What if heaven wasn't offered, would I still choose to be a Christian or would anyone for that matter?
Hey, this is a very good question as it touches on some very thought-provoking considerations.
Have you ever noticed that our contemporary evangelistic communities talk far more of "heaven" than anything EVER mentioned in the Bible? Why do you think that is so? I know, more questions instead of answers, huh? :)
But it's true. Do you think maybe it's because WE think we need to bribe people with "God's offer" of the "good place" instead of the "bad place"? I find it interesting that God's "plan of salvation" as presented in modern Christianity would make you ask the question in the first place - for the question ASSUMES that "salvation" is a PLACE offered to us like a piece of candy in hopes that we will take advantage of it. Such a salvation would depend highly on how appealing the preacher can make the offer sound, and also how well he could answer the usual objections.
What I'm really trying to get at is it seems so selfish to only accept Christ for a reward when it was paid for with such a selfless act, ultimately I feel guilty even though I know that's not of Christ. It seems like God is bribing us with heaven when that sounds nothing like my God.
Ah, grasshopper ... you see more clearly than you might imagine!! :) Of course, you're quite right in suggesting that such a motive would be selfish - it is. The truth is that we did not learn Christ according to the principles of this world. It was nothing less than miraculous!!
But the "gospel" we have heard so many times in this world needs no miracle, it doesn't really even need Christ for that matter because it is established after the pattern of the world's logic, motivations, and ideologies ... just "Christianized".
As far as the "choosing" goes I am fully convinced that it is all of God, and not a decision I have made. Truthfully, I would not have made such a choice - for I had other plans in which a nominal religion was sufficient. Unfortunately, we can doctrinalize the life right out of the miraculous salvation of Christ in order to explain why WE are saved while others are not, for often the argument still hinges upon the "heaven vs. hell" scenario instead of upon real LIFE without condemnation in Christ.