I don’t remember how old I was when I developed the dead babies problem. I think it was in early high school but it may have been middle school. The dead babies problem goes something like this:
Person 1: If you don’t accept Jesus and get baptized, you will go to Hell.
Me: What if you weren’t here to tell me that? What if I never got that word?
Person 1: That’s why Christians have to tell everyone. That’s why we proselytize and evangelize.
Me: What if I never met a Christian? What if I lived in some country where there were no Christians?
Person 1: Well, that’s a pretty evil place and you need to get out of there.
Me: What if I’m just a small child or a baby? Dying in some poor rural area of some 3rd world country with no Christians in it? I’m going to Hell.
Person 1: Um…..
Me: That’s doesn’t really sound like this “all powerful” and ” universally loving” God/Jesus person you keep telling me about.
And thus was born the dead babies problem as my teenage mind construed it. I’ve since had umpteen Christian recruiters, ministers, and preachers quote Bible versus and spin logic loops at me to try and explain this. But in the end, all semi-tehologically-conservative Christians/Muslims/Jews/Mormons/Buddhists, etc. think that my everlasting salvation/blessing/well-being hinges on the chances of my being contacted by one of their people and having the freedom and capacity to take them up on their offer to join them.
Eventually this led to my realization that whatever happens to people, whatever God/god/gods/goddesses there are that make whatever rules for divine favor…..they must be universal if they are to truly be all powerful and be “the” right one. In other words, all the same rules have to apply to all the people without chance being involved. So this means one or more of the following are true:
- No religion claiming to have the “chosen” membership is right.
- All religions are right to some degree (i.e. religions of the world are all instruments in the same orchestra).
- Something universal (religious or not) happens when you die regardless of who you are or where you are.
I have chosen option 3 for the most part. The rules must be universal and can’t hinge on knowing or not knowing. Hence the importance of ethical practices like “doing the most good for the most people” are important to me. And whatever divine power exists – God, Goddess, Science, etc there must be only one. You can’t have an “all powerful” who plays favorites, that makes the All Powerful sound petty and less powerful. So the divine must also be unknowable (put not un-observable per se) and singular even if that all powerful is just the Laws of Physics. So theologically, I was an agnostic Unitarian Universalist before I ever even heard those words.