A friend recently described the reaction of many church folks to the suggestion that most people will go to heaven as a “hissy fit”. It is telling to see the furor that develops when someone dares to state a belief in God’s acceptance of all faiths. One must conclude from this reaction that many are more comfortable with a God who rejects the majority than one who accepts the majority. Some may object to this characterization, feeling that they must believe in God’s rejection of most people because the Bible says so, regardless of whether they actually enjoy that fact. That rationale may ease the conscience of some of the Orthodox, but it could hardly explain the vehemence and stridency which many express in opposition to a largely merciful God. It also neglects the fact that most believers have never even attempted to evaluate the doctrine of eternal punishment personally to determine even its scriptural validity.
It would almost appear that some believers think that they are personally diminished if others are accepted by God. However, one views the truth of the matter, the idea of eternal punishment for the vast majority of humanity, as taught and believed by many Christians, does not ennoble a people. That is especially true when the believers actually seem to relish the fact, preaching it as an established reality without reservation, careful evaluation, or any evidence of wishing it were otherwise.
The subject of Hell gets people’s attention all right but probably not in the way many believers would hope or assume. Instead of being a subject which scares folks and finally turns them toward God, in reality it focuses attention on the spirit of the hellfire believers. When those believers show no anguish over their message and, in fact, trumpet it loudly and proudly, the hearers are generally repulsed. That is the case even if those hearers are culturally conditioned to give mental assent to the reality of divine retribution.