Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines and Practices
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Homosexual Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
back
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History


Josh Goot wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If Christianity believes that you will go to heaven if you believe in Jesus Christ, then how can Christianity claim a person like Hitler or Stalin will go to heaven if they believed in Jesus?

They are more evil than any non-believer who is kind to others and does good deeds.

Josh

  { If Christianity believes all you have to do is believe in Jesus, can Hitler go to heaven? }

John replied:

Hi, Josh —

Thanks for the question.

Because when a Christian says "believe" they don't mean a mental agreement.

For example: we all believe that 4 + 4 = 8

To "believe in" in a biblical sense is directly connected to obedience. When one surrenders to Christ, one is empowered to over come sin by the power of the Holy Spirit but ultimately we are all saved by grace, including non-Christians that don't know about Christ. God gives us mercy,
not because we deserve it, but because we need it. We don't know what happened to Stalin or Hitler. If they honestly repented and accepted Christ's forgiveness, then they were saved. As for non-believers, they also are given grace. It depends on how they respond to that grace. We don't know who is in hell or who will go there, meaning we don't know specifically which persons. We do know that without the love and mercy of God we would all end up there because our natural tendency (due to original sin) is sin. The whole point is that Christ died for everyone. He wants everyone to be saved.

The last thing God wants is to see someone go to hell. Hell ultimately boils down to someone choosing to spend eternity rejecting God's love.

John

Josh replied:

Thanks, John  —

So if someone who is as bad as Hitler or Stalin claims that they believed in Christ, but rejected that power that God gave them to overcome sin, and continued to commit terrible sins, then they are not considered true believers, and therefore cannot be saved and sent to heaven?

Why should a person like Hitler or Stalin be allowed to enter heaven (even if they believed in Christ) when they committed such terrible acts?

If they go straight to heaven after death, then that means that they will get a free pass for what they have done. In most countries around the world, if you do the crime, you do the time,
no matter what your intentions are, and even if you feel remorse for what you did. It seems to me like God is telling us that if we murder millions of innocent people (Christians or non-Christians), and we still believe in Christ, we will go to heaven. It seems like God is rewarding us for killing people.

  • How is believing in Jesus enough to convince someone to do good if there is no punishment?

If God punishes us, that punishment should serve as a lesson to us that we need to learn from our sins and repent and do the right thing next time.

  • Without this, how are we supposed to learn to do the right thing?

When a parent wants a child to behave and be obedient, they have to teach them through punishment.

  • How else are children supposed to listen?

If you tell a young child to do something, they may not want to listen. Children are usually like that.

  • How are you supposed to get them to do the right thing if they do not know or don't want to do it?

Explaining to a young child is not always going to work. The only way is the hard way, which is through punishment. A parent may not like giving out punishments, but they understand that it is the only way to teach a child to be obedient and follow the rules.

  • Why doesn't the same concept apply to God and his people?

Josh

Mike replied:

Hi, Josh —

You said:
So if someone who is as bad as Hitler or Stalin claims that they believed in Christ, but rejected that power to overcome sin that God gives them, and as a result continues to commit terrible sins, then they are not considered true believers, and therefore cannot be saved and sent to heaven?

Yes. All of us have a natural law that is written on our hearts. Even the atheist knows murder is wrong. If someone knows what they are doing is wrong and yet continues to do it, their actions show that they never really believed, what they said they believed. If they don't know what they are doing is wrong, or there were mental health issues that effected their decisions, that is another issue, but I don't believe you have this in the case of Hitler or Stalin.

Words (belief) and actions go together; we don't separate them.

That's one way you can detected a shadow-minded politician. They will say:

"I'm personally opposed to abortion, but can't impose my views on others."

What? That's why the majority of your constituents elected you, Mr. Politician!! BECAUSE of your views.

On the rest of your reply, you are correct, in the sense, that proper discipline in the childhood years is important to a healthy adolescents, but again:

  • We will be culpable for want we knew was right, but didn't act upon.
  • We won't be culpable for what we didn't know.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi, guys —

Let's not forget Purgatory, here. If Hitler or Stalin by some miracle of God's grace were to repent and be saved at the end of their lives, they would still be held responsible for what they did and need to be purified of all their evil before entering heaven. We don't know of what this consists, but 1 Corinthians 3 uses the image of fire consuming their works while they barely escape through the flames.

I can guarantee that a criminal like Hitler or Stalin, assuming they are truly guilty, would not escape torment of the greatest magnitude for their sins.

Eric
P.S. While on the topic of Purgatory, if anyone has a devotion to the Holy Souls, they may be interested in Mike's other web site: Helpers of the Holy Souls.

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.