Do you go to hell if you don’t believe in God?

Q: Do you go to hell if you don’t believe in God?

I find it hard to believe that God is so touchy that he sends a perfectly good person to hell for all eternity if they don’t believe in him when they are alive.

A: It’s important to understand exactly how these things work.

Due to the first man’s original sin, all of his (Adam’s) descendants (us) are born in a pre-exisiting state of sin, already “pledged” to Satan, the devil.

The only one with the power to break that domination and save someone from eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death is Jesus Christ.

The work of salvation is typically accomplished through the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church that Jesus personally founded, for that express purpose.

The sacrament of Baptism provides an authentic and extremely powerful opportunity for an individual to reject Satan and all his works, in favor of Jesus Christ, God and savior.

Once a person has sworn faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ in this way, he is no longer a slave to Satan, but a child of God, a citizen of Heaven, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of the church and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. Also necessarily included in this divinely mandated system of things is a provision for the forgiveness of sins.

So far as God being “touchy” … God’s perfect justice demands a certain amount of specificity and fidelity … balanced by a certain quality of divine mercy … something which is not at all unreasonable.

The bottom line is this:

Without faith in Jesus Christ and his church … something that’s typically declared through baptism … a person remains subject to Satan, sin, and eternal death. The only reasonably certain future for one such as this is an eternity in Hell, to which Satan and all his subjects will most certainly be consigned. It’s really that simple.

Since God is sovereign, all powerful, merciful and loving, there’s a chance that he might take pity on someone who has chosen to repeatedly reject him over the course of a lifetime, and choose to save that person’s soul and admit him to heaven, anyway. But that wouldn’t be the norm,  it wouldn’t be exactly fair to all of the other faithful, and it would be very problematic, in many other ways.

So … “good person” … knowing what you now know … why would you want to take that kind of a chance with your eternal destiny?

3 Comments

  1. if you are not born again you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven simple as that

  2. could you go to hell if you did believe and still do believe in God and Jesus Christ the saviour? Like if you dont read his word? Could you still have a relationship,with him by just talking? Praying? Singing? And listening to his word? My grandma thinks im going to hell causse I dont read his word much ._. If not at all…

    • Listen to your Grandma.

      It’s tough to have a close, fulfilling relationship with someone you don’t know very well.

      Unless your prayer life is a lot more vivid than most, you’re probably doing most of the “talking”. That doesn’t do much to help you come to know and love God. And unless you know God, it’s often very difficult to know what he expects from you.

      One of the best ways to come to know and love God is to diligently study his Word, the Holy Bible. Another is to undertake a study of the huge collection of Catholic theological and philosophical documents, particularly the works of St. Augustine, St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas. You can find links to their stuff on my site. There’s also no substitute for reception of the sacraments, which are our primary channels of God’s grace.

      It all comes down to a regular, personal program of prayer and study, coupled with full, faithful and active participation in all the work, worship sacraments and devotions of the church.

      Knowing God, you soon begin to realize the inestimable depth of his love for you, so you begin to love him back. Next, you begin to realize that there’s plenty of love to go around, so you start loving your neighbor as yourself, just as Jesus commanded:

      “For all the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

      God is love. Love is just another word for charity. No one who departs this earthly sphere of existence with at least a modicum of charity in his soul is likely to see eternal damnation.

      Your Grandma probably could have told you all this, since it’s in the Bible. You just have to know where to look.

      God bless you.

      Doug


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