How is believing in jesus a free choice?

Christians often state that believing in Jesus or not is a free choice. I don't see how it is, though, since the consequence of not believing in Jesus supposedly is eternal torture in Hell. I think it's pure blackmail.

Moreover, I'm not even sure if you can choose to believe something or not in the FIRST place.

What do you think? Is it blackmail?

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  • You have a free choice as to what religion you want to practice but deep down, you either believe something or you don’t

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  • I read the Holy Bible recently. It had a lot of good stuff. Most modern Christians do not seem to be following it. I doubt God is pleased.

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    • Anyone who actually reads the bible knows that Christianity is about following Jesus's example. Not to claim to believe in Jesus and continue to be a shitty person.

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    • Good for you... and I agree with your opinion on modern day "Christians."

      I consider myself Christian (I believe in Jesus); but not like most so called Christians believe and I believe that much of what the mainstream "Christian Churches" are teaching have no biblical backing (and the Bible may actually say the exact opposite).

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    • Who knows what the afterlife holds either. People focused on Hell are in the wrong direction. The Bible hardly talks about Hell or the afterlife or celestial kingdoms.

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    • What is free choice is everyone can ask Jesus for the holy spirit to guide them. Upon doing so and asking God to guide them through life they will lose desires that distract them and be given opportunities from God. However it is important to commit to what God wants or it doesn't work. Who knows how it works and people don't have to do it, but it is in their best interest.

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      • "everyone can ask Jesus for the holy spirit to guide them."

        I did that on several occasions, while being 100% sincire. And guess what? Nothing happend. Absolutey nothing. Is that my fault? I'd very much like to follow the truth, be forgiven for all my wrongdoings and I certainly don't wanna go to Hell. WTF should I do?

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        • You may have over expected something obviously supernatural to happen. The most supernatural things are often subtle, not obvious.
          If you are desiring what you claim you already had it I would guess and do until you denounce it. That's up to you to decide.
          God isn't going to answer a lot of prayers either.
          However you can pray for answers on what to do and look for signs that show up.
          I don't believe God talks to people in a voice. Spirits can however and they aren't always good.
          God isn't going to control what you do. You can accept or not.
          I'll tell you things I prayed for that worked.
          Quitting smoking and all bad habits. I had to put my own effort into regularly praying. I also started by asking God to make me keep wanting to pray to God. I asked God to remove any thoughts or desires for things God doesn't like, since I wasn't really certain myself. At first I didn't want to give up certain things, but once I did, I did not even care to do those things anymore. I was a chain smoker and now I cannot stand the smell.
          I've done a few things like this to better my life by asking God. I had to make a habit of prayer and asking God what to do. It could be explained by psychology as a mind trick on myself but there are also often external signs. I had some mild health issues. God did not cure those on his own and it's arrogant of people to expect prayer to heal people while doing nothing.
          However I did get signs of more appropriate doctors and have also discovered eastern medicine to heal a lot of my health issues and have incorperated some Buddhist elements into my spirituality as well. I don't believe all religions are true or positive but I don't see anything wrong with Jesus era Judeo-Christianity or Buddhism. I think people just distort stuff over time.
          Christians who focus on telling people to go to Hell. I doubt they please God.
          The obvious sign was the reaction I got from the demonic spirits to my spiritual defense tactics. I did not know what to do and studied all kinds of religion to figure it out. It is not my job to prove anything to the world and I wish to resume a normal life. I got an interesting story out of it but I think everyone figures things out in their own way.

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    • Humans are very simple minded arrogant creatures. Many things in the Bible people misinterpret their own way. Jesus also does not say to submit to people. His example is to obey Gods plan. Some will say "who is God to tell me what to do" He doesn't tell you what to do and you have free will. He is simply letting you know he knows better than you and it is incredibly arrogant for a human to believe they know better than God. That is what destroys them simply by default and people blame God for their own stupidity.

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      • I agree with most of your comments here. A good number of modern christians don't question their so called pastors' teachings and are at the same time uninterested in reading the bible on their own, to discern with God's guidance.

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        • I was an atheist for most my life. My atheism was disproven but I still do not like most religion. I very much support the Bible and after reading it I will vouch that I had some similar experiences to what the Bible describes. Now I think most the stuff that goes on in modern society is fake.

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          • "My atheism was disproven"

            How?

            "I very much support the Bible"

            So you're cool with slavery, misogyny, homophobia and Jesus saying all kinds of nasty shit, huh?

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            • You haven't read the bible I'm guessing. Humans are stupid. I've had encounters with celestial beings which disproved atheism and some of the experiences are similar to the stories in the Bible. There is a lot of evidence to back up a lot of Biblical stories. The stuff you mentioned is based off a few old testament quotes people often use to manipulate their own agenda and they are based off things people were doing at the time, not Jesus's teachings. It shows people base their idea of Christianity off ignorant modern day religious nuts without actually studying it for themselves. I'm not going to argue religion as it is pointless. You can believe what you want, but I've had enough experiences to believe a lot of the Biblical stories happened. I do not believe the Earth is 6000 years old or any of that nonsense either. Some people aren't very intelligent and take poorly translated historical documents and assume the English translations are literally what they originally meant. If people weren't stupid it would make more sense.

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  • You're free to choose like you're free to murder someone; there's the threat of harsh punishment for making the wrong choice.

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    • That is a very good description of it.

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    • If there's a harsh punishment for making the wrong choice, the choice isn't truly free. A truly free choice has no negative consequences, no matter what you choose.

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      • I'm going to take a detour here. In the grand scheme of things (existence) there's no wrong choice, there's no 'harsh punishment'. Without disregarding the fact that we are all dealt unique life circumstances, unique puzzles to solve, there's no one right, and there's no one wrong. But there are repercussions for everything you do, or don't do.. everything! Even if you decided to lock yourself up in a basement for the rest of your days as a deterrent for wronging anyone.. guess what, there will still be repercussions (consequences) for doing so.

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      • And there is no such choice in existence.

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        • You said that believing in Jesus or not was a FREE choice. I have just shown that because of the supposed consequences of not believing in Jesus, it is not a free choice at all.

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          • Under your definition, there is no such thing as a free choice, because there will always be an option that has a better outcome than the other in any choice anyone can ever make, so it is a term that should never be mentioned to describe a single choice at all. However, people do use the term "free choice" to describe choices, so your definition must be false.

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            • Eat shit.

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            • 🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖

              OH MY FUCKING GOD

              The Brain Parasite is active again.
              Consider this: We flip a coin. If I predict the outcome correctly,
              I get the coin, if I don't, you get it.
              I FREELY CHOOSE HEADS. Why? because outcome is exactly
              equal to choosing TAILS. IT DOESNT FUCKING MATTER.
              BOTH OUTCOMES ARE EQUAL.

              This Brain Parasite has you talking out of your ass. Your understanding of logic has been damaged. YOU ARE A SICK PUP. Get it thru your head. You must relearn logic. Your pathetic blitherings make people hate you. AND, you are not conscious of it. In fact you have very little consciousness at all. You are a bot. You talk out of your ass for Jesus. You are unaware of your unawareness. Your proselytizing makes people vomit. The Brain Parasite is doing this to you. Somehow, you must reclaim your mind.

              🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖

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      • That was the point I was making.

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  • Nobody's forcing you to believe in hell, either 🤔. In fact, I personally know a number of Christians who don't believe in hell. There is a whole movement that doesn't accept it - it's called Universalism.

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    • Universalism isnt just christianity it's a hodgepodge of religions going down the least common denominator. It's an ok "chruch" but they dont have any actual issues they discuss.

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      • Thank you for this info. I was thinking about the motivational speaker Rob Bell and the writer Francis Spufford, in his book 'Unapologetic'.

        I do not agree with them at all on their soteriology, to the point that I find it actually dangerous (since all misinformation is more or less dangerous, depending on how consequential it is for the reader - and the eternal destiny of the soul is not a light matter).

        I did appreciate immensely the emotional honesty and intellectual rigour about Spufford, though, and Bell's early Nooma videos were thought-provoking.

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  • Not blackmail but I think its what you choose to believe in.

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    • How is it not blackmail, if making the wrong "choice" sends you to Hell? If the choice was actually free, making the wrong choice wouldn't have any negative consequences.

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  • You are free to believe in whatever you want to believe.
    Christianity is not forced.

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    • That's exactly why I like christianity more than islam.

      In christianity you can convert any time during your life and it would be the same as if you were life long in gods eyes. You don't get special premiums in heaven for being a lifer. I dont like the assertions the pope is any more holy than the average person.

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      • The Bible actually states that there are hierarchies in Heaven and that people will be rewarded differently.

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        • I dont take those bits as literal because let's be honest the Lutheran formation was because of those premium benefits being kinda fucky for a religious organization.

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          • And how exactly do you choose what to take literally or not, based on whether or not the bit is fucky to you? Do you take the other bits as symbolic or do you see them as mistakes in the Bible?

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            • Well as an agnostic I read the bible within the historical context of what was going on at the time. Roman's being the big bad during jesus crucifixion. Ironically creating the best iconography for the upcoming religion that was going to take over the world by storm.

              I take most of it as metaphors. Tellings of hallucinations with a somewhat good moral compass. Got to understand when christianity started up there were literally dozens of religions with the same weight within the area. Survival of the fittest when it came to religion. Nothing short of a miracle that Judaism survived.

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  • I believe based on a preponderance of evidence in my own life, and in the eternally complex beauty of our universe. And while I truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He was sent to die on the cross for my sins (which were many), it was a conscious decision to believe after exploring many religions. After all, I would prefer to believe and be disappointed than NOT believe and be unpleasantly surprised.

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  • I think one must be a staunch believer, or a staunch non-believer to be able to understand the nature of belief. Faith is a huge part of belief! Some people have faith, and some people don't. Some people who don't have faith, but want to can choose to pray to God for the willingness to be willing, or for the the faith they lack, but want.

    This stuff is complicated, and I'm probably not doing the topic justice, but there are a lot of people who feel in their gut that God exists, or feel strongly in their gut God doesn't exist. I think a lot of belief, or having faith is fairly simple. I think it's when people aren't entirely sure that they can choose to utilize their freewill to pray for more faith, and willingness.

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  • I don't know why I just imagined some shady figure in a trench coat selling some blackmarket faith in Jesus pass to heaven. "Yo you followed? No? I got just what you need, my man! A friend in Jesus, right off the truck!"

    And yes, I know I just pitched the next best Netflix series.

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  • You've got it a bit backwards. Not being a Christian does not send you to hell in and of itself. Sin is what sends you to hell. Accepting Christ saves you from hell.

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    • If a person actually accepts Christ and changes their lives to live according to his example and the biblical rules he followed... they don't go to hell.

      If they just say that accept Christ and don't significantly change their behavior.. that does not save them; as they really did not accept Christ.

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    • Sin is something we allegedly have been cursed with.. so every newborn baby, by no fault of its own, is damned to hell unless it accepts Christ.

      Gross and pathetic. What kind of narcissist psycho would make those rules? "God"... Yeah right.

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      • Yeah. Even if you discount all the scientific evidence against God existing, logic alone dictates that such a narcissistic being couldn't have obtained such a powerful position.

        Three of the ten commandments are just about not forgetting how great he is. I'd say that I guess not enslaving, raping, and committing genocide couldn't quite make the top ten but then I remember he actually condones all three of these things from time to time.

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        • I would only disagree with the part about narcissists. I think they are most likely to get into positions of power. Or maybe that's sociopaths.

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          • Well there's some overlap quite often anyway. But sociopaths are able to obtain high positions because they're okay stepping on people and go undetected doing so. Narcissists can too but they're often a bit too obviously all about themselves and can be seen as placing their priority there instead of a company, etc.

            But that's all business oriented really. When we're talking about a creator that requires a lot of science and narcissism doesn't mix there at all. Scientists have to pick each other apart and also want their own ideas picked apart. They don't care who is right. They just want the truth. The ego has to go or they get caught up in the wrong ideas. I just feel a creator would have to come from that sort of background. I feel that without the narcissism, the reasons for even doing such an experiment would also disappear if not for a lot of empathy. One would think the god would be a pretty solid being. That's just my opinion though and we have nothing to really base it on because this clearly didn't happen either way.

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      • "Sin is something we allegedly have been cursed with.. so every newborn baby, by no fault of its own, is damned to hell unless it accepts Christ." Who told you those lies? That's not true at all.

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        • It's got a pretty strong basis, actually.

          "Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." - John 3:5

          "Augustine says in his book on the Baptism of infants (De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. i, 39) that on account of original sin little children have the aptitude of concupiscence though they have not the act. Now aptitude denotes some kind of habit. Therefore original sin is a habit." - Summa Theologiae FS Q [82] A [1] d

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          • I'm not entirely sure how to interpret that verse, but I don't think it's an indication of "original sin".

            Why should I care what Augustine said? I care about the word of God, not the word of a guy who was appointed by religious bureaucrats.

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            • "I care about the word of God"

              Who says the Bible is the word of God? The Bible?

              If it was the word of God, it's strange it has so many mistakes and shortcomings.

              https://www.evilbible.com/
              https://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

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            • The chapter pretty much says that those who are not baptized do not go to Heaven. What baptism does is wash people of all their sins, and allows them to go to Heaven, as long as they are sincere. However, though you claim not to care:
              "Augustine says (Super Levit. lxxxiv) that "some have received the invisible sanctification without visible sacraments, and to their profit; but though it is possible to have the visible sanctification, consisting in a visible sacrament, without the invisible sanctification, it will be to no profit." Since, therefore, the sacrament of Baptism pertains to the visible sanctification, it seems that a man can obtain salvation without the sacrament of Baptism, by means of the invisible sanctification." - Summa Theologiae TP Q [68] A [2] d

              To not listen to the Church Fathers is a very quick and easy way to lead oneself to heresy, apostasy, or blasphemy by creating one's own false truths on topics upon which the truths are already known.

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        • "Christianity reinforced folklore in its insistence on rapid baptism, for the church feared that the child would die in a state of original sin. Thus on the day of birth or the next day the child underwent the baptismal and naming ceremony. If a newborn baby appeared on the verge of death, the Church empowered lay people to baptize it so that it would not die in original sin."

          From 'The Ties That Bound - Peasant Families in Medieval England' p. 172

          The reference that came to mind. But it is from the Fall of Man in the Bible that we get the concept of original sin. Just googling it shows this:

          "Traditionally, the origin has been ascribed to the sin of the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in eating the forbidden fruit (of knowledge of good and evil) and, in consequence, transmitted his sin and guilt by heredity to his descendants."

          If you just read Genesis 3, all the things God curses Adam and Eve with, and all their descendents. Painful childbirth and obedience to Man for Eve, and for Adam:

          “Cursed is the ground because of you;
          through painful toil you will eat food from it
          all the days of your life.
          It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
          and you will eat the plants of the field.
          By the sweat of your brow
          you will eat your food
          until you return to the ground,
          since from it you were taken;
          for dust you are
          and to dust you will return.”

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          • "From 'The Ties That Bound - Peasant Families in Medieval England' p. 172" I don't care what some medieval fogey thought. They're the ones that came up with paying money to absolve people of sin, along with several other corrupt ideas. People are not guilty of a crime by default just because their ancestor committed a crime. What we inherited from Adam was a sinful nature, that is the tendency to sin, not the guilt for his crime. The curses given to Adam and Eve are not evidence for the idea of "original sin". We are not being punished for their crime, rather we are just living with the natural negative consequences of their punishment.

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            • Just like going to Hell is living with the natural negative consequences of the same punishment. Going to Heaven is not the natural way.

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    • I have had encounters with demonic beings. They are quite intelligent and I would recommend not associating with them. It appears to me they are on Earth and not "Hell" and that is what Jesus saves you from is Earth. I don't have the exact answers but after my experiences a lot of it makes sense and people who question why God would do this do not seem to understand that without a choice of evil there would be no free will and it would also be evil to revoke free will so evil exists by default of choice.

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      • I'm just curious what your "encounters" have been?

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        • he took a tour of congress

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        • It's actually common and everyone likely encounters celestial beings but they are ignorant to what it's like and expect something like in a movie to happen. Nothing from a movie will happen supernaturally and it's not even similar to that. Horror movies are a joke and real life experiences are similar to what is described in the bible. Modern science will explain a lot of it as a product of mental illness. A lot of modern theories are not true and people scoff at what they do not understand.

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    • That is quite accurate. And Christians seem to fixate on Hell and Satan and demons too much these days which completely does not serve God and isn't stuff they should be worrying about. Who knows what Hell even is. I question if it is a metaphor of what Earth will become. I am not quite sure.

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  • Religions are trash nigga.

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  • The Christian god isn’t loving despite what his followers claim. I think Christians genuinely believe while still being fearful, and that they feel like it’s their choice.

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    • The old testament has a few messed up laws where it states things such as stoning people. Jesus clearly says not to do that however and God made a commandment not to do that. Those stories are simply what people did back then. Doesn't mean God condones stoning people and Christians who use the Bible to justify evil will be judged by God.

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    • Id say it's the opposite and many Christians aren't loving but God is. After reading the Bible I do not think many people are following it and many people use it for their own agenda. The Bible does not tell people to do what a lot of modern Christians are doing.

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  • There is a free choice; and unfortunately many so called "Christians" do not actually correctly tell you what the Bible actually says. A lot of them have actually been misled by their church on what the Bible says.

    As an overview: The Old Testament is quite clear that there are many gods. Most people do not know how often these references are because a significant number of Bibles have translated the plural gods into god on the order of 100+ or is it 200+ occasions (there are translations available that have all the plurals in the right place - and it really does not change any meanings of the Bible and modern religion other than "the gods created heaven and earth".

    When I was researching why this occurred about 25 years ago I found that The Catholic Encyclopedia stated that the reason for this is for the "religious significance of the meaning." Translation: They want you to believe that only 1 god did everything to enhance their version of Christianity. The Catholic Church also changed to Sunday worship and abandoned the Sabbath as well; claiming that the Pope is the divine representative of God on earth and heaven; and can change any and all rules in the Bible, and can even expel Angles in heaven who do not follow the Pope's beliefs and orders.

    Anyway: The basis of Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim is that one specific god (Yahweh, or some name similar sounding) made a pact with Abraham to be the god of Abraham, his family, his decedents, and later expanded into any others who chose to follow him. It is explicitly stated in the Old Testament that there are other gods for other people.

    Judaism is not a monotheistic religion. Their belief is that there are many gods - but only 1 counts.

    I do not know how Christianity became monotheistic out of that; and have never researched that history.

    I interpret that to mean that there are other salvation paths for the people of those other gods.

    As Ox indicates, the concept of Heaven and Hell is not discussed much, if at all, in the Bible. However, it comes from the observations of people who commonly care for the dying that some people would appear to have died - then woke up and described either a wonderful world with long lost friends waiting for them - often with a mention that all they had to do was walk to or into the light; before they were pulled back to their body. Another group's faces show horror and terror and they may briefly describe a black horrible place awaiting them. This later group almost always suppresses the memory and a few minutes later they have no recollection. But the caregivers remember what the people report.

    I believe that is the basis for the Heaven and Hell options awaiting us. I would like to point out that all cultures of all religions report those same "near death" experiences. So, its obvious that these are not unique to Christianity.

    However, a key feature of many religions in the world is that there's is the "only right one" - and thus, yes, Christians (and others) do present religious choices in the form of blackmail.

    Here is another key fact: If you take what is often called "The 10 Commandments" and remove who you worship (Yahweh) and when (Saturday); all the rest are basically rules on how to live a proper life. These rules are repeated concept by concept - and in some cases essentially word for word in all major religions of the world.

    I believe you have a choice on religion; and there are multiple paths to heaven.

    I hope this helps,

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