I’m an atheist. My Catholic father thinks I’ll go to heaven


Gravity, friction, pressure, etc.



All “effects”.



Just because something is an effect, that doesn’t mean what effected it was a person. That doesn’t follow logically and should not be a basis for belief.



Effects don’t make themselves. Give me the cause …



Could be anything. Doesn’t have to be a God.



Then show me the cause



Did those that walk away believe 100% that He was God the son? Obviously not. So it was a matter of not feeling they had sufficient knowledge to accept his claim. Others did believe it. They felt they had sufficient knowledge to believe. That’s what I’m trying to say…someone who believes in something feels that they have sufficient knowledge to believe it (whatever it is) while those that don’t feel that they have sufficient knowledge, don’t believe or just accept “it” provisionally. I can’t just “make” myself believe something I don’t believe…and I’ve tried. All I did was lie to myself for a bit.




I’ll just say

From scripture, NOT ME, paraphrased, :sunglasses:, Faith ( Believe) in God, is a grace, a free gift from God, not ourselves… God already stacked the deck in His favor. He already planted Himself in each person before they are even born. If one feels they have problems in connecting with God, maybe through persistent sin, ask God for that gift of faith, and truly mean it, God won’t deny the gift.


The only realities there are, that covers everything that is, can be summed up in Jesus statement "spirit and life"as in the natural and the supernatural. One can’t grasp the supernatural portion of that without faith. Ask for it.



Steve, I have. Over and over again. For years. I left faith kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to lose my faith, never asked to lose it, tried looking at other faiths, tried to fake it til I make. Not everyone that doesn’t have faith wanted to be faithless. I still have no answer for what I went through. I still ask. I still try…but I just don’t or can’t or won’t believe…take your pick. I was blindsided by my loss of faith and it was traumatic.

I think I’ve derailed the thread enough. You may PM me if you want to continue. Thank you for the discussion, though. I do appreciate it!



Allow me to make one suggestion. It’s not from me but St Peter.

Faith as you know is not a receive once and done deal. It takes work as you also know.

That said

have you tried adding to your faith the following 7 attributes in ever increasing amounts

2 Pet 1:
5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 Forif these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[d] to arouse you by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body[e] will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.[f] 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[g] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

[snip for space]

Under Emperor Nero, Peter was crucified upside down on Vatican Hill.

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Pascal’s wager assumes a God willing to reward only those who believe without proof. Whereas the alternative seems more likely, that any God engaging deliberately in “divine hiddenness” is doing so to weed out the gullible. After all, they’re also the most likely to be fooled by false gods, and nobody wants someone else taking credit for their own work.

Hence, as with Pascal, if there is no such God, then believing or disbelieving entails only opportunity costs. But, contra Pascal, if there is such a God, it’s the atheists, and the atheists alone, who will be invited into paradise.

I had a similar situation to your own with a friend who counted herself OSAS, “once saved, always saved.” She used this to justify believing that I, as a former Christian, was destined for heaven as well.

She died last year, but before she did, she made me a promise. If we’re both wrong, she’ll save me a seat by the fire.



Not believing in the existence of Hell doesn’t cause it to not exist. For example, the fact that I don’t believe in your existence doesn’t cause you to cease to exist.



It also has an effect on the other choices that one makes.



I would say that your Dad prays regularly for your conversion.

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Just the fact that you are asking this question means you are not “invincibly ignorant.” Your ignorance can be conquered, unlike someone who let’s say has never encountered the Christian God or who do not have the capacity to understand (profound mental retardation) the Catholic faith. That’s the only way ignorance can be defined as invincible (insurmountable).

In fact, you probably know more than most considering your father spent 9 years in the seminary, and I’m going to assume that he tried to raise you in the Catholic faith. Therefore, I think this has much more to do with your father’s personal belief system than any teaching from the Catholic Church, It would be interesting to know the evolution of your father’s faith.

For instance, both of my parents (father in the seminary for short time; mother tried to become a nun but rejected for being overly scrupulous) were very Catholic. During the 1960s, my mother started seeing a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with clinical depression, and who blamed “scrupulosity” for her ongoing life-long condition. She didn’t want that for her children so, although she remained very Catholic insofar as she always insisted we go to mass every Sunday, and exposed us to all of the liberal Catholic groups she belonged to, she sent us to public school and never ever mentioned Hell. Unlike your father, she has come to deeply regret that decision as we, her children, grew up with very little knowledge about the true Catholic faith. As a consequence, we sort of fell away from the Church as adults, only going to mass when we felt like it. She even had to beg my youngest sister, who rejected the faith completely, to baptize her son in the Catholic Church. In other words, she feels as if she has failed God by not doing her duty to pass on the faith.

Your father obviously feels very differently from my mother, who regrets her decisions and who worries about not only her children’s salvation but her own. Why? Why doesn’t he worry about his son’s salvation? Has he always believed that atheists can go to Heaven, or has he come to this conclusion over time? Does he only believe this because he can’t fathom his son going to Hell? In other words, what is your father’s history in relation to the Catholic faith?

I have only read some of the responses so if this has been already discussed, I apologize.



Actually the point is, [why / how] do we even know about hell or it’s possibility to go there?



I’ve often wondered how atheists view anecdotal evidence.

Does every belief need to be proven by science?



That’s theologically nonsensical…

Your lack of belief in him constitutes a rejection of him… At least in so far as what you reject is truly God and not a false idol you believe to be god.

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Then you’re not an atheist, you’re a nontheistic agnostic.

Atheists emphatically deny even the possibility of a deity existing.



Jumping into your conversation here.

Obviously, there has to be a tipping point for finally walking away from one’s faith.

What do you think the difference is between believers and non-believers?

A glass half full vs half empty approach to life in general perhaps?

I just read a comment today by an atheist who said if God was real he would be on Facebook or twitter making his presence known. My immediate thought response was “he is making his presence known and it’s called nature!” (I see God when I hear the wings of a hummingbird or shadows on the mountains).

That’s two people seeing the same situation with two different viewpoints. I’m curious what you think makes people decide to be a believer or not.


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