Looking for Support: The concept of Hell

Oh, I didn’t realize you have already fallen away. Sorry, about that.

It has nothing to do with Atheism. Why do you keep bringing that up? Atheists can be far more moral than Christians.

You still aren’t answering the question. Again, your answer is nothing more than “stop asking”.
Can you square up an all-loving God with one that tortures ‘innocent’ souls for eternity? Keep in mind, according to orthodox Catholicism, even the most honorable and moral people (Gandhi, MLK, etc) are all burning in Hell now. That is a loving God?

You keep bringing up Atheism. Many, perhaps most, Catholics feel the way I do.

Well, Jan1000 yes, there is a branch of Catholicism that is Orthodox. I didn’t grow up in that kind of environment so I wouldn’t know what it’s like or what it involves.

I grew up in a religious household that voted Democrat but moderate. So, while I respect the Orthodox form of worship it’s not one I recommend. I do agree there are many Catholics who believe different things. I don’t condemn them. And I also don’t think Orthodoxy is the highest form of worship and I wouldn’t compare different Catholics and worship across the world.

But the point of the post was squaring away for me as a moderate Catholic who does not condemn the fact there is a hell and the fact once acknowledging it I had to go through a period of prayer and grieving. With greater knowledge I once again had to reaffirm my commitment to God.

So, if you still consider yourself Catholic, it is for Catholics like you who I want to share my experience with. And I ask that in good faith to pray so that you to may have a transformative experience that greater develops your awareness of God and your relationship with him.

This remind me of a discussion I had with atheists. What the learned for certain there was a God and Jesus was his son. The answers were unanimously they would join a Fundamentalist Church. Odd but they all had extremist thinking. It seems almost like that for you ie Orthodox is the true and only form of worship, and they’re wrong so all Catholicism is wrong. Well, no, I don’t condemn MLK or Ghanaian, so there are other ways to practice which may be better for the individual.

I replied in the post before this one

God doesn’t do the torturing. I can see your objections on some level but, quite frankly, they’re not founded on actual theological fact. A sinner who doesn’t choose God at death chooses to distance themselves from Him and they end up in the domain of Satan. We are judged after death. There is no grace to change because the soul upon death is the soul that is judged and those who choose hell choose permanent separation from grace to change. I can go deeper on this if you need me to.

Wrong. Any Catholic should know that you may never declare someone to be in hell. As far as we know, they could be in heaven. We can’t say for sure at the moment.

Truth is not decided by a popular vote.

You act as if believing in Hell is a good thing. I am much more comfortable with the concept of a loving God who does not torture souls for eternity. I don’t believe in demons with pitchforks, exorcisms, and so forth. It sounds like you had a drastic conflict that took years of prayer and introspection to resolve. I’m glad you’ve reached a resolution, but why would I want that? You act as if you’re better off now that you’ve accepted a world where moral and ethical souls still thrash in agony simply because they were never baptized. I have no such conflict that needs to be resolved, and I certainly have no need to seek one out.

As I said, my relationship with a God that truly loves us and is actually infinitely merciful is far better than one with a vengeful, angry God that could send me to eternal torment for a simple transgression such as, say, supporting my gay friends.

I don;t think you understand the nature of Catholicism. You cannot pick and choose the beliefs you agree with. Those that are not baptized go to Hell. Period. If you disagree with this (as I do), you are not a true Catholic. I have no problem with other Catholics pointing this out to me. I fully understand. Whatever label you want to attach to me (partial Catholic, cafeteria Catholic, etc) - I’m ok with it.
But if you accept some Catholic teaching but reject others, you are no different than I am.

1 Like

I am referring to Catholic baptism here. According to Catholic dogma you can ONLY enter the kingdom of heaven if you are baptized. This is a core tenant of Catholicism. Gandhi was not baptized. MLK is more questionable as he was not baptized a Catholic and is considered a heretic by the orthodox dogma.

It is true that God doesn’t do the torturing, but note that he is all-powerful and all-knowings o he certainly could stop it. He refuses to.
And you are missing the point here. We both agree that a soul chooses not to be with God. But this is not about denying entrance to heaven or denying the beatific vision - this is about active, physical/spiritual torture for all eternity in the flames of Hell for those who make that choice.
And also, that choice is not always a choice. For example, does a Hindu or Muslim that lives a highly moral life deserve eternal pain and suffering in fire? What choice did they make?

Huh? The Church does not teach that “those that are not baptized go to Hell. Period.”

Where are you getting that from?

The Church also does not teach that Gandhi or MLK are in Hell, or that any human is definitely in Hell. The Church does not even suggest that Gandhi or MLK are in Hell and in fact some shrines and parishes have strongly suggested they think those people are saved although since they will never be canonized saints, the Church will never definitely teach that they are in Heaven either.


He knows it would be infinitely worse for that soul to be forced into loving Him. Hell hurts God just as much as the one who goes there. I can’t imagine the pain of losing so many loved ones to their own pride.

That’s what happens because that’s the only other thing that could. The absence of God is the abscence of good.

Those who live moral, faithful lives and follow God’s calling, even if not Catholic, may still be mystically united to the Church. We pray for God’s mercy on their souls. While we cannot make firm statements about their souls, the Church has said that even the moral non-Catholic may be in heaven.

The Catholic Church doesn’t teach it any longer that “Outside the Church there is no salvation,” but use to tech it and in fact, often repeated by the Church Fathers.
[The holy Roman church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church (Session 11 — Feb. 4, 1442).
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body. …

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church. …
God bless

We do not rely for our Church teachings on documents from 1442.
We rely on the current Catechism, which clearly does not teach that all unbaptized people go to Hell.

The Church does still teach it insofar as all salvation comes from Christ through His Mystical Body - the Catholic Church.

1 Like

Exactly. God doesn’t play with technicalities. If things like taught biases, lies learned at young ages, or societal censorship keep someone away from the Church, they can’t be faulted for that.

Allowing suffering is a necessary consequence of creation which is created imperfect and journeying, and does not imply that the Holy Trinity is not pure goodness.

The Catholic Church does not teach that God is infinitely merciful. Forgiveness of mortal sin is conditioned upon repentance, but actual grace is given even before conversion.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” ( in statu viae ) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. …

1847 "God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us."116 To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."117

For God to save everyone He doesn’t have to be infinitely merciful.
If God provides even His minimum duty of care to everyone He saves the entire human race as follows:

Fallen man cannot redeem himself, (De fide). – It is God’s responsibility to save ALL OF US by our recreation.

At our recreation:
The three Divine or Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are infused with Sanctifying grace, (De fide). – So, every recreated person loves God and obedient to God, recreation of the entire human race is a part of God’s duty of care.
At our recreation, God recreated us includes our wills and our choices and we will and we choose EXACTLY what God wills us to will and what God wills us to choose. – Plain and simple.

Aquinas said, "God changes the will without forcing it . But he can change the will from the fact that he himself operates in the will as he does in nature,” De Veritatis 22:9. 31. ST I-II:112:3. 32. Gaudium et Spes 22; "being …
308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator.
God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes:
"For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth enhances it.
St. Thomas teaches that all movements of will and choice must be traced to the divine will: and not to any other cause, because Gad alone is the cause of our willing and choosing. CG, 3.91.

There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will, (De fide). – So, every recreated person say with love yes to God’s call to heaven.

2022; The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man.

Without the special help of God the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification, (De fide). – It is God’s responsibility TO KEEP US SAVED by His grace of Final Perseverance.

2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance.
The salvation of every predestined to Heaven is eternally protected by God’s gift of Final Perseverance, this is an INFALLIBLE PROTECTION of the salvation of every predestined to Heaven. – This is an infallible teachings of the Trent and formal teachings of the Catholic Church.

Without God’s gift of Final Perseverance everyone would die in mortal sin, (THERE IS NO SALVATION WITHOUT IT) while the receivers of His gift of Final Perseverance NO ONE can die in mortal sin because this is an INFALLIBLE PROTECTION of the salvation of every receiver.
As we see Vico, only those die in mortal sin to whom God doesn’t provides His gift of Final Perseverance, which is an INFALLIBLE PROTECTION OF THE SALVATION OF EVERY RECEIVER, WITHOUT IT THERE IS NO SALVATION.
God bless

Its funny bc i saw somewhere that some people believe in heaven but not in hell…so Im guessing live however you want to cause in the end your all going to paradise!

That is the problem. If you believe the above, God cannot be all-powerful, because there is a higher order that even He must adhere to. In other words, God cannot be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. He can be any two of the three, but not all three. In your reasoning, you have sacrificed the ‘all-powerful’ aspect. If you do that, your worldview stands. But in your worldview, God is not all-powerful.

That is exactly what I am saying. God is NOT infinitely merciful. However, the phrase ‘infinitely merciful’ is used everywhere, and many Catholics disagree with us. I think usage of the term is misleading:


One is a partial cause (in the order of time) of one’s own salvation.

God is all powerful because God by His own will is following that rule.
God is morally good because God defines morality.
God is all knowing because God is beyond time, the author of creation.

The word infinite can be used in the correct sense with mercy.

Oxford Dictionay
infinite (adj):
1 limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.

Again - we are not talking about failure to enter heaven. We are talking about actively inflicting pain and suffering by demons. Fire and brimstone. Sulfur and agony.
Many (perhaps even most) Catholics no longer believe in that version of Hell. To many, Hell is nothing more than NOT being with God. But Hell is not a place of torment.

Ridiculous. A soul that does not ‘qualify’ for heaven could simply cease to exist. That is one option. Or they could go to a Hell that is simply existence without God. Why do there have to be demons and devils and fire and pain?

What do you mean by “may”?
Is baptism a requirement for the beatific vision or not? Must you be a Christian or not?
It’s a question orthodox Christians seem afraid to answer.
Is a moral Muslim going to Hell or Heaven? Do they have to be MORE moral than a Christian?
Is a sexually active gay Christian going to heaven before a celibate Muslim?

I have had this discussion with many Catholics and the conservative ones say flat-out that the Catechism declares baptism is a requirement and non-Christians go to Hell.
I’m not OK with the “they could go to heaven” dodge.
If I get baptized, do I automatically get a leg up even though I sin more than one who doesn’t?

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