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


I couldn’t agree with you more. This is my take as well.

I posted here looking for dissenting opinions but appreciate your comment.



If you asked me whether I was born a theist, I would say no…how could I be?(Does that answer your question?)



Appreciate the links. These will be helpful for me.



The reason I asked is because I wanted you to consider about time. At some point, maybe later in life, you became an atheist, but that doesn’t mean you always will be, and certainly doesn’t mean you will be when you die.

Personally, I believed in God since as early as I can remember. Later on I became an atheist after I experienced something very traumatic. Then I remained an atheist for a couple of years. After that I was agnostic and believed whatever I wanted to that interested me at the time… anything but Christianity of course. hehe

While I was a non-believer and adolescent, my father who was a pastor at the time, told me I was going to hell, when I refused to go to church. Fast forward 18 years later… now he’s an atheist and I’m a christian.

No one knows the future except God.

There is a Bible verse that some Christian Charismatics believe that if one person in a family is saved, all in that family will be saved. It is:

«If it is displeasing to you to serve the LORD, choose today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”»
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭NABRE‬‬

They focus only on the last sentence of the verse and consider it a promise that their whole families will be saved.

I really can’t imagine a heaven without those I love, can’t imagine it without my dad being there. All I can do is hope and pray to God that he will be saved.



Well I hope nothing but the best for you. I agree, no one can know the future :+1:. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some proof for Scientology in my searching.



Just a few words to challenge the mind to think…

Here is a childlike and yet profound way to test the power of the greatest commandments; when looking for a purpose for the creation of the universe and life.

Before the creation of the universe began, imagine God the Father, Son and Holy spirit looking out into the vast empty void of space. They are thinking, we have the power to create anything we want, what is the greatest good thing that we can create?

God could create all the stars and planets and be the supreme builder. He could create plants; and be the unsurpassed gardener. God could create the animal kingdom; and be the best farmer. God could create children in his own image and be the greatest father. Can God create anything greater than children in his own image?

God could love each and everyone of his children as he loves himself. Could God love us more than he loves himself?

Could there be any greater purpose for God to create children in his own image and to create the universe?

We are given the greatest commandments to love as God loves, can we do anything greater?

The command to love gives us the freedom to say no, hence we have evil.

If you can find something greater than the greatest commandments, then you will destroy Christianity.



If you are an atheist why do you care?



Mostly out of curiosity since this is an argument I had not crossed before. I was pretty surprised by it so thought I’d come here to see if it was at all common (from the comments, it looks like it’s not).

Through my deconversion I bounced between apologetics and anti-apologetics sources (as you can tell I found the apologists lacking…ie more like lawyers), and I tried hard to learn the arguments from all sides. I’m still learning. As an atheist in America, it’s also quite challenging to live authentically in the Christian dominated culture…hence my question to an anonymous discussion page.

This particular conversation with my father sprung from a discussion around the morality of the concept of hell.



Re: the atheist position

from purely a rationalistic position

Gamble comes to mind. One is really betting their particular position is a winner and not a loser. The problem with the bet, it can’t be proved absolutely till their individual death. And if they are wrong, their loss is forever…and they know every single second of it when that happens.

If interested,

Here’s 16 paragraphs from the Catechism on hell. http://ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=hell&xsubmit=Search&s=SS click on links for full explanation



This is called “Pascal’s Wager”. The problem with it is that it applies to any religion. “If you don’t believe Islam and Islam is correct, you go to Muslim Hell, but if you do believe in Islam, you go to Muslim Heaven. If Islam isn’t correct, then it doesn’t matter, so you might as well convert to Islam.” Same thing for any other religion. So, based purely on that type of argument an atheist is faced with a ton of different religions all promising wonders if they believe in it and tortures if they don’t. In the absence of evidence, the moral and honest thing to do in such a situation is to try to live a genuine life and not buy into promises for selfish gain.

I am not comfortable at all even bringing up the concept of Hell when evangelizing, as I am not certain someone can come to true Faith through fear of Hell. And honestly, it sounds like you’re threatening someone for not buying your arguments. I know that if someone was trying to sell me something, and they said “Oh and if you don’t buy it you’ll be tortured forever!” I would immediately be suspicious.



Fair enough, except that in this case it’s the OP who started the thread in hopes of nailing down his preferred option to avoid it.

And he has gotten around to stating his problem with the concept

thus, Catholic answers.



There’s no problem with paschal’s wager. The problem is the errors people bring to it.

For example

From Pius IX identified 80 errors in this encyclical, ( using 4 of those errors described by Pius IX)

III. INDIFFERENTISM, LATITUDINARIANISM (in extension also relativism)

  1. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.—Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.

  2. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.—Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

  3. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.—Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

  4. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church.—Encyclical “Noscitis,” Dec. 8, 1849.

these errors in thinking influence actions. Free thinking and actions isn’t comnpletely free as in license to do whatever one wants, without consequence to that choice

That said, people’s errors they bring to pascal’s wager, means they make a lousy bet.

Who spoke more about hell and it’s consequences than anyone else in scripture? Jesus, the one who judges EVERYONE.

As I posted previously here’s 16 references from the CCC on Hell http://ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=hell&xsubmit=Search&s=SS

Fear of Hell is a valid fear considering who taught it. few are saved . THAT knowledge from the one who judges EVERYONE , ought to scare the Hell out of everyone.


It looks like most have no fear of hell since few are saved. Why do you suppose that is?



You need to assume christianity is true to accept that encyclical.



:sunglasses: I know , Not just Christianity, but in particular the Catholic Church is true. It’s all a part of the record that is properly referenced.



So you’re not talking about Pascal’s wager then. Pascal’s wager is meant to be an argument for people who dont already believe in Christianity.




being a wager , a bet, one is either a winner or loser based on their bet.



Yes this. Pascal’s wager looks more like a roulette wheel…in which case a “bet” on morality and honesty seems the way to go.

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I started this thread to better understand how a Catholic could justify such an argument (god rejectors go to hell, of which I’m not since you can’t reject something you don’t believe in).

Btw, he was using this thinking to defend the morality of hell. I was actually arguing that I would go to hell, lol (from a Catholic standpoint).

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In the longer run, all things considered, I hope he’s right.

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May I suggest, never take that position lightly or jokingly.

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