THE general opinion is that people who have been born outside the church, the people called “the nations” or “non-Christians,” cannot be saved because they do not have the Word and therefore do not know the Lord; and without the Lord there is no salvation. They could know, however, that these people too are saved simply from the fact that the Lord’s mercy is universal, that is, it is extended to all individuals.
Non-Christians are born just as human as people within the church, who are in fact few by comparison. It is not their fault that they do not know the Lord. So anyone who thinks from any enlightened reason at all can see that no one is born for hell. The Lord is actually love itself, and his love is an intent to save everyone. So he provides that everyone shall have some religion, an acknowledgment of the Divine Being through that religion, and an inner life. That is, living according to one’s religious principles is an inner life, for then we focus on the Divine; and to the extent that we do focus on the Divine, we do not focus on the world but move away from the world and therefore from a worldly life, which is an outward life.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 318