Tuckerfan’s question, WTC Jumpers and the Afterlife, magically inspired this one
From what I can remember from my Catholic schooling, pretty much everyone but those who accept Jesus Christ and his teachings are gonna spend a long time sitting around in hell.
Now i’m pretty sure that Islam teachs the same thing, that the nonbelievers won’t be ‘saved’.
Are there any religions out there that have a more relaxed attitude rather than all or nothing?
Are there any that say that…
“Well we know he didn’t believe in our God but all-in-all he was a pretty cool person and seemed like he was acting like he was one of us, so open up those golden gates for him”?
The current view of “Outside the church, no salvation” is that the church, being the Body of Christ, is necessary to bring redemption to the world, but that membership in the church is not the point. Jesus brought salvation and established the church to carry on the mission, but you don’t have to join to get the benefits. (I will not claim that every Catholic who uttered the phase did so in that spirit, but that meaning has been given to the phrase through the centuries and is the current meaning given to the phrase.) The current RCC teachings on who is saved are dealt with in paragraphs 836 through 848 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (with the phrase of the OP addressed in paragraph 846. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia on The Church written about 45 years prior to Vatican II noted that
Very few (if any) established Protestant denominations believe that heaven is a “members only” club. Such a belief tends to be located (not exclusively, but with a high correlation) among Fundamentalist Protestants–and even there, they do not all insist that one belong to their denomination, only that one profess the same basic belief. (A few years ago, the Southern Baptists decided to let Catholics into heaven.)
If you step outside Christianity, among those that believe in an afterlife of punishment or reward, there are many that do not teach that only membership in their group provides access to the rewards instead of the punishments, Judaism, for example.
How long ago did you go to Catholic School? I was there for 12 years until 1995, and I never heard that people who don’t accept Jesus will go to hell. The problem with Catholic school teaching is that you get a mix of hardliners and more relaxed people who teach, and few of them seem to actually know the real rules of the church.
For example, there were a bunch in my school years who taught that homosexuals will go to hell, some who taught that only those who practiced would go to hell (because it is sex without the benefit of marriage), and one who is a lesbian, who taught that good people don’t go to hell, regardless of sexual orientation. Even priests take very different views on most subjects.
For some time now the position has been that it’s rejection of Jesus that gets you up the creek w/o a paddle. Otherwise, merely not having been a Christian to begin with means, as per tomndebb’s links:
“The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”” Para. 843
“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.” Para. 847.
Limbo was never church doctrine. It was one path of theological speculation that got far too much play among some Catholic writers (notably Dante) and was taught in far too many classrooms, but it has never been promulgated as a Catholic belief in any synod or council.
I was brought up in Ireland with weekly visits from the local priest for a sort ot question and answer session. I know that he explained that if you reject Jesus then off to Hell for you. but he, and several others, told us that no matter how good a someone was in life, if they weren’t a Christian, then they didn’t have a chance.