I know you already have your guard up, your metaphorical blanket wrapped tight around your shoulders, your eyes a little squinted at the screen. The person who was fine on their own, or broken and alone, or just swimming through life, attempting to find my own direction. I want you to know that life is all ups and downs.
Book Extracts Dear Ali, Your last letter raised some big questions. Some Muslims say that all non-Muslims will go to Hell. Do you say the same about non-Catholics? Many people surely never hear about baptism or about Jesus Christ. Do they have any chance of being saved?
So we have to use many words to try to explain how God deals with mankind, as if God were complex when in fact it is we who are. To begin, then, our faith teaches us that "God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth". That's the unchanging beam of light, so to speak, that falls upon the human race.
Mankind was meant to reflect that desire of God as perfectly as a pure mirror reflects the light of the sun. But at the beginning of time the mirror was shattered, when Adam fell. So children now are born without divine grace, and if they die in that state, before they've become responsible for their actions, they won't have the power to look upon the face of God.
We believe that God will take such children into His care and see that their souls suffer no harm: That's the first complexity that sin has introduced into what would otherwise have been simple. If a child lives, but is not baptised, what then?
The Church says that God offers everyone who lives beyond infancy the possibility of entering on the way of salvation, but she doesn't go into many details about how.
But I'll tell you what one of our greatest theologians said St Thomas Aquinas, who lived in the 13th century. He wrote that whenever a child lives beyond infancy, the day must come when he reflects about himself and his place in the world.
He has to decide what to live for. In fact, until he does this, he's not in a position to make any free choices. All the lesser choices we make about what to do and what not to do presuppose that there's something that we love above all else. Just as we can't measure changes in temperature unless we have a thermometer whose markings don't change, so we can't decide between different actions unless we have some fixed scale of values, and some idea of what we ultimately want from life.
Now, St Thomas said that whenever a boy reaches this moment of decision, he has the duty to turn to God and choose to live for Him. True, the child can't yet love God as his Father. But he can know that God exists, and desire to reach out towards Him.
Even though his soul is still unsanctified, and, so to speak, in the dark, he has the power to do this. But our theologians have a saying: And since Jesus Christ has said: Then the child can believe in Him, even if perhaps he doesn't yet know Him by name.
How often this happens, I don't know: St Thomas warns us that even though God always offers the necessary help, it's not easy for an unbaptised child to turn to Him, precisely because he is without grace.
So I don't see how we can suppose that it happens often. Yet it is possible, because God is good, and because He lets Himself be found by those who seek Him.
Perhaps someone might object: He can hardly turn to God if he doesn't even know that God exists! Just by experiencing creation, the child has a spontaneous knowledge of the Creator, even if his parents and teachers have kept the word "God" from his ears.
It's only later on, when he'll be old enough to listen to sophistry, or be dominated by passions or pride, that he risks losing this early knowledge of his Maker.Shane Claiborne's ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals.
We asked him to address those who don't believe. In Letters to a Non-Believer he goes beyond the mere existence of God to look in detail at the more distinctively Catholic aspects of Christian belief: Christ's death and Resurrection; questions of evil, suffering and free will; and the need for the Church and the Sacraments.
letters are addressed not to a hostile non-believer, who desires Christianity to be false, nor to a careless nonbeliever who assumes that it is, but to a honest enquirer, who .
0 @Aldona_P Dear You, I know what you’re thinking. I know you already have your guard up, your metaphorical blanket wrapped tight around your shoulders, your eyes a little squinted at the screen. A letter for non-believers or those struggling to find a genuine relationship with the true God.
My Open Letter To The Non-Believers by Michael M. on November 17, I was tired of hearing about a God who cared about me, loved me, yet I could not experience Him.
Non-believer, I think you have the same desire, to know God personally. Letters to a Non-Believer [Op Thomas Crean] on alphabetnyc.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In his best-selling book A Catholic Replies to Professor Dawkins, Thomas Crean gave a clear and sophisticated response to the modern atheist phenomenon.
In Letters to a Non-Believer he goes beyond the mere existence of God to look in detail at the more distinctively Catholic aspects of Christian.