Open to Christians of any stripe, I have never received an answer to this quandary. Good luck.
I was thinking this weekend about the idea of the 'eternal reward' that Christians are after, and I keep getting stuck on one problem, the problem of mixed family and mixed 'state of graces' or whatever the actual condition is called for getting into heaven (some say you have to be free of sin, some say you just have to accept Jesus, depends on the doctrine, as with all things Christian). Here's the problem, I was wondering how theists solve it, because if it remains unsolved, then as far as I can tell the only good thing about heaven is that it isn't hell.
As a Christian, you fall in love with someone who let's say is Jewish. You go through your lives together, have three children, one of who decides they don't believe in any gods, one of whom decides to be Jewish, one of who is a Christian. For the most part you all lead good lives, by most measures. Then, you get sick and pass away and find yourself in heaven, or right on the doorstep. Your judgement is meted out, and congrats, you get to go to heaven. "So...will my wife be here? I mean maybe not now, but once she passes away. And what about my kids?"
"Sorry, but they cannot get in, at least two of the three children and your wife do not accept Jesus. Good thing for you, and that one kid, you were smart, and accepted him, because otherwise, it would have been hell for you." Wait a minute, you ask, how is my heaven not only eternally missing 60% of my family, but knowing that 60% is being eternally tortured in a lake of fire?
What is the answer? Here are the options I came up with. Please feel free to add or comment.
- (A) No, don't be silly. We're going to give you perfect copies of those people, except they're going to be Christians this time! (And thereby would not be copies)
- (B) It only seems bad now. When you get inside, we're going to wipe your mind and all your earthly memories, you won't think about them at all! (And thereby you seem less "YOU" than before) You're going to spend eternity singing praises to god and not remembering anything about your family, friends, or life, but it's really going to feel so good, you won't care about them at all.
- (C) Well, I'm afraid those are the rules. All the good deeds and other stuff, it's all canceled out by the fact they didn't believe in Jesus, and the rules are pretty clear. Sorry man, should have done a better job evangelizing I guess.
- (D) No, of course not. They're good people, they lived good lives, so they can get in. (Except now Christian heaven isn't just for Christians, because they're letting in two Jewish people and an atheist who do NOT believe in Jesus)
How does a Christian in a mixed family settle this issue?