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?