Tell that to all the Christains who believe otherwise.
"A Murderer or a rapist is evil and therefore shall go to hell as punishment for being evil!! The same for anybody else who has promicous sex, etc..."
AH but I didn't say there "wasn't punishment" I just said that it was ABOUT punishment. :D (punishment and eternal punishment are also different things)
Murder and Rape are sins that if unrepented* for will keep you from passing the test.
*Repentance is a lot more complicated than merely "I'm sorry." It involves the sacrifice of Christ in order to bring all of us up to a plane where we have an actual chance of making it into the kingdom of God. No person on this earth could make it without Christ, but unfortunatley even with Christ, some are not willing to change their ways. They cannot return to God's presence. Not because it is a punishment per se but because they, due to their choices in life, A) would not want to be there, and B) could not withstand being in God's glory.
The whole Heven/Hell thing is more complicated too. There are varying degrees of Heaven and varying degrees of Hell.
Also a person cannot sin in ignorance. If they are ignorent of a sin, they are not culpable. Until of course the person learns. Knowledge carries responsibility. The more knowledge the more is expected. But we also cannot be "saved" in ignorance. Sooner or later all who are truly ignorant will be informed as to the rules of Heaven.
Black Kitty, I think you have it it right on the head. (with the sugar daddy comparison)
The biggest misunderstandings about God seem to come from a misunderstanding about people and what we are.
Some people think that we are spontaneous entities, who by chance and luck happen to exist. Others think that God made us to please him, to worship him. There are many different takes but none really approaches the truth.
We are all eternal beings. We all have a spirit inside us which cannot die and which existed before we were born and will exist after our bodies rot in the earth. This is key to understanding God. If we were mere creations in God's toy-world/sandbox, then all these rules and Heaven/Hell all of that would make no sense what-so-ever.
But we are not mere whim's of a super powerful being.
Death is not the biggest tragedy of life. Its not a bad thing at all. It is merely a transition from one place to another.
Before this earth was created, we lived with God, who is the Father of our spirits. We wanted to be like Him. We were taught and we grew and developed. But there reached a point where we could not grow any further while still in His presence. While we were with Him there was no question that we would want to do as He wanted. He was our Father, we knew Him and loved Him. So he devised an earth as a further training ground. The reason for the earth was two-fold. It was to provide us a place where we would not be under the direct influence of God, so that we could develop further, learn more, and be tested. The second reason was to gain a body. God, our Father had a body, but we did not. To become like Him we needed one.
Now there was a large council in Heaven, before this plan was set in motion. God knew that out of His sphere of influence we would not be perfect, so part of his plan involved a Savior, to show us the way and make our return possible. Jesus Christ, the first of God's spiritual children, volunteered. He said He would do whatever the Father wanted and the Glory would be the Father's. He knew that not all His children would make it back, but it was the only way to be sure who was up to snuff, so to speak, to see who could stand up to the pressure, who could be trusted.
Now there was another of the spirit children of God who was afraid. He wasn't sure that he would make it back without God's influence. So he volunteered too. His name was Lucifer. But it wasn't enough for him to volunteer to be Savior and executor of God's will, Lucifer wanted to change the plan. He thought he knew better than the Father. So he proposed a plan where EVERYONE would return to the Father because they would all be FORCED to be good. He thought this a much better plan than God's and said, "I will bring them all back, and the Glory will be mine."
God rejected Lucifer's plan and chose Christ as the Savior. Lucifer did not accept this choice and was angry that his "superior" plan was not chosen. He rebelled against God. He had created a following and Lucifer and 1/3 of God's children were evicted from Heaven for rebellion. They were so angry that the plan of Forced Righteousness was not chosen that they determined to throw as many wrenches into the works as they could and so became the Devil and his angels. Because they were evicted before the plan was accomplished, they never received mortal bodies. And so as spirits they wander the earth tempting man. Now because they are merely spirits they can have no power over man except what power man gives them. So they whisper to man, hoping to trick him into sinning. For each time they trick man into sinning, the more in their grasp that man becomes.
But Christ came to balance the equation. He came to show the way. He also came to suffer for our sins so that (if we accept and follow him) we would not have to suffer for our own sins. But free agency was given to man in the beginning. It was by free agency that Lucifer was allowed to rebel, it is by free agency that we can choose how to live our life. We can choose to do whatever we want. But their are consequences for our actions. Not punishments per se, but as in physics: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So also for every action we take on earth there is a consequence, be it a good consequence or a not so enjoyable consequence.
Lucifer wanted to avoid the consequences, which is why he sought to take away free will. But it is such a precious thing that we are truly free that God defended that right.
After we are finished with our stint here on this earth we will return to God to report on how we did. This is generally seen as the Judgement. Christ will be there to speak for us. We will present ourselves and it will be seen that yes, we sinned, but we learned from those sins and bettered ourselves and took Christ's sacrifice and followed him. That way we will be able to re-enter God's kingdom as heirs. His son's and daughter's returned in glory and triumph.
Those who during this life willingly and fully knowing the plan rebel against God and His laws will be unfit to enter His kingdom and just as the early rebels in the beginning, they will be cast out, forever unable to be in God's presence. Willful rebellion is the only unforgivable sin, because the sinner is unwilling to change. God would accept gladly any who desired deep in his heart to change and be good, but as we have seen he will never force us. So God is forced to send them away as unfit.
It is ALL about free agency, from beginning to end. This is not a fatalistic end. It is merely that we are in the middle of the test and we are unable to see the beginning or the end. We wander in the dark, but a light was given to us if we but desire to change and follow.