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Struggling with my Christian belief

(306 Posts)
hapgran Sun 19-Mar-17 17:06:44

I am a practicing Christian, but becoming increasingly upset with the thought that, if I am to believe in hell, then that is where my non-believing children and grandchildren are going. I think this could turn me away from my faith as I can't bear it. Any thoughts out there..?!

Newquay Sun 19-Mar-17 17:17:33

Oh dear this is a tough one. When I became a Christian as a young adult a long time ago I spoke to an older wiser man about this as I was worried about my dear old Dad who was already dead, had had a really hard life and was not interested in Christianity at all-he simply survived. This wise man said to me that there is a gap between heaven and hell and we will not be aware of the other side-or how could it be heaven? I can only hang onto that. . . .

whitewave Sun 19-Mar-17 17:19:19

I don't think that the Bishops believe in hell do they?

rosesarered Sun 19-Mar-17 17:21:25

Try not to worry about this Hapgran as Heaven and Hell are man made constructs,
We don't know what lies ahead, but if something does, it will be nothing that we will have thought of.

Nannarose Sun 19-Mar-17 17:28:26

Hapgran, I can only suggest that you look around among your Christian friends and find, as Newquay did, someone you can trust to talk this over with. Not someone who will give you a glib answer that you want to hear, or a'straight line' believer, but someone who will give you the time and thoughtfulness that you need.

I hope that you can find someone to help you contain these worries in a way that honours both your belief and the love that you have for your children; I think that you will, as many Christians spend time struggling with this.

PRINTMISS Sun 19-Mar-17 17:35:45

My question is how do they know? As Christians we are promised the Kingdom in Heaven, or a place in Hell, according to how we live, but there are many religions in the world, they cannot all be right. In my younger days as a Christian (I count myself one still, but do not practice so much) I was told that God (if that is who you believe in) gave us all 'minds' so that we could decide for ourselves the course we want to take in life, and I think that is a good way to look at life, it is what we make it and we are able to believe in whatever we want to believe. I have no doubt hapgran that your children and grand-children will make their own ways in life - and remember "In my father's house are many mansions"

TriciaF Sun 19-Mar-17 17:41:08

hapgran - that's one of the things I struggled with when looking seriously at my Christian beliefs, as a young woman.
It might help if you start to find out about other Christian views, maybe even go to their places of worship, which is what I did.
Some think there's a place after death for non-believers, if they've tried to live a good life. As Newquay says, no-one knows for sure.

judypark Sun 19-Mar-17 17:52:20

I think the word " if" looms large here. You are not responsible for your children's or grandchildren's belief systems.
"If I am to believe in hell". Well what's that about? You either believe in or not or maybe be hedging your bets.
If you faith Is as strong as you purport nothing should turn you away from your God surely.

Anniebach Sun 19-Mar-17 18:04:15

If one believes in hell how can one believe in the forgiveness of sins? If we brlieve we are judged do we not need to remember - I knew you before you were in your mother's womb.

I do not believe in hell, I believe in the promises of Christ and surely living a good life but not having faith means he'll fires but having a faith yet not living such a good life means trumpets and pearly gates is not what Christ taught

norose4 Sun 19-Mar-17 18:10:41

Dear Hapgran, please try not to worry, or turn away from your faith purely for this reason, supposing you did & you were the first to go , you have no way of knowing whether or not your children may become believers at sometime in the future & then you would have given up your faith in vain. I do absolutely feel for you & your love for your family, but as I understand it if we are believers, we are answerable to God as individuals so you will know from that , that we mere mortals cannot safeguard or guarantee what happens us or to anyone else we hold dear . if you come to the conclusion that you are not a believer any more then that is fine , but to pretend that you don't believe to try & ensure you all end up in the same place is taking a huge gamble & proberbly going to make you unhappy whilst you are still here, & your children wouldn't want that, they are obviously happy with their own opinions & would probably be upset for you if they knew what you are contemplating.

GillT57 Sun 19-Mar-17 18:54:51

I find it really sad that religion, which is supposed to give succor and support is causing you anguish. I am a non believer, but try to respect the beliefs of others as long as they do not cause harm. I went to Sunday school etc., but the more I learned the less I liked it. Strangely, as a child the one piece of doctrine that finished the (catholic) faith for me was the belief that unbaptised children were in purgatory,I couldn't cope with that thought. As others have said, perhaps you need to discuss this issue with a mentor at your church, maybe someone else with children who are non believers and discuss how they deal with it. I wish you contentment.

mumofmadboys Sun 19-Mar-17 19:42:25

Just remember God is a God of love and loves your family even more than you do. God hopes to redeem the whole world. Only God knows our innermost heartfelt feelings. Pray for your family each day and trust in God.

Luckygirl Sun 19-Mar-17 19:42:35

God as a concept is above human ideas and concerns - far far above - far far removed. Beyond our imaginations.

The doctrines that dictate that non-believers are doomed to hell are man made constructs designed to impose social control and bolster the positions of those in power; and I think you should assume that any god worth believing in/worshiping is not so petty as to subscribe to that sort of tit for tat childishness.

You cannot believe that your loving god would punish someone who had led a blameless life.

I am an agnostic, and looking in from the outside, it is very clear to me that many of the tenets of the main religions are not based on divine guidance, but on the interests of the powerful people (usually men) who were around at the time when these texts were written.

If you can envisage a god so far removed from our understanding who created the whole universe (and, who knows, maybe many more) how can you possibly regard this god as being so petty as to dole out random punishments?

Just hug those wee GC of yours and be confident that under the influence of you and their parents they will lead good and worthwhile lives. They will follow the guidance of the new testament without the religious observations that are important to you. No god worth his/her salt would turn their back on that.

paddyann Sun 19-Mar-17 19:55:11

GillT57 I was raised a catholic and we were taught that unbaptised babies were in LIMBO ,neither one place nor another .Also that anyone could baptise a baby it didn't need a priest.

nina1959 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:24:51

Hapgran, I'm a believer. Remember Soddom and Gormorrah and Job? He prayed that God would save his family and close relatives and they were saved. Keep praying!

mumofmadboys Sun 19-Mar-17 20:34:12

Baptising babies isn't magic. Of course unbaptised babies are saved.God is love.

nina1959 Sun 19-Mar-17 20:41:17

Gill57, the new testament replaced the old testament and we all get saved by faith including babies. x

Jayanna9040 Sun 19-Mar-17 21:36:16

Think you mean Lot, Nina. He was the Sodom and Gomorrah bloke. Job's wife and children all got the chop, as I recall!
I'm not convinced heaven wil be that nice a place anyway, if some of the religious people Ive known are up there.

Anniebach Sun 19-Mar-17 21:45:53

If babies not baptised are in limbo, all baptists if they didn't reached adulthood when they are baptised are all in limbo? Christ wasn't baptised untill adulthood.

Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not fir theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Crafting Sun 19-Mar-17 21:48:43

hapgran I am a Christian, as far as I know, the only one in my family who is. Many members of my family are kind, thoughtful, caring and considerate people. I cannot believe that God would send them to hell because they do not believe.

Remember God loves your family more than you do. I believe that at the end all will have a chance to seek God's forgivenesses no matter what their beliefs.

grannyqueenie Sun 19-Mar-17 22:54:49

I agonised about this as a young woman, my parents didn't share my commitment to my Christian faith. Now older and with adult children myself, some of my children follow the faith they were brought up in but others don't but I just can't be worrying about it. As I see it both as a mum and as a Christian my job is to love my children unconditionally, support them in their life choices and without any favouritism. Anything that gets in the way of me doing that has to be put to one side. I'm confident that God who I believe is loving and gracious, cares for my children and grandchildren even more than I do and am happy to leave it at that.

BlueBelle Mon 20-Mar-17 05:36:40

Heaven, hell, limbo ( what a strange name ) are all made up stories to keep us in line None of us knows what, if anything, lies ahead The half way hotel is nonsense because if you were residing in a place because you weren't baptised and your mum and dad had gone to heaven, that would be utter hell so none of it makes sense
When people say my brother / sister whatever is looking down on me from heaven that again is just them comforting themselves Just imagine if someone is looking down on us and all the troubles we are going through they would be in hell watching us struggling and not able to help
I try to live by my conscience... I fail at times and beat myself up but on the whole I try to do the right thing one of my children believes the other two don't They all went to a church school and Sunday schools etc I don't think any of my grandchildren have much belief although 5 went to church schools and 2 went to church regularly 2 did neither but seem no worse off

When a Christian explained to me that no one of a different faith would be accepted into Heaven I realised I had no liking for such an exclusive club

I think you just have to do your best down here not expecting anything afterwards if you do your best not expecting a reward then surely that's as good as it gets

Enjoy your grandkids and don't worry about the next life there may not even be one

nina1959 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:08:04

Jayanna9040, it was Lot that I meant, you are right, thankyou. I think the old testament portrays God in a prehistoric way. If you at how Jesus was, how forgiving and kind, I'm sure this is how God is too.
We're all a work in progress and we are allowed time to find our way.

f77ms Mon 20-Mar-17 08:39:48

Very sad that something which is supposed to give you comfort is causing you such anxiety . Heaven/ Hell etc are all man made and were constructed to keep you in line . Very comforting to imagine that all the people who have gone before are all somewhere waiting for us , it is no wonder people stick to their religious beliefs . I think that we should all do what we can for each other while we are here , be kind , help those less fortunate . This life is all there is , don`t waste it thinking you will be rewarded in your next one ! I guess from reading your OP that you are going through some kind of crisis of thinking , maybe speaking to someone would help (even if it is a priest!) xx

thatbags Mon 20-Mar-17 09:10:50

I have up believing in hell when I was quite a young child. The idea (and that's all it is: the idea of eternal punishment for people who break religious rules) was just too revolting to be acceptable. Other religious ideas were dismissed thereafter in due course.

I think you can pick and choose which Christian ideas you like and which you don't, hapgran. Stick with the good ones and chuck the bad ones. It won't make you not a Christian and it might make you more comfortable.