Skip to comments.Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!
Posted on 05/24/2013 2:25:17 AM PDT by DaveMSmith
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists.
However, he did emphasize there was a catch. Those people must still do good. In fact, it is in doing good that they are led to the One who is the Source of all that is good. In essence he simply restated the hope of the Church that all come to know God, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Francis based his homily on the message of Christ to his disciples taken from the Gospel of Mark. Francis delivered his message by sharing a story of a Catholic who asked a priest if atheists were saved by Christ.
"They complain," Francis said, "If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good." He explained that Jesus corrected them, "Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good."
The disciples, Pope Francis explained, "were a little intolerant," closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that "those who do not have the truth, cannot do good." "This was wrong... Jesus broadens the horizon." Pope Francis said, "The root of this possibility of doing good - that we all have - is in creation."
"Even them, everyone, we all have the duty to do good, Pope Francis said on Vatican Radio.
"Just do good" was his challenge, "and we'll find a meeting point."
(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...
I haven’t been paying a lot of attention, but I take heart in what you say.
6 Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Funny, I see nothing in Jesus' words about doing good or being an atheist who gets saved anyway.
New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Still nothing about being saved by works. The Lord has mercy on whom He has mercy and compassion on whom He has compassion so I will not judge who is saved and who is not, only our Savior can, but I am very disappointed in any Christian who preaches a gospel of works, thus denying the critical importance of Christ's work on the Cross.
I don’t think that the word “just” was there.
Mark 9:38. This passage does not, nor does anything in Scripture, support the pope's position.
I’m with you.
Unless a man be born again....
How much to buy my way?
I’m kinda lazy.
Well this is going to be an interesting thread.
Christ can save whomever he wants. If that was the point, then ok.
If it was that you don’t need God to be saved, then he just talked his way out of a job. Shut the place down and sell it off.
I suspect it was taken out of context.
I spend time on another message board and their take away was all you have to do is be a "nice" person and you go to heaven. The Pope said so! Why they put any stock in what the Pope says, being generally non-religious, is beyond me.
But in no way do I believe that one finds salvation that way if there is no confession of sin and profession of faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, else it makes Christ's death on the Cross pointless.
Nonetheless, many preach a gospel of works rather than a gospel of grace:
21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? 23 Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
Faith produces fruit in the form of works and by our fruit (good deeds) we shall be known but good deeds alone do not lead to salvation. Or why else would Jesus say:
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
You cannot be a fruitful branch and yet deny the vine.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Seems clear enough.
Bingo! So right. Well, What did we learn from this papal announcement? We learned the Pope can be dead wrong.
That blows papal infallibility right out the window, doesn’t it?
Although I completely understand why so many here have misunderstood some of what the Pope has said here, he is not saying that atheists will go to Heaven or that they are saved. He is referring to redemption which is what Christ did for all so that all have a *choice* on whether to accept his salvation. Atheists are redeemed but they are not saved until they accept Christ. Again, I completely understand why so many think he is referring to salvation.
On the other hand, I find this homily troubling because it certainly seems to put atheists on the same level as Christians (and I won’t get into Protestants vs Catholics here). Unless I am completely misreading him, he refers to atheists as “children of God” and the Catholic Faith (as far as I know) refers to the Baptized as “Children of God” not all people everywhere. [I am not sure if the article in the OP quotes this part, but I have been involved in a few discussions on this homily so forgive me if it is not there].
So, as a practicing Catholic, I am more troubled by the fact that it appears that what he has said here doesn’t even jive with Catholic teaching. Maybe I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure you don’t become a child of God without baptism.
If an atheist consistently does the WILL OF THE FATHER then he too can be saved.
The thing about works is this: Works do not save, but they are proof of salvation of a BELIEVER. If the person is not a believer, the works are in vain, at least regarding salvation. And the reason is pretty simple: Even the best man on the planet falls short of God’s glory. Works do not save.
I like this comparison using exercise to represent good works: Imagine two guys that are going to train to jump the grand canyon. One guy works and works and works and builds powerful leg muscles. The other guy eats at mcdonalds and sits in front of the TV all day. Which one is going to win?
Works don’t get you eternal life. Acceptance of the blood of Christ for attonement of your sins gets you there.
"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! Father, the atheists? Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. But I dont believe, Father, I am an atheist! But do good: we will meet one another there.
What of the Good Samaritan? (Luke 10:28-38) ... Go and do likewise. - Jesus didnt seem to judge based on belief.
Christianity is about two things and you can even see it in the ten commandments: Your relationship with your fellow man and your relationship with your creator - and the former is really a subset of the latter. Jesus story about the Good Samaritan was about the former and it was important to show the Jews that it was not their heritage that made them God’s people.
In fact, look at when Mary tried to have an audience with Jesus. He basically dissed her. When He was told his mother and brothers were outside and wanted to see Him He practically denounced the blood relation to her when He said, “who are My mother and brothers but those who do the will of my Father”.
Faith without works is dead, true, but works without faith are useless, regarding salvation. You will enjoy a happier life until you do die, however. It’s an ecclesiastes thing.
Honestly, the Pope should stop speaking off the cuff and write, edit and re-edit his homilies. They are all over the internet/the world these days...and they will be misconstrued.
You must cleave yourself to God and His Word. That includes what he said in that quaint old testament, nothing overrides God’s Word nor the fact that no mater how one interprets salvation it must include cleaving oneself to God and God’s Word.
To preach outside of that, or against that is just mind blowing.
If we are all a unique creation of the Father, and if His sacrifice was once, and for all, then why are we not all children of God?
In my opinion, I think you are pretty close in your interpretation. I would add that generally speaking, we have opportunities of grace, and a desire to do good, as inspiration from God.
Should an atheist seek to feed the poor and bury the dead, we should rejoice and commend them. They are responding to God’s call to charity.
Let us hope in doing so, the atheist will be more open to the reality of God and draw closer to Him.
We would all do well to remember that who goes to Heaven is a Management decisions. Those of us on Earth are merely in Sales.