While I lead a very productive and moral life (moral in the sense that I respect others, do not intentionally cause harm to others and generally try to help my fellow human) I do not attend church, and I do not have a belief in a supernatural being.
I’ve never committed an act that would be considered criminal under any local, state or federal law (other than minor parking and moving violations). I have full time job and have always paid taxes. I served in the military and I have done charitable work since I was a teenager.
I was baptised as an infant by a Catholic priest. I completed communion during grade school and was later confirmed. I no longer participate in the church since I am an adult and nobody can force me anymore to do so.
Assuming that I continue with my current path, will I go to hell? If so, what awaits me there?
Not the right forum, but I’m guessing the answer is “probably.” :shrug: Unless you have not committed a mortal sin since your last confession and you don’t commit any mortal sins before your death, then you won’t be saved. We have no way of knowing that, so the better place to go for such an inquiry would be a priest.
We cannot judge your heart nor the state of your soul. How well were you truly catechized? Did you really receive the Gosspel into your heart and soul?
With a thankful heart - your fate is in God’s hands…It is for God to judge, not us…
Now if you are asking for assistance in finding the path to eternal life, then the Church has been entrusted with a message of Good News…
The Church has been formed and exists so that you may come to know Jesus and be baptized. The Church is to be a portal through which you may receive the graces that come from following Christ and coming into [or back to - for you] communion with the family of believers [the Church].
Repent of sins, and seek unity with God…it is your journey, and ultimately it is between you and Jesus…
But we [the Church] miss you and hope that you come home to share that journey with us…we are here working with you, eating in the same resturants, being tempted to evil [failing to resist and/or resisting with courage] and performing good works to the glory and the honor of Jesus, attending mass and the various other activities of daily life…come join us when the spirit moves you…
I pray that you will never be damned and that God loves you home…Pax Christe
**IV. HELL ** 1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." 1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs. 1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619
1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621
Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622
Many parishes have something called Landings–a program for Catholics who want to return the Church. Consider going–no one will force you to do anything. Re hell–honestly seeking spiritual truth helps I think but it is in God’s hand.
Imagine23 asked a straightforward question, and I gave a straightforward answer. I qualified the answer with a short discussion of mortal sin. If any of us dies in a state of mortal sin, then we will go to hell. This is fact. I am a practicing Catholic, and I have had to confess mortal sin. Therefore, I assume there is a probability that Imagine23 has committed a mortal sin. Should I lie, and say, “no, don’t worry about it, we are all saved?” How exactly does that bring one to join the Church?
I am very supportive of imagine23 and hope he (or she) comes home to the Catholic Church, confesses and works out salvation in “fear and trembling” like the rest of us.
The bigger issue with a person in this situation is “why do I not believe in God? Have I really examined my reasons?”.
There are no “scientific” reasons to disbelieve in God. In fact, atheistic cosmology is kaput, marooned in “a-causality” and the multiverse - desperate, un-provable, un-scientific attempts to keep from having to believe in God.
There are no “anthropological” reasons to disbelieve in God. Morality is not, in fact, completely relative. Humankind is remarkably unified in behavioral codes, and atheistic attempts to explain un-profitable human behaviors are un-satisfying to say the least.
There are no “historical” reasons to disbelieve in God. Read reasonably (With the Catholic Church) the Bible gives a very accurate history of the faith, particularly the New Testament sections dealing with Palestine can be verified to a high degree as being a historically accurate document. Old Testament events such as Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom have been found to be credible in light of the geological history of the near East during human history. Only fundamentalist hyper-literalism creates a problem here.
It is so much more reasonable to beleive in God, than to succumb to pseudo-science and atheistic wishful thinking against the evidence.
I would add that no one here can tell you if you are going to hell. Only God knows that. I would add that it seems you are choosing hell for yourself because you are choosing to separate yourself from God`s love. God does not want you to go to hell. But by rejecting Him, that is what you choose. The question to ask yourself is why are you choosing this. Why did you choose to leave the Catholic Church, and what obstacles are you facing that keep you from returning.
We will keep you in our prayers. I recommend you seek the Sacrament of Reconcillation.
Adequate for whom? And if one accepts the probability of a multiverse, what exactly does that change? The only real difference for your position is you now have any number of unobserved universes to explain, instead of just the one that you still haven’t been able to give an “adequate” explanation for.
Nobody can tell you if you are going to go to hell or not. That’s only for God to know.
However, if you reject God and the Faith to the moment of your death, then you will have chosen Hell for yourself. Hell is a place (not just a state of mind, as some would say) of eternal separation from God. It is devoid of love and happiness. There is only the harshest pain and suffering and hatred. Nothing in this world can compare to the pains of Hell.
It seems like you are living a very good, moral life. Nevertheless, there will come the day when you are called home by the Father and all the things you have gathered in this world and all the deeds you have done will count for nothing. My question to you is, have you ever had a relationship with God? It is great you have been baptized and given other sacraments, so seeds of grace have been planted within you. Reach out to God. Go to Eucharistic Adoration with an open mind. I know you don’t think that what looks like a wafer in the monstrance is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but reach out to Him and ask Him to show Himself to you if He really exists. If you are honest and sincere in your prayer, He will answer you. After all, what have you got to lose? This short life on earth is nothing compared to Eternity. Can you honestly say that you are certain that there is no God and no afterlife? Can you honestly say you know that for a fact? If you are not certain, doesn’t that mean that there really could be a God and Heaven and Hell?
I will end my post by saying again, go to Eucharistic Adoration or just go and kneel in a Catholic Church where the Eucharistic Lord is present in the tabernacle. Be open to God and try not to be skeptical or anything like that. Ask Him to show Himself to you if He really exists. Do not be afraid to ask God bold questions. Tell Him the reasons that you do not believe and ask Him to help you to believe. Faith is a gift. And remember, God loves you and He wants you to be eternally with Him in Heaven. In fact, he loves you so much that He died on the Cross just so you could go to Heaven.
Thanks Jimbo. We could go back and forth all day about the justifications for belief or non belief in your “God,” which is more rational, etc. That is really an aside. For the purposes of this discussion, please accept that over many years of consideration and study, I have simply not been able to accept the notion of the existence of the “God” that the Catholic Church puts forth.
In light of that, it sound like you think I will go to hell in spite of my positive worldly behavior. So what awaits me in hell?
I’m not intending in any way to be mocking or uncharitable. Please do not construe my questions that way. I’m trying to learn.
You raise a good point though. If I don’t believe in hell, can I still go there? I still don’t understand what hell would be like (other than the general firey pits stories). What would I do on a day to day basis in hell?
Hell sounds like a really bad place. One thing that does confuse me somewhat is that many other religions have their own concepts of eternal damnation and I do not adhere to those religions either. This potentially opens me up as a candidate to numerous sites of eternal damnation upon my death. How will it be decided which religion’s hell lays claim to me? Will I have to rotate between several?