I couldn't seem to get my response to take on the post so I'll do it here.
Ms. Dillard is a fine writer. Sadly, in making this joke she’s forgotten about Romans 1:18-20. As I said before, whether we’re an Eskimo Caucasian or anything else, if we move toward God, He will also move toward us. No genuine seeker will be abandoned by h/her Creator. That is why “No one is without excuse.”
“I'll tell you the thought that got me questioning Christianity, when I was a child... "What of the native Americans who never heard of Jesus?"
It’s time to move beyond your childish thinking snacker. Abraham, Noah, Rahab - none of them knew about Jesus but all responded correctly with faith based on what they instinctively knew about God.
All of them were counted as righteous by God based on their response to the evidence of God that was provided for them. People from all over the world have the ability and the option to do the same, including your in-laws.
“You have purchased for God men from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Rev. 5:9b
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne.” Rev. 7:9
“He determined the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and find Him.” Acts 17:26,27
God knows before they’re even born who will accept His offer of forgiveness. You can be absolutely certainly that no one who wants to respond rightly to the existence of God and to His offer of forgiveness will miss the opportunity. In fact, God has placed all such people in a place geographically and in history where they will get adequate information about Him.
How serious is God about making sure that no one gets missed? In Revelation, Saints who have been martyred ask God, "How long until you avenge our blood?" And God says, "Wait until even more Christians have been killed. Wait until everyone who is going to become a Christian has become a Christian."
No one is without excuse for their rejection of their Creator.
You on the other hand snacker, have had every opportunity to receive God’s offer of forgiveness. To date you have used technicalities to reject the offer of an eternity. My prayer is that this is not a permanent condition.
"Since they did not know any better, God will make an exception, given they are good people."
Read Romans 2:11-15. No one who responds correctly to the knowledge they have been given will be cheated out of eternity in paradise.
You've been exposed to more accurate information about Jesus than perhaps 90% of the people in the world - yet - to date you have used technicalities to reject the offer of an eternity. "How can they survive, those who have rejected so great a salvation?"
“I DO NOT DESERVE ETERNAL HELLFIRE.”
Ah, again with the “I’m a good person.”
Where’s the cut off snacker?
Who decides who’s good enough?
Who decides who deserves to go to hell?
I think I’ve told you this before but in case it was a different atheist - I worked in the federal corrections system for ten years. Maximum security for five and a Super Max for the criminally insane for five. Rapists, murderers, drug dealers, child molesters, child killers, armed robbers. NOT ONCE in all that time did I find someone who thought he was a bad man. Every single one of them would, could and did point to someone who he believed was a worse individual and thereby justified his own character on that basis.
They used exactly the same method of judging their goodness as you do to judge yours.
“Look at what he’s done! I’m not as bad as him.” Or
"Look at those people. I could be a lot worse."
Whether or not you deserve eternity in hell is not your decision to make snacker.
Your Creator says that “No one is righteous. All of have sinned and fallen short of God’s expectations for them. BUT all can be justified freely by God’s grace through the person’s faith in Jesus.”
No one is good enough to be good enough for heaven.
"I'm not turning my back on Jesus Christ. I SIMPLY DON'T BELIEVE CHRISTIAN DOGMA."
Jesus is not asking you to believe in Christian dogma.
Jesus is begging you to believe in Him.
Jesus is begging you to turn to Him for the forgiveness of your sins and the salvation of your soul.
Jesus isn’t asking you to belong to this or that denomination.
Jesus isn’t asking you to take part in this or that ritual.
Jesus is begging you, “Come to Me!”
Jesus is begging you to understand, “I Am the only way to salvation.”
Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me is not condemned but whoever does not believe in Me stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18
If you aren’t turning to Jesus you are absolutely turning away from Him.
HOWEVER... If you're looking for the grace of Allah, YOU'LL FIND IT.
Are you kidding me? Allah / Islam knows nothing of grace. And if you think Islam teaches grace then you no nothing of Islam or grace. Islam, like atheism says to be and do and much good as you can. Islam and atheism both tell a person to work and work and work and work and if you do enough then maybe, just maybe you’ll somehow be able to justify your miserable existence.
Christianity and only Christianity teaches grace.
No other religion in all the world teaches grace.
Grace sets Christianity apart from them all.
All other religions / philosophies, including atheism are based on works - doing enough good, washing your hands a certain number of times per day. Praying a certain number of times per day. Placing this offering in front of that idol. Doing and doing and never knowing if you’ve done enough.
Only Jesus, through Mercy and Grace says that snacker can have his sins forgiven - and know it.
Only Jesus, through Mercy and Grace says that snacker can be free from real guilt - and know it.
This forgiveness is not because snacker is good enough but because Jesus died for him, and paid the penalty for snacker’s sins while snacker was still His enemy.