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
click here to read article
Regardless, most of what is being called "wrong" here is simply a misunderstanding of what he is saying. IMHO, I do think that his comment about children of God is wrong (although I do hope I am also just misunderstanding him).
Luke 10:25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Eternal LIFE is not salvation?
And Jesus answer to the man was the key part:
What is written in the Law? he replied. How do you read it?
He answered, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind[c]; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.
You have answered correctly, Jesus replied. Do this and you will live.
Well, that simply was not the export of what he said.
He attempted to lead us to believe that even an atheist could be saved.
The nature of their belief is at odds with the gift of salvation and God’s word.
I’ll. Take the box Carol Meryl is standing in front of.
LOL....I’ll predict another 1,100 post count of Bible Tug-of-War between Bible only Christians and Catholics.
How’s your baby?
I’m of the unorthodox view that a person who’s never heard the gospel might be granted grace at judgment based on his heart (longing to know the God he hadn’t been formally introduced to); however, if a person has consciously rejected God out of human pride, I really don’t see any number of “good” works offsetting that.
Actually, it's funny you quote that verse - Swedenborg says it is the fate of those who are of faith divorced from charity that falsify the Word.
Here are the Pope's actual words. The words "heaven", "salvation", and "saved" don't even appear in the text. How anyone could conclude from this that Pope thinks atheists can work their way to heaven ... beats me.
He's not the theologian BXVI was, I'll grant you, but give the man a little credit: he knows what Pelagianism is, and why it's wrong.
But, an atheist has no faith.
In fact, from their reasoned point of view they have trouble on exactly which God to place their faith in.
Buddha? Naw! I don’t believe in nothingness but, if I had to make a choice more closely aligned with my beliefs....
Hinduism? Can’t, I luv steak.
Islam? Which brand? Whabbism? Suhfi? Shiite?Go. Goat herder ?
Shinto? luv the Ginsu Knives.
Mormonism? Being a god myself sounds interesting. But, I’ve heard I have to pass by Joseph Smith, who will check my passport and see if I am worthy and well qualified. Notwithstanding that little part that God says “There is none worthy, no not one”. Wasn’t that Christ’s or Saint Peter’s Job?
Maybe I try Protestantism? Which brand? Lutheran? Pentecostal? Joseph Smith was given a vision that all religions were abominations and, Dark, Apostate and Whores of Babylon.
Hell, the Protestants say that the Catholic Church is the vile belief system discussed in Revelations.
No, an aethiest isn’t just divorced from God so much as he is agnostic and indifferent .
No atheist will come to God by Jesus and therefore their salvation is synthetic on one hand and arrogant in the face of God, if he could face God without shielding his eyes from God’s glory.
Nor even close! There are four qualifications that must be met for a Papal teaching to be considered infallible. This meets, at best, only one of the four.
He said nothing like that. I posted a link to his actual words above. Go read them yourself.
The Gospel also informs us that we may fully know God as He intends only by believing in and following Christ. Natural law and reason alone are not enough to attain such an understanding. Christian faith and practice are required.
This line of reasoning offers a resolution of the long and vexatious controversy as to whether those who lived before Christ or who do not know otherwise know and follow Him may be saved. Thus, although rejecting Christ forfeits the deeper knowledge of God and the grace that Christianity offers, one who adheres to the principles that God has laid out through natural law may still be saved.
As stated by Pope John Paul II, "the followers of other religions can receive Gods grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established," meaning the Christian faith. (Letter to the Bishop Delegates to the Fifth Plenary Assembly of the federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, 23 June 1990.)
Notably, the same apostolic letter also states that "It is a contradiction of the Gospel and of the Churchs very nature to assert, as some do, that the Church is only one way of salvation among many, and that her mission towards the followers of other religions should be nothing more than to help them be better followers of those religions." The passage from John that you cite is taken as authoritative toward this end.
The Catholics on FR are pretty intent on keeping Christ and heaven to themselves.
I have not observed that.
At any rate, to the current topic: I recall being taught in Catholic school that anyone who lives a good life is doing the will of God. Those who have never been baptized and who do not know of Christ but live as good humans gain the Baptism of Desire.
Now it makes sense. I was confused, that Pope would ever say one could be saved by works.
You make good points, but my response was more general. I meant children to mean that we are all creations of the Father.
When I think of atheists I know, they are very different. One lacks the gift of faith, while another appears prideful and presumptuous.
The first does good for good sake, and tries to live (unknowingly) according to the natural law. The second does good, but makes the point of his atheism.
In viewing these two cases, I can see how God is trying to call both to himself, though I can see Him more generous to first. Think invincible ignorance vs. pride.
Unless a man be born again....
What of those people who were born before Jesus came to earth?
What if an atheist did something, not knowing or being able to know it was good, but a Christian thought the act was good?
No it doesn’t. It means the author if this article is a liar.
What if the atheist doesn’t know he is doing the work of God?
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
Of course, we can not assume all other people fall into this "ignorant" category (and I would argue that most people do not in this day and age), so I still believe it is wrong to include atheists and other "unbaptized" as "children of God".
He said nothing like that. I posted a link to his actual words above. Go read them yourself.
Aw, you’re no fun, Campion! Why read what the pope has actually said when one can just spout off lies and bigotry about the Church?
I will pray for this troubled Catholic hater.
I’ve heard atheist here on FR say that they can do good, without believing in God.
I don’t see why not.
Despite its claims of clarity and conformity, Rome itself iws significantly subject to interpretations (including what is infallible and its meaning) to varying degrees, both allowed and that which is tolerated, and modern teaching often suffers from ambiguity.
Regarding atheists being saved, as reported here ,
Cardinal George Pell had suggested that there will be those who were atheists in this life who will be in heaven.
Cardinal O'Connor has something similar to say:
Q: And hell?
A: We're not bound to believe that anybodys there, let's face it. ...
Q: It is sometimes said that there will be a separate heaven for Bavarians because they would not be in a state of eternal happiness if they had to share heaven with the Prussians. Will Catholics and Protestants be together in heaven? A: I hope they won't be separate. I think that the divisions manifest here on earth will be reconciled in some mysterious way in heaven. I'm not thinking just of Catholics and Protestants, but people of other faiths and people of no faith. We are all children of God.
Q: So we shouldn't be surprised if we were to meet in heaven someone who was a Muslim or an atheist on earth?
A: I hope I will be surprised in heaven... I think I will be.
On this subject, one can teach along the line of, "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life," (Romans 2:7) as meaning that obeying the light you have leads to more light ("And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given" -Mark 4:24).
So that, as with lost but pious Cornelius, one can hear "words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. " (Acts 11:14)
Yet Francis seems quite loose in his theology, or at least his expression of it, likely being much less of a theological than one who focus on the result. But doctrine comes first.
Here, he may not be teaching atheists can be saved because of their works, but from what we read (which is insufficient) he sounds that way, and which i also think is a manifestation of the institutional over reaction against sola fide, as if that teaches that the faith that justifies is not one that effects works.
Rome often emphasizes works and merit in such a way that it typically blurs the distinction btwn what actually appropriates justification, (which Rome allows can be without works yet still is based on one's holiness), and the resultant works which justify one as having true faith. And are rewarded due to God's faithfulness under grace, who rewards faith, (Heb. 10:35) though what the redeemed really deserve is the lake of fire. (Rm. 6:23; Rv. 10:14,15)
But faith and works go together, like light and heat, and Reformers emphasized the need for such faith, and evangelicals testify to greater commitment and faith that produces works and Biblical moral views than Catholics overall.
Just a general comment to posters like yourself (and it’s not meant to be uncharitable). I would be better able to respond to posts if they were brief and to the point. The format here in this forum makes it difficult enough to read the shorter posts. I wish they would upgrade it.
I think they can do good as well, but if we’re honest we know that what we think is good is much different than what they think is good sometimes. For example, an atheist would think it good to escort women to an abortion clinic for an abortion.
I don’t know.
I shouldn’t pretend I know much about anything.
Right now I just know I would love to have a pizza.
and a normal human would think it good to live by the golden rule, be kind to elderly and children, be a good steward to the earth, be kind to animals, help the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc...the list goes on and on
This is not new doctrine. False, but not new!
Too early for me. I would like to win a gigantic lotto though, and see if it really ruins me or makes me any worse than I already am. I’m hoping I would be able to come up with a couple good things to do...
Matthew 5:22, "Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire"
Jesus says blessed are: first seven Beatitudes - don’t mention anything about what the person believes. He doesn’t say, “blessed are the peacemakers if they belong to the Baptist Church and proclaim Me Savior.” So what’s with that?
Must be one of those new “accommodation” popes bubbling up like so many other church leaders we have seen in the past decade.
The folks that I talk to about this in 12 step programs usually have rejected all religion because of the concept of a punishing, angry and vengeful God who sacrificed His own son for the sin of Adam was shoved down their throats as children. That, and the John Pipers of the world saying the OK tornado was God's wrath. My sister-in-law says hurricane Sandy is the end times. It goes on.
The reality is the Lord is life itself and love itself. By step 2, we use 'power greater then ourselves'... step 3 is a 'God of our understanding'... by step 4, we find that the punishments on ourselves we blamed God for were our own fault. Just read the book of James - the whole concept sprung from there.
I believe that 'knowing Christ' is understanding and accepting a loving God. We repent and make amends. It's a continuous process. I see God working in those rooms every day.
Pride and arrogance? Sure it exists but it can be turned away from. For the willing.
Agreed. There is nothing I despise more lately than the need to clarify what someone else has said. And especially a man of this standing.
“Many are called; few are chosen.”
Most choose not to answer his called in serving others — following the Lord’s example of being a servant to others.
James 2: 17-26 ...A stern warning from Saint James
So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say, You have faith and I have works. Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?
For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Regarding the debate about faith and works: Its like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most important.
Seems the author projected his beliefs and took the Pope’s opinion out of context.
Seriously. And I would like to think with all the uproar all over the internet/the media that the Pope would know about it and he/the Vatican itself would clarify.
It’s that important.
Thanks for the link.
However, these apparently "off the cuff" remarks, while not being a formal theological teaching, nor actually stating atheists can work their way to heaven, are nonetheless in error taken at face value.
The fact that Christ died for all does not translate into all being redeemed and thus God being children of God and the father of atheists. Instead, Scripture teaches that before regeneration, all were "children of wrath," (Eph. 2:3)_ and those who are not true Christians are "children of the devil," (1Jn. 3:10) whom the Lord stated the opposing Jews were of. (Jn. 8:44)
In addition, the idea of Francis that the apostles (Mk. 9:38,39; cf. Lk. 9:49,50) 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, is not the actual case, as rather than these 3rd party types being portrayed as souls who do not have the truth, they were casting out devils in Jesus name (which did not work for the vagabond Jews in Acts 19:13), and the disciples objection was that they were not physically part of their group. Thus the rebuke of the Lord is against a sectarian spirit rather than correcting the idea that who do not have the truth about Christ cannot go good, which is an extreme that is unlikely the apostles held to.
Moreover, the idea that,
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good. Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him; ignores the reality that being made in the image of the Lord, and who died for them, does not mean they must do good. For in dealing with this subject, Paul warns that, contrary to souls "who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality," are souls who "are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness," who shall suffer "indignation and wrath." (Rm. 2:7,8)
Along with this, the idealistic exhortation,
"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,
presumes the atheist has the same basis for doing good, yet his basis is objectively baseless, rejecting any supreme transcendent moral authority which he claims to be bound to, and instead the atheist is the supreme judge, and can easily justify what seems "reasonable" to him . As Mao, Pol Pot and others exampled, doing like and worse than false religion can, as in using the sword against theological dissidents. However, note that DaveMSmith is part of the Swedenborgian cult and which was countered extensively in such threads as here and here (and scroll up both pages) .
Well he is supposed to be the 'last pope'... no telling what's next...
Yeah ‘countered’ by the cult followers of Walter Ralston ‘Doc’ Martin... lol.
The Bible records Jesus as saying "this is the work of God,that ye believe on Him whom He has sent" (John 6:29)
In that light,your question sounds like 'what if the atheist doesn't know he's believing on Jesus?"
The woman who was caught in adultery was forgiven by Christ. She fell at His feet drawn by His mercy and goodness. Perhaps atheist will do the same. The Pope cannot ignore that atheism is rising in the world. This is a gentle prodding to bring them to Christ, who art all good.