The Three Great Heresies

So one day I was thinking, we had the First Great Heresy in AD 610 when Muhammed took Catholic belief, wrote a book about what he wanted it to be, and spread it as gospel truth. Unlike the heresies the Church had to deal with before this (Arianism, Pelagianism, etc.), this was very difficult to quash (mainly because it grew outside the borders of the Church) and is still rampant. 900 years later, in 1517, Luther with the Second Great Heresy, and gave us thousands of denominations, ranging from Westboro to people who don’t believe in hell. The Church might have violently attempted to suppress it, but sadly, we failed.

Now, two isn’t a nice number. So I thought, hey, maybe atheists are heretics! Then the so-called Enlightenment would be the Third Great Heresy!

Think about it. The Church uses Tradition, Reason and Magisterium (with Scripture being a particularly important element of Tradition) to guide its teachings. The atheists use Reason too, but are just so grossly wrong in their misapplications of it they end up with a logically incoherent worldview which leaves no place for God (actually there is a place, but for some reason they don’t see it).

So what do you think? I honestly believe that Muslims are heretics, and it is a simple extension of that fact to say that atheists are heretical too. But what about you?

The words infidel and heretic are not synonymous. A heretic must be baptised and know the doctrine they are rejecting. An infodel is someone outside the faith. Atheists and Muslims are infidels from the perspective of Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Martin Luther, who did have a number of good points, might have been considered a heretic, but not necessarily his followers. There are greater heresies standing today.

If a person is not a Christian, they cannot be called a heretic at all.

Personally, I consider Muslims to be closer to be Christians than many Protestants.


How? Since Protestants believe in Jesus Christ but Muslims do not.


Only professed adherents of a faith may be heretics. (There may be Muslim heretics, of course, but they are heretics vis a vis Islam, not Christianity.)

Okay, you consider things that way. May I ask why? On the surface, it seems odd that Muslims could be “closer to Christians” than many actual Christians. (When you say “Christians,” you are speaking of a large group that includes a fair portion—roughly half, if not more–of Protestants.)

Muslims do “believe in” Jesus, the Messiah, born of the Virgin Mary, etc., and that His Gospel message was sent by God. That is pretty close to being Christian, I would say.

Most of the Muslims I know (mostly West Africans and Asian), don’t believe in fornication, pornography, abortion, blasphemy and drinking.

A Protestant colleague once told me (seriously) that she was worried that Muslims would soon take over, because, unlike Christians, they didn’t believe in contraceptives!

I feel I could talk about God and morality to a Muslim, and have more common ground, than in talking to some Protestants. And then- what about Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses Seventh Day Adventists, TV Evangelists, etc.? Are these people Christians at all?

Tough question.

There is only one heresy: “I know better than God, and I get to do what I want.” Everything else is just a specific form of that particular heresy.

Muslims have a very narrow vision of what Jesus and Mary is. I do respect Muslims as persons but not religiously. They do not believe Jesus was God so for them what Jesus said doesn’t matter.
Protestants believe Jesus was God and they believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit which is in itself very close to Orthodox Christian belief. They are lacking the Union to the Church, but if they do love God with all their heart He will bring them to himself and His Church (even if it is only in the next life).
Some Christian denominations are also close to Catholic Morality even though they do not have the same basis for it. For example a lot of Baptists are also against contraception, abortion and same sex marriage.
Mormons and Jehova’s Witnesses are not Christians according to Catholic teaching. They do not hold to the belief in the Trinity like Protestants.
Seventh Day Adventists as far as I know are just Protestants that observe the Sabbath. Paul said we shouldn’t judge each other on the observation of the Sabbath so I cannot really comment on that.
TV Evangelists can be Protestants, Catholic, or anything else… actually. Although I find them a little careless I do not presume to say they are evil. I wish I could have the courage to tell a million people that Christ died so they could live forever and Resurrected to open the doors of Heaven for us.
Muslims do hold to conservative values, but a lot of the time it is just a family tradition. It doesn’t mean they understand the reason behind it and what they mean. For example in Afghanistan women are not allowed to dance with men due to their purity codes. Does this mean dancing = evil? No…
God bless,

Well I can’t speak for atheists in general but for myself I think what you’ve written above is not quite correct. You see there is place in my worldview for a god, and I can see that space just fine. There just isn’t a god there filling it.

If a god decides to step up and take the place then great, I’ll happily join the relevant religion. Until then the place for a god stands empty.

This was supposed to be a bouncing-a-low-key-idea-off-the-choir exercise, rather than an attack, but anyway, here goes. What place do you see for a God? And why do you think it is not filled? Or did you just say that to sound cool?

No worries, I wasn’t perceiving it as any kind of attack. My response was more of a FYI sort of response rather than anything argumentative.

What place do you see for a God? And why do you think it is not filled? Or did you just say that to sound cool?

Well, a god shaped place. I’m not sure what kind of answer you are expecting here? Obviously the place in existence which would be taken by any god which exists would be dependent on the nature of that god.*

Humans have posited the existence of thousands of gods over our history.If evidence of a god which interacted with the universe came up then that would be evidence supporting the existence of the god in question.

Currently all the gods which humans have posited the existence of have places marked out where evidence for their existence could be, but isn’t yet found. So as far as I can see thus far the only type of god which is supported by observation of the universe is indistinguishable from no god at all.

This is way off topic for your thread, though, so it’s up to you whether you would like to discuss further. I won’t be at all offended if you’d rather keep to topic. As I said it was intended to be a FYI that (at least not all) atheists hold the view you suggested.*

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