From a Catholic perspective, what's the worst for a person between being Protestant and atheist?

I mean, Protestants are still Christians who believe in god and Jesus, but if an atheist becomes protestant they can help them to convert other people (like Catholics) to Protestantism, or give their funds.

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    This is a philosophical/social question. It is also hypothetical and therefore a matter of opinion. All of which is off-topic on this, a Christianity (not a 'Christian') site. We examine self-identifying Christianity, comparatively. Please see the Tour and the Help (below, bottom left) as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. See also the other questions (archived) as to the manner and the tenor and the content of the questions. (This question is also schismatic and provocative, in my own personal view.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 11:39
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    Why do you think Catholics would care about money (when God provides everything we need!) compared to the stakes of eternal life or death??
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 12:19
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    I think the answer is Catholics believe most Protestant baptisms are valid, and so as far as salvation goes, getting baptized as a Protestant is > atheist who never gets baptized. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 18:29
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    I don't think this is necessarily a philosophical question. There might be official Catholic teachings which closely bear on this question. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 18:30
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    @NigelJ since it does ask for the perspective of a particular denomination, it's not quite an opinion although there might be a question of how much certitude to apply to the answer; it's at least something that could be addressed.
    – eques
    Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


It's better to be a Protestant than an atheist, from the Catholic point of view.

A Protestant believes and is baptized. Furthermore, a Protestant raised in a state of schism, or brought to belief by Protestants already in a state of schism, may not be culpable for the sin of schism.

An atheist might also convert people -- to atheism -- or give to atheistic causes, which would be worse for than the same for a Protestant.

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