"Mom, what happens when you die?"
"Well, you go to heaven to be with the people that you love."
"Does that mean that everyone goes to heaven?"
"No, of course not. Bad people don't go to heaven."
"Where do bad people go?"
"They go to a place that is unimaginably bad for punishment."
"How do you know if you have been good enough to go to heaven?"
"I suppose that if you have lived a mostly good life, learned from your mistakes, and helped people out that you will go to heaven."
"What is mostly good?"
"Mostly good is where a majority of the choices you have made have been good ones."
"But how do I know which ones are good and which ones are bad?"
"You shouldn't murder or steal or kill or cheat on your spouse, you should do good to people in need."
"But is there anything else, how do I know that is the whole list, what if something is missing?"
"I think that capture's the big things."
"How do you know those are the big things? Where did you get that list?"
"It comes from common sense son. You can tell that those are the good things and things to not do because that is what most of the laws are all about."
"What if I don't pay my taxes or what if speed. There are laws about those too."
"Son, you will know in your heart."
"So you are telling me that as long as in my heart I am making the best or right choice, then I go to heaven?"
"Yeah, I think that is it."
"So if I am insane or depraved, and I go and kill and rape people, in my heart I think that is the best choice. Or if I think that my baby will have too hard of a life because I don't make enough money and I kill it, in my heart that is the best choice. Or if I am hungry and I have no money so I steal from Wal-Mart, in my heart it was the best choice."
"Don't be ridiculous, of course it is not like that."
"But Mom, it sounds like it is all up to me on whether or not I think I made the right choice or not."
"Not at all, it is up to God."
"When did God come into all of this? How do I know what he does or does not want for me to do to be able to go into heaven? Don't tell me that it is the best choice, generally good, or from my heart again either, because if it is really like that, then everyone would go to heaven because everyone can justify why they make a mistake."
"Mom, if there is an afterlife and there is a Heaven, I don't think I want to have it be so vague as to how I get there. I want to go to Heaven and I want all the people I love to go to Heaven. I know there is a God and there is a Heaven, but I don't know how to get there."
"If stealing is bad, what if I steal once or just a couple of times? What is the magic number of times that it takes for me to steal before I can't get into heaven? Is it the number of times I steal or is it the monetary value of what I steal? What if I do some good deeds to offset the bad ones. Is there a ratio of good to bad that does the trick"
"Do you see where I am getting at. God will know who exactly goes to Heaven and Hell. There is some trigger that tells him how to divide us up."
"I suppose I haven't really thought about that deeply."
"So many of us don't. Really we all want to believe we will all go to Heaven and that everyone we know will go to Heaven. If we get to determine whether we go to Heaven or Hell, then what is the purpose of our life here. Regardless of what we do, the end result is eternity in Heaven. I supppose we could also believe there is no God and that our purpose on this planet is no more significant that an ants."
"I do believe in God, and I have to believe that the briliance that created the universe, would not allow us to linger in doubt and self discovery. God created us out of love, and it is out of love that God would want us to be with him in Heaven. But God did not create robots. God gave us free will. Free will allows us to respond in love to God or to turn away from God."
"So how do you know whether or not you are going to heaven?"
"God loves us so he dispelled with all the ambiguity. He elimated the need to calculate a good to bad ratio, and the need to know which sins are the mortal ones. God gave us the Word, the Holy Bible. And in that Word, God tells us about how he sent His Son to die for our sins. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that for who so ever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life(John 3:16). There is no amount of good deeds that can cover your sin. You can't pray yourself or others into heaven. There is no 12 step process. God wants us to know exactly what to do. He eliminated the interprutation and rationalization of man or man's law. Christ came and fulfilled the law."
"Mom, this gift is free, and it is not refundable. You just have to choose to accept Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. I made the choice and the fog lifted from my eyes and my heart. I finally feel at peace, but I want to share this gift which is why I am telling you the Good News."