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Pope Francis says Atheists can go to Heaven


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#1 Canuckerbird

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:03 AM

Pope Francis has sparked a religious debate within the Church regarding whether or not Atheists can go to Heaven.

Basically, he says that Atheists can go to heaven even if they don't believe in God as long as they "do good".

http://religion.blog...-sparks-debate/

(CNN) -– American atheists welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God redeems nonbelievers, saying that the new pontiff's historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

Francis continued, “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis' outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.

“I gather from this statement that his view of the world's religious and philosophical diversity is expanding,” Speckhardt said. “While humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god, hearing this from the leader of the Catholic Church is quite heartening."

He continued, “If other religious leaders join him, it could do much to reduce the automatic distrust and discrimination that atheists, humanists, and other nontheists so regularly face. “

Francis’ comments received a great deal of attention on social media, with a number of people asking whether the Catholic leader believes that atheists and agnostics go to heaven, too.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'"

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

Although the pope's comments about salvation surprised some, bishops and experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenant of the faith.

"Francis was clear that whatever graces are offered to atheists (such that they may be saved) are from Christ," the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic priest, wrote on his blog.

"He was clear that salvation is only through Christ’s Sacrifice. In other words, he is not suggesting – and I think some are taking it this way – that you can be saved, get to heaven, without Christ."

Chad Pecknold, an assistant professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, agreed with Zuhlsdorf, pointing out that the pope’s comments came on the Feast of Saint Rita, the Catholic patron saint of impossible things.

“The remarks about atheists show that there is even a saint for atheists,” Pecknold said. “Including all of humanity, on this day especially, remarks like that are almost called for.”

“To stress that the gospel redeems all people, including atheists, is the teaching of the church,” he added. “This is an objective fact that the church believes.”

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said Francis' comments reflect “the interfaith and inter-community work many of us nontheists are dedicated to.”

That said, Epstein hopes that lay Catholics are listening.

“I hope Catholics, and all people hearing the pope's statement, will recognize that his words about atheists need to symbolize much more than just a curiosity or an exception to the rule,” Epstein said. “If someone thinks there are only a few atheists out there doing good just like Catholics do, that's a major misunderstanding that can lead to prejudice and discrimination.”

The pope’s comments come a few months after he told worshipers that Catholics should be close to all men and women, including those who don’t belong to any religious tradition.

"In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation,” Francis said shortly after his election as pope in March.

Even atheists like David Silverman, president of American Atheists, who has had an antagonistic relationship with the Catholic church, welcomed the pope’s remarks.

“While the concept of Jesus dying for atheists is wrong on many levels (especially given that Jesus himself promised hell for blasphemers), I can appreciate the pope's `good faith' effort to include atheists in the moral discussion,” Silverman said.

“Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”


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#2 Lancaster

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:15 AM

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When does atheists care about getting into heaven? lol
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#3 Machine Gun Kelly

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:16 AM

What is considered good is different to every person
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#4 zejono

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:20 AM

live life the best you can and be fair
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#5 Discord

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:28 AM

When does atheists care about getting into heaven? lol

maybe we'll see a rise in mass murders from now on
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#6 canucks#01fan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:32 AM

So atheists can still get to heaven?

In other news, atheists say that religious people can still make it into a void of nothingness
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#7 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:54 AM

Aw, who cares what these people believe? And i mean everyone. The arrogance involved with creating a life's rulebook based on an unprovable story about a man in the sky vs. the hypocrisy of 'we don't believe in anything, but listen to us while we publicly preach and publish works about what we believe in, er, disbelieve in.' ??? Not a single one of these fools has a clue anyway, but i am growing more tired of the blabberings of 'humanists', 'atheists' and 'nontheists' than i am of religious folk.

"Hey boys and girls, gather 'round while i tell you of the great nothingness beyond...



... That was it. Oh, and we're all actually shaved monkeys. G'night."


At least religion has some good entertainment value in their stories. Just look at all that crazy crap. While all atheist entertainment value is based on religion. "Just look at that crazy crap." God, can't you be more creative, atheists? Oh snap, creationism, right.
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#8 Pineapples

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:54 AM

Is he the first pope to ever say that?
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#9 VICanucksfan5551

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:01 AM

When does atheists care about getting into heaven? lol

It's more caring that someone doesn't think so low of you that you deserve to suffer eternal torment for not believing the same thing as them. It's kind of an insulting belief, so good on the pope for not stooping to that level.
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#10 Jai604

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:02 AM

Go to heaven for the view.

Go to hell for the company.
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#11 hudson bay rules

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:12 AM

why pay yer taxes when you get universal health care in any event?
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#12 ChenWei91

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:29 AM

maybe we'll see a rise in mass murders from now on


All part of the plan.
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#13 Derp...

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:11 AM

People who are religious have the love of god to fill up that emptiness that some people feel inside. Some people try to fill a void of love with passion, but it's not the same as when you are loved truly for who you are by God. If you do good things and you believe in Heaven, you can go to Heaven. If you agree that there's a Heaven then most would also believe in God. You don't have to practice religion to believe in heaven and God, you just won't feel the love of God inside you as much.

If you feel compelled to go to heaven when the time comes then do it! If you feel compelled to slip into a void of nothingness then thats your choice, point is it's your choice!

Don't know about you guys, but I want to go to Heaven, and I want my kids to go there too! My parents, grandparents, friends, etc.

Science has brought us a great many thing, but it is the art of disproving things. Disproving does not prove anything.

The article says people who do good can go to heaven not people who commit mass murder like in Newtown... Joking about mass murder is extremely immature and senseless. Have some common decency.
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#14 zombieksa

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:11 AM

While I don't condone religion or agree with a lot of its messages, this is a nice statement and it may ease up some religious people's views on atheists.

Edited by zombieksa, 25 May 2013 - 04:13 AM.

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#15 nucklehead

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:14 AM

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,”

And with that the good Pope vanquished the need for religion. Not just Catholisism, all of it. Go Pope.



I mean it, go. Go to Disneyland, go on that exotic vacation, go back to college and be anything you want, go get drunk and/or laid....whatever. You just put yourself out of a job, not that it was ever a real job anyway. You just formalized that truth is all. We thank you so much!

People who are religious have the love of god to fill up that emptiness that some people feel inside.

You're delusional. My sister is a life long jw and has got to be one of the most messed up people I know. She's a cronic victim of her own life. She has no personal power that I can detect. She's a physical and emotional shipwreck. But I don't dare point out the obvious failure of her own beliefs. First off I wouldn't cause I love her but also I do believe people have the right to be as sick as they need to be at any given time. But how do you help someone that is so blindly loyal to their bad medicine?
And I know different people who either go to church or are just religiously inclined. I have been a church goer in the long ago past and know how messed up and lost a lot of the adherents are. If you're not born into religion as most are, you get there as a result of tragedy and loss mainly. No one who's life is on a somewhat even keel wakes up one morning and thinks "you know what's missing in my life? Church and stuff". So in other words they arrive at a time when they are desperate and searching for help and meaning in their life and are particularly vulnerable. As was I back then when I decided that was the way to go. After finding my way out of that maze I can only say that, IMHO, religion is for the lazy and uninspired. True spirituality is attained through a great deal of effort and pain ie. brutally honest self analyzation and acceptance of shortcomings and taking personal responsiblity for them and the damage you've done to self and others with a willingness to do whatever it is you need to repair the self inflicted damage in your life.
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#16 Captain Bob

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:25 AM

So, does he think he makes the rules ? Or does he think God spoke to him and said "We found some room in the back, let them in" ?
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#17 Rounoush

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:58 AM

Woo! I don't even believe in God and I get to go to heaven. :P U mad Christians?
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#18 Canucks fan in chicago

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:10 AM

Thanks Pope. Too bad there is no heaven.
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#19 Lychees

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:15 AM

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He can believe what he wants, too bad the bible contradicts what he says

While I don't condone religion or agree with a lot of its messages, this is a nice statement and it may ease up some religious people's views on atheists.


More like ease up some atheist attacks on religious people, I see more tolerance from christians towards atheist than atheists versus christians.
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#20 One one two

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:15 AM

Nice sentiment, he's certainly a more likeable character than the last Pope.

Edited by One one two, 25 May 2013 - 07:22 AM.

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#21 Lockout Casualty

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:40 AM

He can believe what he wants, too bad the bible contradicts what he says



More like ease up some atheist attacks on religious people, I see more tolerance from christians towards atheist than atheists versus christians.


Maybe on the internet. The real world? Not so much.
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#22 Heretic

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:57 AM

Woo! I don't even believe in God and I get to go to heaven. :P U mad Christians?


I'm not mad at all.
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#23 pimpcurtly

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:05 AM

:( makes me wish heaven was real even more.
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#24 Petrucci

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:05 AM

And with that the good Pope vanquished the need for religion. Not just Catholisism, all of it. Go Pope.



I mean it, go. Go to Disneyland, go on that exotic vacation, go back to college and be anything you want, go get drunk and/or laid....whatever. You just put yourself out of a job, not that it was ever a real job anyway. You just formalized that truth is all. We thank you so much!


You're delusional. My sister is a life long jw and has got to be one of the most messed up people I know. She's a cronic victim of her own life. She has no personal power that I can detect. She's a physical and emotional shipwreck. But I don't dare point out the obvious failure of her own beliefs. First off I wouldn't cause I love her but also I do believe people have the right to be as sick as they need to be at any given time. But how do you help someone that is so blindly loyal to their bad medicine?
And I know different people who either go to church or are just religiously inclined. I have been a church goer in the long ago past and know how messed up and lost a lot of the adherents are. If you're not born into religion as most are, you get there as a result of tragedy and loss mainly. No one who's life is on a somewhat even keel wakes up one morning and thinks "you know what's missing in my life? Church and stuff". So in other words they arrive at a time when they are desperate and searching for help and meaning in their life and are particularly vulnerable. As was I back then when I decided that was the way to go. After finding my way out of that maze I can only say that, IMHO, religion is for the lazy and uninspired. True spirituality is attained through a great deal of effort and pain ie. brutally honest self analyzation and acceptance of shortcomings and taking personal responsiblity for them and the damage you've done to self and others with a willingness to do whatever it is you need to repair the self inflicted damage in your life.


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I don't see the difference between what I just said, and what you just said. As much as I welcome your ability to choose your own path, you can't judge one book by a completely different cover. Christianity does not subscribe to JW beliefs, nor many of the other sects that have branched off of the Bible, no matter what they'd care to tell you. A careful examination of the texts would show even the uneducated that what a JW preaches and what the Bible says are very different things. Just thought you might like to know that opinion is out there.

Also, just a question about rights. Where do these rights of ours come from? Is it subjective rights or objective? Put differently, do we believe there is a right because there is a measurable standard of wrong that, once crossed, turns right into wrong? And can that line be different for different people, in different societies, with different traditions and history?

Edit: I agree, in principle, with the second bolded part. The only thing I would add is that we, the broken, are no more able to fix ourselves than a man drowning is prepared to save his similarly drowning friend beside him.

Edited by Petrucci, 25 May 2013 - 08:09 AM.

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#25 kyledude

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:11 AM

Yay!
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#26 Lockout Casualty

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:18 AM

"I once owned a Ford. Well, it was kind of a Ford, it was a Toyota. Same thing right? Anyways, point is, that Ford/Toyota was completely messed up from the moment I bought it. I had to take it in twice in the first year that I bought it to get the Engine worked on, not to mention the auto locks stopped working and the check engine light is on already. I guess every single vehicle must be terrible then, I'll just invest in a bike and save myself the trouble."

I don't see the difference between what I just said, and what you just said. As much as I welcome your ability to choose your own path, you can't judge one book by a completely different cover. Christianity does not subscribe to JW beliefs, nor many of the other sects that have branched off of the Bible, no matter what they'd care to tell you. A careful examination of the texts would show even the uneducated that what a JW preaches and what the Bible says are very different things. Just thought you might like to know that opinion is out there.

Also, just a question about rights. Where do these rights of ours come from? Is it subjective rights or objective? Put differently, do we believe there is a right because there is a measurable standard of wrong that, once crossed, turns right into wrong? And can that line be different for different people, in different societies, with different traditions and history?

Edit: I agree, in principle, with the second bolded part. The only thing I would add is that we, the broken, are no more able to fix ourselves than a man drowning is prepared to save his similarly drowning friend beside him.


Speak for yourself there, Jesus boy.
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#27 Petrucci

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:24 AM

Speak for yourself there, Jesus boy.


That's it hey? Glad to hear you won't be part of a level-headed conversation.

Edit: Perhaps I should re-word my response. Here's my logic train, for anyone that cares to actually discuss for the sake of learning/teaching and being part of a conversation rather than an attack. It's a simple "if A, then B" kind of logic. Also, if you don't like the word broken, replace it with the basic notion that we are supposed to live up to a certain standard and have failed.

Assuming that the definition of the word "Broken" is simply that there are standards that we are meant to live up to and have failed to do so (assuming that this standard is something outside of ourselves), then if we have failed to live up to those standards, we are broken. Now, you can decide that you don't believe in universal or objective morality, in which case this discussion would go a different direction which I welcome. But, assuming that there is objective morality and we have failed to maintain that, then we fit the definition of broken.

Again, if A.) we fail to live up to an objective set of morals, then B.) we are broken individuals. This is in the same sense that if A.) we fail to uphold the law in our area of residence, then B.) we are subject to the Law as we have failed to uphold it. Is there anything wrong with my argument in this most basic sense?

Edited by Petrucci, 25 May 2013 - 08:37 AM.

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#28 Dazzle

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:30 AM

Aw, who cares what these people believe? And i mean everyone. The arrogance involved with creating a life's rulebook based on an unprovable story about a man in the sky vs. the hypocrisy of 'we don't believe in anything, but listen to us while we publicly preach and publish works about what we believe in, er, disbelieve in.' ??? Not a single one of these fools has a clue anyway, but i am growing more tired of the blabberings of 'humanists', 'atheists' and 'nontheists' than i am of religious folk.

"Hey boys and girls, gather 'round while i tell you of the great nothingness beyond...



... That was it. Oh, and we're all actually shaved monkeys. G'night."


At least religion has some good entertainment value in their stories. Just look at all that crazy crap. While all atheist entertainment value is based on religion. "Just look at that crazy crap." God, can't you be more creative, atheists? Oh snap, creationism, right.


Creationism has nothing to do with atheism. It's actually a veiled attempt to put religion into school. It doesn't seem like you realize this.
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#29 Dancin'Droid

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:45 AM

Pope Francis has sparked a religious debate within the Church regarding whether or not Atheists can go to Heaven.

Basically, he says that Atheists can go to heaven even if they don't believe in God as long as they "do good".

http://religion.blog...-sparks-debate/
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I have been a christian my whole life and from what I've learned. I cannot earn my way into heaven. Jesus explicitly says "I am the way to the Father, no one gets to the father but through me." For that reason I think Pope Francis needs to spend more time on planning his services.
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#30 Petrucci

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:58 AM

I have been a christian my whole life and from what I've learned. I cannot earn my way into heaven. Jesus explicitly says "I am the way to the Father, no one gets to the father but through me." For that reason I think Pope Francis needs to spend more time on planning his services.


If Canuckerbird's summary of Pope Francis' homily was accurate, then I would agree with you. However, that is not what the Pope intended, as both he and his public figure came out and clarified. Apparently, he was not saying that all people go to heaven regardless. That would be Universalism, which very few people believe in and have little scriptural evidence to support. It seems as though he was simply reminding people that Christ did not just come for the Catholics, he came for everyone to offer them salvation. You can offer me $100, but I don't have to take it. It simply means that the offer was put forth to everyone, and they then have the choice to do what they will with it. This is good that the Pope would say this, simply because of the "Clubhouse" feel of the Catholic church from Pope's in the past, exclusive and elitist. Make sense?
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