There are many tough questions asked by non-believers and I try to answer as best as I can. One that bothers me a lot is when people say, “I believe that when we die, that is it. And you tell me I am going to hell for that?” I loathe the thought that some really wonderful people on this earth will be going to hell. They don’t lie, cheat or steal, they raise wonderful well-behaved children, they donate to charities and volunteer to help others, but because they think there is nothing after death, they will suffer for eternity. That is very hard for me to swallow so I can imagine the anger someone feels when they are told this. How do we deal with this tough question without offending the natural, human defense mechanisms we all have built within us? Some people are just more logically minded genetically and they can’t wrap their minds around the supernatural.
Tell them God knows we could never be good enough to earn our way into Heaven but He loved us so much that He made another way for us to get there. He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins. Then He raised Him from the dead to prove all of our sins are forgiven. He made it very clear that entry into Heaven is conditional only on admitting we’re sinners, believing that Jesus died for our sins, and asking Him to be our Savior. These conditions have nothing to do with what good people we are. They have to do with what we choose to believe.
Why does it upset you if people are excluded because they won’t accept these conditions? Jesus said everyone who asks will receive, all who seek will find, and to everyone who knocks the door will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8). What more could He do? And by the way, it was my logical mind that brought me to the Lord. After a few weeks of studying prophecy, I realized that God has to be who He claims to be. No one else could tell us the end from the beginning with such amazing accuracy. Logical minds make it easier to believe, not harder.
The people you’re grieving over have a terminal disease and they refuse to accept the only cure. The disease is called sin and the cure is the blood of Jesus. They’d rather die than spend the time it would take to learn that they could live. But one thing I don’t understand. If they don’t think there’s an afterlife, why do they get upset when they hear you say they’re going to hell? You might be making more progress with them than you think.