Unbelievers Are Condemned?


My question is about:

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:15-20

15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

Are we to believe that agnostics are condemned?



A second question is: How do we reconcile Mark 16:16 with what the CCC says about the possible salvation of those who do not have faith in Christ?


That is if those people had invincible ignorance. This isn’t possible since one can simply Google Jesus or Christianity.


It would seem that the CCC also takes into account psychological factors in a person’s life that may affect his or her ability to even hear the gospel. I have family members and friends who just don’t believe in God, period. They are not bad people. And I know that the CCC talks about (can’t remember quite where and don’t have the inclination to search for the paragraph number right now but I can certainly do so another time) one’s doing one’s best with the light one has.


The existence of the internet hardly negates the possibility of invincible ignorance.



Knowing about Christ is not the same thing as KNOWING Christ. Reading about Him on the internet is not guaranteed to detract from invincible ignorance because there is so much wrong or misrepresented information about Him that a completely ignorant person may not be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.

That said, it does make it hard to remain invincibly ignorant, since the correct answers are out there for anyone willing to seek them out.


I agree.


Invincible ignorance translates to those who haven’t heard of Christ at all.


Actually, it doesn’t.

Let’s assume for a second that you’ve never heard of Jesus. If I were to walk up to you, and only tell you that because you don’t believe in Him, you are going to spend eternity suffering in Hell, what is that going to make you think?

Are you going to think “Oh wow, you’re right, I should really learn about this person,” or are you going to think, “Wow, you are incredibly rude, and if this is what this Jesus person makes his followers do I should really avoid him.”?

While the message may be true, depending on your actual level of ignorance, the way in which it was presented may be a barrier to your actual conversion. Given that you do not have control over how the message is presented, you might not be to blame for not coming to know Jesus. Hence, even though you’ve heard of Him, you are still completely ignorant to His Gospel, and therefore may continue to be invincibly ignorant.

Our world is full of people doing a terrible job presenting the message of Christ. There are plenty of good evangelists (like pretty much all the speakers at CA), but there are also terrible examples of “Christendom,” such as Wesboro Baptist. They don’t actually speak for Christ, but outside observers don’t necessarily know that. Sadly, the terrible examples receive far more press time than the good, so people who are ignorant of Christ’s love are frequently only exposed to the absolute worst of Christianity.


Invincible ignorance is not as simple as that. Merely having heard of Christ and the Catholic Church does not negate the possibility of invincible ignorance.


I couldn’t agree more. a simple perusal of internet forums and comment sections are a clear indication that invincible ignorance not only exists, it’s down right pandemic.:smiley:


Okay. Invincible ignorance is if one genuinely doesn’t know Christ’s message, which is pretty hard to convict anyone one of. And God gave EVERYONE a conscience, so it’s pretty easy to determine what is true and what is false.


I think if presented with the same evidence as the apostles, today’s unbelievers would overwhelmingly believe. But I could be wrong.


I’ve already given an example of how someone may be exposed to Christ’s message and remain ignorant of it.

You’re right about the conscience, though it’s good for helping people figure out what’s right and wrong, not necessarily what’s true and false.


Invincible ignorance is not as simple as being limited to those who don’t know of the existence of Christ’s message of salvation, or of the existence of the Catholic Church, or of Christianity in general. Furthermore, the conscience serves as a guide for determining determining morality, not truth vs. falsehood.


Easy, one is the Inspired Word of God and the other is the word of man. Take your pick!


The CCC si not merely “the word of man.” it is the word of Christ’s Church, to which He guaranteed protection and guidance.

The Bible and the CCC are not in conflict. Jesus himself teaches that knowledge is necessary for sin.

And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.
If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.
Whoever hates me also hates my Father.
If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

Someone cannot be condemned for something they don’t know.


Go away, Satan.


A Man spoke the words in the verse.


God has also given actual grace. He nudges everyone to Him. So no one who has rejected that nudging can be saved.

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