I grew up traditionally catholic. Memorized from the Baltimore catechism and learned Latin while homeschooled. Was incredibly against birth control. Only wore skirts to Sunday mass. I have ALWAYS been a spiritual nerd, so diving in deeply to my beliefs has always been a fun logical practice. It’s also a testament to my Catholic upbringing. If I cannot prove it like a geometry theorem, even if just to myself, then I don’t want to practice it.
I left the church in 2012/2013. People were SHOCKED because I was The Best Catholic. I knew dogma and understood it all.
In this life, we are all doing our best to try to find the truth. If you have found truth for your soul, I’m so happy for you. What an amazing thing.
My catholic family can’t seem to answer this, without “well just pray about it, the truth will be revealed to you.” And ultimately, even if it is not the truth I follow, I would like to have a catholic or Christian response to this that isn’t “pray about it,” but “well if you look here at this section, then follow up here.” If you say your belief system is the ONLY truth, then ya better come with some receipts.
God is all powerful, all knowing, all just. The catechism of the Catholic Church states “if we do not believe that God’s love is almighty, how can we believe that the Father could create us, the Son redeem us and the Holy Spirit sanctify us?”
This is the basis of belief because the other rules just don’t make sense unless you have faith that God is all of the above. God is also eternal, outside the constraints of time that we understand.
God is all knowing, which is important to revelation because it reveals that we are not god, because we are not all knowing.
So in our life time, we are tasked to find eternal truth. To come in contact with this truth and then to reject it is a mortal sin, and such mortal sin will send your soul to hell because you have rejected God.
God is all powerful. We know that we are not god because we are not all powerful. God has the power to do all things, make all things, protect all things and heal all things. God can do anything. His will is all powerful but he is not bound to his will because He is god.
God is all just. Because he is all knowing and all powerful, he is also perfectly just. His punishments, because he is perfectly just, are perfectly just, because God cannot be perfectly just and then enact unjust punishments, because that would make him unjust.
The catechism says that God is all merciful, because he sacrificed his only son as reparations for our sins. In his mercy, even though we as souls that are NOT all powerful, all knowledgeable, all just, or all merciful do not deserve this grace, he sacrificed his only son to save us.
So, accepting God and his knowledge gives us acceptance into heaven, a place of profound joy and worship. Woohoo!!
When we Reject God, through Mortal Sin, such as horrific acts like murder, rape, or missing a Sunday Mass, premarital sex, homosexuality, or masturbation, we are CHOOSING hell, which is the answer I’ve been given.
Note: The Catholic Faith has two types of sin. Venial sin, which are minor sins, such as white lies, or fleeting engagement in “impure thoughts.” Mortal sins are sins which completely separate you from the grace of God. And yes, mortal sins include cold blooded murder and missing Sunday mass. They are the same magnitude of sin.
So, quick recap, God is eternal and everlasting, he is all powerful, all knowing, all just, all merciful. Because he is all of these things, he cannot be without these things, because absence of knowledge makes his power absent of all power, etc.
If God is all knowing, then he knows the secrets of our heart. He knows not only all our sins, but WHY we sin. He sees all. He sees reasons we don’t always see.
If he is perfectly just, doesn’t this disregard the need for mercy? Mercy is to see lawful justice and decide it is either unlawful or unjust. When something is perfectly just, it also encompasses mercy. You would not think it is just to sentence a man to prison for 15 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. Even though stealing is against the law, just like robbing a bank is against the law. However, a just judge would see a starving man, a wife, and children and realize to keep this father from his family, to leave his family destitute, would not be justice but cruelty. So a lighter sentence is not mercy, but an application of justice.
So, let’s use this bread thief as an example. Let’s call him Adam. Adam tries to be a good person. But when his family was starving, he slipped food in his pockets and didn’t pay for it. When he made love to his wife, sometimes he would “accidentally” pull out so she wouldn’t get pregnant because he didn’t want any more children to feed. And at times, he was mean, drunk, cruel.
He dies before receiving last rites so he goes to his personal judgement with mortal sins on his soul (spilling his seed, drunkenness.) because of the presence of mortal sin and the absence of God’s Grace he goes to hell.
Adam, a man on this earth, who is not all powerful to save himself without the sacrifice of Jesus, who is not all knowing, and therefore did not know how having more children could benefit or enhance his life, who is not eternal and does not have eternal time to seek knowledge is sent to hell.
If God is all powerful, he is not BOUND to sending anyone to hell. After all, he is not bound by his own will, because he is not bound by anything.
If he is all knowing, then he knows that this human hurt people but he also tried to keep his kids fed and warm. He knows that Adam had his own trauma and that getting drunk wasn’t a refusal of god but rather trying to escape from his own pain.
If he is all just, then the act of sending a man to *suffer at the max suffering for all eternity with no reprieve* for acts committed during a life, even if they were horrific acts, seems like sending a man to jail for the rest of his life for stealing bread. After all, we are only existing in the world that God has created. We do not have the power to remove pain from life, nor do we have the knowledge to apply this power in the most loving way. After all, God knows that pain is the opportunity to choose sainthood, but we don’t have all the knowledge to perfectly choose sainthood all the time because we are not perfect. We are unable to be perfect because we would be Gods but also punished for being imperfect.
If God is all merciful, then the act of sending a soul to hell for pulling out, or masturbating, or for sexually loving a human of their same gender for all eternity to be punished nonstop with horrors beyond horrors cannot be just. Because human souls are unable to perfectly choose God every time because of original sin, we do not have the knowledge to see how our sins continue on outside of us.
Even if it IS justice, it is not just to hold us to these standards without the necessary knowledge to choose God. We will always be set up to lose.
Finally, I am the victim of childhood sexual abuse. I do not speak to this person. I am not at events where this person is also. I do not have love in my heart for this person and will never speak to them again. They have hurt me spiritually, sexually, personally, etc.
If they were to die today, never asking or seeking forgiveness for molesting me as a child, and God gave me the choice to send to hell or to save them, I would save them. Every. Time. Because to suffer intensely for all eternity for the act of molesting me is NOT just. Even though I am horrified and angry and think this person is evil, my own personal standard of justice demands more mercy than God.
If I am able to have more justice/mercy for my sexual abuser than God is able to have for someone who masturbates, then is God perfectly merciful? God has to be perfectly just because he is all knowing. To be all knowing and to be unjust, would mean that is he not all perfect or all powerful, because true justice is rooted in perfect power. Unjust behavior arises from trying to maintain power. If God is unable to maintain power without being unjust, then he is not all powerful. If I know about justice and mercy through God and am able to extend more mercy to others than God, is God all powerful?
If he is willing to torture a soul for all eternity for missing Mass, is he really all merciful or all just?
Ultimately, I would argue that God is not all just because he refuses to share total knowledge of the world. We cannot always choose truth is truth is hidden from us. But then we are also forever punished for not choosing the truth that is hid from us because we are not all knowing.
To me, the creation of hell is a logic exercise in how God cannot be all knowing or all powerful or all just, and especially not “almighty loving.”. And if he is not any of those things, but proclaims that he is, then he is also dishonest. If God is dishonest, then by definition, he is absent of all truth. If he is absent of all truth, then his church cannot be the full truth because God is not the full truth.
And that is why I don’t worship the Christian god.