As an atheist, even before, I have always been curious about the different Christian denomination traditions. Why, when there’s just one canon, are there so many different interpretations of what is actually meant in the scriptures? Although most of them have a common tradition of salvation through acceptance of Jesus, within the particular sect, practices may be very different.
There is at least one that doesn’t believe in music in their services, The Church of Christ. There are various pentecostal demonizations that emphasise worship in the spirit which includes speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. Others, like the Baptists have prohibition on dancing and having women as teachers, as many others do as well.
The ones I find most interesting though are those of the Calvinist tradition. Why? Well, these Christian sects believe that we were all predestined to be saved. In other words, God selected us for salvation before we were born. We had no choice in the matter and accepting Jesus as our lord and savior has nothing to do with if we will go to heaven.
Does this mean that those elected can do what they want, and still go to heaven? I’ve actually asked that question of a Presbyterian pastor before and the answer was basically yes. Although it’s conditioned with that those that god has elected are drawn to him so it’s unlikely a person would be a serial killer, a rapist, etc. But that’s not out of the realm of possibility.
This theology to me kind of throws a wrench into the entire Pascals Wager idea and any other faith based ideology. In other words, yes, even we atheists may have been elected to go to heaven.
Why believe if its unknown whether or not a person will actually receive his or her reward after death?
The next time a Christian tells you as an atheist that you’re going to hell because of your lack of faith, remind them that they may not either.