A really interesting piece by Michael Collett examines the problematic issue of whether God would condemn him for his sincerely held atheism and a response by Michael Jensen called Sincerity is not enough. My sympathies and agreements are all on the side of Collett. I think Jensen posits some rather tortuous arguments which don't add up and deliberately misinterprets what Collett is saying, for example accusing him of an irrational protest against a God he doesn't believe in when Collett is quite clearly rejecting a concept others claim he must hold about God as a prerequisite for belief- an entirely different matter.
It also interests me because my immediate family are largely unbelieving, one son is a staunch atheist, my other son is agnostic and Kev had his serious doubts about Christianity and the Church. Many of my extended family are fundamentalist Christians and regard such beliefs as guaranteeing hell-fire. I have never had any concerns that God is going to send them to hell because I have had some sort of glimpse of the sheer love of God and it simply doesn't square with what I know. I know how much I love them and I know that God's love far exceeds mine. If anyone thinks that is an argument based on subjectivity then they can jog on; the whole thing is subjective if we are going down that line.
I am not sure I am quite a universalist, although I am getting there. I've lost even the desire to condemn my grandfather (who sexually abused me from the age of four to thirteen) to everlasting damnation and,if the glimpse I have had of God is right in anyway, then he is whole lot more capable of managing and reconciling justice and forgiveness than I am. I have found God in surprising places over these last few months (no, don't give me that one about was he behind the sofa...) and I've come to wonder whether some atheists might not really be Christians. Jensen might be interested to consider that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" knows Christ and there will be those who will be surprised that they have met him without knowing that they did.
I've no doubt that some Christians would give counter quotes about Jesus being the way, the truth and the life and that no-one comes to the Father but through him. Well, you can use scripture for anything, but in any case this verse does not quite say believe or you go to hell. It says Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, it is quite possible and very humbling that some seem to find that way, that truth, that light without any explicit religious beliefs.