Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

Source: The Independcnce

BY MICHAEL DAY, THE INDEPENDENT

In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. “Francis is a still a conservative,” said Mr Mickens. “But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.”

In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all”.

In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality, asking: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”

Reference

The Muslim Times’ Editor’s comment:

This article is incomplete without the comments below.

6 replies

  1. Now that the Pope has spoken we, the non believers ie non Christians, more specifically non Catholics can take a sigh of relief.

  2. Pope Francis is becoming a Muslim in a manner of speaking.
    The Holy Quran has always proposed a broader perspective on salvation, which does not deny the goodness or efforts of non-Muslims. For example, the Holy Quran says:

    Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these truly believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 2:63)

    And:

    Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians — whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 5:70)

    And:

    As to those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Magians and the idolaters, verily, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection; surely Allah is Witness over all things. (Al Quran 22:18)

    • This is a bit confusing. How can you be forgiven by someone who, you believe, with all sincerety, does not exist? In this case the question of forgiveness does not arise for people in question. Who is Pope to offer possibility of forgiveness on behalf of a “non existent” being (as aetheists see it). I am sure they think this is funny and patronizing. If God deos not exist than there is no hell or heaven to go to.

  3. I thought let me also record the traditional view from Encyclopedia Britannica, before it is modified to the point of disappearance for the generations to come:

    Original sin, in Christian doctrine, the condition or state of sin into which each human being is born; also, the origin (i.e., the cause, or source) of this state. Traditionally, the origin has been ascribed to the sin of the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in eating the forbidden fruit (of knowledge of good and evil) and, in consequence, transmitted his sin and guilt by heredity to his descendants.

    The doctrine has its basis in the Bible. Although the human condition (suffering, death, and a universal tendency toward sin) is accounted for by the story of the Fall of Adam in the early chapters of the book of Genesis, the Hebrew Scriptures say nothing about the transmission of hereditary sin to the entire human race. In the Gospels also there are no more than allusions to the notion of the Fall of Man and universal sin. The main scriptural affirmation of the doctrine is found in the writings of St. Paul and particularly in Romans 5:12–19, a difficult passage in which Paul establishes a parallelism between Adam and Christ, stating that whereas sin and death entered the world through Adam, grace and eternal life have come in greater abundance through Christ.

    The doctrine is the prerequisite for the Christian understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion and atonement. Despite its importance for understanding Jesus’ sacrifice, the doctrine of original sin has been minimized since the European Enlightenment.

    I have also saved the Wikipedia article about Original Sin, under the title: Original Sin: Can the Church now Become Liberal?

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