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Pope Francis: Atheists can also go to heaven!


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#16    StarMountainKid

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:09 PM

Good for this Pope embracing all humanity.

Religion is an evil force when it excludes and condemns anyone. It must be quite an ego trip for one to think he/she belongs to an exclusive club and those without membership cards are condemned to everlasting punishment

How can one with this attitude do good in this world?

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#17    libstaK

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

View Postand then, on 24 May 2013 - 09:19 AM, said:

I am the way, the truth and the life - no man comes to the Father but by me.  Christ said this and left no doubt about who He claimed to be.  One either believes this or they do not.  It is their choice and only their choice.
Let's just break it down shall we:

"I am the way"
The path that Jesus took, what he embodies is the way and the path for us all.

"I am the truth"
He was the real deal, the genuine article, no artifice to be found or falsehood in his words and teachings.  Shown succinctly by his capacity to heal, which only access to the truth could allow. But more succinctly, he spoke the truth and embodied the truth at the same time.

"and the life"
The above when followed is the life, it is the life encompassed, we sinners walk the path of death.

"nobody comes to the father but by me"
So he has authority to bring folk to the father - HE has, nobody else, no words by any other being about who is worthy or not worthy has any meaning whatsoever, he has the authority - and I'm betting he will choose how he uses it and to whom it will apply.  I'm thinking the disciples will not be the only ones with ruffled feathers over outsiders being praised as those who do good by Jesus.

But even more simply and directly - how else but by the way, the truth and the life could anyone come by the father? The way must be lived, the truth must be known, the life must be the embodiment of all that we are.

I have heard this particular bible quote so many times as vindication for following a particular dogma or religion within the banner of christianity and for each it is about the exclusion of those who "don't follow Jesus" - or more specifically who "are not saved".

I think the Pope is onto something profound and very simple at the same time - don't imagine you know what it is to be on the way or in the truth or even an embodiment of life divine unless you have repented in full and are living without sin as we speak and even then ... well who you would be would have to be quite a surprise me thinks, you'd hardly recognise yourself and your thoughts would certainly be of an utterly new flavour, yet untasted by most of mankind.

Fact is, an atheist is just as capable of recognizing good from evil and being as good as they know how to be - nobody can be better than they know how to be, there really is no "us" and "them" we are all in this together and equal before God - "the way" - of whom Jesus is may well be lit by something completely ignorant of religion or "belief" and more attune to what our heart and mind is singing to the world.

Bottom line, I would never discount what men consider impossible before the power of Christ - and that absolutely includes an atheist making it to heaven before a believer.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#18    Philangeli

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:18 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 24 May 2013 - 02:25 PM, said:

I wish I could say I'm happy about religion evolving, but I'm not. These archaic beliefs have served their purpose, the pope is only making intolerant superstition appear more tolerable.

No matter how much you dress up a turd, it is still a turd.

Thank you for that enlightening, tolerant view.

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#19    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:25 PM

View PostPhilangeli, on 24 May 2013 - 02:57 PM, said:

Did the Pope actually say in his homily that atheists can go to Heaven? No. So, the title of this thread is misleading from the start.

If you read his homily, you will see that he is reiterating traditional Catholic doctrine - that Christ died for all and that redemption is open to all mankind through him.

He says that atheists are 'redeemed'.  To some Christians, that appears to be synonymous with being saved which yes means they're going to heaven, but I can't say how Catholic doctrine may use the word 'redemption'.  Regardless, it's debatable whether it's the title of the post that's misleading or the Pope's statement.

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#20    StarMountainKid

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:03 PM

Philangeli said:

Spirituality vs Skepticism' board guidelines Please always respect the beliefs of other members - the bashing of specific religions, countries, races or belief systems is strictly disallowed.

There is another rule that states:  5i. Rule quoting: Do not quote the site rules to other members, if you believe the rules have been broken please hit the 'report' button.

I, too, have broken this rule by posting this rule. Maybe I won't go to heaven after all.

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#21    Spiral staircase

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:13 PM

Atheists, who likely don't believe in heaven or redemption in the same regard, are enjoying the pluralism. Secular humanists are our brothers and sisters.

Quote

(RNS) Atheists and other nonbelievers largely welcomed Wednesday’s (May 22) remarks by Pope Francis that performing “good works” is not the exclusive domain of people of faith, but rather a place where they and atheists could and should meet.

*snip*

Then, referring to non-Catholics and nonbelievers, he said, “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.”

Reaction among American nonbelievers ranged from mild surprise to warm welcome. Some say they see Francis’ remarks as a sign that nonbelief —atheism, humanism and other forms of freethought —is being normalized, while others see recognition of what they say they have known all along: Having no faith does not mean having no morality.

“We are a community that is just trying to do good and live good lives, just like most communities are,” said Greg Epstein, Harvard University’s Humanist chaplain and author of “Good Without God.” “His statement is an acknowledgment of that. It is welcome and it is gratifying.”

Epstein was struck by the contrast of Francis’ remarks and Tuesday’s broadcast of an interview by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer of an Oklahoma tornado victim. When Blitzer asked the woman if she wanted to thank God for her family’s survival, she replied she is an atheist.

“You have this small example of this soft-spoken young mother who is recovering from the tornado who by her presence, her quiet dignity, not only exemplified what the pope was saying, but overshadowed him,” Epstein said. “The quiet dignity of her just being a person and so clearly a good and loving person, it makes my reaction, and I would think a lot of people’s reaction (to Francis’ remarks), ‘Well, of course.’”

Dale McGowan also affirmed the pope’s recognition of nonbelievers. His Foundation Beyond Belief collects funds from nonbelievers and distributes them to charities and relief organizations and organizes teams of secular volunteers. To date, Foundation Beyond Belief has raised more than $35,000 for victims of the Oklahoma tornado.

“Anything that decreases the mistrust and fear between people is a good thing,” he said. “Some people might say it contradicts past statements (of other popes), but I don’t care about any of that. It is terrific when a position evolves to where we can put division behind us, and this is an example of that and I think it is great.”

D.J. Grothe, president of the James Randi Education Foundation, an organization of skeptics, said he hears echoes of the landmark Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in Francis’ remarks. And while he takes issue with some policies of the Catholic Church —the promotion of miracles, the opposition to contraception —the pope’s address was nonetheless “refreshing.”

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, was a vocal opponent of secularism and unbelief, even as he approved a new initiative called “Courtyard of the Gentiles” to engage in dialogue with nonbelievers and linked arms with outspoken Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, an atheist who saw trouble in the growth of European Islam.

“I don’t see that disdain for nonbelief that was so apparent before” in other popes, Grothe said. “He is really talking about what I would call humanism —the ethical approach to making the world a better place without recourse to supernatural beliefs.”

*snip*

“He was using his own language and speaking from his own beliefs,” McGowan said, a statement echoed by others. “That is not the point. The point is he is saying, ‘I don’t fear you,’ and I think that is a lovely thing.”


Atheists Like What They See In Pope Francis' New Openness: via HuffPost http://huff.to/10onX5m


#22    Rlyeh

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:31 PM

View PostPhilangeli, on 24 May 2013 - 03:18 PM, said:

Thank you for that enlightening, tolerant view.
Then you obviously didn't read it. No where did I present it as a tolerant view, tolerance of the intolerant is self-defeating.

Quote

Just a reminder:

'Spirituality vs Skepticism' board guidelines Please always respect the beliefs of other members - the bashing of specific religions, countries, races or belief systems is strictly disallowed.
Mind pointing out which specific religion I'm bashing?


#23    Sherapy

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:36 PM

View PostLeave Britney alone!, on 24 May 2013 - 09:04 AM, said:

Pope Francis again impresses. For being the head of a body that slowly changes and has done much harm, even with resistance within, the man keeps coming up with increasingly better ways of looking at things. Will it change the culture? Yes! Because people are ready for change, craving it, just as Kennedy led the change that was ready to be born.

The growing pains of a new hope for the world are here. Call the midwives, get the water. A new baby is about to be born. A star that will shine bright across the world. No matter what path one is on all have a chance at validation. Even if one does not believe in heaven for those who do to accept we will have a chance to be there regardless of path is shining hope.



Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

What an a interesting post, recently I spent a lot of time with  a friend who is a Deacon at a Catholic church and he shared that his parish is actively spreading a message of love and unity regardless of the path one follows. I actually saw my friend treat the people around him with respect and equality  (including myself) (and he is fully aware and respects that I am an Atheist/Agnostic.) he was not concerned with ones faith or lack of faith or sexuality. My friend  told me that his Parish is no longer teaching or encouraging literal interpretations of the bible as it can lead to harming others. It is very possible that the Catholic church is going through a major transition and making some much needed changes. I will definitely support this kind of change, and I look forward to see how this pans out. I think the aspects of Christianity  that need to will step into  walking their talk ( after all the message of the Jesus figure is a good one.)  I have a few other Christian friends who are really making it clear they are the type of Christians that will be leading with love. So as an atheist I am pleased with what I am  experiencing from My Christian brothers and sisters!

Edited by Sherapy, 24 May 2013 - 08:02 PM.




#24    Sherapy

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:54 PM

View PostlibstaK, on 24 May 2013 - 03:16 PM, said:

Let's just break it down shall we:

"I am the way"
The path that Jesus took, what he embodies is the way and the path for us all.

"I am the truth"
He was the real deal, the genuine article, no artifice to be found or falsehood in his words and teachings.  Shown succinctly by his capacity to heal, which only access to the truth could allow. But more succinctly, he spoke the truth and embodied the truth at the same time.

"and the life"
The above when followed is the life, it is the life encompassed, we sinners walk the path of death.

"nobody comes to the father but by me"
So he has authority to bring folk to the father - HE has, nobody else, no words by any other being about who is worthy or not worthy has any meaning whatsoever, he has the authority - and I'm betting he will choose how he uses it and to whom it will apply.  I'm thinking the disciples will not be the only ones with ruffled feathers over outsiders being praised as those who do good by Jesus.

But even more simply and directly - how else but by the way, the truth and the life could anyone come by the father? The way must be lived, the truth must be known, the life must be the embodiment of all that we are.

I have heard this particular bible quote so many times as vindication for following a particular dogma or religion within the banner of christianity and for each it is about the exclusion of those who "don't follow Jesus" - or more specifically who "are not saved".

I think the Pope is onto something profound and very simple at the same time - don't imagine you know what it is to be on the way or in the truth or even an embodiment of life divine unless you have repented in full and are living without sin as we speak and even then ... well who you would be would have to be quite a surprise me thinks, you'd hardly recognise yourself and your thoughts would certainly be of an utterly new flavour, yet untasted by most of mankind.

Fact is, an atheist is just as capable of recognizing good from evil and being as good as they know how to be - nobody can be better than they know how to be, there really is no "us" and "them" we are all in this together and equal before God - "the way" - of whom Jesus is may well be lit by something completely ignorant of religion or "belief" and more attune to what our heart and mind is singing to the world.

Bottom line, I would never discount what men consider impossible before the power of Christ - and that absolutely includes an atheist making it to heaven before a believer.

I am an Atheist and I cannot tell you how many of my christian friends have said these words to me, that we are all one. I have been told by more then one of my Christian friends and that is (the majority of my friends) I am as christian as they are and I am not even on the path, that in the end its about the love. Love is the universal connection IMO and when we are actively listening and doing our part-- our example(loving) does the talking, the labels we humans attach really mean very  little.

Edited by Sherapy, 24 May 2013 - 08:20 PM.




#25    Irrelevant

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:15 AM

By thy fruits you shall know them. Are you a relative of the great OliverC?...we met in the orient once a decade ago.


#26    White Crane Feather

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:50 AM

View Postand then, on 24 May 2013 - 09:19 AM, said:

I am the way, the truth and the life - no man comes to the Father but by me.  Christ said this and left no doubt about who He claimed to be.  One either believes this or they do not.  It is their choice and only their choice.  I am not a Catholic basher but I disagree with their doctrines and would never be a part of their church for that reason.  I respect them for the good they do in the world but THIS is apostasy imo.  It is called ecumenism and since it seems so comfortable to men it is surely destructive.  It is similar to the "christian" churches which worship with Muslims, saying they worship the same god.
Why couldn't of Jesus the god be speaking about his god self rather than his earthly image?

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#27    libstaK

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:17 AM

View PostSherapy, on 24 May 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

I am an Atheist and I cannot tell you how many of my christian friends have said these words to me, that we are all one. I have been told by more then one of my Christian friends and that is (the majority of my friends) I am as christian as they are and I am not even on the path, that in the end its about the love. Love is the universal connection IMO and when we are actively listening and doing our part-- our example(loving) does the talking, the labels we humans attach really mean very  little.
You have good friends then, not all christians do understand things that way - nor do all folk of any religious bent, but I think far more understand than do not, it's just doesn't seem that way when the radical fringe dwellers get the bulk of the air time.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#28    Paranoid Android

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:20 AM

And people wonder why Christianity is declining.  When the head of the largest denomination within Christianity declares you don't actually need to be Christian to be saved then for the average Joe on the street is there any purpose in going to church?  Church stops becoming about God and at best can be seen as a community club where people can meet other people.  Why sit through a sermon when you can get the same flaccid insight from sitting in a coffee shop drinking a latte.

It's quite ironic, but the more liberal and tolerant a church becomes, the less likely people are going to attend, and the more likely members are going to leave.  In my opinion this is what Pope Francis has done, and far from being a toll of future understanding, it may very well serve as the death knell for Catholicism.  I'm glad I'm not Catholic.

That's not to say I don't care about atheists and who goes to what church.  I'll love and respect you regardless of what religious or non-religious position you have.  But I can't and won't accept that you don't need Jesus to be saved.

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#29    libstaK

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:59 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 25 May 2013 - 04:20 AM, said:

And people wonder why Christianity is declining.  When the head of the largest denomination within Christianity declares you don't actually need to be Christian to be saved then for the average Joe on the street is there any purpose in going to church?  Church stops becoming about God and at best can be seen as a community club where people can meet other people.  Why sit through a sermon when you can get the same flaccid insight from sitting in a coffee shop drinking a latte.
Hi PA.

I can speak for myself only, but I have to say my reason for going to church would never be about ensuring I was saved.  I go to church to praise the presence of God in the world and my life, as well as to praise the teachings of Jesus whose capacity to change with his words and actions the path of others toward good and toward God is to be rightly revered.  Worship is about thankfulness for the message and about finding ways for that message to live and breathe within us as it is the answer to removing separation between man and God.

Quote

It's quite ironic, but the more liberal and tolerant a church becomes, the less likely people are going to attend, and the more likely members are going to leave.  In my opinion this is what Pope Francis has done, and far from being a toll of future understanding, it may very well serve as the death knell for Catholicism.  I'm glad I'm not Catholic.
I see the opposite. I see the absence of fear of damnation and the increase in the capacity to embrace all humanity as God's loved and redeemed creation as an opportunity to encourage membership to understand the message and live the message as a means of becoming better people - very few people would shirk the assistance of becoming better people and the organisations that will help them do this.  It is the church's primary responsibility to help people grow in their capacity for compassion and love for one another.  It was Jesus' primary law of the new testament and the rock of his teaching to "Love one another as I have loved you".

Quote

That's not to say I don't care about atheists and who goes to what church.  I'll love and respect you regardless of what religious or non-religious position you have.  But I can't and won't accept that you don't need Jesus to be saved.
But we did and do need Jesus (or God) to be saved - he is the holder of the keys, that's the whole point - he has that power, not anyone here. That is why he came, that is why he gave the teachings that do save us and that is why amongst his last acts on this earth was to set in stone through word and act the redemption of mankind with the crucifixion and the words "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do".

It is what we do - by our acts, that we follow Jesus - the purpose of a sermon should be to teach people to be better people by showing love for others and thank Jesus for the understanding of how that redeems us to do so, it will always be necessary, in fact the most important thing you can teach a child is how to do good and I can't see people turning away from the opportunity to gain that understanding not for themselves and definitely not for their children.

Edited by libstaK, 25 May 2013 - 05:01 AM.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

Inscription - Temple of Delphi

#30    Arbenol68

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 05:15 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 25 May 2013 - 04:20 AM, said:

And people wonder why Christianity is declining.  When the head of the largest denomination within Christianity declares you don't actually need to be Christian to be saved then for the average Joe on the street is there any purpose in going to church?  Church stops becoming about God and at best can be seen as a community club where people can meet other people.  Why sit through a sermon when you can get the same flaccid insight from sitting in a coffee shop drinking a latte.

It's quite ironic, but the more liberal and tolerant a church becomes, the less likely people are going to attend, and the more likely members are going to leave.  In my opinion this is what Pope Francis has done, and far from being a toll of future understanding, it may very well serve as the death knell for Catholicism.  I'm glad I'm not Catholic.

That's not to say I don't care about atheists and who goes to what church.  I'll love and respect you regardless of what religious or non-religious position you have.  But I can't and won't accept that you don't need Jesus to be saved.

I agree with you here. He must have been misquoted or taken out of context. I can't believe the leader of the largest Christian organisation on the planet would say you can still get to heaven even if you don't believe in God. Doesn't this contradict doctrine completely?

What I can believe is that he would challenge some Christian's belief that morality comes only from the divine. Good for him, if that's what he meant.





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