Do Only Christians Go to Heaven?

And other questions for the year 2001.

BY: Gregg Easterbrook

 

A year ago at this time, we might have predicted: far-reaching millennial celebrations, a peace agreement in the Middle East, an important United Nations summit of religious leaders, increasing denominational recognition of gay marriage and gay ordination, and a secular U.S. presidential campaign.



What we got was basically just the opposite: the millennium was a bust, the summit was widely (fairly or not) seen as hot air, peace negotiations caused the Middle East to erupt into violence, religion remained conflicted about gays, the Democratic Party nominated the first-ever Jewish candidate for the White House, and the presidential campaign featured almost as much talk about God as about lock-boxes.



Thus cautioned about the less-than-fabulous track record of predicting, what might we forecast for the year 2001? Here are a few educated guesses about what might be significant next year for the world of faith:



Do Only Christians Go to Heaven?

Pope John Paul II received surprisingly little notice when he spoke against the notion, central to much of Protestant thinking and most of Catholic history, of salvation exclusively through Christ. "The gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes--the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life--will enter God's kingdom," regardless of whether they profess Christ, the pontiff opined in December.



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