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  #1  
Old 15th May 2012, 06:26 PM
garabandalg garabandalg is offline
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Default Is Atheism a sin?

Hi all. I have recently become interested in the notion of what Catholics and Christians in general should do regarding atheists they know and love. My first question is: Is atheism a sin per se and, if so, is it because it is violation of the first 3 Commandments?

I have read that atheists are offended by the notion that people should pray for them. They often take it as a patronizing trivialization of their basic beliefs. Is it wrong to publicly state that one wishes to pray for atheists or at least atheists who are loved ones? Many of them take this as extreme arrogance.

I wish to write a blog piece on this and appreciate your thoughts, particular those of Ron. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 15th May 2012, 06:51 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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The Church teaches that a human person, by reason alone, can know that God exists, and that the whole moral law is also accessible to reason, including the moral duty to worship God. So the knowing choice to deny the existence of God is an objective mortal sin. However, it might not be an actual mortal sin, in some cases.

Here is my post discussing the possible salvation of atheists and agnostics.
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  #3  
Old 15th May 2012, 08:45 PM
garabandalg garabandalg is offline
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Default Just to clarify

So suppose a young man, aged nearly 20 who admires such people as Richard Dawkins, is going out with a relatively devout Catholic girl, and has even considered allowing their children to be raised Catholic should they ever marry, should die suddenly in an accident. Further suppose that said young man is widely admired among many for his kindness, service to others, and general willingness to lend a hand and offer an ear or shoulder to those who need support etc.

Is it possible that said young man, given his good points, and despite his atheist views, could be saved if his views are sincerely held? Could it be possible that his death would serve as a way of saving him before his views would slip into greater culpability for their nature?

Simply put, is it best to say, God alone is his Judge and, we can hope and even pray that, given his basic goodness, said young man could have been saved despite his atheistic leanings?
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Old 15th May 2012, 10:01 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garabandalg View Post
So suppose a young man, aged nearly 20 who admires such people as Richard Dawkins, is going out with a relatively devout Catholic girl, and has even considered allowing their children to be raised Catholic should they ever marry, should die suddenly in an accident. Further suppose that said young man is widely admired among many for his kindness, service to others, and general willingness to lend a hand and offer an ear or shoulder to those who need support etc.

It doesn't matter if he is admired by many, or if he performs exterior good works. What will determine his salvation is whether he has a baptism of desire by the full cooperation with grace in his love of neighbor, and whether he retains that state by avoiding actual mortal sin. His atheism is an objective mortal sin, but it might not be an actual mortal sin, if he is sincerely mistaken.

If he falls into actual mortal sin for some reason, he might return to a state of grace by perfect contrition, sorrow for his sin out of love for neighbor (which is implicitly love for God).
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  #5  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:31 PM
garabandalg garabandalg is offline
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Default One last question on this issue

Is it accurate to say that such an atheist may have a better chance of salvation than, say, a Pelosi or Sebellius who scandalize the Faith by professing to be devout yet dragging many souls into error and sin through their faulty and openly defiant views?
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Old 15th May 2012, 11:23 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garabandalg View Post
Is it accurate to say that such an atheist may have a better chance of salvation than, say, a Pelosi or Sebellius who scandalize the Faith by professing to be devout yet dragging many souls into error and sin through their faulty and openly defiant views?

It depends on whether the sins of Pelosi or Sebellius are actual mortal sins, and if so, on whether they repent. The same rules for salvation apply to them, just as to an atheist.

A faithful Catholic, who believes and practices the Faith, will have a much easier path to salvation, a much surer path to salvation, though with significant suffering as we carry our crosses. Other persons enter Heaven with difficulty, despite objective mortal sins.
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  #7  
Old 16th May 2012, 01:36 PM
garabandalg garabandalg is offline
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Default Thank you for all of your insight and answers

Thanks, Ron, for your responses.
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