Is there a certain level of intelligence required to get into heaven? I would expect someone to be able to understand at least some of scripture to be saved, but how much intelligence is needed to understand what you need to be saved?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Flimzy, Affable Geek, David Stratton Jul 17 '14 at 3:41

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    Many Christians would say the opposite - you need a level of intelligence to reject God and go to hell! – curiousdannii Jul 17 '14 at 0:20

No intelligence is required.

The Bible assures us that even a fool won't go astray on the Way.

Isaiah 35:8 (ESV)
And a highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
    even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.

What is this Way, then?

John 14:6 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

So even a fool following Jesus will be saved.

Jesus also states that the kingdom of God belongs to those such as children. Now, children can be intelligent at times, but certainly this doesn't sound like there's an intelligence requirement.

Mark 10:14 (ESV)
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.


All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law… ~ Romans 2:12.

He will punish those who do not know God… They will be punished with everlasting destruction… ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Yes - There is a minimal level of intelligence required to get into Heaven because one must at least understand what it means to:

  1. Follow Jesus, even if imperfectly.
  2. Follow the 10 Commandments, even if imperfectly.
  3. Love thy neighbor as thyself, even if imperfectly.

Ignorance of these three things would necessarily prevent entrance into Heaven because these are the very things that define a Christian. Without a rudimentary awareness of these concepts (even if not from the Bible) one may be rightfully labeled a "non-believer" (though not necessarily a disbeliever, because ignorance of the Truth doesn't necessarily imply a rejection of it).

EDIT: In response to a comment, I'd like to add that the above does not apply to a baby who dies before Baptism. While I can't speak to every denomination, I know that the Catholic Church has changed it's position several times on this matter, but the current teaching holds that:

"...Infants who die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God..."

EDIT 2: Indeed, I am drawing an important distinction between someone who perished before they had a chance to experience God (or someone who was mentally incapacitated) and someone who either carelessly or willfully remained ignorant of God throughout their entire full life.

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    Interesting, would you believe that all babies are damned if they die before an age when they're able to understand these things, even if they're born to believing parents? Is it possible you could be more explicit about the source of your perspective - the other answer at least is quoting scripture as it's basis. – bruised reed Jul 17 '14 at 0:50
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    This may be your opinion or even the belief of some groups but it is blatantly contrary to the belief of most major theological traditions. – Caleb Jul 29 '14 at 4:43
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    @JimG. You are conflating two issues—levels of intelligence are completely unrelated to the kind of "having knowledge of" that most Christians belief is necessary to have faith. They are completely separate variables and you are trying to imply they are the same. Most branches of Christianity belief hearing of / knowing something of the gospel is necessary for salvation, but that faith is granted irrespective of "intelligence". Very smart people may never hear the gospel or come to faith while someone incapacitated by mental disability might. – Caleb Jul 29 '14 at 8:17
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    @JimG. You are unfortunately confusing 'ignorance', the opposite of knowledge, with 'intelligence' and its opposite, stupidity. They are not the same thing, and are not in fact necessarily correlated. – DJClayworth Jul 29 '14 at 13:38
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    @JimG. No amount of intelligence will—in itself—give you the power to avoid sin. That's where you've gotten things cross-wired, intelligence isn't directly linked to either salvation or sin. With at least three people trying to point this out to you have you considered stepping back and considering whether you might be connecting the dots wrong somewhere? You're simply not dealing with theology the way Christianity does or not using English language the way most people do. It's probably worth figuring out which of those you've got wrong (or at least understand how your beliefs are different). – Caleb Jul 29 '14 at 14:44

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