Salvation for the agnostic?

I may be close to considering myself agnostic. I do not take this lightly.

There is a part of me that yearns for God to exist, although I can not be certain. Yes, my faith is weak.

I have committed many sins. Most of these sins I am repentant of, but not necessarily because they offend God. By their nature, sins are harmful. I have harmed others and for that I am sorry. If there is a God, he knows this. He knows I try to be a good person in spite of poor judgment.

I don’t believe God will throw a sinner into unquenchable fire; because if he exists and is reasonable, eternal misery, pain sorrow and sadness for 70 misspent years is overkill. If a soul exists and is eternal, one lifetime is such a tiny speck compared to our eternal consciousness, I can’t believe that a just God would determine an eternal judgment based on one lifetime, not even a speck in the vastness of eternity.

This question is not a test, and I’m not trying to start trouble here. But let’s assume I am wrong. Do you think if I hold onto these beliefs, or lack thereof, it’s likely that I will in fact, end up in hell?

I would ask, that if your response is “Only God knows and can judge” then I already know that. I am asking your OPINION on what the church teaches in a situation like mine.

I think your perception that your 70 years on earth is infinitesimal compared to eternity is misplaced. There is no time in the afterlife, at least not as we know it.

The question of whether one might attain salvation despite lack of faith is above my pay grade. If it were me, though, I wouldn’t chance it. The consequences are too great. I would seek out God.

This may sound glib to you but in all honesty, I would go and talk about your feelings, ideas and thoughts with the priest. I think you are struggling with many things and regrets. There is no one here that could honestly answer your question about heaven or hell thought because all of that is really in God’s hands. You are in my prayers.

My theological opinion, on the question of salvation for agnostics and non-Christian (or non-monotheistic) believers, is that they may obtain the state of grace by an implicit baptism of desire. And if they subsequently fall into an actual mortal sin, they can obtain forgiveness, thereby returning to the state of grace, by implicit perfect contrition. This form of contrition would consist of sorrow for sins out of sincere selfless love of neighbor. For the love of neighbor always includes, at least implicitly, the love of God.

I cannot judge your particular case. But whosoever dies in the state of grace will have eternal life in Heaven (perhaps after a temporary stay in Purgatory). The state of grace is the state of loving God and neighbor. For an agnostic or a believer in a non-monotheistic religion, the state of grace would include loving God at least implicitly by the love of neighbor.

Refusing to believe in God is a conscious choice. That you are asking about this conscious choice reveals that you are agnostic about your agnosticism. I would say the right and smart thing to do is to lean toward God rather than toward nothingness; just as when you are approaching a light turning from green to red, you are agnostic about whether you can make it in time; it’s smart and right to choose the safe course.

Always choose the course with the best possible outcome.

Jesus died for us all…we are all sinners.

Ask him to forgive you

I will be praying for you!

We are only here for a short time…eternity is forever

I have doubts sometimes, too, but I think that having doubts sometimes in matters of faith is normal. Even Peter had doubts. For example, see Matthew 14:22-33:

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,[d] for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28 Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind,[e] he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

That sounds like Pascal’s wager. I don’t believe that you can trick God that way.

I agree. If you never had any doubts then you never thought deeply about your faith.

Just the fact that there are so many different religions around, and also before Christianity came into existence, though I very firmly believe that there is a God.

Charlemagne III,

I have spoken to you on another thread about Pascal’s Wager, and I stand by what I said then: It is better to believe in God because you truly believe He exists than believe in God because you want all the benefits that comes with it.

To the OP: I don’t know what the Church would teach, but if you do your best to be a good person, I would say that you’re doing okay :slight_smile:

Lou

There is nothing selfish about wanting to save our souls. That is self interest par excellence. Pascal’s Wager is an attempt to show the atheist that he is foolish to throw away his chances at salvation.

“The fool in his heart says there is no God.” Psalms 14:1

That is in substance what Pascal is saying, and there’s no trickery about it.

I don’t want to get into another debate about Pascal’s Wager, but I disagree that the OP should believe in God so they go to heaven if they are not comfortable with the perceived actions of said God.

Lou

Well, I’m not familiar with the principle that truth is determined by comfort levels.

But if that works for you, then I think the uncomfortable prospect of hell should be enough to swing your vote for heaven. :shrug:

What I meant from my previous post was that if you cannot accept everything that a God does, you should not carry on believing because you want to go to heaven. You should find information about what it is you cannot accept and make a decision.

Not necessarily. If I disagree with an action, why should I change my mind because of a potential benefit?

Lou

Why not change your mind because of a potential benefit?

Is a benefit something to snub? Is an immortal benefit something to snub even more?

Are you seriously saying you would snub eternal salvation?

What would be your reason for snubbing it?

My reason for snubbing it would be that I disagree with teachings I need to accept in order to be saved. I don’t want to debate about this - this has nothing to do with the OP’s situation. If you want to debate about it, feel free to start a new thread or PM me :).

Lou

I didn’t say “trick” God. I said “seek out” God.

I know what you said. But if you use Pascal’s reasoning just to be on the safe side, then I don’t think that God would be impressed, or “tricked”, or “fooled”. Whatever expression you want to use.

“Seeking out” God is a very different approach to finding God than using Pascal’s Wager.

How about reading and reflecting on the bible, see if that moves you? Maybe read about Saints that were persecuted for the faith and ponder why anyone would do that. And Saints that lived so fully for God in charity and love and ponder the example of their lives in your heart.

You are in my prayers.:signofcross: I pray the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and mind.

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