Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


I’m going to bed after this, but here’s my answer.

First, I’m not sure if your “entrance into eternal life” = “going to Heaven”. It seems to me that eternal life could also be spent in Hell. So it depends on what you mean by that.

“Believing in Jesus.” Desirable, yes. Nice, yes. Required? No. Again, it’s not necessary to be Catholic, or even Christian, to go to Heaven. Certainly it’s recommended as the best or recommended way. But it’s not the only way. Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, etc. can all go to Heaven. Christ didn’t die on the cross for only Christians, he died for all mankind. All this is standard, traditional, orthodox Catholicism.

Yes, you’re quoting me correctly: Good deeds do not “earn” your way to Heaven. As I keep saying (what, 5-6 times now? give me a break) BOTH elements are necessary to go to Heaven: Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross and living a good life. Living a good life is not so much racking up points for good deeds as it is avoiding mortal sin, or being sorry for mortal sin if you commit one.
Or to put it another way, “living a good life” = avoiding mortal sin. If you open doors for old ladies, give to the poor, visit the sick, etc., that’s all terrific, and some would argue “good deeds” give you a better place in Heaven (again, whatever that means!). But if you just avoid mortal sin, that’s good enough.


This is taking Francis’ ambiguity and coming to personal conclusions. Phrases like “desire to believe and continue to seek” and “strive to act as if God existed” don’t describe Atheism.

Those who hear the Gospel message, no longer have reason to be blind.


Perhaps we’re saying the same thing in different words. You don’t have to use Francis’s words if you don’t want to. Do a search on “Can an atheist go to Heaven + Catholic” and you get a lot of articles, for example https://www.catholic.com/qa/can-an-atheist-go-to-heaven
Obviously you have to be sincere in your atheism (!) and you have to avoid evil (= “strive to act as if God existed”).

I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so this is just a general comment, not necessarily a reply to what you said. I think it’s quite possible that a good person who has examined Christianity might decide it doesn’t make sense and become an atheist. Those of us who believe in Christianity have to understand that reading the Gospels is not some magical formula that will automatically make you a Christian. It would eliminate free will if hearing the Gospels automatically converted you to Christianity. There is, as Kierkegaard said, a “leap of faith.” If it could be proven in a mathematical sense it would pretty much eliminate free will.



The only sin the apostle understood was mortal. All sin is deadly in my view.

The Holy Spirit:

JOHN 5:17 (RSVCE) 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

Who are you going to believe? tgGodsway or the Holy Spirit?

(Sorry but with the new format I cannot tell what post this was from tgGodsway looks like it was 1313 but I can’t be sure. I also cannot link to it)



The unsaved person is spiritually dead to God, according to the apostle Paul. This means that they are not able to make a spiritual choice for Christ. They are dead to God and His ways.

This is WHY God HAS TO “draw all men to Myself” (See John 12:32) tgGodsway.

This is God’s prevenient grace.

You are mixing up God’s prevenient grace with God’s saving or justifying grace.

The prevenient grace (God making the first move) is part of it, but that only draws men to be “born again” or “born of water and the Spirit” (which initially saves them).

Because you conflate these two forms of grace erroneously, your whole foundation that you build upon falls like a foundation built upon sand.

That’s part of the reason why your arguments have not been able to stand up to scrutiny here.

What you are saying is a partial truth to be sure, but unfortunately it is not the fullness of truth.

As long as you keep venturing out in your own private interpretations of Scripture (with no firm foundation to build upon), this will occur repeatedly.


I would encourage you to read more of the context from Pope Pius XI

**Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.

  1. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom “the custody of the vineyard has been commited by the Savior.”[4] The words of Christ are clear enough: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector;”[5] “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me;”[6] “He who does not believe will be condemned;”[7] “He who does not believe is already condemned;”[8] “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”[9] The Apostle Paul says that such persons are “perverted and self-condemned;”[10] the Prince of the Apostles calls them “false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master. . . bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”**

Pius was speaking of an ignorance of religious knowledge. But the Creator is not known through Divine Revelation only, but through the natural law.

Make no mistake… Atheism is a belief (free will) that there is no deity! I don’t believe the Church has ever condoned atheism, or believes that one who professes to be an atheist can also be doing so while holding to natural law or “ready to obey God”.

St Paul expresses a conviction of a “deity” through creation in Romans 1

what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened


“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.” - 1 John 5:16,17 ESV


It seems to me the last half of your first paragraph (above) simply confirms my position: a sincere atheist who tries to live a good life may go to Heaven.

I never said the Church “condones” atheism. But I don’t think it holds the position that every atheist is destined for Hell. If it does, please enlighten me–but it has to be an explicit statement, not some ambiguous pious wish.

I think the term “invincible ignorance” needs to be examined. I think it’s clear that everyone on this forum has some interest in religion, whether for or against. But most people take little or no interest in it, whether because they have little education, or are busy trying to find food, or they are occupied with all sorts of other concerns, or because it just never occurred to them to investigate religion. I don’t think God expects every person to study religion all their waking hours throughout their life. I think, like most things, common sense applies. If someone is raised Catholic and has some Catholic education, then they should be held to a higher standard than a peasant in Somalia who has spent most of their life in a state of half starvation.

Or, if you like, let’s take a person who in fact HAS spent her entire life studying religion. Mary Johnson. http://maryjohnson.co Perhaps you’ve never heard of her. She joined the Missionaries
of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order) at age 19. She spend 20 years as a nun, part of the time in Rome training new nuns. She was Mother Teresa’s sole companion on several overseas trips, so she knew her well. She also updated the Constitution of the order. She also spent years studying theology in Rome. Then she had a sexual affair with a priest; then another nun. She left the order. “I found I had outgrown my religious faith.” She is no longer a Catholic, and from what I can see (I’ve heard her speak) is a sort of New Age spiritual guru. She is married. So…does she have “invincible ignorance”? I’ll let God sort that out, but it’s a question to think about.


Certainly God will be the judge, but I think the term “invincible ignorance” can only be applied to a person who never entered the Church.


See Romans 2. Paul is basically talking about non-believers vs believers. He says they are a law unto themselves. God is not bound by the Law, he can save who he wishes.

I’m would put up a preemptive popcorn emoji if I could find it.


Augusttherese, It’s a great verse but it doesn’t go far enough to say what you are saying.
I agree there is a sin leading to death and a sin that does not lead to death. I agree some sins are less harmful than others. What I do not agree on is how you say God determines the eternal outcome based on mortal sin.

Contrary to the popular Roman Catholic view, there will not be a judgment over sin when Christ comes again. There is nothing recorded in the New Testament about Christ judging sin, again.


Well, you can’t stop there… I an reading into this that there WILL be a judgement but it will not be related to sin because sin was already judged? Please explain (in less than a page if possible)


Hello ajcstr,

There are 4 judgments mentioned in the New Testament;
(1) The judgment of the saved, or what is called the beama
seat judgment.
(2) There is the judgment of the lost. It is called the Great White Throne judgment. (1000 years after Christ comes)

(3) The judgment of Nations
(4) The judgment over sin, this was the cross
Outside of these judgments there is no other judgment recorded in the bible.



I just read your post. wow… I don’t think that’s even Catholic much less a Christian view. Do you serve the God of the bible?


Interesting, does the 3rd judgement apply to all nations or just the Gentiles? (I feel like I’m on “what’s my line” here).


I’ve got to go but quickly,… Jesus said He would gather "all the nations… "


I merely posted Scripture alone from a Protestant bible. How can you presume what you are able to disagree with me on? However, let me reply anyway. Our Blessed Lord will come again to judge all of us, living and dead, solely on how we performed:

“For you will render to a man
according to his work.” - Psalm 62:12 ESV

“Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?” Proverbs 24:12 ESV

“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” - Romans 2:6-8 ESV

“And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.” - Revelation 20:12, 13 ESV

Notice: according to Scripture alone, when it comes to Our Lord judging us for our eternal destination, He will not judge our faith, He will not judge His grace; rather, throughout both the Old and New Testament, Scripture alone attests that each of us will be judged according to what we have done and/or omitted. If the Spirit lives in us and produces good works thereby keeping us justified together with the completed faith in the state of grace, Our Lord will judge us according to those good works and we will obtain eternal life. If we do not possess the Spirit, and do not Have his assistance in performing good works, then, Our Lord will judge us according to the way we lived according the the sinful desires of the flesh:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6: 7,8 ESV

Saint Paul is very explicit and unambiguous when he exhorts Christians of the deadly sins not to partake of, as those specific sins will squander a baptized Christian’s gifted inheritance of the Kingdom of God:

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21

Those specific mortal sins listed are deadly sins that lead to everlasting spiritual death if not repented of and absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Alright! We agree on something. That is progress.


I take it back… I agree only about thirty percent.


I can’t respond now, but only to say you are dead wrong on how you made your interpretation.

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