I’d like to discuss the nature of heaven. As I’ve read, Christ said something to the context that “Not all who call me lord shall sit at the table…” which I’ve always thought to mean that not all those who consider themselves to be arrogant with their faith, quite possibly those who make themselves wealthy like popular Televangelists (Joel Olsteen for example, who charges ticket prices for his sermons) would be recognized as “good and faithful servants of the lord” and those who may not be quite as religious as others, but strive to commit good works and follow the lessons of Christ; would have a much greater chance of getting into heaven. How do you feel about this?
I don’t disagree entirely; however the Bible is very clear about works and deeds not being the way into Heaven. Though the verse you mentioned (Matthew 7:21) does say “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven…” there are at least two other verses (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13) that say “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Like many verses in the Bible, (and most anything else for that matter) we need to look at it in context in order to draw an educated conclusion. In this context, Jesus is speaking specifically about false disciples – people that use his name for gain, but do not truly believe he is the “way.” I see it as someone that flippantly uses the name of Christ for personal interests, but has not accepted Him as their personal savior. Although I have my personal feelings on certain public figures within Christianity, I try to stop myself before making any objective judgments about where they truly stand. Even if I highly disagree with their methods, I think it’s possibly dangerous to say I absolutely know their relationship with God and how that’s going to pan out. I really believe none of us have it all figured out, so I would hope for the same grace from other Christians on my behalf.
My goal is to show these kinds of people the same love that I would show to a fellow believer. It’s more important to me that I give these kinds of people an example of Christianity that they possibly didn’t know existed. If they have their minds made up about it, which I’m sure a lot of them do, I’d like nothing more than to conflict their pre-conceived notions. The “they” in this context is kind of a hypothetical person. However, if I’m to understand them as a deathbed Satanist then yes; they’re one-hundred percent going to Hell. I mean… isn’t that the point?
However, my beliefs on what true Satanism is can be more complex than in dealing with the blatantly obvious black metal musician. If Kanye West is, as they say; “what it says on the tin,” then he’s a shining example of true satanic ethos – which is self above all. If there is more to this picture, then it’s simply that none of us truly know the heart of anyone else. We can definitely make educated assessments of other people, based on their words or actions; but passing a definitive judgment on any specific person regarding their eternity, is not our job.
I’ve always considered yourselves to be very open minded individuals throughout each and every one of your albums. Though not a professed-Christian myself, I have always enjoyed your music and the messages within it. (You’ve got to understand that I was indeed raised in Christianity, so I was raised in those lessons and morals.) But what do you think of those with other faiths? Like Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists, Wiccans, Shintoists and other ideals? Do you feel that these individuals are misguided by the devil, or could there be more than one way into heaven?
If there is ever any talk about a Christianity that embraces some subjective version of its foundational doctrine, what you have there is a watered-down and most likely modern twist on Christianity. The Bible, which is obviously the Christian guidebook, is more than blatant about Heaven and how Jesus is the only way. Somewhere along the line, people have created a gray version of the gospel that trivializes the core theology and offers a more palatable (or at least less offensive) version, for everyone (else) to feel okay about. The idea that “maybe we’re being too exclusive,” which is becoming more and more popular, is just an attempt to quiet the shouts of those that oppose it. It’s for cowards that fear the judgment of man over that of God.
Me, believing in a much more black and white version of Christianity, possibly brings more light to the album title as well. I think other religions may possibly pose some nice ideas about how to treat each other, or how to conduct yourself on a social level, but there is ultimately no redeemable worth to any of it in the eternal spectrum. Most religions pray to, worship, exalt, etc. someone that is believed (by each respective religion) to be dead and buried. A mortal. Christianity believes that Christ was risen after he died. However, the biggest difference between Christianity and all other world religions is this: To put it simply, Christianity is about God reaching out to people, wherever they are; in whatever condition they’re in and offering an eternal solution to the agony of the human condition. There is nothing we can do in our power but accept it. All of the other major religions are man’s attempt to get closer to God (or heightened self)… as if we innately retain the ability within us to reach our hands (and minds/spirits) high enough to reach some thread of divinity. All we have to do is try and try harder – like the answer is in ourselves and we have the power.
The beauty of Christianity is that it doesn’t ask for some higher version of yourself, which is a very misunderstood aspect. Unfortunately a lot of people are turned off to Christianity because of the actions, words and traits that they’ve seen in someone who claimed to be a Christian, but instead made it look awful through their own flawed methods. In Demon Hunter, I find myself trying to clean up a lot of the mess made by these types of people.