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Does God punish people who've never heard of God by denying them Heaven?

#1Barenziah Boy ToyPosted 7/22/2011 10:18:55 AM
And if so, is that actually fair to those ignorant of Its existence?

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#2Minotaur333Posted 7/22/2011 10:26:26 AM
No, I do not believe he does.

No one can say for certain other than himself, though.
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#3WhereDidItGoPosted 7/22/2011 10:38:24 AM
Here's the Catholic teaching on this topic.

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.


848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

Also, under "the necessity of baptism":

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
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#4chukie_suePosted 7/22/2011 10:40:22 AM
I wrote a little bit about this. I'll probably be adding a few pages soon.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MXx8wYDqUNU3o1CvCEzvaEVQI5nSeHFb5Oum1LnUp1k/edit?authkey=COrJqpAN&hl=en_US&pli=1
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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ...It isn't 'in the beginning, a monkey evolution gay marriage'." - Colbert
#5Icymane_ShadoPosted 7/22/2011 10:44:38 AM
Yes:

"Well how is that fair? It means someone who dies without knowing about a particular religion is doomed forever, even though they didn't get the opportunity to learn about it?"

No:

"Then we should stop telling people about religion. Then they will avoid hell by default."

Trololol
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"There's only two things I fear more than myself in a battle, God and my shadow"
#6GuideToTheDarkPosted 7/22/2011 10:46:19 AM
It's not trolling just because you don't like it, shado. It actually makes sense.
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Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win. -- Robert Heinlein
'Would have', not 'would of'.
#7Burning_WolfXPosted 7/22/2011 10:54:30 AM
We don't know. It ain't our call to make. All we can do is do is listen to Jesus when He says to "Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." and pray for those who accept, and those who do not accept Christ. If they don't accept or haven't heard of Christ TO accept, then they'll be judged by how they lived their lives, according to basic human conscience which everyone has.
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#8chukie_suePosted 7/22/2011 11:15:34 AM
1) Man has an inherently sinful nature.
2) Upon death (or rapture) those with a sinful nature do not go to Heaven. (Purposely trying to avoid using Hell here...)
3) Man's life begins at conception. (We'll accept this premise for the sake of argument, since the salvation of newborn infants is covered elsewhere)
4) Consequently, at conception, man has a sin nature.
5) Therefore, aborted or miscarriaged babies, grown men and women ignorant of the gospel, and those incapable of understanding the gospel regardless of age do not go to heaven.

This isn't a pretty conclusion. It strikes most as quite unfair, not what you'd expect from a God who calls Himself just, not to mention loving. The "age of accountability" defense is entirely absent from the Bible, and would do nothing to defend grown men/women anyway. Is this conclusion biblical?

If we look in 2 Samuel 12:23, we see that David made the claim that he'd see his infant son in heaven. But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. ESV. Luke 1:15 explains how John was filled with the holy Spirit while still in his mother's womb. for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. ESV. Those verses seem to imply that infants (and therefore someone truly ignorant) can be saved. That's nice. An impotent God incapable of saving them seems unpleasant as well.

In Luke 23:43, it appears that one of the criminals on the cross was saved not for accepting forgiveness (as that was popularized like today) but for acknowledging his wrong doing Jesus' innocence. 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." ESV

God has written a law upon our hearts. Jeremiah 31:34 and Romans 18-20 confirm this. 1 Samuel 16: 7 makes clear God judges by the heart.

“when Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.” (Romans 2:14-16)

God will judge those who have heard the truth yet have rejected it more severely than those who have never heard (Luke 10:14) So even the Bible makes a distinction between those ignorant of their trespasses than those fully aware.
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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ...It isn't 'in the beginning, a monkey evolution gay marriage'." - Colbert
#9chukie_suePosted 7/22/2011 11:15:54 AM
Verses:

Jeremiah 31:34 , “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 18-20 NIV

Read more:

http://www.comereason.org/theo_issues/theo060.asp#ixzz1MSUYKDpC

http://www.comereason.org/cmp_rlgn/cmp040.asp


Some claim that the following two statements are logically inconsistent:

1) God is all loving and omnipotent.
2) Many people never hear the gospel and are consequently lost.

I argue otherwise.

To assert those are logically incompatible assumes a few invisible premises: That if God is omnipotent, He can create a world in which everyone hears the gospel and freely chooses to accept forgiveness. As well as if God is all loving , He prefers a world in which everybody has heard the gospel and freely accepts forgiveness.

Considering the first, everyone generally agrees that creating a world in which everyone hears the gospel is perfectly within the realm of possibility for an omnipotent God. But if the people are free, there is no guarantee. It may be impossible for a world to be created in which everybody freely chooses to accept forgiveness. I, among others, do not believe this is a strike on God's omnipotence. As with square circles, rocks, sinning, and hot burritos, omnipotence does not include the logically contradictory or ability to sin (which I'd argue is a result of a lack of power). William Lane Craig has some nice commentary on this subject, but I'd much prefer to direct you towards Ronald Nash's introductory to Philosophy for a detailed examination of this view. However, let's try to focus on the original point. There is no reason to believe the balance between the saved and lost in this world isn't optimal.
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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ...It isn't 'in the beginning, a monkey evolution gay marriage'." - Colbert
#10chukie_suePosted 7/22/2011 11:16:39 AM
Concerning the latter premise, let's assume it is necessarily possible to create a world in which everyone freely accepts forgiveness. Would an all loving God be compelled to choose to create this world over another where some people are lost? Not necessarily, this hypothetical situation lacks the specificity to make an education conclusion. What if, in this seemingly optimal world, there were "overriding deficiencies" (Craig, writing on the same subject)? Suppose that in a world in which everyone freely believed, only a small amount of people existed. Say... five. Must God prefer a world like this over one like our own? Certainly not. We have no basis to conclude that. In fact, if we factor in God's desire to glorify Himself, it almost seems more likely that a world like our own was created - a world man chooses to disobey, and therefore sees a stark contrast between God's goodness and the remaining evil.

William Lane Craig explains: "It might be objected that an all-loving God would not create people whom he knew will be lost but who would have been saved if only they had heard the gospel. But how do we know there are any such persons? It is reasonable to assume that many people who never hear the gospel would not have believed the gospel if they had heard it. Suppose, then, that God has so ordered the world that all persons who never hear the gospel are precisely such people. In that case, anybody who never hears the gospel and is lost would have rejected the gospel and been lost even if they had heard it."

In conclusion, so long as that is even possibly true, there is no contradiction. Naturally, with our self serving bias' catering to our wishes, we tend to assume whatever we'd prefer. This is true for both parties - theists and atheists alike.
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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ...It isn't 'in the beginning, a monkey evolution gay marriage'." - Colbert