the free world that are based on common law are founded on the Judeo-Christian model.

Christianity is based on the Judeo-Christian values and therefore, I believe that God loves EVERYONE.

Have there been mistakes? Absolutely. Have people been hurt? Absolutely. Do people today still die needlessly, due to someone else’s version of Christianity or interpretation of the law? Absolutely.

Jesus tells us, ’Judgment in mine’. We are admonished to love one another.

With the recent writings, I am finding very clear similarities between radicalized Muslims and fundamentalist or radicalized Christians. Also referred to as, born again.

President Bush rationalized invading Iraq, calling it a holy war.  This statement radicalized the population in 2001. There is nothing holy about war.

When Christians decide who is right and wrong, it denies the basics of Christianity.

When Muslims decide who is right and wrong, it denies the basics of Islam.

Many verses in the Bible can be interpreted in a number of ways. It is important that Christians recognize that Jesus was a Jew. Jesus was a good Jew. Jesus knew the scriptures. Jesus preached in the temple. The scriptures Jesus preached on were written thousands of years before the New Testament.

Jesus was not a Christian!  We need to remember what Jesus did. Jesus healed people who were not believers, who were not circumcised, who were Gentiles. Jesus went to parties, drank wine. Jesus made sure everyone was enjoying themselves at the wedding at Cana. The story tells us, he turned water into wine! Jesus did not discriminate!

The Bible is a book, written by people. People who all fall short of being the very best they can be. Since there were no photocopiers when the authors wrote down their thoughts and observations, the Bible is a log of people’s interpretations. When you view whatever bits of scripture there are, there is no punctuation, there are no spaces between words and those bits date back to hundreds of years after the originals. They are copies!

An interpreter of the Bible needs to be aware of the thinking of the society of that time. What was the purpose of their writing? Who were they attempting to affect? This is important because, many things we would never do today, was acceptable behavior in Biblical times. This is called being form critical. We have no problem using this to study Shakespeare.

The Bible is a collection of wise and wonderful stories that can help us to live a better life. The difference between the Bible and the Koran are miniscule, the similarities are the vast majority.

Good Muslims and good Christians believe in peace, love and caring for all regardless, of their belief system.

Most religions, promote the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you. Not the literal Biblical version, but then, there are many translations. None of which is accurate.

If we are being the best people we can be. We have no need to decide, who is right.

I can say these things because God and only God will judge me in the end. Whew!!!! That is all that matters and my God loves me with all my warts and sins and all the mistakes I have and will make. I thank God that the people who have written these letters (with the exception of Jo Stuart) will not be responsible for God’s judgment of me.

A Costa Rican saying: We need to decide whose house we wish to live in.

Ellen Munro
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