I know the title is ridiculous so let me explain. The Catechism states that those who truly search for God but due to error in reason have become atheist may still be saved. How about those who truly do not care about the question? I ask about those who do not seek for God but avoid the inquiry.

It’s certainly an interesting question. I actually had a friend in high school who could be described like that.


That certainly describes most of the atheists I know. They don’t really think God exists and they don’t care enough to find out.

To be saved apart from being in the Catholic Church requires “invincible ignorance” (i.e. it isn’t your fault that you aren’t Catholic). The classic case would be an aboriginal tribe somewhere that has never heard the Gospel, or even of Jesus or His Holy Church. Because God doesn’t require the impossible, these people are not damned for not belonging to the Church / believing in the Gospel. However, someone who just doesn’t bother searching wouldn’t be in “invincible ignorance”, wouldn’t be outside the Church through no fault of their own and hence would likely not be saved. Of course, it is impossible to speculate on the state of any individual soul (only God knows what the person’s state is at the moment of death) but overall we can say it isn’t very likely for someone who just doesn’t care to make it to heaven. Remember, Jesus commanded us to “Strive to enter by the narrow gate” (Lk 13:24). Whether or not someone who fills their life with other concerns while neglecting the search for truth is “striving” to make it to Heaven, I’ll leave for you to determine.

At the heart of your question, though, seems to be the mistaken notion that most (or all) people will finally be saved. I suggest you read an excellent book looking at what Vatican 2 teaches about salvation by Dr. Ralph Martin - Will Many Be Saved?

Hmm… Does that make me liable if I don’t admonish him? As I am, I do not directly attack people but I attempt to spread the faith both by action and by word. I only debate if there is a direct attack on doctrine but otherwise I don’t start the argument. What is the moral thing to do?

Arguing with people isn’t always the best way to convert them (this from someone who argues with a lot of people about religion). We are to sow seeds. Whether they convert or not is up to the Holy Ghost and their “soul”. (cf Matt 13). Witness to the faith, be prepared to make a defense (with charity) if need be (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), but feel like you have to constantly attack people - such rarely works.

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