I recently looked up what the church considers to be Mortal Sins (sins that keep you out of heaven) and found the list below.
A mortal sin is defined as a sin that, if unforgiven upon death, condemns you to Hell.
With that in mind, some of the sins listed were obviously bad enough to be punishable by eternal suffering; murder (including abortion) and rape destroy and ruin lives.
But on the other hand, some of the sins listed seem either not harmful enough to be mortal or not sins at all.
Masturbation/Pornography: This is a common sin, so much so that I doubt more than a lucky few have resisted the urge to do it at least once in their lives. Giving up masturbation completely is like giving up smoking or caffeine: easier said than done. But unless you are watching pornography in which someone is abused, the only person who seems to be being hurt is yourself.
Drug Usage: Drugs are addictive and rehab is not always within reach, meaning that many can not stop using drugs even if they wanted to. Drug users seem less like sinners and more like victims.
Prostitution: Most prostitutes don’t want to be in their profession, and are either forced into it by violence, intimidation, or fear of starving to death. Like drug users, prostitutes seem more like victims.
Atheism: It is generally accepted among the church that those who worship a different religion still can go to heaven if they were virtuous. Then why wouldn’t the virtuous pagan clause apply to atheists? For those of us who have family members who are atheists, this question has a lot riding on it.
Suicide: Depression (the leading cause of suicide) is a serious disease that can alter someone’s state of mind. Suicide out of depression/despair should not be sins.
The reason I bring this up is that the New Testament described God as forgiving, merciful, loving, and someone who you can turn to even when all else fails. These things being described as sins too horrible even for purgatory seems to clash with that idea. In Matthew 25:31-44, when Jesus judges All the Nations Gathered Before Him, he only welcomes or denies them based on weather they helped or hurt their fellow man.
I know you can wash away even mortal sins with confession, but the thought of dying in a sudden accident in-between confessions is horrifying enough without the fear of being doomed to eternal suffering. Unless you go every day (which is not practical if your church is far away) then you’re unlikely to die in a state of grace.
Please, if you have any insight, feel free to share it. But don’t just say “Because God said so end of story”. After his resurrection, Jesus SHOWED his apostles his scars, so God does give us reasons to follow what he says (God spoke to the prophets directly, and even they had occasional slip-ups).