Can an atheist ever go to Heaven?

I’m an atheist and I’d say a good human being. Am I condemned to Hell, no matter what actions or deeds I perform during my life?

Would an atheist ever be accepted into Heaven?

Ultimately that decision is God’s alone to make. We (Catholics) don’t decide the fake of souls. Having said that, God did provide us with the information needed by us to to ultimately be rewarded with eternal life in Heaven… the Bible.


In a debate, Peter Kreeft brought up the following point:
He said that Paschal (I think) said there were three types of people.

  1. People who are rational and happy because they’ve searched for God and found Him.
  2. People who are rational but unhappy because they’ve searched for God but have yet to find Him.
  3. People who are irrational and unhappy because they haven’t searched for God and, therefore, haven’t found Him.
    He said it was likely the first two would get into Heaven.
    Catholics believe both in faith and works. If you are an atheist, who has done good works, you’ve got half of the puzzle. If you are a Christian who hasn’t done good works, you also have half the puzzle. If you are an atheist who hasn’t done good works, you aren’t really even close. If you are a Christian who has done good works, you’ve pretty much got it. In the end, it is up to God to decide. These are just a couple of ways people look at it.

It is possible, but not something that you should assume is eminent. Heck, even for us Catholics, we believe that even if you are Christian it is possible to wind up in hell if you do not repent of your faults. But, ultimately the decision resides with God who will judge your heart.

Well, I’d guess that you’d most likely go to purgatory, rather than hell.

Unless, you did something REALLY horrible…

As an Evangelical protestant I believe all non-Christians who have not accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior and repented are going to hell.

Bluntly stated yes, there’s no exceptions to this for anyone. You must consciously repent, and pray for your salvation through Jesus. Nothing else will bring you to heaven.

(Note: Catholics this is from a protestant perspective) I don’t believe in purgatory either. But I’m just a protestant. :cool:

Well let’s see…I would have to say that it is a moot question…Since there are no dead atheists.
Every Atheist who dies comes before God and know that they were wrong and so they are no longer an atheist…So - if that person were accepted into heaven…it would not be as an Atheist…Get my meaning?

Now what happens when this (former) Atheist stands before God…well that is between Him and God.

That answers the primary question of your post. As for the other question…the matter of how you live your life…I suggest that you do a good, Catholic examination of conscience - every day for a month…and see how you stack up in the “good person” department - by a measure of deeds.

As a help in this…
Look first at the ten commandments…How many of these have you broken and not been sorry for…and for now I’ll give you a pass on the first three.
Then consider that All if our Christian faith is based on Love…Love of neighbor as yourself…even Love of enemies…and forgiveness of others. Read Matthew 5, 6 and 7 for a good overview of how the Lord wishes us to live the commandments.
In the Lords prayer we tell God to forgive us as we forgive others…How do you do in this department.

Lastly consider the “seven deadly sins” that speak really to underlying faults that we have and need to overcome - How do you fare in this department?

Now don’t think I’m being hard on you because I’m not. These are things that we believers struggle with throughout our life…Why? Because we are not just called to be “good people”, we are called to be “Perfect as (our) heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48)

So - If you want to know the answer to whether you are good enough to get to heaven…that is the best “self test” I would recommend…


Do atheist believe in hell?

As it stands, the idea is that “There is no salvation outside of the Church.” However that last bit is qualified as the Church refers to the Mystical Body of Christ, not necessarily the earthly institution.

Otherwise that would imply that anyone who was a member of the Catholic Church would go to Heaven. Which by their own admission is not the case - you can be a Catholic and wind up in Hell.

For them the crux of the matter revolves around a Vatican II statement regarding whether or not you or I am “invincibly ignorant” of either their God’s love or their God’s presence. More often than not, the majority of Catholics i’ve spoken to stay away from making a judgment on the basis that it would limit either the power or the love their God.

Even Traditionalists such as Marcel Lefebvre, a rejectee of their Vatican II along with a few others and excommunicated no less, never made the claim that there were no non-Christian or non-Catholics in Heaven. That would of course trample on the concern above.

That’s the fine nuanced version of things.

Not all of their laity “buy” into it however - resulting in some rather interesting conversations on this board. :wink:

I think a real atheist is one in a gazillion. I don’t believe you’re one.

I think this question is a moot question. An atheist isn’t supposed to believe in the after life. YOLO right? :D:D

Jokes aside, I think the Posters are right. That will be between You and Our LORD. I cannot judge. However, Faith and works are nessescary. So it sounds like you have one half of the arguement, but not the other side, which is also nessescary, and that is Faith.

Is it really that hard to take the plunge?

I promise you the water is much better on this side!!

God can allow whomever He wants into Heaven. If you don’t know God through “no fault of your own,” then salvation might be possible if you’re a “good person” as strive to find Him. If you use your free will to reject Him, then there is no salvation.

" Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. " (John 14:6) Douay Rheims Bible

LOL…well no one here can answer that- as an “atheist” you’ll just have to wait and see if God, Heaven ,Hell and everything in between exist…:wink: in the meantime your life is about choices-use those choices wisely…at least it will give you something to discuss when the time comes:thumbsup:

There have been a few comments regarding the fact that atheists do not believe in an afterlife/heaven/hell etc… This is true, I do not.

The question is a theoretical one and I’m wondering what the Catholic view is. I’ve heard before that unless you accept Jesus as your savior, you cannot go to Heaven, but I’m not sure of the denomination that ascribes to that point of view (perhaps Evangelical?).

As many have commented, I would like to think a just and loving God would judge someone not on their beliefs but the goodness of their actions…

I think a real atheist is one in a gazillion. I don’t believe you’re one.

They’re more common than one would think, and I assure you I am.

This is like saying, “Can I marry you if I don’t love you?”

Heaven is nothing more than the Wedding Feast between you and God.

If you don’t accept His Divine Wedding Proposal, you can’t dine at the Wedding Feast.

Fair enough, but that seems a little after-the-fact. One can certainly die as an atheist.

I suppose I do fairly well against those litmus tests, with the few obvious exception. Although I’d certainly argue there are much better assessments of character than those two lists.

I believe most of my ideas of Christianity come from, perhaps unfortunately, Evangelical Christianity, which seems much less forgiving.

Of course, since you’re a New York atheist!

Joking aside, in Judaism, one does not concern oneself with these questions. We do believe in heaven for the most part, while hell is somewhat more controversial. Regardless, since good deeds are so important to Judaism, I would say the answer to your question from the Jewish perspective is most likely yes.

Ya that sounds like faith alone which is TOTALLY NOT a Catholic teaching. :smiley:

Good thinking. But how can your actions be good if you have nothing to base them off of? In order for something to considered good, there needs to be a certain belief in what is good and true. If you do not believe in God, why then do you believe in right and wrong?

Most atheists and skeptics like to get involved in heated debates with those Bible anchored Christians who arrogantly believe they are speaking for God and condemn atheists and skeptics for their nonbelief… and then you hear nasty things like spaghetti monster in the sky etc etc from the nonbelievers… serves no purpose except to make both sides look very foolish… I think in that case BOTH sides will have some explaining to do when the time comes…the one for being so arrogant they believe God will reward such blatant hypocrisy that they presume to speak for Him… and the other-not for not believing in something they have no knowledge of-but for not accepting others who do believe with the same respect they expect…Catholics are not SolaScriptura…but are also very spiritually mysticism of the Mass based… again -another concept you have no reference for… so I will go back to my first post… make your choices wisely,live your life in the best way possible and make the world a better place… hopefully anything beyond that will be a pleasant surprise for you… I trust God to handle the details accordingly :thumbsup:

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