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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Oblivion over Hell?

INQUIRY & COMMENTS:

I need your guidance and help.  I have a selfish doubt that lingers in my mind. I know it’s wrong but I’m scared of the thought because it lingers and can cause damage to my mind. Over the past few months I have found God in my life and I’m learning every day.  Still sometimes but not constantly, I wish religion were not real so that good people without faith might not have to suffer eternity in hell. It makes me feel depressed that I have loved ones who are atheists and thus may have to suffer this fate one day.  I fear it potentially for myself as well. I have repented of my past sins and I am living my life now by God’s word, but I am still scared at the thought of hell. It may be a wrong and selfish thought, but has anyone ever battled something similar? How did you help them through it?

It is not that I am rejecting the idea of God and his religion. I love God and the amazing things he has done for the world.  I just sometimes think it would be a relief if there were nothing and thus no one would suffer after death. Could you please clarify if I am sinning by having this thought? If I am, what sin is it?  I need to know so as to work through it. 

RESPONSE:

You say that you are not rejecting the “idea” of God but that you love him.  An argument for God’s existence and the notion of a deity will (in itself) save no one.  We are called to a relationship with the “person” of God and this is defined as a bond of love.  Saving faith in Jesus Christ is measured by charitable obedience or fidelity.  The proclamation of the Good News is an important part of our commission as believers.  Hopefully those who hear this testimony and see our witness will be disposed to know and to love and to serve the Lord.  Salvation is a mystery within God’s providence and we must trust to his will and plan for each of us.  If there be any sin or weakness of faith to what you attest it is in respects to this trust or confidence.  The prospect of nothing beyond the grave might be preferred by those who are wicked and mistreat others; however, the lack of a heavenly reward would be unjust for those who have taken up their crosses to follow Jesus.  Many have sacrificed everything for the Gospel.  Many good people through no fault of their own have known great pain and sickness in this world.  The prospect of heaven is held out by a good God to let us know that he is just and has not forgotten his own. 

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