There is only one absolute Truth: God’s. But eveyone has their own personal “truth”, or each religion has it’s own “truth”. Are people who are born and raised Hindus and Buddhists judged by God according to His Truth, which they have never heard? Or are they judged by how faithful they remained to their own conscience, what they honestly believe to be true?
I tend to agree with the latter. I once heard a priest say that a Hindu, Buddhist or even atheist can become part of the Universal Catholic Church, not the institutional church, if they try to follow what they honestly believe to be good and true. This makes sense, because how could it be just for God to condemn someone who has never even heard of Jesus? Or someone who has heard of Jesus, has argued long and hard with Christians and at the end of the day remains unconvinced that they hold the Truth? An atheist can live according to the same principals as a Christian, practising Christian virtues not because he believes in God but because he sees some good in them. And that good is a tiny part of God, and so the atheist is following God, whether he knows it or not.
So… if we are judged according to our own consciences, why should someone become Catholic? Or is my premise mistaken?