Can a non-believer be closer to God than a Christian?


#1

Can an atheist to be closer to God than a Christian who “believes” in Jesus? Please consider this question in the context of the following quotes:

In the words of St. Augustine “Many whom God has, the Church does not have. And many whom the Church has, God does not have.”

“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21


#2

Yes, an atheist can be closer to God than a Christian.


#3

Rather an absurd question:

How can you be closer to 'Something/Someone' you don't believe it?


#4

Hitler was a Catholic Christian. So a special case of the original question is: Can an atheist be closer to God than Hitler? Well, in terms of being closer to God by doing God’s will, I think the answer to that is yes, which settles the original question as well.


#5

A "true" atheist, IF there IS such a thing, cannot be closer to God
than a Christian, no. Realize that most who claim to be "atheist"
are agnostic, and for those who can say with absolute conviction,
conscious and subconscious, that "there is no God", well, they
would be mentally ill.


#6

God calls us into relationship with him through His son Jesus Christ. In order to be close to God we must speak to Him and nourish our relationship with Him.

In human relationships we get close to people by spending time with them in a similar way.

"Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." this is true but if you don't believe that God is Love and are not attempting to be close to God you cannot be closer than a person who lives a life striving to be in relationship with God.


#7

[quote="tobbias88, post:3, topic:310760"]
Rather an absurd question:

How can you be closer to 'Something/Someone' you don't believe it?

[/quote]

Do you have to believe in God to love? St. John didn't say anything about belief. He said that whoever loves lives in God and God in them.


#8

If the Christian does not keeps the commandments, does not do what Jesus says, lives an unholy life, perhaps so. If an atheist gives arguments to others not to believe in God, perhaps not. :shrug:


#9

[quote="Robert_Sock, post:2, topic:310760"]
Yes, an atheist can be closer to God than a Christian.

[/quote]

. . . especially if the Christian lets the atheist get between God and him :rolleyes:


#10

[quote="jkiernan56, post:7, topic:310760"]
Do you have to believe in God to love? St. John didn't say anything about belief. He said that whoever loves lives in God and God in them.

[/quote]

You don't have to believe in God to love but you have to believe in God to enter into relationship with God...otherwise you don't really have a chance at being close to Him.


#11

if the Christian is that far from God… I don’t think he is a Christian…


#12

[quote="jkiernan56, post:1, topic:310760"]
Can an atheist to be closer to God than a Christian who “believes” in Jesus? Please consider this question in the context of the following quotes:

In the words of St. Augustine “Many whom God has, the Church does not have. And many whom the Church has, God does not have.”

“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21

[/quote]

I see what you are trying to get at but I think that you might be asking the question the wrong direction.

Perhaps it would be better to ask,
"Can God be closer to an Atheist than to a Christian?"

God can be very close to some who have no idea....
This would speak to the first two quotes in which case the "Atheist" has not yet understood who God is - even though by Loving he is imperfectly following Him.

and God can be far from some who are just "going through the motions"....
This speaks to your third quote - which needs no real explanation...

Peace
James


#13

[quote="Snowball7, post:5, topic:310760"]
for those who can say with absolute conviction,
conscious and subconscious, that "there is no God", well, they
would be mentally ill.

[/quote]

Funny enough, some atheists say the same thing about deists and theists.
Unfortunately, some people will always believe that anyone who has different beliefs than theirs must be mentally ill :rolleyes:


#14

[quote="vames, post:13, topic:310760"]
Funny enough, some atheists say the same thing about deists and theists.
Unfortunately, some people will always believe that anyone who has different beliefs than theirs must be mentally ill :rolleyes:

[/quote]

not in this case, they really must be mentally ill.
think about it.


#15

Can an atheist be closer to God than a (lukewarm) Christian....YES.


#16

[quote="Pugsly, post:15, topic:310760"]
Can an atheist be closer to God than a (lukewarm) Christian....YES.

[/quote]

Yes, but remember what happens to lukewarm Christians.

Revelation 3:15-16
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot.
16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.

Pretty much sums up the future for both.


#17

I believe I was always close to God, especially while I was an atheist.


#18

How so?


#19

[quote="samuel_d, post:11, topic:310760"]
if the Christian is that far from God.... I don't think he is a Christian..

[/quote]

Under this definition, it would appear that there were a handful of Popes over the ages who weren't Christians!


#20

In the case of invincible ignorance...then yes.

If the atheist is not aware of the Catholic Church (which it is hard to do in this media age) and the Gospels of Christ and his teachings and still lives a life of good virtues and love compared to a Christian who is aware of the teachings and chooses not to follow them and lives in life of sin....then yes the atheist can be closer to God than the Christian.

Overall, it comes down to God's judgement.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.