Are atheists held to higher standards regarding mortal sin?


#1

In many threads, we have Catholics either explicitly stating or inferring that atheists go to hell, just because … they are atheists.

This would assume that all atheists are de facto in a state of mortal sin. Mortal sin must involve: Grave matter, knowledge (understanding) that it is grave matter on the part of the individual, full consent of the will on the part of the individual.

How do we know that all 3 apply to each and every atheist? To any particular atheist?

Atheists are seemingly further up the proverbial creek in the fact that they do not have access to the sacraments. To obtain God’s forgiveness via the Catholic sacramental route, if they are in a state of mortal sin, they would have to lie about believing in God … quite a catch-22 … they would have to commit a sin in order to be forgiven one.


#2

Actually, reading through, I think the atheists have been responded to with great charity and patience.
I think everyone is held to a high standard of morality. They can’t measure up to something that is foreign to their beliefs, or lack there of.


#3

Hi Emily,

I wasn’t referring to ‘charity’ at all … just the stance taken by some that atheists, in general, are by definition, going to hell. That can be stated with or without charity … but does it jive with Catholic doctrine?


#4

I would be willing to go so far as to say that Catholics are held to a higher standard in the Catholic Church than say Atheists based on Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”


#5

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]I would be willing to go so far as to say that Catholics are held to a higher standard in the Catholic Church than say Atheists based on Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
[/quote]

Good point. I agree with you. Even if I didn’t, it would still be a good point. :slight_smile:


#6

Hi,
In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle states that everyone is without excuse, since the might and power of God is manifest in creation.

An atheist is already in a hell of their own making. What is hell? In part, it is the separation of one’s soul from God. The atheist chooses to separate themselves from God.

Unless the atheist abandons their errors, they are in VERY bad shape on judgement day.
Peace,
Ryan


#7

[quote=ServusChristi]An atheist is already in a hell of their own making.
[/quote]

How is it their own making?

What is hell? In part, it is the separation of one’s soul from God. The atheist chooses to separate themselves from God.

Please explain this statement.

Unless the atheist abandons their errors, they are in VERY bad shape on judgement day.
Peace,
Ryan

To abandon their errors, they would require sufficient evidence in favor of God. That is the only way an atheist can abandon the lack of belief in a god (the definition of atheism by the way). An atheist cannot be at fault when the evidence is totally absent or unconvincing.


#8

[quote=ServusChristi]Hi,
In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle states that everyone is without excuse, since the might and power of God is manifest in creation.
[/quote]

This is news to me.

Clarkal


#9

[quote=ServusChristi]Hi,
In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle states that everyone is without excuse, since the might and power of God is manifest in creation.

An atheist is already in a hell of their own making. What is hell? In part, it is the separation of one’s soul from God. The atheist chooses to separate themselves from God.

Unless the atheist abandons their errors, they are in VERY bad shape on judgement day.
Peace,
Ryan
[/quote]

Servus Christi until you can step outside yourself and understand that atheists primarily have a problem with the concept of faith. Some people cannot believe what they cannot see, and the supposed evidence for believing isn’t interpreted as evidence. Therefore why would an atheist choose to believe in God if he cannot even see how God could exist in the first place? How can you then, simply choose to believe in something that seems irrational to you?

You seem to use powerful, somewhat disdainful words in your argument. I suggest you stop and rethink your assumptions before you believe that God would punish those who cannot believe in him.


#10

Atheists, who call themselves athiests, have rejected a god of anykind. If they believe in a supreme being but not a particular one, such as the Christian/Judeo god, they are agnostic.

Anyway, it does say in the bible, all who are given much, much is expected. Sooo, this seems to mean that we may be judged more harshly than the atheists or agnostics.
We acknowledge God, know what we have to do to go to heaven, and if we don’t do it, then we will have a lot to answer for.

Some believe anyone who has rejected the Catholic Faith is going to hell, no matter how good a christian they are. Again, wouldn’t we be judged more harshly.

Anyone who is not a Catholic but has never had the religion explained in a way that would show them clearly that it is the church Jesus founded, is not truly rejecting God or the church. They have been misled by others and I believe still have a chance at redemption.

This is only my belief, but I believe that since Jesus is a forgiving God, if at their death, a non Catholic stands before Him and is finally presented with the truth, he will at that time be given a final chance to accept or reject the truth. For until you have hardened your heart against the Trinity, I don’t believe you will be sent directly to hell. You may spend a long time in purgatory, but I believe until you are presented with the truth, you cannot reject it.

I may be wrong, and I am open to others opinions.
Pray for me.


#11

[quote=ELDEN’S WIFE]Atheists, who call themselves athiests, have rejected a god of anykind…Anyway, it does say in the bible, all who are given much, much is expected. Sooo, this seems to mean that we may be judged more harshly than the atheists or agnostics…
[/quote]

Here’s my take on this: There are two kinds of atheists. (1) Those that truly believe that there is no God and (2) those that say they believe there is no God but in reality are too stubborn to admit to themselves that there is a God. The second variety would be judged more harshly in my opinion.

When I approach an atheist, I should not automatically assume he/she is of the second variety I described above.

My two cents.:slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]Here’s my take on this: There are two kinds of atheists. (1) Those that truly believe that there is no God and (2) those that say they believe there is no God but in reality are too stubborn to admit to themselves that there is a God. The second variety would be judged more harshly in my opinion.

When I approach an atheist, I should not automatically assume he/she is of the second variety I described above.

My two cents.:slight_smile:
[/quote]

The second variety is not an atheist, but a lying theist.


#13

[quote=ELDEN’S WIFE]Atheists, who call themselves athiests, have rejected a god of anykind. If they believe in a supreme being but not a particular one, such as the Christian/Judeo god, they are agnostic.
[/quote]

infidelguy.com/modules.php?name=FAQ&myfaq=yes&id_cat=2&categories=Common+Terms+and+Definitions#2

**Atheist **- a (without) theism (god belief)
**Agnostic **- a (without) gnostic (knowledge)

No, you don’t have to be an atheist to reject a god. I’ve seen “ex-atheists” on this very board that were never atheists, but only theists that were lying to themselves the whole time. The agnostic you described is not what you think it is. Agnosticism is not a middle ground between atheist and theist, but rather a description that applies to both. You can have agnostic atheists and agnostic theists.

Agnostic atheists don’t believe in a god, but they do not **know **if there is a god or not.

Agnostic theists do believe in a god in some general sense, but do not know if there actually is a god.


#14

[quote=clarkal]This is news to me.

Clarkal
[/quote]

Romans 1:19-23

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.”

Now, the Apostle is speaking of pagans here, but it is just as applicable to the atheist. According to Paul, the eternal power and deity of God can be understood from creation itself. Creation provides all of the evidence we need that God exists. It cannot tell us entirely who He is, for this we need Revelation, but His existence is clearly made known by the things He has made.

Thus, to claim atheists are not culpable for their lack of belief would seemingly contradict the Apostle. The evidence is there, they just choose not to beleive it.
God bless


#15

[quote=dredgtone]Servus Christi until you can step outside yourself and understand that atheists primarily have a problem with the concept of faith. Some people cannot believe what they cannot see, and the supposed evidence for believing isn’t interpreted as evidence. Therefore why would an atheist choose to believe in God if he cannot even see how God could exist in the first place? How can you then, simply choose to believe in something that seems irrational to you?

You seem to use powerful, somewhat disdainful words in your argument. I suggest you stop and rethink your assumptions before you believe that God would punish those who cannot believe in him.
[/quote]

They are not my assumptions. The last I checked, faith in Jesus Christ was the only way into heaven. You seem to be saying that one does not even have to believe that God exists to reach ultimate union with Him (heaven).

We can make excuses for everyone and explain away their defects, or we can try to help them by presenting the truth in charity.

I guess I would have to step outside of myself in order to do that though.


#16

[quote=Booger]How is it their own making?
[/quote]

The atheist is separated from God in a very real way. They do not believe He exists, they do not worship Him, nor do they love Him above all things. Even though God is very near if they will answer Him, God has allowed them to separate themselves from Him because of their free-will. To me, living in the world without knowledge of God would be like hell.

[quote=Booger]To abandon their errors, they would require sufficient evidence in favor of God. That is the only way an atheist can abandon the lack of belief in a god (the definition of atheism by the way). An atheist cannot be at fault when the evidence is totally absent or unconvincing.
[/quote]

The evidence is present and convincing, the atheist chooses not to accept it.
Peace be with you,
Ryan


#17

ServusChristi,
if God is real, then the separation is real. So then I would have to ask, where is the evidence that indicates that God is real? If you can’t present it, then I will have to assume you are making it up or that you just believe because you want to. If God doesn’t present the evidence, then he is cruel. Here is something just for fun.

infidelguy.com/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=19

ARGUMENT FROM NON-BELIEF
1.) If the Christian God exists, he wants ALL humans to know he exists.
2.) If the Christian God exists, he knows what evidences are sufficient for ALL to know that he exists.
3.) Not ALL people believe in God.
4.) God’s evidences, thus far, are insufficient for ALL to believe.
5.) God either wants non-christians to exist or there is no Christian God. (from 2,3 and 4) - IG
(If God wants atheists to exist… why all the threats of Hell and damnation in Christian theology?)

ARGUMENT FROM JUDGEMENT
1.) If the Christian God exists, he will judge all men one day.
2.) At judgement, atheists will learn the truth, that there is a God.
3.) It follows then that God has the power to reveal himself to atheists in a manner of which they cannot deny his existence.
4.) It follows from that, that God hasn’t revealed himself to current atheists in a manner of which they cannot deny his existence, yet.
5.) Atheism is a tenable position.
(A counter argument is to state that God requires that we have faith. One would think that surely God would be intelligent enough to know that faith would not be a viable option to the atheist or even the non-christian to believe in him (Yahweh). He would therefore have to provide evidence if he wants us to accept him as a reality. If he doesn’t, then it’s on God, right?)


#18

Booger, I think that both of those arguments are self-defeating. :slight_smile: I will give a few reasons.

First, neither of those arguments even consider that God does provide enough evidence to believe. It seems that if there are hard-core atheists who have converted to Christianity, then there is obviously enough evidence to reach theistic conclusions.

Secondly, neither of those arguments acknowledge the fact that people can mold any evidence to fit their pre-determined worldview, or can just ignore the evidence altogether. The arguments against God that were just presented illustrate this fact perfectly. To put it simply in order to keep this thread on topic, both arguments show both/either a) a lack of understanding of the concept of free will and/or b) complete ignorance of the Christian position.

The arguments presented fail to acknowledge any of these things. Now, us theists could take the bait and go against the threadmaker’s wishes and discuss the proofs for God’s existence, but that would be both unproductive and mean to the threadmaker. Even if we did take the bait, the arguments you present make me wonder if you would listen. The arguments presented portray a very simplistic view of God. How can an atheist truly say that God has not presented enough evidence for His own existence when the atheist clearly hasn’t gone out searching for the evidence?

Which ties me back into the topic of the thread: faith is a gift, as all Christians acknowledge. God will not condemn someone if they do not inherit a gift that He has not given them. However, He will not have mercy on them if He is trying to give them the gift and they don’t accept it. This happens in one of two ways: either the atheist (or any person for that matter) ignores the evidence, or the atheist never bothers to seek God in the first place.

No person knows what lies in a man’s heart, so the original question of this thread is too broad. If an atheist seeks God with all his being and never finds God, then God will surely have mercy on him. We cannot simply condemn or affirm all atheists: just as God loves each person as if only he/she exists, so will God judge each man. He will not judge atheists as a group or Christians as a group.

To all of the atheists reading this, I will not judge your soul: I’ll leave that to God. However, if you see nothing wrong with the arguments against God’s existence that were shown above, please don’t even bother trying to convince me that you’ve given a moment’s thought to the Christian position. If you don’t understand why, then it may behoove you to do some reading.

Peace, God’s love, and happy hunting.


#19

Sanosuke, those arguments were presented in response to some earlier comments. I have no intention of debating these particular logical arguments in this thread. That would be equivalent to thread-jacking and is against the rules of this forum. So in other words, they were given to make the other posters think. I can edit and remove them if you feel that it would be appropriate.


#20

[quote=Booger] I have no intention of debating these particular logical arguments in this thread. That would be equivalent to thread-jacking and is against the rules of this forum.
[/quote]

That’s very considerate. Thanks. :slight_smile:


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