The Sin of Geography

World religions pie chart

“If everyone in this room had been born in India it’s more than likely we’d all be Hindu.”

Their Christian eyes looked confused and their mouths formed wordless denials. Eternal damnation isn’t a great topic for a family dinner. In fact, it’s not really an easy conversation anywhere. Mostly Christians treat the damned with some strange combination of pity followed by denial — made easy because most of these poor souls are complete strangers.

But if it’s true — if God really has created billions of people as kindling for the fires of his anger — then it’s worth at least owning up to that. True believers need to consciously acknowledge that all those people are going to live and they are going to die and the statistics say that most of them will go through all that believing more or less the same things as their family, friends, and neighbors do.

The Muslims will die Muslim. The Hindus will die Hindu. The Shakers are all already gone but most of them shook ’til the bitter end.

Then the God who knows everything, the one who knows every damned hair on their pagan heads, will shuffle them off to perdition. And those infidels will deserve it because every one of them is guilty of the gravest of sins: geography.

It’s a hell of a math problem.

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15 thoughts on “The Sin of Geography”

  1. The sin (and guilt) isn’t geographical but historical. “for we all sinned” is aorist in Rom. 5.12 indicating participation either personally (natural headship) of representative (Federal) or possibly both per some theological scholars.
    In the Second Adam is redemption and righteousness by faith.

    Admittedly, I do not know why God only called the Jews in the OT or chose to develop Christianity in the West. I guess God is not a humanist. To require that God should save most or all, logically, would deify humanity in some sense. The first commandment of the Mosaic Decalogue was “you shall have no other gods before me.”

    Chapter 3 of John has 3 absolutes: need for rebirth (v.3), condemned already for not believing (v.18), wrath not removed for rejecting the Son (v.36).

    1. None of which changes the fact that most of those people born in those places will not end up being Christians.

      And Christians who believe in hell have to live with the reality that this is how God’s will apparently works.

  2. Additionally, (I believe) most biblical scholars really believe in conditional immortality but due to doctrinal statements, cannot affirm it. It is an unstudied area of theology for the most part. If “Jerusalem was paid back double for her sin” then there is closure with God. Punishment will only be commensurate with transgression. The “everlasting” part is destruction with no second chance.

  3. A parent does not punish a child for not knowing the rules. A parent lovingly guides the child, teaching him/her the rules of proper behavior and teaching how to make good choices. If a child breaks a rule he/she wasn’t aware of, then the fault lies not with the child but with the parent.

    If God is truly the father, then how can He righteously condemn children for not knowing His rules? Wouldn’t He reserve punishment for those of us who do know His rules but fail to follow them?

  4. I believe you are just making a point rather than posing an actual question, but for those interested, this a well-known part of the theodacy discussion that has gone on since it was introduced in the Bible itself. For those who hold there is no God or who held to polytheism, undesirable events such as human suffering (or promised future suffering) were easy to explain: either raw, impersonal chance (“the dance of the atoms” as Nobel-winner Francis Crick characterized it) or contests between warring gods with humans caught in the cross fire. Thrown out as a”Christians melt at this” smack-down is fine for those who like that sort of engagement. If there are readers interested in aspects of genuine concern over the problem of suffering and brokenness in the world and who are not satisfied with “it’s just particles and chance — it’s not personal” answers, check out or or and the story of a Christian and Hindu discussing just what has been posted here.

  5. In the early 1980s, as a BJU grad and student at Dallas Seminary, I came to believe that all with ultimately be saved. Christ’s grace is sufficient. Thanks for your post, Darrell.

  6. Ever heard of universal reconcilliation? I ran into it on the internet a while ago. The truth is, all will one day be saved, the Bible actually teaches this, and this has totally changed who I am and my views on everything, from fear to acceptance, from hatred to love, from bleak hopeless outlook to a bright green field under a swift sunrise. Romans 5:12-21 is a start. When in fundamentalism, we said all to argue against Calvinism, but, we didn’t let all be all when we wanted out own doctrines to trump God’s. Anyways, there is far more to be said than I can say here, but, please, google universal reconcilliation. There are many passages in the Bible which speak of this, especially Isaiah 24-25. Light and peace be with you!

    1. So Hitler and Nero will be saved? So why did Christ even come for his own? And it is important to remember that saved many times means actually saving us from the enemy as it did for King David over and over. Not being with Christ when he comes. I don’t buy into the literal burning hell forever thing. So sick and perverse. Misinterpretation of hades etc. and probably brought in by pagans or the original catholic church. I stay away from people who delight in hell. I think we have to take what Christ says and trust him so we are saved from the darkness and enemy and not add to things with theories. ajc

  7. No matter how a mans logic interprets reality, the fact remains that it is “not” the will of God that “any” should perish. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (The most elementary truth of scripture).” Albeit, a “defiled” view of or interpretation of the facts can often be a result of a root of bitterness that has sprung up in a man’s heart (for various reasons). Bitterness then, is usally followed by an indictment, first towards his fellow man and then ultimately toward his Creator. – “How shall they hear without a preacher?…” So regardless of what’s been done to us causing such a deadly and poisonous root, I propose that instead of letting a man rob us of our faith we throw off the idea of putting God on trial for cruelty, or pondering the possibilities of Him being unjust, evil or perhaps non-existent. We should rather dismiss all such inflammatory charges and get busy spreading the glorious news, that “Jesus loves you!”

  8. I have thought on this frequently in recent years. Generally, we are “Christian” because are parents indoctrinated us as children. Indoctrination is a powerful thing…shedding the faith and beliefs of our youth is a guilt and doubt inducing exercise, particularly when there are strong potential negative consequences. The standard fundamentalist answer is that it’s “our” responsibility to magically convert the world to Christianity, so we have mission week, look at some vacation photos, eat a few fried insects and we’re good to go.

    More recently, my questions have centered around the theology of the essence of an omniscient, omnipotent, perfect sinless God:
    – How could a God who has no capacity to “sin” create something with such capacity?
    – Based on everything supposedly known about God and about humanity, how can anyone objectively say we are in “God’s image”?
    – Will those who end up in heaven have the capacity to sin…in other words could God’s create “fall” again?
    – If there is no capacity for sin in heaven then there must not be free will.
    – If God’s creation can exist without free will, then we did not an omniscient, omnipotent God create a perfect creation to glorify him from day one without the need to knowingly damn billions or some untold number of souls to eternal misery, not to mention the misery on this earth?
    – If he selfishly wants the reward those who so “chose” him, then such action and attitude seems contrary to everything the vast majority of scripture says about the nature of God and how “believers” are to lead their lives.

    1. David I want to say something to you but can’t figure out what it is. Some of the stuff we have been taught in church is added to or tampered with. ajc Hope things are o.k. with you.

  9. Funny how that works. I’d wager that the 80/20 rule probably applies, i.e. 80% of those born into a religion (including sect) will die with the same belief system. Applying Occam’s Razor to it and it appears much more likely that gods were made in man’s image and reflects the cultural ideas of those who invented them. The OT has a lot of fragments of a prior polytheistic view that was mostly scrubbed out by the OT redactors around the Babylonian captivity. The older I get and the more apologetics I see, the more apparent that it’s spin. Pardon the pun, but the devil’s in the details and when you truly review the bible with no preconceived notions and learn about how the bible was truly made – it’s an eye opener.

    1. where would I read about that (how the bible was truly made)? Listen to Sean Finnegan’s History of Religion. ajc Religion (not Christ followers) can be hazardous.

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