Does God relate to Non-Christians?


#1

What if God purposely relates (relate may be the wrong word to use) to different cultures and people in different ways?

For instance, God originally related to Jews in the form of Jesus Christ (he was a Jew) which fullfilled there ancient Hebrew/Jewish prophesies, and taught them God’s Word in a way that they would eventually accept. The fact that Christianity spread much further than the Jews is a good thing, but maybe the Jewish people were the primary target.

What if did the same thing happened with the culture that developed Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam among the more common non-Christian faiths? Maybe he knew that because of the many different cultures in the world, he had to relate differently to them to make his Word stick and flourish. In that case, does that make a good Christian any better than a good Hindu?

Most of the world’s many religions have several things in common concerning peace, love, etc. (assuming these faith’s good virtues are not twisted to evil to fit in someone’s agenda). Maybe these things are the cornerstones of God’s Word and thats why these different faith’s have them in common.

I find it very hard to believe that all the non-Christians in the world are doomed, even though many of them have lived good and peaceful lives. Now the Catholic Church does make some allowance for people who do not know the Church yet make an honest and sincere attempt to follow God the best of their ability. However, is the Christian God actually maybe the same as the Hindu one, the Muslim one, etc.?

What do you think? Please try to think a little deeper than “No, if they are not Christian and/or Catholic they are doomed”. I hesitiated posting this knowing some of the audience, but I thought I’d give it shot.


#2

Then you should know by now that those faithful to the Church and her teachings on this have no difficulty in agreeing to the possibility of the salvation of those of non-Christian faiths. How many times and in how many ways do you want to re-hash this?

God the Son became Incarnate not just for one People, the Jews, but for all Peoples to draw all back to the Father through Him - this is one of the most basic of Christian beliefs whether one is Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. No other can or will suffice for the salvation of anyone.

A truly “good Christian” has been so transformed in Christ as to be beyond comparison to the “good Hindu” who, nevertheless, may be saved (as Christ teaches through His Church) but only in and through Christ and His Church (they are never separated) though he (the Hindu) isn’t a visible member of that One Body.


#3

God cannot contradict Himself. For Him to present Himself in ‘one way’ on order to ‘relate’ to one group, and in ‘another way’ to another, each way being ‘incomplete’ and even in some cases contradictory–would be illogical.

That being said, you’ve got a part of the answer, but you seem to be brought up short by a self-imposed ‘glass ceiling’. You don’t take God (being God, and therefore Creator, and ‘above’ us and our limited knowledge) into full account.

Does Christianity teach that those not in the fullness of truth (by being members of the Catholic faith) cannot be saved? No, it does not and never did. Protestants, who are part of the Catholic faith by virtue of common Christian teachings, can be saved THROUGH the Catholic faith. Complete nonChristians are likewise saved THROUGH the Catholic faith, but the ‘how’ is a mystery.

And remember, please, that simple ‘goodness’ in perceived action is never a justification for salvation. IOW, by a hypothesis that those who simply ‘do good’ as a “good” Hindu, Jew, Muslim, pagan, etc. can be ‘saved’ because they are ‘good people’ (but outside the realm of full goodness, which is in God alone), is perilously close to a doctrine of ‘salvation through works alone’.


#4

Many non-Christian religions in the past practised human sacrifice. Therefore, being a “good” Aztec pagan meant being bad.

There are fragments of truth in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, so while a “good” Buddhist or a “good” Hindu might not necessarily be bad, being a “good” Christian is better.


#5

Ok, no need to get short with me. I’m one of the primary folks who have been trying to convince folks that those outside of the Church can find salvation. However, those conversations have primarily centered around non-Catholic Christians, not non-Christians.

Again, I’m trying to think outside of the Catholic Christian box here. My point is what if God relates to the Hindus (and others) in a similiar, but completely distinctively way that he does to us. IAW, the Hindus if they live their faith properly can get to heaven and it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church or Jesus Christ. Understand?


#6

Again, remember what I said, many faiths have similiar things in common. Is this by accident or by design? It certainly is logical that he would maybe have a similiar message, but altered somewhat to fit the people of that culture for easier understanding.

Lastly, you might have hit the nail on the head. We do have limited knowledge. We can’t possibly know God’s complete plan, so my premise theoretically, although maybe not probable, is possible.


#7

Your point is well taken. It’s quite possible the Aztecs completely missed whatever God’s message was to them, and human sacrifice was an unfortunate result.

My point is what if a good Hindu = a good Buddhist = good Christian. All pleasing to God in their own way. I know this is hard to comprehend, espcially for a devout Christian. I just find it hard to believe that God ignors these other faiths and that Catholics Christians are the only ones that have supposedly the fullness of Truth.


#8

If it is sufficient to be Hindu or Buddhist or Zoroastrian, etc, etc, etc, then the Incarnation was a mere blip on God’s radar and there would have been no command to preach the Good News of Christ to the ends of the earth. The Redemption that Christ accomplished would have been just for those fortunate enough to have been born within the Jewish world. Anyone who gets to Heaven does so ONLY by the merits of Jesus Christ through His Church which is His Body. It’s as easy as that, Mike. Until you understand the significance of Christ and His Church you will not understand this, though.


#9

Fullness is fullness is fullness, Mike. God’s Self-Revelation in and through the Incarnate Person of Christ Jesus isn’t doled-out piecemeal, but is given in its entirety as a depository of Faith entrusted to His Church which is His Body. As you should know by now, the Church acknowledges the the various religions of the world reflect various aspects of the truth fully expressed in Christ to His Church. The Church is hardly asking you or anyone else to believe that “God ignores these other faiths”. (You have constructed a strawman that you now are trying to disassemble.) She is simply teaching that the full expression of His revealed truth is found in the Person of Christ Who established His Church to be the extension of His Incarnation in time and place, preserving and protecting His Self-revelation. There is, therefore, nothing to “comprehend” of something other than this truth; to try to do so would be trying to comprehend a lie.


#10

Hi,
Our ladies had a discussion on this in bible study. We figured that if God wants to He will put someone in their path to teach them of Jesus Christ or He will appear(somehow) to them to show them the way.

I believe the only way to heaven is through Christ. I believe God can use anyone He wants to get the message to that person. After all, we know it is not the church that saves it is God through Christ.:thumbsup:


#11

But Isn’t that invalidating Christ Church and hi body of believers? Otherwise what is the point in having people who serve God by spreading his word.


#12

God also use anyone to get “others” to know Him. The “anyone” could be you, me, some others. However, the for-sure-anyone is the Church.


#13

Hi,
Im not saying it is invalidating the church at all. I am saying one does not need the church to be saved. Once they have heard the gospel they should find a church, but if they have no access to one they can still go to heaven.:thumbsup:


#14

Hi,
Yes Water, it is people who can bring the gospel message.We(believers) are the church.:thumbsup:


#15

No, not at all. The body of believers is suppose to go out and evangelize, which believers do all over the world and start churches.

Im not sure why you think this is invalidating the church unless you think only catholocism and the sacrements save people.:frowning:


#16

Yes, we are made up of the church; however, I was talking more of a authority level.


#17

Perhaps what the original poster is thinking of is prevenient grace, which John Wesley liked to talk about, the acts of the Holy Spirit which tugs us to begin the path to repentance and our Christian conversion.


#18

Ok, I knew this would be difficult, if darn near impossible on this forum to think outside the “Christian” box for a moment and think in larger terms. This isn’t a negative by any means, most everybody here I assume is a Christian, as I am, and you are naturally defending the faith. Believing in Jesus Christ and following his teachings is a sure way to Heaven, no argument.

However, I feel sometimes that God’s plan has to be broader to encompass more people than just Christians, that people of other loving and peaceful faithes that acknowledge a higher power also have a chance to achieve their idea of heaven completely independent of Christianity.

Maybe I’m dead wrong here, which I assume most of you think I am. However, God gave me a brain and brains think about stuff. This is part of that stuff.

Thanks for your inputs.


#19

#20

way to Heaven, Mike. This is the Faith of all Christians of any stripe. To suggest that He is but one way is false to His Self-Revelation: “I Am the Way. . .” and thus false to the Faith you claim to profess. There are no “larger terms” in which to think other than in He Who is the Truth.

The only “idea of heaven” that is true is GOD’S idea and that is the Beatific Vision wherein the saved eternally enjoy the presence of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. Only in Christ can one come to this Vision. Christ revealed Himself as THE Savior; for a Christian to try to conjure up another possibility for salvation outside of Him is an implicit denial of that truth, and a denial that there actually IS truth to be discovered because it has been revealed in Christ. If we can’t even see that than all we’re left with is an eternal wondering: “Is this true, or maybe it’s that that is true?”

And He gave you the gift of Faith which is supposed to help you discern the wheat from the chaff, the truth from the lie, including when they rise up in your own imaginings.

From a Christian standpoint, you are correct. Christ is the way. No argument. I’m talking the ultimate destination for folks of other faithes who believe as strongly in their faithes as Christians do theirs.
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