Is it a sin to have different opinions on spiritual matters?

Just for context, I’m a born and raised catholic, but only recently I’ve started to take my spirituality seriously (paying attention to the mass, confessing regularly, praying when I’m happy, sad or just to thank God for my life). The problem is, I do not think the church is right in everything.

I mean, look at the amount of christian churches out there, and there is also the division within the catholic church (the orthodox church). I’ve heard the orthodox church does not belive in the purgatory, so who is right?

Anyways, the most important reason for me to be asking this is that I have some beliefs deep in my heart, and I want to know if feeling like this is a sin. For exemple, I find it absurd that people even discuss if unborn babies go to heaven if they aren’t baptized, I’m sure God doesn’t need a person to go through a ritual (baptism) for them to go to Heaven. Also, I believe God loves us so much that hell is empty. Look, God certainly knows that hell wouldn’t be pleasurable to anyone, so He certainly is able to show a glimpse of heaven to a person who died and lived an unapologetically sinful life - I imagine he/she would be so amazed that they would repent greatly, and God would accept him/her (By the way, reading the parable of the prodigal son shows us that the father accepted his son as soon as he returned). Also, I don’t think you have to be catholic to go to heaven, I just think the catholic life is the most beneficial and holy way to live this earthly life. For instance, why would a japanese person, that probably knows as much about catholicism as an american person knows about buddhism, not go to heaven? Following this train of thought, it doesn’t make sense that a born and raised evangelical person, that is good and lives their life worshipping God, would go to hell if they died in serious sin (they don’t confess to a priest).

Lastly, is it ok if I’m not a huge fan of the catholic church? I like most aspects of her, such as the charity and the devotion to Mary. However, I can’t stop thinking that she makes mistakes that take away her greatness. Like, if people there are so wise and all (I’m reffering to important people in the hierarchy), why did they oppose heliocentrism and even threatened Galileo? Also with all the recurrent scandals involving the church…

Well, I think that’s it. I just want to make it clear that my main question is if you think I’m sinning by having these thoughts, although it would be great to know what you think about specific thoughts I wrote about. Also, I’m not asking this as a way to “weaken” my faith and begin to selectively practice catholicism. When I’m in the church i feel closer to God, I also feel that the catholic way of life is good. I live my life according to the church teachings mostly because if feels good to my soul, but maybe 10% of me follows that because I could be wrong and tradicionalist catholics who say that 99% of people go hell could be right. (I wonder if following the church partly due to fear of going to hell is a sin).

That’s it, I know my question got wordy. But yeah, thank you if you read what I had to say, and it would be nice to know your opinion.

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I’m no scholar, and neither is anyone here most likely going to have anything helpful to say to you. These are questions a good priest will have answers to. Read the Roman Catechism, it explains a lot of the faith in a very digestible way.


The suggestion to read the Catechism is a good one.
Personally, I don’t think your concerns are sinful, they are just signs that you are learning about your faith.
It’s well known that you don’t have to be Catholic to go to heaven, although as you say it’s the straightest path there. But people will be judged on what they know, not on what they don’t, and on the laws that God has written in our hearts. I’m pretty sure Billy Graham, for example, is in heaven.
You can be a fan of the church while disapproving things that individual Catholics have done, like burning Joan of Arc at the stake. We follow Christ, not individual priests or bishops or theologians.
I’ve never heard anyone say what percentage of people go to hell. Perhaps God didn’t reveal that because he didn’t want people to fall into either complacency or despair. We can just trust in his mercy, and do our best to follow Jesus.
God bless.

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What will happen to a japanese person who has never heard of Jesus or the Gospel? I believe that he/she will be judged based on what they do know. Men are without excuse, as it says in Romans 1. The japanese person knows that he/she needs a savior and they know that this world could not have happened by chance. Even the most rigid, angry atheist knows that there’s no way that chance is responsible for creating the heavens and the earth.

Japanese folks are rebel sinners, in the same way that canadians are sinners who need a Savior (I’m a canadian, so I know how much sin there is in Canada). If a person exits this life having rejected the proofs God has given them, he/she goes to Hell. John 3 says that a person who does not believe is condemned already.

Well, given that you’re on a forum devoted to giving the Catholic Church teaching on matters, we’re not going to sit here and say that it’s okay for you to believe stuff contrary to Church teaching. With respect to “is it a sin? “ you need to ask your priest. We aren’t in a good position to evaluate the sinfulness of activities that aren’t big obvious sins like fornication or murder.

Having said that,

  • the Church allows Catholics to believe in the hope of salvation for babies who die without being baptized, so your thoughts on that are not an issue;

  • the Church teaches that we have no idea who is in Hell, so it’s possible for you to believe no one is there; however, that’s considered an extreme and perhaps dangerous belief because it might cause a person to ignore the importance of avoiding sin and respecting the Lord;

  • the Church doesn’t teach that only Catholics go to Heaven - this is directly addressed in the Catechism and on dozens of past threads here;

  • the Church is run by humans who occasionally make mistakes (also your view of the Church and heliocentrism is a bit simplistic and you may want to read more in depth in the history of that), and we aren’t in the Church because of humans, we’re in it because of Jesus Christ in the Real presence.

It’s great you’re interested in learning more about your faith, just please make sure you do research and perhaps discuss with your priest to fully understand the Church’s actual teachings because it seems from your post you may have some confusion on that.

Simply not true. Using a parable of the weeds and the wheat to describe the final judgment, Jesus foretold, “The angels will hurl [the evildoers] into the fiery furnace where they will wail and grind their teeth” (Matthew 13:42).

Eastern Orthodoxy separated I.E. not the Catholic church…they don’t follow the Pope. Look to history, the Catholic Church is right. There is a reason it can trace its existence back to the apostles and nobody else can. Peter is the first Pope, there are a substantial amount of arguments for this.

This is true, but wouldn’t you want someone to have the best chance of getting to Heaven? That’s the Catholic Church. It is true there is no salvation outside the church…why? Because you must accept the truth, whether it is revealed to you in this life now or at the moment of death…you have to accept it.

You seriously need to delve into the history. It is simply a MIRACLE that the Catholic Church exists today because of the amount of scandals given by bad leaders in the church. It is not only the foundation of western society, it is the oldest western institution today. the mere fact it still exists is proof of its authenticity…at a very minimum (in a secular sense) its proven beneficence to people for 2000 years.

You mentioned the prodigal son. Had he never come to his senses, never decided to return home, he’d have spent the rest of his life away from the one who loved him. He’d have chosen to stay in hell.

But he did decide to come home. To work as one of his father’s hired men. This would be like those who go through the motions to be rewarded with heaven.

However, the father welcomed him as a son, restored him to his true dignity. This is the goal. Jesus made it possible but we must follow. Like him we need to humble ourselves drastically & allow His spirit to be born in us, & grow. Until we can say like St Paul, “Jesus lives in me.”

We all say it, but it’s different. I believe if we we annihilate our will then we will present a true image of Christ to the world. Like Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, or Edith Stien.

Following the Church partly due to fear of going to hell is only the beginning.

All that stuff you mentioned is important but not as important as the path we’re called to follow. We’re slaves (fearing the pains of hell), we’re not called to be hired men (pursuing the reward of heaven), but to be sons & daughters moved by love alone.

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