My most enjoyable times here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp have been spent in the law library. Often it's full of genuine characters--some with genuine character. One night in March, I was writing a letter there and was alone, except for one of my fellow campers, another white collar inmate in his mid-30s who is one the brightest men here and one of my favorites. He looked up from his writing and asked, "You're kind of religious, right?" I just started laughing...for quite a while.
Finally, being a good Recovering Baptist who is more than comfortable with measuring and weighing religion, even my own, I replied, "On a scale of 1-10, I'm about a 6.875." That D+ score was apparently just high enough for the follow-up question which was, "If Jesus Christ is the only way to God, what about the kid on an island in the Pacific who dies having never heard about Jesus?"
By this time, I was really laughing and replied, "You really want me to answer the question that has no answer?" He said he was serious, so I went with my best shot. Even though it's definitely not the majority opinion from where I come from, it's what I really believe.
That kid is going to end up with God, just like everyone else, even Hitler, Hillary, and even Donald. That's what I believe. I know that God loves us all and wants us all, but I also believe that God gets us all. God ultimately gets what God wants, and we all have just enough of God in us that we'll all ultimately figure it out and embrace God's love and mercy. So God wins; evil loses. Amen. God Bless America. Cue the F-18s for the flyover.
By then a couple of the regular members of the law library brain trust were back in the room just in time to hear me say something even crazier. If God's justice is really loving mercy, not angry retribution, and if God can forgive and accept us now while we are living, why do our chances go down after death? Aren't we really spiritual beings just inside a temporary physical body? Why would a physical death limit God's unlimited love and forgiveness? God's not limited by time anyway, so why wouldn't EVERYONE be given 70 times 7 chances, unlimited by time, space, dimensions, and physical death to respond to mercy by becoming and being eternal and unadulterated love with God. Doesn't the resurrection prove that death has no sting?
But since I believe all that craziness, do I have to believe that there's no hell? Not really, as I know there's a hell. I've been there. We create our own hell right here on earth. Some of us are there now; some of us have been there and escaped. Hell is very real and no place to be; but unlike Hotel California, we CAN leave.
The reaction from the law library brain trust? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
With that, it was my bedtime and I left. I was told the next day that the discussion went on for another hour. By that time, I felt like an arsonist who had started a fire and quietly crept from the building. Someday I'll write about why and how I believe these ideas about God's unlimited mercy are true, but not today.
Amen. Cue the F-18s.