Hell

Not trying to evangelize, just asking questions. Apologies if this is a repeatedly done topic, I’m new.

As a protestant, I was always taught that those who follow non-Christian religions, no matter what reason, do not get into heaven, and thus will go to hell. As I read the Catholic beliefs though, this seems a bit murky. It sounds like one has to basically reject God with full intention of what they are doing. Am I wrong? Or was I right the first time, where

Also, Catholic doctrine states that anybody who commits a mortal sin will go to hell if their sins are not confessed to a priest. This seems like we’re constantly on thin ice, I mean, what if I masturbated, and then got hit by a car before I had the chance to go to confession? On that note, what of Protestants? I’ve read that they are more or less safe, as they all follow Christ. However, virtually every Protestant commits mortal sin at some point - yet they do not have the confessionals that Catholics do. How do they get into heaven?

The Catholic Church teaches that non-Christians can be saved, by following the laws of God written upon their hearts. In the absence of the knowledge of Christ, men are judged according to how they lived with what they knew. The Protestant notion that one cannot be saved without knowledge of Christ places the salvation of those who do not have this knowledge in the hands of men. So the poor guy that lives in the darkest reaches of the Amazon, who has never seen another human being other than his tribe, would be out of luck if a Christian hadn’t found him yet. The one thing we can depend on is that we have a just, loving and merciful God who desires that all be saved.

As for mortal sin and confession, you are correct. Mortal sin does what its name implies. It brings death to the soul. The sacrament of Reconciliation infuses sanctifying grace and renews life within our souls. So yes, if you commit a mortal sin and do not confess it, you die with a dead soul which cannot enter into heaven. Now, if you felt true contrition for that sin and intended to confess it, but were hit by a truck on the way to the Church, you would be forgiven.

This is the danger of the doctrine common in many Protestant denominations of “once saved always saved”. It is a fallacy and potentially a deadly fallacy. There would be some mitigation if the person were ignorant, but to treat a serious sin as nothing because you believed you were already saved would be a very dangerous thing to do. All of us are required to at least be sorry for our sins and to make amends for those sins. As always, we depend and hope in the mercy of God for all people.

What about non-Christians living in the modern world? With the abundance of technology and how easy it is to get access to scripture, what happens to, say, the Hindus and the Buddhists, who while they could have read the scripture of Jesus and converted, simply stayed with their religion, because it what they were raised with, and were given no reason to question their teachings? Or even the atheists, do not believe not out of hatred but because they are, to put it simply, too scientifically minded for their own good? Also, where do Jews and Muslims fit in?

Once again, I’m not trying to argue, I just feel that I should know what the religion that I’m converting into teaches. [sorry if I’m sounding too defensive. I just want to make my intentions clear.]

As for mortal sin and confession, you are correct. Mortal sin does what its name implies. It brings death to the soul. The sacrament of Reconciliation infuses sanctifying grace and renews life within our souls. So yes, if you commit a mortal sin and do not confess it, you die with a dead soul which cannot enter into heaven. Now, if you felt true contrition for that sin and intended to confess it, but were hit by a truck on the way to the Church, you would be forgiven.

I see, so the only way I would go to hell for a mortal sin is if I comitted it with no intention of confessing it, and therefore basically no repentance? That makes sense.

kbwall;7309409]What about non-Christians living in the modern world? With the abundance of technology and how easy it is to get access to scripture, what happens to, say, the Hindus and the Buddhists, who while they could have read the scripture of Jesus and converted, simply stayed with their religion, because it what they were raised with, and were given no reason to question their teachings? Or even the atheists, do not believe not out of hatred but because they are, to put it simply, too scientifically minded for their own good? Also, where do Jews and Muslims fit in?

Once again, I’m not trying to argue, I just feel that I should know what the religion that I’m converting into teaches. [sorry if I’m sounding too defensive. I just want to make my intentions clear.]

The person that can not or will not come into the Church be it for reasons that do to lifes circumstances make it near impossible for them to accept the church can still find salvation. Always keep in mind that the salvation of each person is between them and God. We should stive to be a bridge and not a barricaide for those that have not found his peace.

I see, so the only way I would go to hell for a mortal sin is if I comitted it with no intention of confessing it, and therefore basically no repentance? That makes sense.

Not so much that you committed it going oh I have to go and confess this. More of you committed it then realized that this was wrong and said I have to go to confession.

No problem. Its a important question. Fortunately for all of us, salvation is in the hands of loving merciful God. Of course, if one is raised in a certain non-Christian religion, but has not been evangelized, he would be judged on how he lived with the truth that was given to him. The Catholic Church teaches that all religions contain truth, to one degree or another. Where truth is, God is there also. It is the heart of man that matters, and only God knows how that person would have received the fullness of truth had he known.

It is those who have heard the truth and rejected it that are in trouble. We all do this to some extent each time we sin. But those who reject the saving grace of God have sinned against the Holy Spirit and cannot be saved. We should always pray for them, however, as our prayers and sacrifices can have salvific value. We should never loose hope.

We have to be careful here. By that I mean that we cannot fall into the trap of saying I know what I am doing is wrong, but I can always just go and confess it. That would be another sin. We must realize that what we have done is an offense against God, feel true sorrow for offending Him and do our best to avoid it in the future.

A good example of this is when two people are living together outside of marriage. If one confesses that sin, but has no intention of changing the situation, he probably will not receive absolution from the priest. Again, we are confessing our sins to God and He knows our hearts. Confession isn’t magic. It is very real and the graces we receive are dependant upon the truth and integrity within us.

It is good that you are asking questions. You should satisfy yourself that what you are about to enter is the real thing. I can promise you that it is, but you should only enter with your eyes wide open. I am very excited for you and will pray for you. The truth and beauty contained within the Catholic Church can be found nowhere else.

God bless you.

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