I think this may have been covered already, but I can’t find a discussion that has any depth…So, I’ll start my question with some background:
I was recently talking with a friend of mine (Baptist, I believe. But could be non-denom) when the name of another friend came up (for simplicity’s sake, I’ll call this other friend Joan). Joan is a Muslim, and a good person. My friend (The Baptist/Non-denom) said that she was “…so mad that Joan [was] not a Christian”. I inquired as to why. She said, “Well, because she’s going to hell of course”.
I don’t personally believe this, and we debated on the issue for a bit before I had to leave. I found myself at a loss for arguments supporting my claim that not being Christian does not automatically condemn you. I was hoping one of y’all could help me out, or point me in the right direction.
The reminds us, “Sin is an offense against reason, truth and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined (by St. Augustine) as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law’”
The presents the three criteria that must be satisfied for a sin to be mortal. First, the act committed must be considered grave or serious matter. Mortal sins are heinous in the eyes of God.Second, the sinner must have full knowledge of the sinful character of the act; in other words, he must be acting with an informed intellect and must know this act violates God’s eternal law. Third, the sinner must give full consent of the will, meaning that he has reflected on doing the action and deliberately wants to do it.
On the other hand, venial sin denotes either an act of a less serious matter, or one which involves grave matter but is performed without full knowledge or complete consent of the will. Unlike mortal sin, which involves a complete turning away from God’s love, venial sin wounds our relationship with God.
We, as humans, can sugarcoat it anyway we want, but Christ said He is the only way to Heaven. First you have to believe that the bible is 100% true. If you believe the bible is 100% true then anyone that does not believe in Jesus Christ and repent of sins and ask for the gift of salvation, sadly is going to go to hell.
I use to believe that God would not send me to hell because I was basically a good person,until I started reading the bible. Boy was I wrong and I thank God for showing me the truth and adopting me into His family. I have family and friends who do not believe and it saddens me deeply. I pray that God would take the veil away from their eyes so they can see Him. After all, He is the only one that can do that for us. All we can do is pray and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh! and live a Godly life. Wouldnt want to forget that one. PHEW:D
I would pray for your muslim friend that God would open her eyes to the truth and pray for your christian friend that maybe she tell the truth in love not anger.
How good it is to be Catholic and to be released from the tyrrany of private interpretation of the Bible. Aa few verses do not a doctrine make. God also revealed that He wished all men to be saved. Therefore, the Church founded by Christ for the salvation of the world teaches that while all are saved only through Jesus Christ and His Church, He being the only Mediator between mankind and God, others MAY also be saved through His merits.
CCC 839 - “Those who, through no fault of the their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”
CCC 841 - “The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. 'The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”
CCC 843 - "The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as a ‘preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.’ "
But, “Outside the Church there is no salvation.” We have an obligation to teach the Gospel. Christ founded only one Church for the salvation of the world and expects all men to belong to it. But no one goes to hell except through their own fault.
If God chooses to save a nonChristian then that person is still saved through Christ because it is still Jesus’ decision.
Sometimes the concept of Invincible Ignorance is applied to broadly and that is something that we should be aware of. In the end we do not know exactly what criteria God uses to save those who are nonChristian. That is why we should not hesitate to evangelize.
One of the reasons that I love Roman Catholicism is that the church holds the concept of Invincible Ignorance.
The quote from the Catechism that katholics wrote struck me as very beautiful.
Without question, the only way to salvation is through Christ…however, I’ve always thought, even in my nigh-fundamentalist Protestant days, that there may be exceptions where, even though salvation is coming through Christ, it might be possible for one who isn’t Christian (per se) to be saved. The condition I always felt that way about was if someone had simply never heard the Gospel. Can this possibly be that person’s fault? What if that person is literally isolated from opportunity to hear the Gospel? Or what if that person is a Muslim in a Muslim country, and thus is sheltered from the Gospel? Sure, they may have an opportunity to find it, but they think they’re right as much as we believe we are…and we wouldn’t go around thinking “I should really read up on the Koran because, hey, my religion just might be wrong.”
In conditions like these (and more) in which someone has never been taught the Gospel (it’s our job, not so much theirs, to make sure they are fully aware of it) I believe they may be judged based on how much they follow the leadings of Wisdom, as dictated by Conscience and what resources they do have…read Proverbs 8:22-36 and John 1…notice the similarities? Ignore the gender differences; after all, in Proverbs 8, the gender assignment is only a metaphore. Note that, in Proverbs 8:35-36 Wisdom’s claims seem much like Christ’s “Only Through Me” claims…
I’m basically saying that, for those unaware of the Gospel, to follow Wisdom (which anyone can do at least to the best of their ability) may actually be going through Christ (who indeed alone is the Way, Truth, and Life). It seems that Wisdom “Herself” may have been the Pre-incarnate form of Christ, and may still be one mode of access to Him for those unaware of Him explicitly.
Of course, I myself am still confused as to how unbelievers who are perfectly aware of Christ’s Gospel may be saved…if so, it seems to take the urgency out of believing, and Christ seemed pretty emphatic that belief is majorly important as well as action. So perhaps someone can explain this to me; I want to understand better, but it’s tough seeing how the importance of belief can balance well with thinking that Unbelievers (who by definition are those who know the Gospel but don’t believe it) are not lost after all. I believe it must work somehow, if it’s what the Church teaches, but I’m just not sure exactly how.
Why, if a person is pursuing their relationship with God in ways that do not involve acknkowleding Jesus, would God condem them to hell? It seems a bit arbitrary to me.
Because I am a Jew and because I am following God’s laws the way I believe He wants me to follow them, He would condem me to hell? When I am davening and I expereince a closeness to God or when I have my own personal revealation in which God’s presence stamps itself on my bones, all this is for naught because the experience of being with God did not come about by a belief in Jesus?
Is this really what Cahtolics or christian demoniations believe?
If you have read through the thread, especially the section that Katholicks wrote then you will see that Catholics do not believe as you have outlined.
Here is my own experience.
WHen I was 12 I had a very good friend who was from Thailand. She was a sweet, soft spoken girl. One day I found her gathering red flowers from a bush that grew wild in an abandoned lot. I started to help her and asked her if the flowers were for her mother. She informed me that they were to lay in front of a statue of Buddha. Being young, I didn’t hesitate to ask questions(I might have even been rude) She responded with a great deal of faith and joy about her religion. She sounded no different then the very religious Christians that I respected.
It might seem strange that such an incident might have an influence on my view of God, but the memory stayed with me during my whole life. It was one of the reasons that I have responded so positively to the concept of Invincible Ignorance.
Allsforhim is not Catholic. I don’t know if all nonCatholic Christians have some concept of Invincible Ignorance or not.
I know that the Baptist church that I attended had no concept of Invincible Ignorance. Being a former fundamentalists, I had heard that other religions were either demon inspired or the people involved were delusional or brainwashed. Either way, I only heard the bad points of other faiths. I am not saying this is true for Allsfor him, who is a very sweet poster. I am only talking about my own experience
We are all condemned because we have broken God’s law.
10 As it is written:
“ There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
Christ is the only one capable of paying your debt because of His blood is the only acceptable payment because He is an umblemished Lamb.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” )
Repenting and Recieving Jesus is the only acceptable path to salvation.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Bible’s word are clear that there is no other way. If one acknowledges another way, then they make the Word of God a lie. And the Word of God cannot lie. There are just so many verses you would have to ignore.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
1 John 5:12
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 2:22-24
2 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
And God does not excuse ignorance in these present times. That passed with the resurrection of Jesus.
29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
10 but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
11 For God does not show favouritism.
12** All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, **and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
** 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law**, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
** 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)**
16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
Their consciences cuts both ways, defending them and accusing them, so how many sins does it take to send an unbeliever to hell?
16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Let me explain first that I am very broad in my definition of Invincible Ignorance.
Invincible ignorance is based on Paul’s words that those who have not heard about God will be judged by the the rules of God that is written on all men’s hearts. Most people, Christian or not, have a conscious. Even atheists are capable of great kindness. Our basic sense of right and wrong comes from God, regardless of our religion. God’s grace pulls on all men, trying to reach us all. When a person wonders about the meaning of life, that is God, pulling on their soul.
Many different religions were created because of this need in mankind to come closer to God. This helps explain why some other religions have truth and beauty in them. They don’t have the fullness of Christianity but they do contain some truth.
If a person has never heard of Jesus but is following the laws of God to the best of their ability that person might have eternal life. There are also some people whose whole experience with Christianity has been negative(people from abusive Christian homes) who really aren’t rejecting real Christianity but the Christianity that they believe exists.
In the end, we don’t know who is in hell or who God chooses to grant eternal life.(beyond the saints) Therefore it is incorrect to declare that someone is going to hell.
We should evangelize because God tells us to and in the end we can’t be certain how broadly God applies Invincible Ignorance.