If I reject some aspect of the faith, do I go to hell? It seems like the last resort that if I don’t just accept the dogma, or “just have faith”, then I HAVE to believe it, otherwise I’m doomed with an eternity of hellfire—a notion no one can empirically verify of course because it takes place after we die.
If you reject an important aspect of the faith, and you do it DESPITE knowing that the Catholic faith is true and taught by God, then yes, you do have to worry about going to Hell. Beyond that, there’s a lot of leeway.
A lot more people probably go to Hell for deciding (against their well-formed conscience) that a sin isn’t a sin because they say so, and that they don’t have to feel contrite about it or confess it or change their ways. Or for deciding that they’re God and can do bad stuff to other people without turning a hair.
That said, you do have a duty to God and to yourself not to reject Church teachings without actually looking into them, in depth, and to be honest in your consideration, and to pray. If you make snap decisions, it’s harder to be fair in your thoughts afterwards. When I’ve had tough questions, sometimes I don’t find the answer for ten or twenty years. So it’s a good idea to say to yourself, “I don’t really understand this teaching, so I won’t reject it but I’ll keep looking into it.”
it’s a mystery
- That’s really supposed to be for those topics that are like fractals, where the further you get into them, the more complicated and beautiful they get, and the more you realize it’s beyond you. If it’s beyond human cognition to fully understand, that’s different from “This is a really big and complicated topic that’s hard to explain.” Not everybody knows the difference.
Re: lack of info provided -
First of all, you need to distinguish between two different groups: “my pastors and CCD teachers” and “all pastors, preachers, bishops, professors, and CCD teachers ever.” They aren’t the same.
Second, you need to be a little bit understanding. Most priests, CCD teachers, etc. are not trained theologians or trained apologists. Seminary training is only as good as the seminary and teachers that year. Some places are gangbusters, and other places are just filling priests with useless classes. If they can’t answer your question easily or think of a source for you on the spot, they may be afraid that whatever they’d answer would turn out to be wrong. (Sometimes it’s better not to say anything than to be loudly wrong and lead somebody else astray. And oof, I’ve done that in my time and it isn’t pretty.)
Third, obviously not everybody really wants a deep theological explanation when they start asking questions. Some people just want to be reassured or given moral guidance (or distract the class and get the teacher off on a tangent). If your pastors, etc., have encountered a lot of people who aren’t really concerned about Christology and just need to hear about loving one’s neighbor, they may assume you’re like that, too.
So my advice would be that, if you want deep theological info, you tell these folks that you want deep theological info. They may have a whole drawer in their heads marked “Stuff I haven’t thought about since seminary.” Heck, they may have books for you. If you have questions that go beyond Catholic Answers type stuff, you probably want to try a good theologian, or ask one to recommend you somebody. Scott Hahn knows a lot of trustworthy scholars, for instance, so you might want to give his crew an email.
But mostly, if you have theology questions they can’t answer, it obviously means that your parish needs somebody to be interested in theology. And that person might be you.