One of the great ironies of religion is it's insistence that a person must take responsibility for their actions. How else can one be expected to deserve the fires of hell or the pleasures of heaven?
But Christianity is quite the paradox in this regard. And this is because Christ himself supposedly died blameless, on the one hand, and Christians always insist that Heaven is a reward that cannot be obtained through our actions, on the other.
So, according to the Christian perspective, a person can never earn the reward of heaven, they can only ask and receive it through God's loving grace. This therefore removes pretty much all of the responsibility tied to the concept of Christianity, since the only thing a person is held responsible for, in this respect, is not any of the actions they may have engaged in over the course of their life, but whether they ever thought to ask for "forgiveness" for engaging in those actions.
It therefore matters not if one lives the life of Sir Isaac Newton, who was so proud of maintaining his virginity for his entire life, or Adolf Hitler. For through their actions, neither has "earned" heaven any more than the other, for the most part. By the Christian reasoning, then, if it was only Hitler who thought to apologize for his dastardly ways upon his death, and Newton with his head in the stars who plum forget to do so, it is only the former who was responsible enough for their life to have deserved heaven, and the other who had earned hell through the unforgivable mistake of having forgotten to ask for forgiveness.
Add to this the fact that Christians generally do not take responsibility for their vices any more than they feel they should be glorified for their virtues, since the devil is behind the former and the holy spirit is said to have animated the latter.
Forgiveness, therefore, is the fly in the ointment of religion, for even as religion preaches eternal damnation as every human beings just deserves, and for no other reason than just being born (we only deserve it all the more with each day we live thereafter), we are incapable of earning our reward. The sin for which we are all so deserving of hell from the moment we are conceived according to religion is not our own, since it traces its origins back to Adam and Eve, and then the murder of Christ himself, and neither is our redemption, which was only achieved by Christ having risen from the dead.
Rather, we are only too deserving of hell and woefully incapable of ever doing enough to earn the right to heaven. Instead, we must time our death most perfectly to have asked for forgiveness at the exact moment of our demise so that we may enter the great hereafter without the blemish of mortal sin, for which we are told will damn us for all eternity.
But if we are fortunate to have asked for forgiveness at the exact moment we slip the surely bonds of earth, then no amount of genocide or sin could ever be more than God can expunge from the record, so that he can welcome us with loving arms to the heavenly reward that we had less responsibility for earning than the hell we all so justly deserve.
And at the pearly gates, one expects to see a long line of Christians arguing tooth and nail that it was the devil who made me do it.
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