Frank Turek is a Christian author, public speaker and radio host. His breakout book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist is now a television show on the NRB Network. It was on his lecture tour for I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist that Turek was asked by a young woman named Hannah (captured in the video below) if she was going to hell: “My question [is] actually pretty simple … I generally try and be a good person … but I don’t believe in the Christian God. Do you think I’m going to hell?”
It’s the very question the world at large is dying to know, confirmed by the pin-drop silence of the room while the audience tensely awaits Turek’s response. Do good people go to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus? It’s a valid question. A concerning question for those of us as Christians that don’t have a ready answer. Luckily for us, Turek knows how to respond and not only is it thoughtful, but it’s extremely profound, loving and powerfully simple. So much so, that Hannah herself couldn’t refute Turek’s rebuttable. I’m not sure anyone really can.
Turek’s simple yet powerful response even made me pause, blinking a few times—mouth agape, before realizing how true his statement is: “I don’t think God is going to force anyone into heaven against their will.”
To which Hannah responded with a heartbreaking follow-up question, “Well, what if I wanted to go to heaven?”
And therein lies the rub, the idea of heaven sounds nice to the masses, but Jesus remains the stumbling block generation after generation. “…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…” (1 Corinthians 1:23). So what does happen if Hannah genuinely wants to go to heaven, but doesn’t want Jesus?
Turek answers, “[If you want to go to heaven] you pursue God. But it doesn’t appear that you’re interested in doing that … If God exists, you seem to be pretty apathetic about it.”
“Yeah,” Hannah agrees.
“Well, why would God force you into His presence for all eternity?”
“Well, that’s not my question. My question is about hell.”
“That is the difference between heaven and hell. Heaven is with God. Hell is separation from God.”
From there, Turek continues to explain the metaphors used in the bible to describe hell, “There are a lot of different metaphors in the bible. On the one hand, you’ve got burning and on the other hand, you’ve got outer darkness. So, you can’t have burning and outer darkness together. They’re metaphors meant to communicate destruction. Meant to communicate being apart from God.”
Turek summarizes to Hannah, “[I asked you], ‘If God exists and if Christianity is true would you become a Christian’ and you kind of said ‘no.’ … So, the question still resounds, why would God force any of us into His presence for all eternity if we don’t want to be with Him, loving Him, bowing to Him, worshipping Him?
“If you don’t bow your knee to a creator to get the free gift of eternal salvation, God will not force you into His presence into His will. He loves you too much for that.”