I am a Catholic but my husband is not. He does not believe neither in God nor in heaven. He argues that if God does love everyone without any condition then he does not need to be a Catholic to enter Heaven. He believes that as long as he is a “good” guy, our “God” will let him enter into heaven.
Fr. Francis' answer:
This is typical of many people. What they do not realize is that there is an inherent contradiction in their logic. They don’t believe in either God or heaven, yet they justify that because they are a good person, God, which they don’t believe exists, will have to admit them to heaven, which they also deny. So, do they want to have a heaven to go to after death, or do they frankly have no idea where they will go after death?
The stark truth they may be avoiding to admit, rather, is that they have no idea where they are going after death, and they hope they do not simply drop into oblivion. Or, that’s exactly all they can believe.
But, and I believe it is a very likely but, if they are the former, that they really hope they will be going somewhere like heaven, then they have to come to terms that it cannot be up to them to define the terms of entry.
But isn’t that the problem: we don’t believe what we are told, but we want it, and really we want it in our own terms.
We expect being good will earn us heaven. But God does not want good people. Yes, you hear me. God does not want good people. He wants people who want to have a relationship with Him. In fact, that is the definition of heaven: it is where people and God enter into a very intimate love relationship.
“Good deeds cannot purchase heaven. Love swings wide the gates of paradise.”
The more we learn to love, the more it calls us out of ourselves. It calls us to do the impossible, it calls us to die to ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves. Yet it calls us to Jesus.