How prevalent is the idea that God sends some people to hell through no fault of their own?

simple question for the non Catholic Christians on this board. Something I have seen preached by non Catholic Christians is that you can only be saved through professing with your lips in Christ Jesus, or something similar. They argue in light of what they believe about coming to salvation that, budist, hindus, jews, atheists, etc can never be saved if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Some will even claim that there are some people who will be sent to hell simply because of circumstances. For example, a native american never heard about Jesus Christ probably until the 16th century meaning that all the people who lived in North America would be condemned to hell out of no fault of their own. I think this view is very problematic and not true in light of the entirety of scripture and tradition.

so my simple question, i’m also open to debate about this issue, how prevalent is the idea that God sends people to hell out of no fault of their own? Is it just a few radical groups in Christianity or is it so wide spread that only Catholics and a handful of people believe it to be false.

some scripture for you reflection on this issue

1:tim 2 3-4
Jn 12:31
om 11:32;
2 Pet 3:9;
Titus 2:11;
Rom 5:14-21;
Eph 1:10;
Col 1:20

Are you referring to adults only? Doesn’t the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin where a baby is born without sanctifying grace raise a similar possibility of that baby not going to Heaven through no fault of its own unless it is baptized?

not necessarily, at worse unbaptized babies are in limbo,(I think the Church recently changed its view on this) but there are those in the Church who argue that unbaptized baby because of the desire of the Church for their baptism they would still receive the baptism of desire and thus be saved.

Again if God in scripture says that God wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, then to claim that someone can’t obtain salvation is problematic.

Perhaps, but the Child can’t go to Hell. That’s why the theory of limbo was postulated to start with. Nobody can go to Hell without a voluntary fault, a voluntary rejection.

I agree it’s problematic. I also find it contradictory with the commonly suggested notion that people “choose” hell. How can you say you’ve chosen something if you think it’s horrible and know you’d spend every waking moment wanting to escape?

its not like choosing something to eat rather you send yourself to God by not accepting the open invitation of God. You choose hell by not choosing to follow God.

No, technically, dying in original sin (without baptism) is all that is required to “qualify” for eternal misery. The CC doesn’t state that aborted or miscarried babies’ souls are in Heaven, she (the CC) says she “entrusts their souls to God’s mercy”. Limbo is hogwash, it’s either Hell or Heaven (or Purgatory). A baby who dies 3 days before his/her baptism may be facing an eternity in Hell, a baby who dies 3 minutes after his/her baptism will be with God the second he/she closes their eyes. God does not take sin lightly.

I suggest you read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

Hell isn’t so much a giant pit we are thrown into boiling where we scream to escape. Hell is a state of being. Hell is when someone is in a definite state of rejection of God. They live eternally, rejecting God and all good through him, growing in misery. They grow every increasingly more opposed to God as time goes on.

Incorrect. Yes, in a technical sense, original sin is sufficient to qualify for Hell. But Pope Pius IX said in Quanto conficiamur moerore, “God… in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault.”

Sense then, the idea of infants going to Hell has been definitely out of bounds in the Church. It is not in accord with the basic truths about God and his saving plan.

Limbo remains a valid theological option for Catholics, as Pope Benedict XVI said.

Two points here: 1st if Hell is not possible for anyone not guilty of personal fault, why the need to baptize babies, why doesn’t the Church say that aborted and miscarried babies’ souls are in Heaven, rather than say “we entrust these souls to God’s mercy”, if such is the case?
2nd Can you link to where Pope Benedict said Limbo was still a valid concept, I thought it had been debunked by JPII.

In passing, “supreme goodness and clemency” to not send a miscarried baby’s soul to hell? Really? :eek: I’ll assume it’s a hyperbole. :confused:

In addition to what I said before, as Father Most put it: “The words of the Council of Lyons speaks of those who die in original sin as going to hell. The Latin word used is infernum, which means the realm of the dead, and need not mean the hell of the damned. As to the word poena, often translated as punishment, in Latin it need not mean the positive infliction of suffering, but could stand for only the loss or deprivation of some good. If unbaptized infants are deprived of the vision of God, that is a poena, but would not have to involve any suffering.”

The above quotation matches up with the previously mentioned teaching of Pope Pius IX.

Read this article:

It does seem that John Paul II and Benedict both believed that all infants would go to heaven, but they never ruled out Limbo definitely. But it has been on the downside recently, as it seems most Catholic theologians tend to believe unbaptized infants see the beatific vision in heaven.

But one thing that is definitely not on the table, is the idea of Infants going to Hell. That was part of Father Feeney’s error.

I’m enjoying this discussion and it’s all on topic but I would still like an answer to my original
question. How many non Catholics believe that God put people in situations that hell is the only option. It is a part of Christian belief I saw someone say it this morning.

Well, I’m a convert to the Church from Reformed Presbyterianism. There is no set belief in stone, there. The majority seems to believe infants baptized to reformed Christians would go to heaven, and the rest would go to Hell. But there was a minority position that argued that all infants would go to heaven.

the Church understanding on limbo and the fate of the unbaptized can develop, no disrespect to your view but be careful about quoting a council that is over 700 years old. The Church has developed in a lot of ways since this time. The truth of the unbaptized cannot be saved has not changed, this is a truth found in the scripture and tradition. But our understanding of how one can be baptized can change, so as I suggested unbaptized babies can receive baptism of desire from the Church, the desire of others is sufficient for the desire of the baby, in extraordinary circumstances I believe that the desire doesn’t have to come from the family. (for example a 1 day old baby is about to die and the parents don’t desire their child to be baptized, the baby because of the danger of death can be baptized and this would be valid because of the desire of the one baptizing.) If this is the case than the desire of the Church for all the unborn could account for that desire need for the baptism. So because through no fault of their own these babies aren’t baptized, and someone desires their baptism, this would suffice for the forgiveness of original sin. This is all speculation so you don’t have to believe it, it is my own personal interpretation.

so you would say that it is very prevalent that God sends people to hell through no fault of their own but there is still a pluralism, or multitude of views, on this issue in non catholic sects.

Sir, my quotation and explanation of the Council of Lyons was in response to the other poster saying that those who die in original sin alone could be punished in the hell of the damned. Sense the Council of Lyons is the one frequently cited as the support for this, I thought it would be important to bring up. :thumbsup:

The theory of limbo was also linked to the realm of the dead, or Abrahams bosom, the place Jesus went to free the just souls of the old testament and admit them to heaven. I seem to recall, though I’m unsure if I have the right book in mind, that Ludwig Ott in fundamentals of Catholic dogma had explained that unbaptised babies cannot be admitted to the beatific vision, but however as they had no personal fault they would still enjoy the fullest extent of natural happiness, but not supernatural joy. But it is just a theory.

If you invite someone to your house, and they do not show up, is it your fault?

If you invite someone to your house at 9 and they show up at 12, is it your fault they showed up late?

However weird it sounds, the fact is God invites.

As simple as that.

If we don’t accept and prepare, that is not God’s fault.

So God doesn’t do the sending and if we can’t figure that out now, we will be screaming ‘why’, as our life is played before us (the answer), while we walk the long walk away from His house.

What does this mean? We must ‘man up’ for our mistakes, apologize, make good, show we would appreciate an acceptance to our apology through our lives today and hope for mercy.

One other note about ‘no fault of their own’. - By default, we are not owed God’s house. The only reason people go to hell can be summed up as “fault of their own”.

All this Pharisaic discussion on Limbo is all very well in looking at the development of Christian Doctrine through the Councils and the words of Popes. But I personally believe that this legalistic dissection of pilpuls ignores the nature of our loving Father.
What Shepherd who leaves the 99 and looks for the lost will ignore a little child? Which loving Father who sees His son from afar and rushes to welcome him will leave a little baby by the side of a road like some Pharisee? No even a samaritan would take him in his arms; how much more our loving Father.
Live with Christ and leave the unknowable to His loving mercy just as His Church wisely teaches. AMDG

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