As I write this, I'm standing on the edge and looking down in.
Here we are in 2019. That's two thousand and nineteen years since the birth of Jesus. More anger, jealousy, hatred, resentment and suspicion than we've seen for a long time. People doing horrible things to each other, and more frequently. Apparently getting rid of God in the public square didn't have the effect that the secular humanists thought it would. People are capable of good, but they are not good by nature. That's what we've learned from the secular approach.
People still argue about the existence of God. Atheists love to insist he doesn't exist, believers love to insist he does. But none of that matters. God exists; everyone chooses how to deal with that inexorable fact. Neither side argues logically. They both are merely defending the world they want to live in.
What are those two worlds? Let's postpone that for a moment.
For all my life (that I can remember), I knew God existed. I was drawn toward God, without any influence from my parents (they were non-practicing Catholics that never spoke about the subject). So we didn't attend church, didn't have religious friends, and just did our own non-religious thing.
In grade school I wanted my own Bible, so I asked my mom if I could get one from Goodwill. In junior high I gave my life to Christ, and of course, in the years that followed, because I had no real foundation to stand upon, I pursued worldly interests and fell by the wayside, like the sower's seeds that fell among thorns.
As a young man on my own, there were times I really wanted to get back to a good place with God. But life and my own selfishness would soon overtake those desires and replace them with worldly concerns, such as getting a girlfriend, trying to become a rock star, getting people to accept and like me, etc.
I had an important experience at the age of 25 that completely altered my understanding of my place with God. Being near death can certainly be an attitude adjuster. I came out of that experience with an important piece of information: God will do as God will do, and we are all but arrogant potsherds to the mysterious and merciful Potter.
Nevertheless, time went on, I grew older, eventually got married and had a child.
I tried my best to toe the line, but in retrospect I was really quite pathetic in my failed attempts to stay with God. I still hoped that my efforts would make a difference with my life and the lives of those I interacted with. Sunshine and rainbows, that was the message. God is in charge, God will take care of everything, God is truth.
All that is true, most certainly. But there was one tiny problem. I was fooling myself regarding my eternal destiny. About who I really am.
I have met people I know are going to be with God someday. I can't properly explain how I know, but I know. I can tell you they are few and far between, just like the Bible says. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
What are they like? Well, I can tell you what they're not like: they're not rough, not aggressive, not violent, not selfish, not cruel, not judgmental, not proud, not vain... and definitely not decadent. You disagree? That's fine. Just remember we're all geniuses at self delusion. Many people are mistaking their road to Hell for a subjective moral high ground.
Yes, this is anecdotal, yes I have no tangible proof. Some people think they can identify who goes to Hell, but I think that's nonsense. No one really knows who goes to Hell, because that destination is not ours to decide for others.
I have confidence I can tell who goes to be with the Lord (Heaven), because I realized recently that I was exercising cognitive dissonance on the subject. More simply put: I would guess most people think they're right with God, because they "know down deep inside" that they're "good people with good intentions."
However, when looking at myself with critical eyes, based on things I know about myself, I realize that despite anything kind or good I may have done, my eternal destiny is not Heaven, no matter how much I might wish it to be so.
The next question is: so if that's true and you know it for sure, what do you do with that?
My answer is simple: live my life, respect God and others to the best of my ability, and just accept the fate that awaits. Am I happy about it? Obviously not. Am I angry at God? No. God is God. The person that I am is the person I am, regardless of my wishful thinking, or attempts to change. And those people who will be with the Lord someday? I wish them all the happiness they deserve.
We are not the Creator, we are the created. Our responsibilities to each other are only square one. Most people think they don't deserve to end up in Hell. But a significant portion of them are wrong.
Honesty about one's self is probably the hardest thing for everyone to address.
Oh, and the "two worlds" thing mentioned earlier? Despite the fact that I don't think I'm going to Heaven, I still prefer the world with God. Why?
Because that's the world that gets righted eventually, and that's more important than my comfort.