Friday, September 2, 2011

If There Were No Heaven....Warren's Response

If there were no Heaven or Hell would you still be a Christian?

If you are just joining me, this is the 7th of 10 answers I will be sharing in response to the above question.    Today,  Warren of Family Fountain will be answering the question.

Here were the parameters given to those whom I asked to respond:

Answer the question:

If there were no Heaven or Hell would you still be a Christian in 350 words or less.  Your answer should begin with one of the four choices below.
  1. I absolutely would still be a Christian....
  2. I think I would still be a Christian....
  3. I'm not so sure....
  4. I definitely would not still be a Christian.... 
Here are the answers shared thus far:
Here are the remaining 10 you can expect to hear from:

Warren wrote:

Amber, this is an intriguing question. I can see why some would decide to not be a Christian. If there was no punishment for being evil, or reward living a good life, why try? Why deprive ourselves of tawdry pleasures if there is no punishment for engaging, and no reward for declining?

I think I would still be a Christian. I would like to think my response would be, "Absolutely!" But, honestly, is it that inviting to follow Jesus to a cross if there is no resurrection to follow?

For many, the fear of hell and hope of heaven is what propels early faith in Christ. But, as we mature, we learn that following Jesus isn’t just about pursuing heaven to escape hell. Following Jesus means embracing his life and ethics and inculcating them into our own lives. It means bringing a bit of heaven to earth.

To follow Jesus is to serve others, even when they respond with ridicule and persecution. That is hard for me to do with the promise of heaven; could I do it without that reward?

Since the ancient Greeks philosophers have sought to establish a system of ethics and rules for men to live by so we can be safe and secure in our environment. While some of the ethical systems (Social Contract Theory) have appealed to baser motives, like selfishness, other theories, like Virtue Ethics, pushed men to live right simply for the sake of rightness. But all of them lack something: the person of Jesus.

Even if the threat of hell and the promise of heaven were taken from me, I would still be inclined to be a Christian, because that is where Christ is. I want to say with Paul, "For me to live is Christ."

Pragmatically, Christianity makes our relationships richer and lives better. Honesty, purity, sincerity, faithfulness, genuine companionship, forgiveness, service to neighbors and contentment all find their "yes" in Jesus. So, I’m pretty sure I would still be a Christian.


Warren Baldwin said...

Thanks for including me in the series. It has been very enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Warren Baldwin said...

Also, I linked, and used one of your photos that goes with this theme as well.

Timothy Miller said...

Thanks Warren for the honesty about your hesitations. And the motivation for the yes is proper - Jesus himself.

I'm still not sure.

Paula Greene said...

Warren -- I love your answer! You make a great point about the reason for our motivation to follow Jesus changes as we grow spiritually.