FaithI have unfortunately lost the source of these quotes. I saved them in a text file to reply to later on this blog, but the quote does not appear (anymore?) on the url I saved with it. (The quote was likely from a review of another book on Amazon.) Regardless, here are the comments and my replies.

One never has a "moral obligation" to impose beliefs that are not solidly backed up with proof. In fact, doing so is an insult and an offense to the person whose beliefs you attack with the well-intended suggestion that yours are better.

I agree, although I would substitute the word "evidence" for where he/she has written "proof", thus Paul says "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15,16)

Think about it. Where did your beliefs come from? Someone told you to believe, and probably told you you would go to hell for not believing. Am I right?

Actually, no. I grew up in an atheist/agnostic home and came to my own conclusions based on my personal investigation (and, I believe, God's grace). Many people are Christians because they were brought up Christians; but that proves nothing about whether the Christianity is true. (See: Genetic fallacy.)

Don't arrogantly foist your belief system on people who have their own. Be a little meek and humble, the way the Bible tells you to be. Leave people to believe the way they choose to.

I certainly don't support "arrogantly foisting" things on anyone. Evangelism is about sharing the good news, not forcing anyone to do anything. But note that the implication here is quite stunning. Here's what is basically seems to be suggested: "If you believe all of those people are headed for eternal torment/destruction, just leave them alone. Don't try to help them. Don't even mention this to them, even though they may not be aware of it." If you believed someone was putting his life in danger, wouldn't you want to help them? Christians don't share their faith because it's always a fun time for them. It's often a frustrating and thankless endeavor. Christians share their faith (at least, in theory) because of their concern for others.

And respect that maybe – just maybe – what you think and believe doesn't matter one whit. Maybe it's just how we behave, and how well we follow the Golden Rule that counts.

Here we come to the crux of the issue. If "how we behave, and how well we follow the Golden Rule" are really what counts, then this author is right, we should stop all of this religious talk and just get on with being as "good" as possible. This is indeed what most religions believe, albeit they have different ideas about what being "good" means. But, unlike all other faiths, this is NOT what Christians believe. Christians do not believe what saves us is being good. What separates Christianity from other faiths is grace.

The question is: How good is good enough? Are you "good enough"? I mean, you're probably a pretty swell guy/girl. Compared to the jerk down the street who runs his lawnmower early Sunday mornings, or that "bad" uncle no one talks about, or … well what about, Adolf Hitler? Compared to them, you're a saint. But where, exactly, is the 'line' that determines goodness? 50% goodness? That seems a little low. What about 90% goodness? Remember now, if God exists, He is 100% holy, righteous, and "good" in every sense of the word.

It's something to think about. How good is good enough? This is not a rhetorical question … it has eternal consequences! The fact is that the common assumption (often not thought about and hardly ever challenged) that "good people to to heaven" is wrong.

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