Protestants Focus on This Life, Catholics on the Next


In all fairness, that same process that determined “30,000” denominations also determined 240 plus different Catholic ones.

Using the “30,000” is denigrating because it assumes that “protestantism” was once one monolith that subsequently splintered. That is factually incorrect.
It is denigrating when it is assumed or implied that the term means " protesting against the Catholic Church". It doesn’t.
The problem with the generalized argument is there is little generalization that can be made. Even the argument that they all agree that the Catholic Church is wrong could also be applied to Lutherans, as an example.
Generally speaking, generalizing about protestants generally results in inaccuracies.

That’s okay, but maybe being more specific, as to a communion, would be best. If i made a generalization about all western Christians, I suspect some Catholics might take umbrage, depending on the topic, of course.


Ok…more than one though


A lot of Protestant theology–most, perhaps–is about once-saved-always-saved. So the hard work has been done. Catholicism is more humbling; we are called to remain vigilant on our journey to salvation and avoid severing our relationship with God.

That said, I’m not sure if your observation always holds true. Protestants have been at the forefront of Puritanism. Catholics have a long, joyful history of beer, wine, and opera. :smiley:


Evangelical Protestant here.

How can you pick and choose? Christianity is about your life now and in the future. It can’t be one or the other. Jesus told us we would suffer if we followed him, just as he suffered. People tend to be offended by the truth, and Christians are called to live in truth. That means we tend to rub people the wrong way. However, Christ also promises us abundant life, and that does not start after death. It starts the moment we place our faith in Christ.

I know I am going to heaven if I continue to place my faith in Christ, and the kind of faith we are called to is the “obedience of faith.” This means we can’t just focus on living a good life by our definition. The life we live is defined by what Christ desires for us. It is his definition of the good life that we must meet. This is the life of the Cross, self-sacrificial love. For some of us, this may mean we have to lay down our lives for other people–the greatest act of love that we can fathom.

I don’t think there is a certain amount of suffering we must meet. In the early church, there were some who went out seeking martyrdom–going out of their way to get themselves arrested and executed for the faith. This was rightly seen as unnecessary and dangerous (given the possibility of apostasy once you actually faced the martyrdom you yourself sought). We do not need to seek out persecution or suffering, but when it happens for the sake of Christ we should not deny him.


We can live joyful, victorious lives if we place our hope in Christ. Beyond that, we are not guaranteed health, financial stability, or strong personal lives. Some of us will be sick. God can heal us, but even if he doesn’t we must still acknowledge that he is good and worthy of praise. We may be wealthy or poor, but in all things we should remember that the Lord is our provider. Everything we have comes from his goodness, and he calls those he has blessed with wealth to give to the needy and poor. We may have many friends and family but we may also be alone. Still, God will be a father to the orphan and promises to never leave us nor forsake us.

He designed the world so that it could be enjoyed by us. He gave us dominion over it. We messed it up. We make it an undesirable place to live by our own choices–our greed and selfishness and violence.

We don’t gain faith from suffering, though suffering may deepen our faith as we learn to trust Christ through great suffering. Our faith gives meaning to the suffering (for we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”) and gives us the strength to get through the suffering. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.


We have times of celebration and times of strictness.

Why are you saying these things in the joyful time of Easter?

Also be wary of teachers you know teach heresy.


Well said. It is ironic when we, as Catholics, spend a lifetime here to explain what is not Catholic, to commit the same fallacy about Protestants.

Maybe the more appropriate word would be ‘some’, which pertain to specific Protestant denomination, that employ the particular theology. There are many ex-Protestants here, so they know from former experience.




Have you considered listening to Catholic radio instead? Or podcasts from good Catholic teachers? I think you would find that this imbalanced perspective is corrected.

This is just a misunderstanding of the faith. We are saved by grace, through faith, and this begins in baptism. Salvation is not something we “work on” during this life.

I can’t imagine where you would ever get the idea that living a good life on earth is not a Christian goal. The difference may be that Catholics embrace suffering in a way that many evangelicals do not.

There is plenty of suffering in this life without going in search of any. Jesus told us to embrace suffering with joy.

These things are not necessarily contrary to Catholic faith, they just should not be the focus of it. We need to focus first on the Kingdom, then everything else will be added to us.

It appears you may need to listen to some other homilies?

Enjoying this life is not contrary to Catholic faith, it is just not the center focus of it.

Both of these are out of balance. We are to focus on being light and salt in the world, and by our joy and love, attract others to Christ. We are to focus on living heaven now, as we will live heaven in eternity. As in all things Catholic, it is not “either/or” but “both/and”.

If what you are getting out of going to Mass is what you think “Catholic” is, then you are getting a biased perspective.


Yes, I think most Catholics have an insufficient grasp of grace. Too many think that salvation has to do with being a “good person” or living a “good life” or “working on salvation”. It is a result of poor catechesis and a warped perception.

I think He wanted both. I agree with @JonNC, they are not mutually exclusive.

Sounds like a personal problem, but it is not a Catholic doctrine problem.

As was noted, you seem to be a “glass half empty” person. This has more to do with your perceptions than it does the Catholic faith.

Well, this is not Catholic.


You have a false perception of the Catholic Teaching.


Amen. I’ll agree with both you and Jon, as should all Christians.

How many times are we taught that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” — that is, here and present on earth? And yet we know it is also to come. In fact, it’s the knowledge of what is to come that frees us to do good in this world, to enjoy the benefits of Creation and to learn to conform our will to Christ’s.

@Nap66, this is an area where orthodox Christians of all stripes can agree. God desires peace for his Creation both now and in eternity.


I was once a Protestant so here goes.

Protestants are not, of course, a unified body. There are significant differences in theology, including the issue of security of salvation. Those who do not believe salvation to be secure would be just as concerned about the next life as the Catholics you have known.

And of course, gratitude for human life and a desire to live it as well as possible is well attested in Scripture, whence the Protestant teachings are derived.



You have used this attempted argument before and it falls flat. First of all, the Catholic Church does not have denominations; She has different liturgical rites and traditions that are all in communion with the Catholic Church. Every single one of those ‘240 plus’ are in agreement in all matters on faith and morals, there is no division! For you to try to compare 240 plus liturgical rites that are all united, to 30,000 plus denominations divided on everything from doctrine, to morals, and to liturgical rites, is a caricature and gross misrepresentation.


You mean the book of Revelation. And, no, the book of Revelation does not say what you propose.


It isn’t an argument. It is a fact. The process determined both those outcomes. If you’re going to use the one, you have to accept the other
Personally, I think both numbers are nonsense.

I’m not making the comparison. I think both numbers are a gross misrepresentation


So, you ignore everything I just informed you on, gave no rebuttal, and merely said ‘it is a fact’ without any substantiation. That’s not docility, that is just refusing to accept what is.


There was a gentleman from the land of Uz whose name was Job. He had a hard time wrapping his head around the torments he was put through as well and his friends only made things worse. As a Confessional Lutheran Protestant Christian ( say that five times fast), I acknowledge that suffering is not only a part of life, but a necessary part, one that our concupiscence ( inclination to sin) has brought upon us.

The hope comes when we see that Christ suffered all things for us on the Cross and that He is with us in our own suffering. As far as Satan goes, he already lost his war and because he knows that his rebellion has failed, he wants to drag as many of us as possible off to Hell with him before the Second Coming ( We are called to perseverance in the Faith and we can be assured that " all things work together for good for those who love God" ( Romans 8: 28- 9).

Be of good cheer! God bless you as you seek these answers to some extremely important questions.


Actually, no. I agreed with your analysis of the 240 number. I just think the 30,000 number as equally absurd.


I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets peeved when folks refer to the Revelation of John as “Revelations.”

Whenever someone does this, it’s a telltale sign that they do not know much about what they’re saying, and could use some gentle correction.

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