Salvation

Many Muslims love God and Neighbor, and are in the state of grace

Unbaptized persons who truly love God enter the state of grace by an implicit baptism of desire. Having the state of grace means that they have the supernatural virtues of love, faith, and hope. They have the indwelling of the Trinity in their souls. They have habitual grace, and as they continue to love God and neighbor, the justification in their souls increases due to their reception of actual graces.

If they fall out of the state of grace, then they can return by perfect contrition, which is sorrow for their sins out of love for God. This perfect contrition is not unusual or difficult. It is the ordinary type of contrition that we Catholics have at most Confessions.

How can they be in the state of grace, since they accept ideas about God that are false, and reject the idea of the Trinity? Their errors on religion are due to invincible ignorance, and so these errors are not actual mortal sin.

Objection 1: Did not the Council of Florence say that Muslims must repent and convert in order to be saved? Yes, but that teaching must be interpreted in the light of the other teachings of the Gospel and the Magisterium, especially that an objective mortal sin (grave matter) does not deprive one of the state of grace, nor deserve eternal punishment, without full knowledge and full deliberation, i.e. actual mortal sin. As long as Muslims and others who know about Christianity and do not convert are not guilty to the full extent of actual mortal sin, they can be in the state of grace.

Of course, a Muslims or other non-Christian, or a Catholic Christian for that matter, can still lose the state of grace by an actual mortal sin unrelated to religion, such as adultery. Even in such a case, though, repentance by perfect contrition restores the state of grace.

Objection 2: Does not the Quran teach Muslims to hate others and to do violence to others, such that they cannot have true love of neighbor? The Quran is subject to interpretation, just as the Bible is. It is not our place, as Christians, to tell Muslims what their own holy book supposedly means. As a matter of fact, many Muslims are moderate and peaceful in their views. Many Muslims pray devoutly, love God and neighbor, and live exemplary lives.

Objection 3: How can Muslims go to heaven when they persecute Christians, do not permit Christian worship in their nations, and have been responsible for atrocities against Christians?

Many Muslims do not believe in violent jihad, and do not believe in persecuting Christians. Those Muslims who have extreme views, and who commit acts of violence against the innocent are not living lives of love of God and neighbor, so they are not on the path to heaven. Muslim extremists are only using religion as a mask to justify selfishness, the pursuit of power, and hatred toward others.

Objection 4: We do not worship the same God as Muslims because they do not believe in the Trinity, in Jesus as the Savior of all, and many other truths.

My reply is that the Muslims believe in God, the Creator of all things, and in God who was worshipped by Abraham, so that is the same God. As for specific beliefs or errors about God, many Catholics have heretical beliefs about the Trinity, and about Jesus. If you think Muslims do not go to Heaven because of incorrect ideas about God, maybe you should check your own ideas.

And if you still wish to argue, I will point out that many Catholics have an incorrect understanding of many different dogmas, many adhere to material heresy, many today are guilty of schism against the Pope. If you interpret the Council of Florence harshly, such that Muslims cannot go to heaven without converting, then recall that the same Council, in the same sentence, also condemned heretics and schismatics. In fact, it is difficult today to find a single Catholic, even among conservative Catholic leaders and teachers, who does not adhere to heresy, or who has not committed schism against Pope Francis.

[Matthew 7]
{7:1} “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.
{7:2} For with whatever judgment you judge, so shall you be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, so shall it be measured back to you.
{7:3} And how can you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, and not see the board in your own eye?
{7:4} Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter from your eye,’ while, behold, a board is in your own eye?

Many of the Catholics who loudly and bitterly complain that Muslims cannot go to Heaven without converting are themselves guilty of objective mortal sin (grave matter) in sins of heresy or schism.

False Teachers on Salvation

Michael Voris teaches grave errors on salvation theology. In particular, he claims that “Islam is not a religion.” [Vortex] And he makes the false assertion that, since the first century A.D., the Jewish faith has become a man-made religion. [Vortex] The diocese of Scranton issued a statement regarding Michael Voris, saying that he has “extreme positions on other faiths”, and they prohibited him from speaking in the diocese.

In his heretical video, “Muslims and Jews”, Voris claims that the Jews, by the very fact that they do not believe in the Trinity, “have no faith” and “their worship is natural, not supernatural” [3:20 mark in the video]. About the Muslims, Voris claims “they have no supernatural faith,” again because they do not believe in the Trinity [3:03 mark].

Now if someone, anyone, has no supernatural faith, that means they do not have the theological virtues of love, faith, and hope. A person can have faith without love and hope, but if anyone lacks faith, they also lack love and hope. So Voris necessarily implies that Jews and Muslims are not in the state of grace and that they do not have true love of God and neighbor (the theological virtue of love). And this implies that they are not saved, according to Voris’ heretical theology.

Taylor Marshall has similar views on salvation theology to Michael Voris. They both believe that very few non-Christians go to Heaven, and that Jews and Muslims in the current economy of salvation generally are not saved unless they convert. They also both believe that non-Christians are typically not in a state of grace. The baptisms of desire and blood are interpreted very narrowly, in a manner rather similar, maybe a half-step away from Feeneyism.

If we were living 700 years ago, maybe this type of view on salvation would be tenable — not true, not defensible from the point of view of the true Gospel — but not at that time heretical. At this point in time, I don’t believe anyone can hold that Jews and Muslims are not in the state of grace without rejecting infallible teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium from the time of Vatican II to the present. This would include Redemptoris Missio by Pope Saint John Paul II. It simply is not longer a faithful opinion, given the teachings of the Magisterium in recent generations.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
* My books of theology
* My translation of the Bible (the CPDV)
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Categories: Salvation