OK, I'm new here and I don't know if this has been discussed, but I've done a lot of reading on the topic of UR and haven't seen it addressed anywhere. So, here goes!
My church (which is very much NOT Universalist and holds the traditional view of hell) teaches that babies, young children, mentally retarded people, etc. go to heaven when they die. There is not strong scriptural support for this, but it's widely accepted in the evangelical community. I have a book on the subject by Robert Lightner called "Heaven for Those Who Can't Believe." We also don't practice infant baptism, so that's a non-issue. But when you think about it, what is this really saying? Here are some ramifications if this popular belief on infant salvation is true:
- There will be millions, probably even billions of people in heaven who did not make a choice to be there. In fact, from a traditional view of who goes to heaven, the babies/children/etc. will probably outnumber those who made a choice to be there.
- In fact, if it's true that most pregnancies end in "natural" abortions in the first two weeks, and if life begins at conception, then there are far more "aborted" babies thatn there are babies that have been born. These aborted babies surely go to heaven. Therefore the number of people in heaven will far outnumber those in hell, contradicting the popular interpretation of Matthew 7:13,14.
- People CAN be saved after they die. The standard view is that babies aren't born saved, but God sovereignly chooses to save that baby post-mortem. See Robert Lightner's book for details.
- The doctrine is not clearly taught in Scripture. It's arrived at by piecing together ambiguous verses (Lightner admits this in his book). I'm convinced that the primary reason for the belief is the moral/ethical
implications regarding the character of God if you believe babies go to hell.
So, in light of this doctrine, which is widely accepted, is Universalism such a far stretch? Why then is it so adamantly opposed by most evangelicals?