"Atheists are more likely to go to Hell than religious people"

How can anyone possibly know whether the majority of those in Hell were in this life atheists or religious? Does the Catholic Church agree with the above statement?

hmmm…this thread might end up getting locked since it deals with a prohibited topic.

It may be beneficial to you to check out the threads pinned at the top of the forums.

My apologies if I have misinterpreted how the ban applies to this thread.

The ban is on atheism/evolution.

No, it doesn’t agree with that statement. :slight_smile:

Firstly, such a blanket statement is obviously meant to stir up emotions rather than spur discussion–not that you intended that, but when uninformed people say such things, that seems to be their object, in my experience.

All who are saved are saved in Christ. Not all of them would have known who he is or understood what he could have done for them, but if they lived according to the graces God gave them (he gives us all such graces) then they may be saved.

Salvation is possible because of Christ’s redemptive life, death and resurrection.

No one can say who has the better chance of being saved. Being religious is not the necessarily the same thing as being holy and a person of love. There are a lot of “righteous” people who will be very surprised to hear from God: “I never knew you.”

Hell, by the Catholic definition, is living apart from God forever with all those who rejected God. This would mean being in the company of satan and all the other demons and fouls spirits (rapists, child molesters, murderers, etc.). The only other place is Heaven, the place where God dwells with all his angels and saints. There is only being with God for eternity (Heaven) or being without him for eternity (Hell). So, the only chance an atheist would have of going to Heaven would be to, at some point before he dies, give up being an atheist and repent and accept God. Because how can someone be an atheist while in the presence of God in Heaven? Ultimately, it is our choice where we will go for eternity. And the fact is that some people, because of their attachment to sin, would rather choose Hell than Heaven.

Any documents about it?

In Saint Faustina’s vision of Hell, she said:

" But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell."


Doesn’t this mean that she was able to know Hell and what/ who is in it?

Th harshest words of Jesus were directed at self-righteous hypocrites…

The CCC talks about this. What I wrote is derived from it.

In Saint Faustina’s vision of Hell, she said:

" But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell."


Doesn’t this mean that she was able to know Hell and what/ who is in it?

No. Private revelations are not definitive Church teachings. St. Faustina would have no more knowledge of who is in hell than anyone else.

Those who deliberately reject God’s mercy are in hell. Merely not believing in God or having doubts is not reason enough for anyone to go to hell. God certainly understands our hearts far better than we do. Some people simply can’t grasp who God is and why, if he exists, it has anything to do with them. This is not rebellion–this is confusion.

This is a bit confusing, if she is surely a Saint in the eyes of the Catholic Church, then her vision is truly coming from God, then why her vision wouldn’t be a part of definitive Church teachings if she is a saint?!

It doesn’t work that way. Nothing she taught is contrary to faith and morals, but she is not God’s revelation to man–that role is Christ’s alone. Her words can add nothing to nor take anything away from what Christ revealed in his Church. Only the Magisterium has the authority to definitively speak on matters of faith and morals, not saints nor theologians nor individuals be they bishops, except for the pope.

The majority? I couldn’t say. I can say the Church recognizes the sad reality that there are some who think holes do not exist until they fall into them.

She is Saint because she was a holy person.

Her vision came from God or did not independently of how holy she was. The fact that she was canonized lends extra credence to her visions, but does not make them definitive.

It certainly is permissible to believe them however.

As for the question in the OP: the people in hell are those that choose to go there. But a claim like that in the subject title is impossible to verify. One can make arguments along the lines of “if you know the truth, it’s easier to follow it” and similar, but one can also say things like “to whom much is given, much is expected”. In general, it is better to concentrate on spreading the truth to those who don’t have it, and on helping people who do know the truth live up to it, and leave the questions like this unanswered.

It doesn’t make any sense because atheists have always been a tiny percentage of the population, with perennial upticks like we see today. I doubt atheists make any more meaningful contribution to hell’s demographics than they do to Earth’s demographics.

While we don’t know who goes to hell, I think a person who consciously chooses to not have a relationship with God may very well have no place in Heaven anyway. Why would a person who hates or rejects God want to go to Heaven anyway? Persons who reject God have a special place for them set aside, and it’s not Heaven. That might sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

Lastly, we also have to qualify something. There are no atheists in hell. There may be people who were atheists on Earth, but not after their particular judgment.

My Orthodox Jewish grandmother used to say “A lot of sins are hidden under the beards of so-called righteous men.” So I don’t know for sure and I presume neither does anyone else. Being a good person, I think, matters much more than being “religious.”

Atheism is considered a mortal sin by the Catholic Church, and if you go to your death, neither ceasing nor repenting of a mortal sin, then yes; you go to Hell.

Correction: grave matter. There are two other conditions on mortal sin. Which may or may not apply.

There is no definitive teaching on who is in Hell.

I think it’s sensible to suppose that an atheist is far more vulnerable to go to Hell than a religious person, since atheism is a grave matter, however we can never fall into easy tight-knit borders because of the elusive nature of a person’s heart. People living in poor conditions (outside of Russia/China) are far more likely to be religious compared to somebody that lives with a silver platter, because it is much easier to become complacent while in a position of great comfort. Then again, among those religious people, there may be some that are religious for entirely selfish reasons, and others out of love for God. Religiosity is not a guarantee of virtue, though it is a gateway to it.

She’s a saint because she was holy, and because 3 miracles could be proved, not because she was factually or theologically correct.

So, for an atheist in hell, it would be pretty close to their lives on earth, (living without God in their lives), so if this is what Hell is, then maybe the atheists will like it that way?

No, because an atheist on Earth is not separated from God. In Hell they will be.

Labels are a useful way of simplifying and categorizing things, but let’s not forget on this subject that even a self-defined atheist isn’t necessarily utterly, completely devoid of belief in God, nor does a believer never doubt. There may be (and certainly is, otherwise atheists would never convert, and yet that happens all the time) vestiges of belief floating around in the peripheral shadows of their soul, though not sufficient to gain any real amount of leverage in their waking conscious.

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