A: "Your question reminds me of a similar question I asked myself some 34 years ago when I was just 16 and studying the Bible with a group of religionists. While these folks did not believe in hell, they did believe in Armageddon. Their doctrine was that at Armageddon, God would destroy everyone on earth who was not a part of their church.
At the time, I met a woman (whom I'd never seen before nor since) and I was talking to her about the teachings of this group. She told me something I never forgot. She said, "You have the ability to know the truth in your own heart. If something grinds against your own natural and logical beliefs don't except it as being true." I felt then that this made a great deal of sense, in fact it actually rang as truth to me, so I took it to heart.
Shortly after that, I went to study with the woman who was helping me learn the church's doctrines, which adherents of this church simply called "The Truth." I had been studying with her for about 6 months at the time. She told me, "My Dear, if you don't convert your parents to 'The Truth' God will have to kill them at Armageddon and it will be your fault."
Well, here was a perfect example of something posed as "truth" that most certainly did "grind against my own natural and logical beliefs." I unequivocally balked at her audacious statement, and replied, "Are you saying that God is going to kill my parents?!"
To which she replied, "Well, yes, he will have to dispose of anyone who is not in The Truth."
I thought for a moment and then said, "My parents are the most loving people I know. They are kind and loyal and trusting and sincere. They are truly good, even wonderful people and you say that God is going to kill people like them just because they don't belong to your religious group?
Again, she vainly tried to explain to me how God would have no choice but to do such a thing.
I then told her, "You may think it would be Heaven to live forever on earth in peace, where the lion lays down with the lamb, etc., knowing that God had killed your loving parents. But that wouldn't be Heaven for me, that would be Hell."
At this point she was aghast, and she exclaimed, "Oh you can't feel that way!"
I simply said, "I'm sorry but I do feel that way and I can't study with you anymore."
I left her standing there with her mouth open. As I walked alone the twelve blocks to my house, I talked to God. I said, "God, you may just as harsh and unforgiving as they say you are. Perhaps you are willing to kill good people because they don't follow one religion or another and if you are that way, I'm sorry but I can't worship you." Then, after a moment's reflection I thought, "Somehow God, I just can't believe that you are that way.
But if you want me to know who you really are, you are going to have to reveal yourself to me because I'm not getting involved with anymore religions." I felt good in my heart about that declaration and I left it at that.
Four years later, during the worst crisis of my life, The Urantia Book came into my life. It claims to be a revelation of God to humankind. Well, I asked God to reveal himself so my mind was open to such a thing. Imagine my joy when I found the God that was so loving, so merciful, so just, so perfect that I joyfully worship him with every fiber of my being.
Here are three great quotes from that wonderful book that I hope will reassure you that God, our truly loving Heavenly Father, takes no delight in causing any harm to any of his children.
-(2:5.2) It is wrong to think of God as being coaxed into loving his children because of the sacrifices of his Sons or the intercession of his subordinate creatures, "for the Father himself loves you." It is in response to this paternal affection that God sends the marvelous Adjusters to indwell the minds of men. God's love is universal; "whosoever will may come." He would "have all men be saved by coming into the knowledge of the truth." He is "not willing that any should perish."
(188:4.8) When once you grasp the idea of God as a true and loving Father, the only concept which Jesus ever taught, you must forthwith, in all consistency, utterly abandon all those primitive notions about God as an offended monarch, a stern and all-powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement is incompatible with the concept of God as it was taught and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. The infinite love of God is not secondary to anything in the divine nature.
(4:5.4) The barbarous idea of appeasing an angry God, of propitiating an offended Lord, of winning the favor of Deity through sacrifices and penance and even by the shedding of blood, represents a religion wholly puerile and primitive, a philosophy unworthy of an enlightened age of science and truth. Such beliefs are utterly repulsive to the celestial beings and the divine rulers who serve and reign in the universes. It is an affront to God to believe, hold, or teach that innocent blood must be shed in order to win his favor or to divert the fictitious divine wrath.
And another view:
There would probably be no way in heaven that you could be happy if that were the case. I suspect that you are a Christian--you may be interested to know that not all Christian sects promote a belief in hell. And, as you put it, if there were a hell wouldn't it seem contradictory for you to be happy in heaven?
The Urantia Book provides an exalted vision of God, that God is as Jesus saw him and described him, a loving heavenly Father even so much better than an earthly parent. And Jesus asked, if a loving earthly father would not exhibit wrath and retribution toward his own children why do we choose to believe that the heavenly Father of us all would treat us even worse than a human parent? That seems contradictory too, doesn't it?
If you've not already done so, may I recommend subscribing to our Quote of the Day . It offers daily inspirational and meaningful quotes from The Urantia Book along with a great picture. It's an easy way to become familiar with the teachings of this marvelous book.
And please, I invite you to take a look at our web page dedicated to the teachings of The Urantia Book regarding Life After Death