John 3: God’s presence outside faith in Christ?


In reading John chapter 3, I think that it is quite clear the gospel writer says there is no light of God outside faith in Christ as the incarnate Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus as God are in the Light, those who deny him are in darkness. I think the whole chapter in context presents this theme.
Would you agree?
Why grounds then do some more liberal members of the church have for saying truth can be found outside of the church?
Doesn’t this contradict John 3?

Some examples of Catholics saying some truth might be found outside Christanity:
“The benefit of walking along the path of [inter-faith] exploration is plain. After a serious search, you may discover a tradition ideally suited to your understanding of God, your desires for community, and even to your own personality.” -Father James Martin (a video from the pope. I’m sorry about the conspiracy theorists who posted it, but the video is legit)


I think it’s pretty obvious that truths can be said and believed by non-Catholics–not everything they say or believe is false or a lie. That’s all that Nostra Aetate is saying–that we share some things in common and it’s ok to work together toward the common good. That is unrelated to having the light of faith which is believing and assenting to what God has revealed (definitively in the person of Christ) based on the authority of the revealer.

Unfortunately, the quote from a priest you provided, without seeing the context, looks like complete and utter religious indifferentism, and that is to be rejected as contrary to the virtue of faith We don’t choose our religion based on our understanding of God, our desires, or our personality–we don’t make a god in our own image or make Him submit to us. Rather, we are called to faith (CCC=Catechism of the Catholic Church):

CCC 143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.3

Picking a religion that “fits” is the very opposite of submitting ones intellect and will to God the revealer.

The Church also teaches faith is necessary for salvation:

CCC 161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

Furthermore, we believe the Catholic faith is the right “fit” for everyone.

CCC 845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

Of course, we also acknowledge that “in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him” (CCC 848)

(I can’t watch the video, so I can’t comment on that)


That part from the catcheism answers my question perfectly! Thanks!!!


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit