Theology 101

Does Hell exist and does anybody go there?

The Church’s answer to these questions of hell is clear. The existence of hell and the possibility of condemnation to hell are real because we have been given the gift of free will. God will respect this free will because God is love – and love must be freely given and freely received in order to be love at all.

Sometimes, we hear an argument against the existence of hell that goes something like this: a loving God could never condemn anyone to hell so, in the end, everyone will be saved … even Satan himself.

Are all religions simply different paths to the same God?

In his work, “The World’s Religions,” author Huston Smith highlights an 19th century Hindu saint, Ramakrishna, as an illustration of a conviction that the various major religions are alternate paths to the same goal. Ramakrishna, after experiencing each of the major religions, concluded that there existed an essential unity among them. He wrote, “God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries.

Why does God allow suffering?

If God is good, why does God permit suffering? This question presents a primary stumbling block to faith. It is a question that each and every person will most assuredly confront at some point or other, as suffering in its various forms finds us all.

Of course, there is no easy answer to this question as we are ultimately dealing with a great mystery. Even Christ was not spared the hurts of living in a fallen world. Perhaps, this is why it has often been said the final word before the mystery of God is muein, an ancient Greek word meaning “to close the mouth.”

Why does God remain hidden?

Why does God remain hidden? For the believer, this question can challenge faith itself. For the non-believer, the question alone can be sufficient to prove the non-existence of God. So how can we begin to approach it in a way that can both deepen our own faith and help us respond to those who do not believe?

Does God exist?

Does God exist? For Catholics, the answer to this question is ultimately a matter of faith. However, not everyone in the world shares this faith. So how are believers to argue for the existence of God when entering into dialogue with non-believers? A good place to begin is by looking back to a few of the more famous arguments put forward in favor of the existence of God. You will notice that each attempts to appeal to human reason, an approach that the Church approves of for it offers the possibility of encountering a starting point for discussion with non-believers.

What do you say when your sister wants to argue about religion at family dinners?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words, combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey. 

 

What do you say when your son says he is now an atheist?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey. 

What do you say when my brother says he feels closer to God on a fishing trip than in church?

The Question

My brother says he feels closer to God when he’s out on a fishing trip than he does in a church, and doesn’t see why he should bother going to Mass. What can I say?


Your initial response should be to affirm positively and without reservation that God can be experienced on a fishing trip. In fact, God is present everywhere. We call this the omnipresence of God. This means God is not confined by location, time, or even dimension.

What do you say when a friend has tried praying and listening to God, but hears nothing?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words, combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey. 

What to say when family claims religion doesn't matter as long as you're a good person?

In 2017, Theology 101 is focusing on the topic of evangelization. Specifically, the task is to offer some ways of approaching various questions Catholics may encounter from co-workers, family and friends regarding the practice of the faith. Of course, we must remember that nothing can replace the power of witnessing to the Good News through our own actions and words combined with our willingness to accompany others on their faith journey.

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