At the heart of Cooper’s faith and sense of righteousness was his firm belief that Jesus Christ is the singular pathway to salvation. He made reference to a biblical dictum that says that in order to be saved you must declare with your mouth and in your heart that Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior. Baring that declaration, a person is doomed to damnation. Cooper was reluctant to say that outright, but in the end he coyly said, “Yeah. I guess so, if you don’t accept Christ you’re damned.”
In my view this doomsday edict is undermined by the randomness of human circumstance. A person’s particular faith and spiritual orientation is significantly influenced by the family and social circumstances into which they are born. Both of those enormously powerful developmental influences are random. Cooper could no more choose to grow up in a subdivision with super Christian parents than I could choose to grow up with super Christian parents in
According to Cooper, those people have the opportunity to learn about the opportunity for salvation, shed their spiritual belief system and accept Christ. That is why he spends time spreading the Word, so that they will be informed.
Cooper didn’t really have a response for that. “I don’t know, I guess I just know that Christ is right,” he said. In a classroom when it boils down to, “I don’t know, I just know,” nine teachers out of ten will assume you just guessed. If you have no further explanation than that, the random nature of the selection is apparent.
I would never argue against the power of revelation. As a consequence of that, it is easy for me to accept those that believe that Christ is the path to salvation. I have trouble, however, when that revelation is coupled with ignorance of the possible alternative paths and an adamant declaration that those unknown paths are not righteous. Faith can be the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It ought not be the prosecutor of things unknown and the constraint on human variation.