Do people who have never heard of Jesus, go to hell?


This is quite widely discussed, many people say definitively yes, many people say definitively no. But reading the scriptures it seems like a definitive yes. Then the scripture says not to judge someone, because we don’t know for sure. Isn’t that a contradiction? Thanks in advance for any explanation.

I thought anyways, that to accept Jesus, you must also acknowledge the possibility of not accepting him, i.e. denying him. But you can’t deny that which you do not know, so if you can’t deny that which you do not know, there is no case for acceptance, because accepting and denying work together, you can’t accept and not know the possibility of denying exists, and vice versa.


Just because you accept Him doesn’t mean you’re going to Heaven. (“No one who cries out ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.”

So if you have someone who’s never heard of Jesus or God and goes around kicking puppies, stealing candy from babies, etc, they’re probably in trouble. But if you have someone who’s never heard of Jesus and goes around living as good a life as they can, then God’s not going to punish them because they never said the words, “I accept Jesus as my savior.” They are probably very holy people because they do good without any incentive of Heaven, but just out of love. We should be more like these people! :thumbsup: (not thinking about what reward we may get for good deeds).



There was a similar line of discussion as part of a thread on Limbo for unbaptized babies a few weeks back. Many, if not all, Protestants stick to the strict interpretation of the Bible verses that say you must “believe on the name of Jesus”, and would thus argue that all non-Christians are automatically damned, except maybe a few Old Testament figures.

Dominus Iesus starts with the Scriptures, which would seem to tell us that only those who are baptized and members of the Church may enter Heaven. However, the Scriptures also tell us that God is merciful and “desires all men to be saved.” What Card. Ratzinger then concluded is that, while we are certainly required to be energetic about evangelizing, we may still hope that God will save those who never heard the Gospel, somehow through the merits or prayers of the Church in a way that we do not know.

For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.82

Dominus Iesus isn’t that long. It’s available on the vatican website and should be on EWTN, too, if you want to read the whole thing.


You got some good answers - absolutley NOT!

The Catholic Church is clear about that. Some Evangelical/Protestant churches, like many issues, say some silly things.

A person in China, lives a holy life, but never heard of Jesus, they go to hell? NO! Who would even worship that kind of God?


My priest mentioned this in his latest sermon. He said there is the common way of getting to heaven (the Catholic way), and then there is the unusual way - outside the church. The unusual way is much more rare, but it is possible.


For me personally, Jesus never go to hell. He will go to the purgatory, to awake the sleeper souls and bring them back to heaven. He knows who are in the hell and what’s the point in going there?


Our course not, just think the mercy of God. Holy people belongs to God!


CCC 847 is really the key passage of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we need to look at on this issue.
“This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of 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.”


See post number 8. This is why we pray at Mass that God welcome into the Kingdom “all who have left this world in Your friendship.” We have no idea and can never know how far the forgiveness and mercy of God extend.



A lot of people think that this is a recent development of the Church, but in fact, the topic was hotly debated after the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus. How could two entire continents full of people have been created only to be definitively doomed to hell? Even at that time, the Church believed that there was hope for them. (Although it emphasized that Christianizing them should be a top priority.) This is an old argument…


The only answer we can give is, We do not know.

We do not know who is in Hell and who is in Heaven with the exception of the Saints.

We just do not know but we hope and pray and rely on the Mercy of God that those who though no fault of their own do not know of Jesus are capable of being saved.


Jesus said, “No one can come to the Father except through Me.” That means that anyone who is saved is saved through Jesus. However, we don’t know how that will work out specifically, since Jesus did NOT say “No one can come to the Father except through an explicitly confessing Christianity.” The door is open to others, but Jesus is still the light of the world, even to those who do not know Him by name.


On what do you base this? I do not recall any passage of Scripture that says this explicitly. The closest is Romans 10, which says that to be saved you have to believe, and asks how people can believe if they never hear the Gospel. This is what many evangelicals base their “exclusivism” on, but I think it’s insufficient, because it doesn’t allow for possibilities such as that God might reveal the Gospel to everyone at the point of death (this would still mean that such people did not have the opportunity to be saved during their lifetime, which is a serious matter, so the proclamation of the Gospel is still very important).



Can you elaborate on this.

It is my understanding that up until quite recently your church was quite certain that all Jews, pagans, schismatics, etc. were doomed.


It is the same for everyone regardles of whether they’ve heard of Jesus or not.

God writes the natural law on all hearts.

It is possible for anyone to violate that natural law.

When they do that is a mortal sin if they have full knowledge that it is wrong–know it is a grave matter–and give full consent of their will.

If anyone dies in a state of mortal sin–Catholic or not–they go to Hell.

It is possible for anyone to mortally sin.

If anyone mortally sins they can be restored to God’s grace either by Sacramental Confession or by perfect contrition for their sins.

So if one never heard of Jesus they could make it to Heaven either by never committing a mortal sin–or if they ever did committ a mortal sin by being perfectly contritite for their mortal sin to the point that If they knew of the truth of the Catholic Faith and of the need for sacramental confession that they would desire that sacrament.

The only one who can judge whether such people are perfectly contrite and would desire the sacrament of confession if they did know of the truth is Jesus.

Absent Sacramental confession or perfect contrition we know of No Way that a person who had never heard of Jesus could be reconciled to Jesus after mortally sinning but since God is not bound by the sacraments He might could provide another route for the person to be forgiven and reconciled to Him but that we do not know–we only know that it would be possible for God.

So bottom line it is Possible for one to never hear of Jesus and make it to Heaven but it is very difficult because without hearing of Jesus and having recourse to the sacraments of the Catholic Church it is extremely difficult to live life without ever committing a mortal sin or if committing any number of mortal sins to always be perfectly contrite for all of those sins.

So it is Possible to go to heaven having never heard of Jesus–but it is extremely hard! That’s the truth! And That’s why we must always spread the Catholic Faith.


Romans 2: 14-16 addresses this very well:
“For instance, pagans who never heard of the Law but are led by reason to do what the Law commands, may not actually ‘possess’ the Law, but they can be said to ‘be’ the Law. The can point to the substance of the Law engraved on their hearts- they can call a witness, that is, their own conscience- they have accusation and defense, that is, their own inner mental dialogue. …on the day when, according to the Good News I preach, God through Jesus Christ, judges the secrets of mankind.” ** Jerusalem Bible**
"For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus." NAB



Consider this from 1 Timothy 4:10 …“because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all, especially of those who believe.” It would appear that ALL have a chance to receive the graces of our merciful Father.



Do people who have never heard of Jesus, go to hell?

Very good question and one that deserves a answer.

I am not Catholic but, am an independent believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His word as written in the bible.

To be able to grasp the magnitude of that question, we first have to learn to understand what condition mankind was placed it.

I said placed, meaning without choice. For example, where you asked whether you wanted to be born or not?

So, then, mankind was placed into an environment not of its own making, but made by God for mankind’s habitation.

This environment contains all the conditions suitable for the flesh, as lustful desires.

Some of you mentioned the fact (scriptural) about mankind being a law unto them selves?

Well, that fits in perfectly with the gaining of knowledge, or should I say, eating of the fruit of the three of knowledge of good and evil?

That knowledge then exposes sin, finding ourselves naked (Short of God’s Glory) or in other words, not covered by God’s righteousness, rendering us dead in spirit in reference to His Kingdom.

All mankind, none excluded are covered by the same conditions.

Here is a verse that shows why God Himself must do the work to save mankind: Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
You see the part made subject to? The first is vanity, the second is hope? All accomplished by God without our help.

The first creation is creation of the flesh; the second creation is the creation of the spirit life. We all must die once. (As in the first Adam and the second Adam)

So the answer to the question based on these views, is that all mankind was lost, and all mankind will be saved.

Not fair some say? Well, that is the mystery of Godliness.

If we can understand it, then we will not have trouble loving our enemies as Jesus instructed. For all are our brothers and sisters by the redeeming blood of the lamb.

Those who have never heard of Jesus, or who have a belief system that does not recognize Jesus, are covered by His blood as well.

Since the tree is used for a symbol to denote knowledge of good and evil, by the same token the symbol for the knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is symbolized by reaching for the tree of life. (Jesus)

Those of us called by His name Christ-ians, are responsible to share the love of God in Jesus to all mankind without discrimination.

If we do that, then, we will have met all the requirements of the law and our love being made perfect in Jesus.

As soon as possible, if we share Christ with all mankind, the sooner they will begin to enjoy the fruits of the Kingdom of Jesus. Catholic: and non-Catholic alike.

Oh, by the way, you might want to look into the verse in Revelation where it says that Jesus holds the keys to death and hell, so as to get an idea as to what constitutes hell and what death it is speaking about.

It will help understand the essence of your question!





You know, you all, here is all the more reason for those of us who know Christ Jesus, to spend more time & effort in praying for the folks who have never heard of Him…Because, while in God’s great mercy, He may reach out & save whomsoever He will, the truth is, that without prayer…:frowning: they have much less chance of Heaven, than if we pray.
We need to pray for those who go to them, & reveal Him to them, and for those who die with no knowledge of Christ…


Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
That statement by Jesus is Gospel truth as written.

But behind that statement is a world of mystery. Simply read and taken as read will render it as saying that unless we all come to Jesus, meaning, accept Jesus as savior, as most protestant believers do, there will be hell to pay.

That is the concept, thought, idea or whatever that is prevalent today.

But like I said that there is a mystery behind that statement and I will try to address it here.
In addressing it, bear in mind that what I am about to describe is all biblical and searchable by scripture and not of some cult belief as many might say.

The Jews as a nation were given the responsibility to bear the burden of bringing Christ to the world via, the prophets, the law of Moses and testimony of their having a God that is “the” God, by reason of God’s power demonstrated in the stories in the bible to a heathen world.

So, we can say then that the nation of Israel was as like the first born given to in heart all things from the Father.
But guess what? It was the second born (similitude, picture of Esau and Jacob) that inherited the Fathers inheritance.

So what must happen for Jesus to have that effect is to cut Israel off (behead them sort of speak) from their first place in favor of the second place Jesus.

How was that done? Jesus had to require them to have to come through Him in order for them to be saved.

Now, pay attention to the fact that Jesus was not yet crucified in and by which He made that statement; because all things changed after the crucifixion.

Prior to and until Jesus became the risen Christ, Jesus then would know all things because He is God’s new name by which all mankind might be saved.

I wondered at the words “might be saved” because it gives indication that not all are going to be saved; lending the concept of hell as eternal punishment.

But a better understanding of it as supported by other verses in the bible, that salvation comes to the chosen or called, if you will, and by them, this message is to be shared around the world.

But as it is and has been, it has instead divided us into two groups, the going to hell believers if you don’t accept Jesus, along with those who have other claims requiring certain practices, certain memberships and for a very few, the claim that all are going to be saved.
The very few have come to that realization only recently, due to the Holy Spirits revealing the spiritual messages that prior to could not be seen.

I will say that early on the Churches history, there was this Cardinal, Priest, or some high official of the church that grabbled over this same issue of salvation of all mankind, but after wrestling with it sleeplessly, he decided to opt for the heaven and hell scenario.

He figured that people would not be motivated to love God if they knew they were saved anyways, so his writtings became church dogma. (Heaven or hell)

I am sorry, I don’t remember who this gentleman was; perhaps some of you know who it was?

I will say that the protestant believers as well as all Catholic believers are in reality innocent of not understanding God’s love.

But it will come out eventually as the body of Christ matures to adult hood.

Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Individually: and collectively.
Allot of us are there individually, but not collectively, and that is the work that lies ahead of us and as a legacy for our children to follow.

To share the love of Christ to a world needing love is the work of the saints. (Those set apart as believers, such as you and I)


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