But They Were Never Exposed to Jesus
No matter how deeply one’s roots are in a religion, and no matter how little exposure they’ve had to Biblical Christianity, everyone yet has roadblocks to hell which show them they are going down the wrong road; and everyone sees road signs pointing them to the real Jesus and His road to eternal life.
I was recently thinking about a story I heard about a young man who was drunk at a college frat party. It hit him as he woke up from his stupor that he’d go to hell if he were to die like this. He prayed to God that if there is a way to avoid hell to show him. He ended up hearing the gospel and coming to Christ very shortly afterwards.
My former housemate was raised Buddhist yet when he got exposed to the Bible a little, he knew it addressed the reality of mankind’s spiritual condition like other religions do not (he had at least read some of the Quran too). He guessed that Jesus Christ is the only way well before he actually bowed to Jesus (I knew him for about one year seemingly on the brink of becoming a Christian any day- and then he went a few months like he did not care much anymore- then he suddenly turned to the Lord, so suddenly that it was unexpected even though beforehand he had seemed so close for so long).
Proverbs talks about wisdom crying out in the open, well-traveled places. The things which people need to know to find the true God are at least hinted at constantly in the midst of the circumstances of life. My former housemate told me before he even became a Christian that he noticed how people generally call on God when they are in big trouble yet will forget Him otherwise- even after they have faced a close call with death itself.
I believe every Catholic can see that Catholicism is not delivering Catholics from being sinners who are basically carnal and worldly. Yet they do hear the Bible and they ought to be able to tell that the Bible testifies of a salvation which Catholics are not obtaining. It may not be so black and white to many, but I believe it would become clear eventually to those who really paid attention and kept in mind the truths which they had really come to understand. I remember in growing up Catholic that an old priest passed out as he was doing mass and a group of people huddled around him repeating hail marys incessantly. It seemed creepy and I don’t think it was hard to tell that this isn’t how you’re supposed to call relate to the true God. The vain repetition that Jesus warned against, and said not to use, is something which seems superstitious and creepy when really put into practice. You don’t need the Bible to even know that, though when you do see it in the Bible it validates the Bible and indicates that Catholicism could not be Biblical Christianity. Every Catholic also knows about the Pope. Wisdom’s cry sounds an alarm that this guy is not a true representative of Jesus (no matter who the specific Pope is). Who would dress up like that and let people adore him like that? Why would that be necessary if he was really the vicar of Christ?
It is a lot clearer in the Catholic’s case, and really everyone in modern society’s case, because we do have Bibles. The Bible itself actually is popular. Not Bible doctrine, not the Bible’s prescription for living, not the Bible’s verdicts, not the Bible’s analysis of man, not the gems in the Bible which don’t stand out on the surface- yet the Bible’s overall narrative actually is popular. I see how it comes up on Jeopardy a lot and the Jeopardy contestants actually gravitate towards Bible categories. People do know that if God has given His word to mankind, it would almost certainly have to be the Bible. Even the wicked find the Bible interesting. Even the wicked quote the Bible when something in it taken alone seems to fit their humanistic agenda.
Since we all have Bible access, we are absolutely without excuse beyond any reasonable doubt. No one with Bible access will be able to plead ignorance on Judgment Day. Really, no one will be able to plead total ignorance because God has not left Himself without witness, even to heathen in times and places where there was no Bible access (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:18-32, Acts 14:15-17). Yet those with Bible access do have much more accountability. There are certain things which perhaps those without such access could truly say they didn’t know and maybe could not have known for certain. It’s obvious that those who had more light available will get a stricter judgment than those with less. Bible access is certainly a huge factor there since those with Bible access could go to the authoritative source and have the truth definitively set forth before their very eyes.
God will bring out the evidence on Judgment Day. The many things revealed then will include the opportunities and chances which those in false religions had to know better and to do better. There was a light shining to point them down a path out of that falsehood into proper, acceptable worship- especially when they had Bible access.