A few weeks ago I took a taxi to the airport. My driver was a devout Muslim man and when I shared that I was a Pastor we got into a very candid and yet gracious discussion about what we believe. He asked me what I speak about at church and I told him about the Jesus vs Atheism series I have been preaching through. He was very intrigued and so I told him about the different topics that I was speaking on. But when I told him I was going to speak on the topic “How Could a Loving God send People to Hell?” He laughed. I asked him why did he laugh and here is the conversation that ensued:
“If you were to speak at my Mosque we would be very interested in hearing how you prove the death and resurrection of Jesus and how you think the Gospels are history but we wouldn’t be interested in your question of hell. ”
“Why would you not find that question interesting?” I asked
“Because we have no problem with Allah sending anyone to hell. If you were to speak at my Mosque you would have to convince us that God would love everyone because that is something I don’t believe.”
One of the things that we don’t realize is that our views about who we think God is and what he is like are very culturally conditioned. My conversation with my Muslim taxi driver showed me how culturally conditioned our western secular mindset is.
For example, I dare say that you think (if you believe God exists) God loves everyone. But can I ask you where do you get the idea that God loves everyone from? I suggest the reason you say God loves everyone is because you grew up in Australia or another western country which has had Christian teaching fused into its culture and Christianity says that God loves everyone (i.e. John 3:16) and you have adopted this from our culture. This is all well and good but do you realize that your view of a loving God is just as culturally conditioned as my Muslim taxi drivers view that God is first and foremost a God of judgement?
There is no topic that shows our culturally conditioned views more than hell. “A loving God would never send people to hell” is an extremely culturally conditioned statement. If you hadn’t been brought up in a western society you probably wouldn’t object to hell on these grounds and you might not object to the idea of hell at all.
My question is this, why should our western culture be the one in which you judge whether Christianity legitimate?
Do you think your culturally conditioned beliefs are more valid than than the Muslim taxi drivers I met? If so why?
Have you ever considered how our western secular culture has contributed to your beliefs? Instead of coming at Christianity with the idea that western secularism is right why not ask why you believe the things you believe and what are the assumptions in the secular worldview?
Doubt your doubts be skeptical of your own skepticism because, in the end, how do you know you’re right?
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