Living In An Unsound Univers...alism

Last night, one of America’s premier news shows, 20/20, devoted an entire episode to the topic of hell. Of course, the show wasn’t entirely Christian in nature but it did seem like most of the content centered on the traditional Christian doctrine of hell; the doctrine that most Westerners are probably familiar with (e.g. a fiery pit that, if you dig deep enough below ground, you will eventually reach).

The most disturbing and frustrating thing about the whole show, though, was what I consider to be a grave and fundamental misunderstanding of God. It is this misunderstanding that causes people to embrace teachings such as universalism—the teaching that all people will “go to heaven.” The problem here is how people perceive of and talk about heaven, as if it is a place where all of our wildest dreams, fantasies and selfish ambitions come true.

However, it is exactly this idea of heaven that is more like hell than anything else. Many people who say that there is no hell usually say that hell exists here on earth; they point to places where famine, poverty and genocide are taking place and refer to those places as hell. But I just have to ask, Why are those places in the conditions they are? Precisely because some selfish people are trying to fulfill their fantasies, cravings and self-centered ambitions! Oddly, the same self-centered vision they condemn here on earth, also fuels their ideas of heaven. How can they curse this earth that has hell on it which is caused by selfishness and at the same time, long for a place where they get to be selfish forever? Yet, how do they overlook this contradiction? You see, selfishness is what is at the root of both their ideas of heaven, and hell.

But so many people think that this is what heaven will be like! Do you see the problems with that? The kingdom of God is based on selflessness, not selfishness. And all who truly and honestly want to dwell in God's presence with everlasting life, well, they will do what Jesus asked them to, “To give up their lives to serving Him and others.” In short, they will make this earth less like hell by first giving themselves up to God (selflessness at its best) and then by giving their lives up to serving others in God's name.

Fundamental to a healthy understanding of God is this: He gives humans the freedom of choice and He honors that choice. Therefore, if you choose to be in a relationship with Him, He honors that and will honor that in the hereafter. And if you choose to reject Him, He will honor that too. You see, God doesn’t send people to hell; they send themselves to hell or better yet, they choose life apart from Him. And what is hell but that? That is how C. S. Lewis depicted it; as a place of lonely, self-absorption and separation from God & others?

It is truly astounding how universalists can so blatantly contradict themselves and in the end, still assert that they are the most loving and kind people—not to mention the fact that they make “their” God out to be just like them! Enough of the creating God in our image and enough of the patronizing religiosity that wraps itself in the seeming garb of Christianity but is nothing more than a hedonism chasing after the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. Enough already!


  1. I'm curious, have you ever met a true universalist? Someone who thinks, for instance, that even Hitler gets in?

    I haven't ever nor have I ever read the writings of a true universalist and I was just wondering if you had.

  2. Dan,

    I have met these types of people; the more liberal seminary that I attended had a few of them. They are an odd lot, I must admit.

    On the 20/20 episode last night, they showed a minister whose congregation went from over 6,000 members to under 200 when he changed his beliefs and started teaching universalism. He was on television saying these types of things you are referring to, last night.

  3. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I see your point: Universalists must necessarily never judge anyone immoral in order to maintain logical consistency.

  4. Exactly! for them to judge is to be incredibly incoherent and to lash out against their own belief system!

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