Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Jesus warns that most holy people are not holy and will be damned

The Bible, the book God supposedly wrote, says that most people will go to the place of torment, Hell, that never ends when they die and there is nothing they can do about it once they get there.  Jesus wrote nothing but commissioned others to write and said he would ensure it was the truth.  So if the apostles and New Testament say it is hard to go to Heaven then that is true.

1 Peter 4:18 says it is hard even for believers who are good to be saved so it will only be worse for sinners who do not care about God.

Once when he was asked if only a few would be saved, Jesus replied that people have to strive to get into Heaven and to squeeze through the narrow door.
 
And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.'" See Luke 13:23-25.

Incidentally, some want the narrow door or narrow gate to refer to a gate in Jerusalem that you could pass through with some effort. None of the relevant texts hint at an actual gate in Jerusalem - see Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25.   Mark 10:32 tells us that when the gate was mentioned Jesus and his hearers were not in Jerusalem but they were going there.  The eye of the needle referring to a real gate to make a point is just a fantasy.  Read Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions, 63.  It would destroy Jesus teaching that anybody who is wealthy cannot enter Heaven.  The apostles understood him to be saying nobody can go in for everybody has some kind of property and in a sense is wealthy.  Jesus validated their interpretation but was clear that it cannot happen unless God makes it possible.  Only a person who is clearly unconcerned about material things and such people are very rare will be saved as long as they say God helps them to prefer him.
 
Back to when the disciples asked Jesus if a few would be saved.  Some say that Jesus did not say straight out that only a few can expect to be saved. But when he started talking about the need for a struggle and to get in through a narrow door yes was written all over it. Clearly, a no would have been too blunt. He was softening the blow of the bad news. So all do not go to Heaven, namely, those who don’t strive. He did say then that only a few go to Heaven. When anybody asks you if your pub can hold many punters and you tell them that they need to do something hard to get in it is obvious that you are indicating that it does not. Jesus was doing the same thing here.  So his answer was a no.
 
It is laughable that some argue that 99 out of hundred would be few to Jesus who wants all to be saved – meaning that not many doesn’t mean not many here (page 288, Handbook of Christian Apologetics). But when Jesus was on such a serious subject he was hardly likely to be unclear and childish. Also, he had to be careful how he spoke to laypeople. If he had been talking to himself saying so few will be saved we might believe the laughable interpretation of this but when he said it to others who would have taken him to mean few in the real sense that is what he meant. Parables were for making his teaching clearer not vaguer. So in the worldview of Jesus, only a few go to Heaven so the rest must suffer forever. If sincerity could save most would be saved. The question sets the context. He was asked how many people on earth then would be saved. The answer to be an answer follows the context.

The fewer get to Heaven then the harder you have to strive to get to Heaven.  Thus those teachers telling you that its unlikely even the worst sinner will be damned are telling you not to try.  Jesus was clear that the standard was high and brutal which shows that living up to it is so hard that it takes huge striving.  The strive fits into the gospel message that God's way is far from easy.
 
Jesus was also saying that those who battle to get into Heaven and fail are really trying. Thus sincerity is not enough to get you into Heaven.
 
The gospels tell us about a rich young man who would not turn to Jesus because Jesus asked him to give his wealth to the poor. Jesus then said that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The apostles then objected that nobody could be saved if that was the case. Then Jesus replied that it was impossible with men but not with God. Only God could save them. The apostles meant that everybody was rich in the sense that they had material things they would not give up for anybody even God. Jesus does not disagree with them but actually agrees when he says only God can help them. This tells us that only those who make outstanding and unnatural sacrifices will be saved. And it is a miracle of God that enables them to do this. Those who claim to be saved and do not have not been really saved. The saved will be less less less than a tiny minority.

Today, nearly everybody in the West and Europe is rich. The rich never valued money because it was just money but because of the opportunities it gave them. Today even many of the so-called poor have more opportunities than had the rich of Jesus’ day who he condemned for their wealth.
 
Jesus is also saying that the rich man could not come to him. The rich man was too weak to do what Jesus asked and still Jesus said he was unfit for Heaven. This undermines the Christian doctrine that Jesus preached an understanding God. It would take time for God to change him but Jesus still condemns him for he approves of all God does and God has rejected him. If the rich man was strong then it would not be impossible for him to be saved without much help from God.

In Matthew 7:13, Jesus says the road to life is difficult and rough while the road to everlasting torture is wide and smooth.
 
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."

The road to Hell is easy and wide. This is hardly an encouraging doctrine. Jesus said that few find the way to Heaven meaning that sincere but mistaken faith is not enough for most would enter for most sincerely believe. One has to know and believe what he taught. If the sincerely wrong will not be saved then most people will not be saved.
 
Do not forget that Jesus said that to his own holy disciples! He warned them to fear not death but him who could destroy body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28). Jesus was clear in Luke 12 that a parable warning what will happen if you are not ready for Jesus coming back was addressed to the disciples. Peter had asked him if the parable was meant for them too.
 
Jesus' references to his generation being an evil and adulterous one hint that few were considered fit for Heaven.

Jesus said that the last will be first and first last implies that many are called to be first and few are chosen for only the last called make it for anybody that is a follower of God for long falls away and that is why the last get saved.
 
Jesus and the New Testament warn a lot about God's eternal judgement. If you die estranged from God, he punishes you for it in Hell forever and your chance of repentance is permanently taken from you. Liberal Christians say they see no biblical reason to hold that any human being goes to Hell. So is Jesus and the New Testament just using Hell to try and scare us into obeying God and being good? That would show he was no saint so the Christians reject that thought. They say, "You know your friend will not go over the cliff. Yet you might warn him to be careful. Jesus constantly warning us about Hell does not mean any of us will go there only that we can go." If you keep going on about the cliff it would show there is a real chance he might fall over. Jesus went into Hell overdrive.

It is said that Jesus said we must not judge – judge means hating people for the wrong they have done. He said the judgement you give is what you will get back obviously from God for many notorious judgers get away with it on the earthly level. It is said to be judgmental to worry about how many people will go to Hell or to ask if it will be the majority. If it is then when Jesus said few are saved and the gate to Hell is wide he meant it.  He told the men who the Church considers to be his apostles and saints that even for them they must struggle to find the narrow way to salvation.  If they had problems what about everybody else?  We all judge and given what Jesus said about judgers few will get to Heaven!
 
The chance of being abducted by aliens then seems to be a bigger chance than Hell if the liberals are right. We don't worry about the aliens so why worry about Hell? The doctrine takes away any motivation for following Christianity. There is no point in saying, "I will follow the Christian religion in case I follow another and end up in Hell."
 
And the Christian is only rationalising that Jesus is not trying to induce fear for the sake of manipulating. There is no proof that they are right. If they were honest they would simply say, "We cannot know if Jesus was trying to scare us with Hell or not."


MATTHEW 22

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Comment - The context of many are invited but few are chosen is damnation and salvation. The man without the wedding garment is thrown out and tied up and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth where he goes. This is a symbolic reference to eternal damnation. It may be said that the text speaks of the banquet being full of people so we cannot take the few too literally. It might be said to mean that even if everybody barring one is saved this is still too few - somebody is lost.

Some say that what proves Jesus meant few in the poetic sense is that he speaks of one man being thrown out. But he said that the guests were not chosen and they were many. The man has nothing to do with the meaning of many are invited but few are chosen because he is in the story to illustrate the point that that fake guests will not be tolerated. He shows what would have happened to the people who were invited if they had went to the wedding for they were not genuine about celebrating the wedding. The man is mentioned to show that not being chosen means terrible punishment. The story stops there so we can assume that others were thrown out too though they are not mentioned.

Why does he conclude that few are chosen when the story says the wedding feast was packed out? He hints that the man thrown out was the first of many.

The story is a warning that those who you expect to be invited will be uninvited and its a warning that you cannot assume that religious leaders however holy really are sincere. The servants of the king are rejected and so their places are taken by ordinary people who are just brought in from the streets. The bad and the good got into the wedding feast. But if they did not wear a wedding banquet they were put out.

If the people who are praying and doing good works are not the chosen then that is warning that damnation is the real norm.

Elsewhere Jesus says that even those who are fit for Heaven are still in grave danger of damnation. He indicates that they will be saved by the skin of their teeth. Few will be saved if that is the case.  "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." Matthew 24:22. 

"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24.

Jesus told a centurion that he never seen faith like his in the whole of Israel implying that the Jews were not great believers in religion despite their religious activities.  Faith is necessary for salvation.

THE SOURCE

The Fourth Book of Ezra 8 was used by the gospellers to word what Jesus said and it is clear that few literally have any real hope.

God's message is, The most High hath made this world for many, but the world to come for few.

I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras; As when thou askest the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould whereof earthen vessels are made, but little dust that gold cometh of: even so is the course of this present world.

There be many created, but few shall be saved.

So answered I and said, Swallow then down, O my soul, understanding, and devour wisdom.

For thou hast agreed to give ear, and art willing to prophesy: for thou hast no longer space than only to live.  And that he is of great mercy, for he multiplieth more and more mercies to them that are present, and that are past, and also to them which are to come.

For if he shall not multiply his mercies, the world would not continue with them that inherit therein.

And he pardoneth; for if he did not so of his goodness, that they which have committed iniquities might be eased of them, the ten thousandth part of men should not remain living.

And being judge, if he should not forgive them that are cured with his word, and put out the multitude of contentions,

There should be very few left peradventure in an innumerable multitude.

Jesus was validating that text and remember this book is apocryphal but the New Testament says that such texts do have some true material.  The letter of Jude used similar works. 

The Bible evidence is that Jesus stood for the position that most people will be damned.  His whole behaviour during his ministry says that too for he acted with a sense of urgency and held that his own life took second place.
 
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, M H Gill & Son, Dublin, 1954
APOLOGETICS FOR THE PULPIT, Aloysius Roche, Burns Oates & Washbourne LTD, London, 1950
ENCHIRIDION SYMBOLORUM ET DEFINITIONUM, Heinrich Joseph Denzinger, Edited by A Schonmetzer, Barcelona, 1963
‘GOD, THAT’S NOT FAIR!’ Dick Dowsett, [OMF Books, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Belmont, The Vine, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3TZ] Kent, 1982
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1994
HAVE WE TO FEAR A DEVIL? Fred Pearce, The Christadelphian Office, Birmingham
HEAVEN AND HELL Dudley Fifield, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
HELL – WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT IT, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1945
JEHOVAH OF THE WATCH-TOWER, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House, Minnesota, 1974
LIFE IN CHRIST, PART 3, Fergal McGrath SJ, MH Gill and Son Ltd, Dublin, 1960
RADIO REPLIES VOL 1, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1938
REASON AND BELIEF, Bland Blanschard, George Allen & and Unwin Ltd, London, 1974
REVELATION ITS GRAND CLIMAX AT HAND! Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1988
THE BIBLE TELLS US SO, R B Kuiper, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1978
THE BOOK OF REVELATION FOR DUMMIES, Larry R Helyer, PhD, Richard Wagner, Wiley Publishing Inc., Indiana, 2008
THE DEVIL, THE GREAT DECEIVER Peter Watkins, The Christadelphian Birmingham, 1992
THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF BIBLE DIFFICULTIES, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
THE FOUR MAJOR CULTS, AA Hoekema, Paternoster Press, Carlisle, 1992
THE KINDNESS OF GOD, EJ Cuskelly MSC, Mercier Press, Cork, 1965
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE REAL DEVIL, Alan Hayward, Christadelphian Bible Mission, Birmingham
THE REALITY OF HELL, St Alphonsus Liguori, Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, 1988
THE SERMONS OF ST ALPHONSUS LIGOURI, St Alphonsus Ligouri, TAN, Illinois, 1982
THE TRUTH ABOUT HELL, Dawn Bible Students, East Rutherford, NJ
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HELL? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HEAVEN?, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1988
WHY DOES GOD? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Paul Publications, Bucks, 1970