Does God Send Good People To Hell? Are Christians Just Mean Spirited?

Before I believed in Jesus, I’d get furious whenever someone proclaimed  that “anyone who doesn’t know Jesus goes to Hell.” Not that I believed in Hell. Or in a Heaven for that matter. But in my mind, I pictured Christians as nasty dogmatic Bible thumpers who must be eager to condemn others with different beliefs.

My biggest problem with Christianity was a moral issue. I knew I wasn’t a great person. But if I were to believe in a God at all, He”d  have to be better than me.  Being more powerful was not enough. He had to be BIGGER and BETTER. A god that was morally superior.

So I hated even the idea of Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible did amazing things. He healed the sick, forgave those who hurt him and was said to have done stupendous miracles. So, if I thought about it hard enough, I might have realized it wasn’t Jesus himself I loathed. In fact, Jesus the person seemed a whole lot better than Graham the person.

What enraged me, was not what Jesus did.  It was that his followers claimed he was the only way to Heaven. And so good people who refuse to believe in him must all go to Hell.

Since I knew it was wrong to condemn good people to Hell,  I rejected the Christian God as something morally inferior to me. And I went away thinking that worshiping Jesus was a step down. From then on I was determined to turn my back on such a petty, mean spirited God, assuming of course that he even existed.

This all changed in 1994 when Jesus met me in the shower. But for those who believe as I once did: Here’s the best way I know to explain why I was so wrong about God and Christianity.

It all boils down to 2 big questions. Who Is God? And Are We Good?

Who Is God? What Is God Like?
When I was a kid, I saw God as a big grandfather clock. He towered above me in remote majesty, very old, very wise, and as tall as the clock in my living room. Later in my early 20’s I thought that if God existed at all, perhaps he was more like electricity. A mysterious force one could tap into like in the movie Star Wars. But certainly I never thought of God as an immense, powerful being with thoughts, emotions and standards of right and wrong. And I never thought He might actually want me to know Him in a personal way, like in a human relationship.

I notice today that many people see God as a kind benevolent grandfather, a celestial Santa Clause who loves and accepts us no matter what we do. And a Santa Clause god would never condemn anyone to Hell. OK, maybe Hitler and Stalin go to Hell. But only the really bad folks. Everyone else either dies into an eternal nothing. OR they go to Heaven.

But that’s not the real God I’ve come to know. Yes, the real God is loving and kind. The real God is compassionate and forgiving. And He delights in transforming people with broken lives. People like me and my brother Joshua.

Yes, our God rescues those who call out to Him. And He lavishes His children with good gifts and lots of blessings. He is the God who does amazing miracles. Not just in Africa or in ancient times, but today as well. But this is only half of who God is. It’s not the full picture.

OUR GOD IS ROYALTY. God Has Standards That Demand Perfection
Our God is more than just a loving God. He is also a Holy God. This is the God who created the stars, the planets and the Universe. We are not like Him and we will never be as powerful and as good and as creative as He is. Just like a child with Down syndrome will never be like Einstein, we can never, ever, come close to the goodness and perfection of our God.

God is like royalty. Imagine that you were suddenly transported muddy and naked before the queen of England. Would you expect the queen in all her pomp, and in all her grandeur, to embrace you and say “Good to see you! Glad you could make it!” Would you expect her to take you by the hand and give you the grand tour of Buckingham palace? No. God doesn’t accept just anything that comes to Him. God has standards. And the standard of a perfect and holy god is absolute perfection.

God by his very nature commands respect and awe. The kind of awe you have when you visit Niagara falls. Or Mount Everest. Or a terrific and powerful thunderstorm. But God is way beyond the things of nature. He’s bigger than that. He is not tame. He is not to be treated lightly. He is like a King in all his pomp. And unless you are in His family, the only thing that will satisfy Him is your absolute perfection. God and His standards cannot be separated from one another.

He’s like a math professor who cannot accept that 2 plus 2 equals 5. It doesn’t matter how hard the student tried. The math professor must call it like it is. It would be obscene for the professor to say “I know you studied real hard, so from now on “2 plus 2 will equal five.” The standard for math doesn’t change. It sits above us. It remains immutable regardless of whether we mean well, study hard or do our very best.

So yes, our God is kind and loving, But He’s also apart from us. Above us. Beyond us. And like royalty, He has immutable standards. Standards that demand absolute perfection.

Who Are We? How Does God See Us?
Who we are matters. A lot of people think that maybe we’re basically good people who make a lot of mistakes. And maybe God should overlook such mistakes, because that’s what a kind and benevolent God should do. In other words, if God loves us, perhaps He should lower His standards.

But before we talk about God’s standards, I’d like to give an example, using our own standards. Imagine you’re with a friend and about to enjoy a large bottle of white wine together.

Just as you open the bottle, he dumps in a quarter teaspoon of dog poo and to your horror, he begins to stir it until the wine looks normal again.

Would you drink this wine? Of course not! But wait! Would you change your mind if I explained that the wine is still basically good? That you shouldn’t reject it as it’s 99% pure and only 1% poo?

At this point you’d probably smash the bottle over my head!  Indignant, you’d tell me this is unacceptable. That as a wine drinker and a human being, you have standards. Wine that is 99% free of poo is still too much poo! Your wine must be 100% free of poo. AND NOTHING ELSE WILL DO.

So it is with God and Sin. Sin is not a Christian word. It’s a Jewish one. It’s used throughout the Old Testament and it applies to any wrong we do. Even when the wrong is accidental. Even when the wrong is done out of ignorance. And even when the wrong is done purely in our minds. Any wrong we do is sin. And the slightest sin is like dog poo in our wine. Even a little is unacceptable. Sin is against God’s absolute perfection. And so any person with the slightest bit of it is rejected.

Are You Saying No One Is Good?
Yes. No one is good. Everyone falls short of God’s perfection. And because God is Holy, and God Is Perfection, God cannot accept that 2 plus 2 equals five. He cannot accept wine with a little poo in it. Even if we try real hard. Even if we did 100 good deeds a day. Whether you’re Billy Graham, Mother Teresa or Graham Firestone, we all miss the mark. From the saints to the terrorists, we never meet God’s minimum.

Worse, we don’t miss the mark by a little bit. We miss it by a lot. We’ve lied, we’ve deceived, we’ve hurt others terribly. We’re responsible for crushing other people’s spirits. We condemn others, and then to justify our own evil, we water down our standards to carve out special exceptions for ourselves and nobody else.

In short, we’re all hypocrites. And most of the time, we don’t even know what good is. Often we’ll change our definition of good. Especially if it gets in the way of what we want to do. We say “It’s not good to lie except when I need to lie.” “It’s not good to hold a grudge, but in my case, they don’t deserve my forgiveness”

Deep down, most of us know we’re not good. That’s why we’ve coined the term “DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.”

And if you think about it, you’ve made plenty of mistakes. If this makes you feel guilty all the time, welcome to the club. We all have every right to feel guilty. There are things we’ve said, things we’ve done, and things we should have done, that demonstrate we are in serious need of forgiveness. We fall short of even our own standards. Let alone those of a Holy and Perfect God.

And God’s standard is always in the background. It grates against our conscience.

God’s Dilemma
So God has a problem. How can He love us without condemning us? On the one hand, God is compassionate and loving and wants us to be close to Him. But on the other hand, God is Holy, perfect and by His nature, will not tolerate anything but 100 percent perfection. He’s not going to drink the foul wine or say 2 plus 2 is 5. His holy and perfect nature requires that He reject everyone.

Unless, there’s another solution.

Jesus-God’s Answer To Love & Perfect Standards
It’s beyond my ability to answer every question about God’s justice and who goes to Hell. But the reality is that God has standards and none of us can meet them. God is perfect, the way water is wet, the way the sky is high and the way fire is hot. It’s a part of Him. It’s not simply a decision of his. It’s very His essence.

Rather than God going against His nature and accepting our imperfection, He sent down an extension of Himself that was perfect. And this person was Jesus. So I’ll go into the actual history of Jesus and then what it means to God’s dilemma.

Jesus A Real Historical Figure
When I graduated law school, I thought there was no proof of Jesus as a real historical figure. But Jesus was historical. We know of Him not just because of the Bible, but also because of the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote about Him before 100 AD. Almost every respectable scholar knows that Jesus existed.

This is the Jesus who did miracles, forgave the adulteress and said that no one gets to God in Heaven except through His son. This Jesus was seen by almost everyone as doing good. But He didn’t just do miracles.

Jesus talked about the God of the universe and how we could personally know Him. He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the Jewish authorities because they thought they could do nasty things and be saved through their rituals.

After three years of healing, preaching and loving others, Jesus was seen as a threat to the existing authorities and they turned Him over to the Roman governor. He was then nailed on a cross and crucified as he predicted. Three days after his death his body disappeared. This was hard to explain because the Romans had sealed the tomb with a large rock and had stationed armed guards to secure the body.

They knew what he had predicted about himself. And they didn’t want his body stolen. But according to witnesses, Jesus then reappeared to his disciples and about 500 others. The guards were at a loss as to what happened.

The resurrection of Jesus transformed his remaining 11 disciples. When he was initially arrested, they all ran for their lives. But after his death and resurrection, suddenly they became inexplicably bold. The Jewish rulers were amazed that such unlearned men could boldly preach to the masses. They were amazed that these mere fishermen who used to be so timid, could now speak with such authority.

Church history indicates that the same disciples who ran away when he was arrested, suddenly stopped being fearful and preached until, one by one they were finally executed. Only one died of natural causes.

Even if you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead, it’s obvious that something transformed his disciples. First they all ran in terror. But then they saw something that made them ready to give up their lives. That something was Jesus coming back and demonstrating that He and God were One.

How The Death Of Jesus Changes Everything For Those Who Believe In Him
You’ve probably seen the Easter specials on TV. You’ve heard that Jesus was a sacrifice. You’ve heard that somehow after He died and was resurrected, now we can approach God boldly and God would no longer reject us.

I can’t explain exactly how this works. I can talk in Christian terms about His blood/His sacrifice, and that now God sees sinless Jesus instead of seeing sinful us. I can tell you that somehow Jesus being a sacrifice without the sins of normal men, has now paid a price for our sins. So that when we believe in Jesus, we are now part of God’s family. We go to Heaven not because we’re good. We get there because Jesus made it so we can inherit.

So now when we approach God, He does not see the dog poo in the wine. He sees an entirely different bottle. A bottle that is 100 percent pure. The bottle that is Jesus Christ.

So when we hand in a math test that says 2 plus 2=5, God crumples up the paper and throws it away. Jesus was the math test. When he died for us 2000 years ago, He submitted Himself as the perfect score.

But this Gift that God gave only applies to those who accept His son. Everyone else will be held accountable for their wrongs. And since no one is without sin, this means eternal separation from God. and yes, Hell.

You can choose to reject this all as nonsense. But that doesn’t change reality. I urge you to seek Him. Please call to Jesus by name. Admit to Jesus you’ve done plenty of wrong. And then ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a way you can understand. This is what I did on June 13, 1994. And He met me in the shower right then and there!

As the Bible says, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. What have have got to lose by asking?



  1. The problem with the mythical Jesus character, whom everybody knows never actually existed in the real world, is that he was incredibly inconsistent. He would preach love and tolerance one day, and then proclaim that anyone who wasn’t with him was against him on another. he invented the concept of hell, which didn’t exist in Jewish mythology before him. He proclaimed that all the rules and punishments of the Old testament were to be enforced at all times without exception until the end of the world. Which wasn’t a vague spiritual awakening, but a literal event in which his supposedly Divine father would descend from the heavens and wipe out all nations of man and build a physical Golden City and everybody who had ever died would rise from the dead and live in a physical reality on earth.

    Of course, to any sane individual this seemed completely and utterly insane. But dishonest priests and creatures have been dissembling and apologizing and confusing the issue with dishonest rhetoric for centuries just so they can rake in cash.

    1. Actually Mitch, Jewish scriptures describe Hell in Daniel 12.2. Daniel says “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This sounds a lot like hell to me. And Daniel was 400 plus years before Christianity.

      As for evidence of Jesus outside of the Bible. I once agreed with you. There didn’t seem to be any evidence besides the Bible and early Church fathers. But I was wrong. The Jewish/Roman Historian Josephus writes about Jesus and James before 100 AD. So most scholars agree that miracles or no, Jesus actually existed as a real life person.

      As for being sane or not sane, what can I say? If you haven’t read it already, I recommend you read how Jesus met one very angry lawyer in the shower. (This is my story)

      Then consider reading the story of my twin brother. Joshua had asthma until he was 23 years old. He asked Jesus to heal him and he has been Asthma-free ever since. (Unless you put him around cats and some dogs: We’re both allergic)

      Jesus is real. So are miracles. Hope you enjoy my brother’s account of how he met Jesus. See

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