Can Buddhists and Muslims Go to Heaven?

Dear Fr. Bloom,

My name is Mike, I like the web site. You answer questions in a way which isn't imperative or threatening. That is why I am writing, I think that you are a spiritual person who has insight and knowledge to offer.

My question is regarding non-Catholics in the afterlife. Does the Catholic law state that non-Catholics go to Heaven? For example, do people of Buddhist and Muslim faith backgrounds go to Heaven? I would certainly hope that they would, as Jesus is more interested in people loving each other rather than people worshipping him blindly. Could you respond with a yes or no answer and explain why?

Is it true that most religions have promise for the afterlife/reincarnation/etc, but would it not make more sense to believe that all people, regardless of creed, are affected equally when they die? Where the same thing happens to everyone? I believe in God, but I do not believe that God would send a humble and hard working philantropist to hell, or punish them, just because he/she is not Christian. (I hope this is clear because I am confused)


Mike G


Dear Mike,

Thanks for the email - and kind word about the website. I wish I could give a simple answer to your question. Have you read Cronicles of Narnia? The children often ask Aslan (Christ) what will happen to others, but he answers that he does not tell other people's story. Enough for them to know their own. We know from the Bible and from Christian tradition that our salvation depends on entering into a personal relationship with Christ thru the sacraments he has given his Church. Not by any good work of our own, but by his mercy. This of course isn't just for us, but for all people. I try to explain a bit of this in my homily for this Sunday: God Shows No Partiality

The Catholic Church does not teach that people of other faiths (Buddhist, Moslem, etc.) will necessarily be lost. Of course if a person realizes our faith is true - and stays out because of pride, human respect or some other reason, he would be. Catholic Answers has a good article on the question of Salvation Outside the Church. Let me know what you think of it.

God bless,

Fr. Bloom

P.S. Regarding hell, please see: Jesus' Teaching Concerning Hell (A Necessary Doctrine)


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