Is Christianity just about salvation?

Via thinkchristian (who found it on GLocal Christianity), here's a short 4-minute video by a very articulate atheist about the soteriology of Christianity. He seems to posit a very black/white version of Christianity that focuses on the salvation of Christ and the eternal punishment of hell.  Check it out:

Central to his points is that "let's agree to disagree" is antithetical to the Gospel. 

1:25: I have heard Christians that have the view that "everyone is entitled to their own belief" which is not a bad position to have...but if you believe that what they believe is going to earn them a place in eternal suffering, then there's a problem with that, in that you are allowing them to be tortured for eternity, but are not willing to save them from that. It's very awkward. If you really believe that people who are not Christians are going to hell, and if you don't take that seriously, then you might be compromising your own belief system.
The video is clearly used by an evangelical organization to encourage correct belief and evangelism. 

What do you think about it?  
  • Is "let's agree to disagree" antithetical to the Good News of Jesus Christ? Is the building burning and we should "save" everyone?
  • Or is the Gospel more than Jesus-believers go to heaven and non-Christians go to hell?
  • Third option (at least) salvation through Christ more about an assurance that his path to God works than it is a certainty that all other paths do not?


Warren September 26, 2008 at 3:44 PM  

I like to think that I take my Christian faith very seriously. The challenge here is the difference between the speakers definition of seriously and mine.

I do take those scriptural descriptions of heaven and hell seriously BUT NOT literally. I am not entirely certain why he believes that to take something metaphorically or morally is to not take it seriously. That is illogical.

The analogy of the burning building is bumpkus. There is no building and there is no fire.

And if you only see Christianity ONLY about the afterlife, you miss the importance of the Cross. If Jesus were stoned to death by the Sanhedrin the story would have a different meaning all together. But the symbolism of a Cross is inescapable -- it is THE symbol of empirical power, oppression and domination. That makes the death of Jesus about the now, the present, the you and I and we.

It's also a very modernist idea that there can only be one truth. Get over it. If G-d is the source of Truth, and G-d is almighty and can do anything, why could G-d NOT create more than one expression of truth? So either G-d isn't the source of Truth and ins't omnipotent or there can be more than one truth.

Take that seriously!

Rev. J September 27, 2008 at 9:58 AM  

My hiccup in the whole thing is the idea that We or I can do something about other’s salvation. Last time I checked that is not our job. Our job is to share the gospel with others. To love others like Christ loves us, but the state of a person’s soul is between that person and God. The burning house story is a false analogy because it insinuates the idea that we have the ability to save. We don’t, only Christ does.

“You are allowing them to burn for eternity.” Once again this is a way many atheists point to Christians and try to poke holes in their faith. But this is a false idea that many Christians have in their theology. We are not the judge and jury. I am not ‘allowing’ people to burn because that is not my place. Eternal judgment is God’s place. I believe in a God that is just and fair, compassionate and loving. I’ll share God’s story and love but where another person ends up for eternity is out of my pay grade!

Clueless September 27, 2008 at 10:22 AM  

I think that it is our responsibility to share about salvation and heaven and hell. But, I find that people respond best to the Good News of the gospel vesus scaring them into accepting because then it really isn't a matter of the heart. Just as guilt is not a good motivator for change.

For myself, I like to build and form relationships first with them having full knowledge that I am a Christian and by my character or what I do questions come naturally to me. Then, it opens the door for communication without Bible thumping and creating an atmosphere where the other person is immediately defensive. I think, the idea of sin needs to be understood first which is difficult for people even Christians to understand.

With all that said, it is our responsibility to share about heaven and hell, but ultimately it is their own decision which is why the burning building analogy does not work. Thank you for sharing this.

Clix September 27, 2008 at 11:10 PM  

Normally I hate "ditto" responses, but I've gotta chime in - salvation isn't just about "what happens after you die." What happens after you die is an extension of how you live before you die. When Christ talks about the Kingdom of heaven being AT HAND, that sounds to me like he means here, available, RIGHT NOW.

And while I can spread the good news, I don't think going up to everybody I see saying "brother, do you know Jesus as your Savior?" is the best way to do so.

Christians need to re-appropriate a phrase from (I think) Dr. Phil: SALVATION is the way to "live your best life now."

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