Related to the question: If I don't believe in Jesus before I die, will God send me to hell?
Simon, a Secular Philosopher, has a dialogue with Elijah, a Pentecostal Christian, about whether God will send people to hell.
Simon: I'm not personally invested in the idea of heaven or hell. However, from a philosophical perspective, we can engage with questions about justice, ethics, and the nature of belief that arise from your question.
Elijah: I believe in the redemptive power of faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Simon: I see, Elijah. But consider this: from a philosophical viewpoint, is it just for a person to suffer eternally for a lack of belief, even if they led an otherwise ethical life?
Elijah: The Pentecostal perspective emphasizes the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ. It's not just about belief, but about a transformative relationship with God through Jesus.
Simon: But it still raises a question about the nature of justice and mercy. Would a merciful God, as depicted in Christian theology, condemn someone to eternal suffering?
Elijah: That's a complex question. In our tradition, we believe that God is both just and merciful. The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is available to all, and we trust in God's final judgement, which is beyond our full comprehension.
Simon: Interesting. However, there's an apparent tension between the notions of infinite mercy and eternal punishment.
Elijah: I understand the tension you're pointing out. We believe that God's ways are higher than ours, and some mysteries are beyond our understanding. We focus on the message of salvation and God's love demonstrated through Jesus Christ.
Simon: These discussions highlight the complexity and depth of religious and philosophical questions. It's essential to have these conversations for greater understanding.
Elijah: Absolutely, Simon. Even though we come from different perspectives, these dialogues can help us understand each other better and deepen our own understanding.