Would God torture and condemn the “open hearted agnostic”?

I know many people who say “I would obey and respect God if I had evidence of his/her existence. I’ve tried praying many times, but it’s done nothing for me. If at any time in the future, God would supernaturally reveal himself to me, so I could be sure that God is real, I would certainly obey whatever rules he had, but without this certainty, I see no point in just picking one of the hundreds of religions/gods.”

Is God going to send such an “open hearted agnostic/atheist” to hell?

a. If yes, then *why* should a God desire to torture and torment people who are not evil rebels, but simply need to be convinced? (The stories of St. Thomas and St. Paul portray Jesus as using hard evidence to convince doubters).

b. If no, then *why* should anyone be urged to join one of the hundreds of religions, instead of simply waiting for God to reveal himself supernaturally?

c. If “we don’t know, God will judge” then why do we strongly urge and plead such people to join our religion? If we don’t know these things, then we should stop claiming that we do, right?

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2 comments

  1. a. The Catholic religion teaches a thing called “invincible ignorance”, whereby (putting it simply) some people are unable to believe the Gospel through no fault of their own. See http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1793.htm.

    b. We believe God reveals himself supernaturally all the time. What I think your hypothetical agnostic really wants is for God to reveal himself naturally, i.e. through natural means or substances, like lighting up the sky and speaking in a voice that echoes through the clouds. Or at least appearing in his bedroom in bodily form. In other words, in ways that register on the natural senses.

    c. We urge people to join the Catholic religion because it’s the surest way to save your soul, since it’s the way God set up in order to accomplish that very thing. We don’t say that it’s impossible to be saved without the Church, just that the Church is the way God has prescribed and therefore the best and safest way.

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    1. I should add, that even if God were to appear in bodily form in your bedroom or in the sky, it might be very impressive, but it still would not constitute proof that he is who he claims to be. No one can be sure that a being is eternal, infinite and omniscient, unless he is himself omniscient. And even if you knew he was omniscient, that still wouldn’t prove that he is trustworthy: How could you know for certain that doing what he says will result in your salvation rather than your damnation? Thus, there can never be absolute certainty based on the evidence of our senses. Therefore, certainty must come in other ways, i.e. through the spirit and the will. It can’t be otherwise.

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