My religious friends and family fear for my soul—not because of anything I’ve done, but because on questionnaires asking for religious affiliation, I mark “none.” In the Christian view, belief in the God of the Bible is essential to salvation.
To faith, Mormons add works. Receiving Church ordinances and keeping commandments are both essential in order to make it back into God’s presence and receive all the blessings of eternal life. Catholics, as I understand, must be baptized and receive the last rites to gain access to Heaven. Evangelical Protestants must confess Jesus as their personal savior. Non-believers are out.
Probably few contemporary Christians believe in the hell of Dante and Milton who depicted Satan and his minions torturing sinners in fire and brimstone. Still, I suspect that in the minds of most Christians, Hell is a permanent place of misery. Only true believers who have repented of their sins will be allowed into Heaven and reunited with loved ones.
If God had made perfectly clear which humanly-flawed religion has divine approval, I could see some justification in condemning those who can’t jump on the bandwagon. As it is, I don’t buy Alma’s argument to Korihor in the Book of Mormon. Alma claims that the testimony of the prophets in the scriptures and the wonders of the earth and order of the planets prove the existence of God. Alma fails to acknowledge that scriptures are sometimes contradictory, and that the creation of the earth has plausible explanations beyond a divine creator.
If I were God, I would judge people by how they live, not by what they believe. I can’t believe in a God who is a worse person than I am.