Reading Time: 2 minutes / Chris Whiteside
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Matthew 7:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The quote above suggests that getting into Heaven is pretty damned hard to do.  But, according to Christian doctrine anybody can be forgiven all of their sins if they repent…and believe in Jesus, of course. The Bible says repeatedly that the only unforgiveable sin is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” What does that mean? Here’s one definition I found on an evangelical site:

“When one receives Christ, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If one doesn’t receive Christ, then they do not receive the Holy Spirit, which is blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.”

In other words, nonbelief is the only unforgiveable sin. Everything else, including murder, torture, rape, incest, you name it, is forgivable. All a believing Christian has to do is repent all the awful stuff they have done, and they get a free pass through the Pearly Gates.

Apparently, most Christians believe this is true. According to a Pew Research poll conducted in 2015, 72% of Americans believe in Heaven, and 58% believe in Hell.[i] Another poll showed that virtually all Christians are sure they are going to Heaven, and since the majority of Americans describe themselves as Christians, that narrow road is gonna be crowded!

Now I am certainly not perfect, but I don’t think I have done anything really terrible in my life. Some of the foolish things I did when I was young, I regret. Is that repentance? If so, I pass that test. But the second part, believing in the Big Daddy in the Sky would be more than just hard for me. It would be impossible. I have been a nonbeliever all my life, and I cannot think of anything short of Jesus walking up to me that would convince me to change my mind. And even then, I would be skeptical, and would demand to see his driver’s license and Social Security card. So, I’m gonna fail that test and get toasted in Hellfire. At my age, I should be startin’ to smell the smoke pretty soon.

I am sure that a lot of people who describe themselves as believing Christians are at least as intelligent as I am. How the Hell do they do it? Okay, they were brainwashed as children, but now they are thinking adults. Surely, they must have some serious doubts. And maybe some of them don’t honestly repent some of the bad stuff they’ve done. But still, most of them say they’re headed for Heaven. Are they being honest with us…and with themselves?. They know that God knows what they are thinking. They can’t hide their thoughts from Him. If they’re faking it, they’re toast. Literally.

So maybe that Bible quote at the beginning is right. Very few of those who think they will make it…or say they think they will make it…will tread that narrow road.

But if you share my view, then we agree that it’s really irrelevant what they believe, and whether they are honest about it.

It’s much ado about nothing.


Bert Bigelow is a trained engineer who pursued a career in software design. Now retired, he enjoys writing short essays on many subjects but mainly focuses on politics and religion and the intersection...

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