The righteous Atheist


Which person is more worthy of God’s grace: The righteous Atheist or the unrighteous Church goer? I’d guess that morally it would be the righteous Atheist. I’d also guess that Jesus would agree, in that, the person whom is righteous is the one that follows in His path. The righteous person is the one that embraces the nature of Jesus.

The point being that God pays worthiness to the acts of the individual rather than the dogma of authoritarianism. God judges the goodness in the man. I think it best that I (we) be prepared.


No one is worthy of God’s grace. It’s not a question of being worthy, it’s a question of being willing to receive it.



I’d say ignorance is bliss.

To those whom less has been given, less is expected, but to those who have more, more is expected. Seems like the one with less gave more than the one with more. I’d say the atheist could certainly hope for mercy and grace.

Then again, none of us are God, so this is pointless in a way. :stuck_out_tongue:


In my opinion, works trump faith. I vote for the rightous atheist.


John 15:22 If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

But of course, knowing the truth is supernatural bliss! :slight_smile:


I’m pretty sure you are not reflecting Catholic teaching by saying “works trump faith.” This is a Protestant caricature of Catholic teaching, but I don’t think your Church actually holds this, which would be evident heresy.

However, faith is more than just holding the right doctrines. An atheist may have implicit faith in the sense that he or she loves goodness and seeks the truth. Without such an inner movement toward truth and goodness (a movement that only comes from God’s grace), no amount of outward works have any value for salvation.



Most certainly!

I really have some atheist friends who are great people, they just don’t have faith, so I pray for them alot and truly hope that they will someday recognize God and be with Him in heaven.


Well, if you make a choice to refuse God, then I say no mercy. No matter how “rightious” you consider yourself, “rightiousness” is nothing without faith.


if this atheist was given ample opportunities to learn about God and the Catholic faith or Christianity in general and still chose to reject God it is tough to say that he is going to have an easier time receiving God’s mercy no matter how righteous he is compared to the sinner who consistently sins but is a believer in God, goes to church and believes in the mercy of God.


Oh dear, I think it is the case of getting your priorities right, especially in certain cases where some of you church goers fall into the category of being piously sure of one’s own righteousness.

I’d think that we ought to forget the politics of Catholic dogma in this instance and adhere to the doctrine of Jesus and praise those who are righteous and pray for those who like to be seen to be righteous in the temples i.e. the hypocrites.



Motivation is paramount. Doing good is a privledge.

If the unique-to-him and variable precepts that drive the activity in an atheist are other-inspired and not divinely inspired, then it is predictable that on occasion the activity will not be oriented toward a good even though that is the object and seems apparent. One cannot receive aid for discernment from a being one doesn’t believe exists. It is guaranteed this will occur because the receiver of such a good is always the owner of it and that is God. All divinely inspired good finds it’s destination to God, as such good is a gift to God for His glorification.

One does not offer a gift to a being one does not believe exists. The motive negates the effect, and the activity could only serve a temporal end and cause a random effect in this world. Possibly he gains credit from man for it, but cannot gain credit from the Being that is the owner.

The Church goer has laid his intent on the table for all to see, and bares himself to redicule. He has entered into covenant with the Holy Spirit knowing the odds and taking the risks that that entails inspite of his concern being a sinner. In trust, His act acknowledges the existance of a God and makes him accountable to Him, offering himself to whatever may arise because of his activity. The sins he commits carries with it the extra burden of a promise he made and now broken. God recognizes and blesses the Church goer, the one that formally promised to try to please Him in his activity and gives him extra graces to help him keep those promises.



Given as a Catholic, I am not able to say specifically who is in hell, I think potentially there is the possiblity that a righteous Atheist may be given the grace to give himself the faith needed. What God can do to a heart of an Atheist is not something I could know. As for me, as I try to make a journey towards salvation I’d rather have a map, compass, and car.


I don’t think an Atheist (unless they truly never heard of Jesus, i.e. invincible ignorance) can reach Heaven.

The most wicked of believers can always repent, the Atheist can not; unless he ceases to be an Atheist.

“Righteousness” does us no good, unless it is out of love for God. Mere good works don’t “earn” salvation, they are only good b/c they are motivated by the love of God.

God Bless,


what is a righteous Atheist?? :confused:


Perhaps we should not look at heaven in such absolute terms. Jesus said in heaven there are many mansions. We will be filled to our capacity in heaven. So the question is how big do you want to make you vessel here on earth? I would suggest the righteous atheist’s vessel will not be as large as the trying believer. (depending on culpability)


Good analogy!:thumbsup:


A person of good will who doesn’t believe in God.


The denial of the existence of God is the the most foolish of faults. It is a crime against the light of reason and reality. This being the case, I believe that being an Atheist is a more sevre crime than being a bad Christian. However, neither is worthy of God’s grace because grace is a gift given from God. If it was earned and we deserved it, then it would not be grace.


There is no salvation outside of the Church. When non-Catholics try to be good they become a danger to other people, and the more earnestly they try the more extreme the danger.

However only God knows the heart of men. Whether it is better to be a Communist, destroying the lives and happiness of many, but motivated by a desire to build Karl Marx’s socialist society, or an Alexander VI type figure, personally corrupt but entirely orthodox, is a good question.


Do-gooders outside the Church = righteous

Do-gooders within the Church = hypocrites

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