Yes. People trying to do good may do terrible things because their notion of what is good simply isn't grounded in anything. Was hitler trying to be good when he exterminated the Jews? If you reject the very foundation to define good and evil, it is no surprise when you do evil even if you think you're doing good. This is enabled by the fact that you have committed the greatest evil in rejecting God.
No one can really judge if one is good or not except God. So we cannot really tell that someone actually lived a good life as his or her motives might have been misleading. If one lives a good life according to God's standard of good, then sure, he or she will make it to heaven. But that is something that only God will determine.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No human is completely righteous without sin. If you don't have faith in Jesus Christ, them you are judged by God and condemned to hell for all of your sin. Without faith in Christ you have nothing to cover those sins. His death is what would make you righteous if you believe in Him as he died specifically to cover your sins.
As an atheist, i view this question as redundant. If you do not believe in God, you will therefore not believe in Hell, since it is a purely religious notion, undoubtedly related to the notion of God.
Therefore if you state not to believe in God but believe in Hell, you are a closeted believer, and therefore unconsciously you will "go to hell", because your belief system supports that notion, as much as you try to avoid it.
Being an atheist is not being disrespectful to Religion, but seeking a different convincing process, that requires absolute and evidence based truths.
The actual notion of doing good without affiliation to a cause is pointless. If a man volunteers only to win the favor of another man and promote himself is he doing anything less than the man who volunteers for the joy of volunteering or the man who volunteers because he is lonely at home and wishes to alleviate his pain? The answer is no. Their motives are different but their actions are not. Ignoring their motives is impossible since if we asked these men, and they were honest, just as humans we would judge each one differently based on his mentality. This too is how He works; the idea is simply surrounding yourself with the faithful versus salvation for being good or condemnation for being bad. The prospect is not about a being who is worried about your timeouts.
If you are a bad person you deserve to go to Hell, and if you are a good person you deserve to go to Heaven. This is simply logical, but this isn't the way it works in religion. In religion all you have to do is accept God into your heart and you are going to Heaven. You can still be a bad person and just ask for forgiveness. If you disagree just remember in the New Testament when Jesus forgave the criminals on the crosses next to him. Those men lived a life of crime, yet according to Christians they got to go to Heaven. This is simply illogical because they were bad people. I'm an Atheist who is living a righteous life I deserve to go to Heaven as much as the next guy.
This is just a silly notion. Any God that signs good people up for infinite torture for the finite crime of not being gullible enough to believe a proposition on poor evidence is immoral and not worthy of worship. . . . . . . . . . . .
What you deserve has nothing to do with it. It's entirely about free-will, and which path we choose to take. How you lived out your life is irrelevant when it comes down to heaven and hell.
Consider this: doesn't it seem a little bit out of character for God to say "Believe in me or die."? Seems a bit harsh to me. But then I realized that we've been misinterpreting this all along. It's not about "fear me or die", but about his gift. He is giving us an option. The way this should be interpreted is:
"I'm offering you an option. I gave you free will for a reason, and I'm not going to take it away now. I'm giving you something: the gift of life. The gift of salvation. It's your choice as to whether you accept it."
You see, he's not sending us to hell for "disobeying his orders", or not believing. We are sending ourselves to hell by rejecting his gift of life. If we don't want to be saved (or in other words, refuse to believe that he can save us/refuse to believe that he exists at all), then he won't force the gift upon us.
So therefore, it is not about deserving, but more about whether we WANT to be saved. Anyone who rejects him (directly or indirectly) is rejecting his gift, and therefore is condemning themselves to hell. They don't want to be with God, therefore, they don't have to be. But there are only two ways: God, or no God. One leads to eternal life, the other to the results of sin (otherwise known as hell). God is not some big, cruel, power-monger sitting up there in his palace threatening us with eternal misery if we don't bow down to him. He's offering us a second chance. We could even say that we are already on the path to hell, unless we accept his gift. But it is entirely our choice, as we have been granted free will, and he's not going to make the decision for us.
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." – Steven Weinberg
The way the human brain works is by trying to make sense of the environment around it. When it can't explain something, it makes something up until it can figure out what's actually going on. The bible was written in an age where people knew very little about anything, therefore this book was written to try and explain why things are the way they are in the world around us. Now that we actually understand what things actually are, and why natural events take place, books like the bible, and other superstitions are not needed any more to put our minds at ease. Therefore, the idea of God is just a coping mechanism.
This is basically the same question asked differently. A baby has done nothing wrong in their life so if they die, not consciously accepting a religion or deity, then they do not deserve to go to hell as they have done nothing wrong. This would be the same as saying that a normal person deserves to go to jail for murder but never actually murdered someone. Slightly off tangent, I know, but related.
It appears to me that much of this argument is going to take root in the argument of whether or not we can define good or goodness without a god-like figure. To limit goodness to a god-like figure brings up the debate of whether something is good because the god-like being says it is or because it is intrinsically good and as such the god-like being must say that it is good. Personally, I feel that we humans have to ability to judge something as good or bad, moral or immoral, righteous or unrighteous. Now, I am not saying that we are perfect at this, see the Crusades or human sacrifices in some cultures as examples, but that we are capable of it. It will take time, a lot of thought, and hours of talking but we are capable of it. Take the time to read some of the philosophical writings on this matter and you'll see that we are growing in our understanding of ethics.
As a side note, this argument is hinged on whether there is a god-like being or not but that is a different debate entirely.
Any system that claims punishment and reward should be doled out according to what a person believes rather than whether a person is moral, compassionate, and kind is an immoral belief system on its face.
Never mind that religion is almost entirely determined by where a person is born- so saying Rajesh is doomed because he had the misfortune to be born in Mumbai and learned from birth Hinduism is the truth, while Billy Bob gets a pass to paradise because he was born in Mobile and taught Christianity is the truth is just plain sick.
I am a Deist, but that doesn't mean I think God ignores us. I believe his reason for creating the universe was so that life would naturally form, experience its own experiences, and then die and join God in Heaven, which would be an endless expanse of matter and energy. Since God wishes all life to join him after death, he has no use for a Hell. He is too kind to do something like that, even to someone horribly wicked. Therefore, all people go to Heaven, regardless of what they do or believe. Although, those who were terrible in life may be weighed down and bound to their corpses. Only once they realize the gravity of their crimes and truthfully repent for what they did will they be able to go to Heaven.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”