A startling number of "born-again Christians" apparently hold heretical beliefs.
All told, 81% of Americans firmly believe in some type of life after death, with 9% considering it a possibility and only 10% believing that death brings utter finality, the survey found. And while 43% of respondents said that Christianity is their passport to glory, 15% say that they will get to heaven because they "have tried to obey the 10 Commandments." Another 15% expect to gain admittance because "they are basically a good person." Among the others, 6% believe that God is letting everyone in, no matter what.
Verily, this optimistic and expansive spirit is prevalent among born-again Christians. Earlier Barna surveys found that 26% of born-agains believe it doesn't matter what faith a person has because religions teach pretty much the same thing. Its recent survey found that 50% believe a life of "good works" will get you through the Pearly Gates. "Many committed born-again Christians believe that people have multiple options for gaining entry to Heaven," explains firm president George Barna. "They are saying, in essence, 'Personally, I am trusting Jesus Christ as my means of gaining God's permanent favor and a place in heaven--but someone else could get to heaven based upon living an exemplary life.'"
Besides rejecting the notion that Christianity is the only way to heaven, a large portion of born-agains (35%) do not believe that Jesus experienced a physical resurrection, according to Barna surveys. A majority (52%) reject the existence of the Holy Spirit as a living entity, and 45% deny Satan's existence. In the meantime, 33% accept the concept of same-sex unions, 10% believe in reincarnation and 29% think it's possible to communicate with the dead, a belief shared by a third of the population, which is very good news for the séance industry, if not for the keepers of the orthodox flame.
What does Jesus say on the matter?
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"
He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.'
"But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'
"Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'
"But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'
"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
Dean Esmay says this is why he renounced Christianity, and I respond here.