Originally submitted to Religion 201 sometime in the fall 1997
Before I took this course, one thing that was a stumbling block to my faith was the notion of Hell. If God loves us as much as the Bible says he does, how could he condemn even Hitler to eternal punishment, much less Gandhi. Furthermore, how could simply choosing the wrong religion send someone to eternal condemnation?
However, after learning about the inclusivist and the pluralist positions, I realize that being a Christian does not necessarily include believing that all believers in other religions are destined for Hell. The universalist belief is also very appealing to me. I am particularly attracted to Origen's argument because I have always wondered why Hell would exist after God had conquered evil.
I have not decided whether I am an inclusivist, a pluralist or a universalist, but after having been exposed to them I am convinced that one of these must be true, that God makes some allowance for non-Christians. As a result, I will be more open to people of different beliefs. I will not try and shove Christianity down the throat of every non-Christian friend I have, because I believe they will still be saved. Furthermore, I plan to stop donating money to missionary work, and use it instead to help the poor. I believe my faith will become stronger since I have removed the major obstacle which stood between me and believe in a an all loving God.
Professor's Comments: I hope you have not dismissed the Biblical witness, and see both the strengths and weaknesses of each position. Origen's argument is shaped by philosophy rather than the Bible.
Grade: 95% A
[Again, another paper that doesn't reflect my opinions now, but did reflect my opinions at a particular point in time.]