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A Miscellany 370
My Son Thinks I Am Going To Hell

by: August Stine*

I classify myself as a Grateful Deist; nevertheless, several of my web atheist friends have responded quite positively to this article. I wrote it a few months ago. It is copyrighted and is located in the book Musings of a Modern Augustine** but you are welcome to use it (or not) without restrictions. I am 77 years old and don't care if the book is mentioned. It was one of those "bucket list" things.

Your thoughts on this article are welcome. Please use the contact page to provide your comments for publication.

My Son Thinks I Am Going to Hell!

In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian ex-pastor, my minister son and his family think I am headed for Hell. This is my response to him.

Different Family Beliefs

Your faith is important to you.
My beliefs are important to me.
We pray to the same God every day
For me, He is the Caring Creator;
Who cares about my well being
To you, He is the fearful God
Who demands obedience.

I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.
I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom
And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.
You believe Jesus died for the sins of man
And his salvation is a gift from God.
I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.
Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?
If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?

You say I am going to hell unless . . .
You even give me the words I should say—
“Jesus, forgive my sins.”
Do people go to hell for not saying these words?
What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?
What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?
You say “Too late—you missed your chance!”
This is God we are talking about isn’t it?
Is God limited by time or death?

On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”
Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?
The Bible says God freely gives this gift.
Where did all these attached strings come from?
Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?

New converts are told their Christian duties.
Tithing is one—not too bad—it is do-able
Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.
But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .
People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.
So their salvation is in our hands . . .
I thought salvation was a gift.

Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?
Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?
Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?
Why does God need Me?
Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,
But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .
And it is my fault . . .
Because I did not tell him about Jesus.

Please don’t tell me
God is so awful and demanding.
Why am I involved in someone's eternal choice?
I thought God loved me and my neighbor.

Because of His heavy guilt trip,
I can’t even play golf without God on my back
I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .
But loads me down with guilt trips
About darn near everything I do.
If I truly am a child of God,
Why do I have to be afraid of Him?
Why can’t I enjoy God
And let Him fix the world?
I thought that was His job.

Scripture says God is with us always;
If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”


* I use the pen name of August Stine to protect my son. It can be googled if you need more information about me.

** Link is to the Kindle version at Amazon. It is also available as an ebook for the Sony Reader, Kobo and Nook. Other version can be found with a simple web search.