Can atheists be holy without sanctifying grace? (Merged)

how can catholics say atheist can go to heaven when hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossable to please god?

simply because the Church is not the judge of souls.

The atheist doesn’t get to heaven on his own. IF he is saved, then he is saved through the Catholic Church. And that is because God (for whom all things are possible) is the only one who knows our hearts.

Suppose, for example, that a man lived a good and noble life. He says, “I’m an atheist. I can’t believe in God because the Christian God is unfair, hateful, and leaves humanity to rot”. However, in his heart he thinks, “If the Christian God really WERE as Christians say, all-loving, all-merciful, I would believe in Him”. So the god that the atheist rejects is not the real God, and he is in fact open to believing in the True God, and he lives according to that light. So when he dies, just before death, God gives him the grace and he thinks, "You really WERE that good God, I believe’. . .and THAT is how he COULD be saved. Because he would have Faith.

We cannot judge if ANY person is saved because we do not know their hearts. But God does. We can only say that IF it were the case that a person lacked faith and rejected God, knowing that He was God, and still choosing to reject Him, that person could not enter Heaven. But we cannot say that just because a person says “I’m an atheist” that he in fact has truly rejected Faith. Just as we cannot say that just because a person says "I have faith, I believe’ that he will be saved. (Check your bible. "Lord, we cast out DEMONS in your name - “I never knew you. Away from me.”)

First of all, it’s likely the exception, not the norm.

Some folks in a remote area of the world…never heard the gospel, so therefore, never rejected it.

Person_____(insert name) Lived his life to the best of his ability according to law written on his heart by God. It’s possible that person could attain salvation. And BTW, that salvation would obviously be thanks to Christ, not the individual in question.

Let’s not limit God with our own finite understanding of his Word… He is merciful.:slight_smile:

What authority gives you the information to make that statement. This is unequivocally false.


Ok, Same goes for Catholics. Our salvation is obviously be thanks to Christ, not ourselves


Catholics don’t make judgements about the state of someone’s soul, but the way this question is worded is misleading. It is not taught that atheist go to heaven per se. If someone truly never had a chance to hear the Gospel, there is a chance for that person. However, someone who doesn’t believe despite having heard the Word of God, will likely not go to Heaven.

The Catholic Church does NOT declare who is individually in Hell. For example: we don’t say “John Doe is in Hell because he was an atheist.” Another example: the Church has not declared “Hitler is in hell.” Why? Because we don’t have proof. We might ASSUME that Hitler is in hell, and I would argue that the odds are overwhelmingly that he is; but we honestly don’t know for sure.

We believe that God can make exceptions. So while Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” NKJV; we also believe that God, knowing all can make exceptions if He chooses too. God knows us better than we know ourselves and God knows what choices are fully our own doing vs our parents’ etc.

For example: a Catholic priest or Protestant Preacher who becomes an atheist will most likely have a lot to answer for vs. a child whose parents raised him to be a militant atheist.

The point is: we believe that God makes exceptions and shows Mercy because He loves us. But that doesn’t mean that we should not evangelize, nor does it mean that people should live their lives thinking “it’s ok, God will forgive me” or that we should let people in society do whatever by saying “it’s ok, they know not what they do.”

Furthermore, by saying that everyone has a CHANCE to enter Heaven, encourages people to pray for the salvation of one another, and to pray for Mercy for the Dead. Our prayers mean something, and having hope in the Mercy of God helps us to pray for that Mercy.

If we didn’t have hope, no one would pray for the dead or the salvation of souls.

I hope this helps.

How about the Words of the Master?

The road to salvation is narrow and few find it:

Matthew 7:14New International Version (NIV)

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The opposition of the Church is generally making the false claim or assumption that the RCC has become this big, happy, universal-ism type faith where everybody goes to heaven… and that is what is unequivocally false.

The Pontiff’s words get ripped out of context and splattered all over the airways quite regularly…

Possibly an error in your first sentence?

THANKS!!! :blush:

I just fixed it. This is why I have my disclaimer about typos :slight_smile:

The persons acting as he did …and seeking goodness like he did can be a sign that he is seeking God.

The Church Teaches that yes it is possible for God to save them in a way known to God - but not seen by us!

We do not enter into life though by our “good deeds” by our virtues. But they can be a good sign of our openness to God even if we do not know it…that we are open to truth and goodness - open to God. God can work with this - God can reach us in ways others do not see.

Yes it is possible for those who through not fault of their own do not know Jesus or his Church…but who still seek God…and seek to live according to his will as they see in their conscience …even if it is not an “explicit” seeking as I noted…

We just do not know all that God does “behind the scenes” as it were.

(Though one will find in Private Revelations such as to the Polish St. Faustina some interesting light on even in the very last moments of life -if the door is left open - God can still in his mercy save even those that seem beyond salvation…)

They do not though enter that state of salvation “by doing good”. They do not “earn it” - they cannot “earn” such initial justification. Such is by grace…by Jesus …

It will of course still be Jesus of Nazareth the Christ and Logos who saves them…(and Christians are to proclaim Christ…the Gospel to them!)

Whoever is saved in the end…will be saved by Jesus Christ…even if he has never heard of him or the Church …

God can reach them in ways we do not know or see…

Such yes **include **atheists and others.

I never said it was. You are committing the straw-man fallacy, putting words in my own mouth then refuting them. You have no authority given to you by the Church and the Church provides no authority for you to state that most atheists likely go to hell.

Where is your source saying that this is what we believe so that this can be discussed and explained in its proper context? Please provide…

So then what authority do you have to say otherwise? Is your own personal authority of interpretation better than his?

In fact L_A is actually quite correct because as in many things Christian there is a normative way and then there is whatever God in His divine wisdom and will chooses to do over which we humans have no say and shouldn’t speak to. See the following: Apart from God’s saving works, no one can be saved. So how can atheists be saved just by acting charitably?

Ok, Same goes for Catholics. Our salvation is obviously be thanks to Christ, not ourselves

And where have you seen anywhere that we might profess anything different than that?

I realize that you are a currently outside of our most holy faith which means you have been led astray by people (with good intentions no doubt) who have “evangelized” you and no doubt challenged your Catholic beliefs with allegations and assertions that you couldn’t properly answer. I suffered that same deception for about 30 years, but if you hang out with me long enough here on CAF you will see why I am devoutly and unwaveringly Catholic. You can start with My Testimony. Enjoy!:smiley:

:shrug: The Bible tells us plainly that more will be lost than saved and the Catholic Church teaches that very same thing.

I don’t know where you get this stuff from but your source is suffering some serious bias and error.

Where does the Catholic Church and the Bible say over half the population is going to hell.

Why are you so determined to damn over half of the population to hell.

Our Lord also said that many will call on His Name and will not be saved (Matthew 7:21-27). I address those who have fallen for the man-made doctrine of “faith alone” and are not even baptized; those who, for the sole purpose of opposing the Catholic Church, do no works of charity at all, because they have “faith.”

He made the statement, and I was asking for a citation. How can you not understand that, are you sure you should be having discussions.

Is God’s mercy not infinite?

Christ took the thief to Heaven on the cross. Ultimately, God decides who enters Heaven. To declare that someone, anyone is “likely” to end up in Hell is a foolish assumption.

The Catholic Church is the beacon, it provides the guidelines on how to live a holy christian life in order to be considered for entry. Simply being Catholic doesn’t make it easier to enter heaven, it comes with serious responsibilities and obligations e.g. attend Sunday Mass, Confession etc.

The Church acknowledges the generations in world history who have never been exposed to the Gospel of Christ. The Church acknowledges those who may be non-believers now but may change in the future or on their deathbeds.

It’s not our place to decide what is fair or unfair about Gods decision on who enters Heaven.

It’s not properly determined whether or not anyone, in the depth of their own heart, is an atheist at all. Maybe all of us believe that God exists and even believe that He rewards those who approach Him. Maybe we just suppress that knowledge and hide it in many rationalizations.

Are we guilty for those rationalizations? If a young woman loses her mother because a couple of Irish people blew up her apartment building, and if she can do nothing but exclaim, “I’m an atheist, thank God,” is she guilty for shaking her fists at God? I don’t know. But God does. And He is the one who judges each soul.

You know what else I don’t know? What God says to a soul as it’s being separated from the body. I don’t know what Christ decides to do for a man or a woman for whom He suffered. He may well approach them and offer Himself to them. But since I don’t know, I don’t presume one way or the other. I simply pray.

A lot of things are between a soul and God, and they’re not for my prying eyes to try to analyze.

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