Years ago I knew a man who did not believe in God. He was the kindest, most generous and nicest person you could wish to meet. Always smiling and helping others where he could. He just did not believe in God. He did not do it out of malice or rebellion or in any way in enmity with God. He just lived life as it came and did not venture into religion of any kind.
He was not like some people you meet today who openly proclaim their un-belief and encourage others to do the same. Or those celebrities and comedians who at every opportunity would say on TV and radio or in the press that they do not believe in an antiquated notion such as an Almighty Creator and Deity; and indeed would mock Christianity and those who profess it.
No, this friend of mine did not believe in God more out of ignorance and because he did not bother to find out more. Somehow, he never experienced the love of God in his life and he and Christ never walked side-by-side along life’s journey.
This man is long dead now; and I wonder, did his lack of belief mean that he is spending an eternity in hell? Or is his sin of ignorance, or sin of omission, somehow forgiven and God’s mercy has prevailed?
Is it right and just to treat and judge him as the same as those who not only disbelieve out of rebellion, but encourage others to do the same?
How serious is the sin of ignorance, and perhaps stupidity, in the eyes of God?
What do you think?