INTERNATIONAL: Pope Francis tells atheists they don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

By Independent (UK)

pg-34-pope-gettyINDEPENDENT (UK) – 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”.

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28 comments

  1. my problem with atheist, scientist whatever ...believe the" big bang theory " that things just appear , but how did it appear it would offcourse start from " cell" or some molecule from the sky ...etc like they say... but if everything appeared from a cell or molecule or meteoroid or whatever..have you asked yourself where the cell etc came from.. someone or something had to create it... and then maybe they may want to ask where did that something or someone come from and the questions will continue to be ask .....the thing is those people base their beliefs on evidence onn things they can see but i have a few more comments for you... wake up from your slumber because the reality is GOD EXISTS AND SO IS HEAVEN

    in the beginning God created the HEAVENS AND THE EARTH . the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of all the waters. then God said let there be light!!..."GENESIS 1: 1-3" so in this text of just but a few words has enough " evidence" of things that can be seen. ....

    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD AND THE WORD WAS GOD.

    so to atheist if you don't believe GOD how can you believe there's a HEAVEN...HEAVEN IS THE PLACE OF GOD A PLACE WE CAN'T SEE ... who doNT believe theres A MASTER OF THE HOUSE BUT YOU WANT TO GO TO HIS HOUSE.... you deny HIM on earth you expect to accepted in HEAVEN...YOU shall be denied before THE LORD

    so you going to put your faith in a man the pope saying about "moral conscience" ...
    THINK TWICE ....GET YOURSELF A BIBLE AND STOP MAKING FLESH YOUR ARM

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  2. Catholicism is not from God and its here to deceive those without the truth in their souls. Pls wake up before you wake up in hell.

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  3. Catholicism is not from God and its here to deceive those without the truth in their souls.

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  4. The pope is a sinner like you and me throw him in a swamp and tell me if the alligators will know who he is he will be eaten in a heart beat but they have to bow to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Jesus is the way the truth and the life follow him and come out of darkness

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  5. all of you people that agree with the pope,you all have no clue about god and the bible...mad pope

    (8)(1)
  6. this pope is mis leading the world....thats scary shit....

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  7. if you catholics are not dissapointed in this mad pope,you guys sure dont understand the teachings of god and know god...

    (6)(1)
  8. You Christians always have the worse to say. He is simply saying that although someone does not believe in god he/she should have a moral conscience.

    Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
    When do someone knows they have committed something wrong? Please tell me u hypocrites.

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  9. As Atheists don't believe in God Almighty, why should they believe there is a Heaven or even want to go there; that he should make such a comment!!!?? And WHY should God let them in!!?? What that man has said makes NO sense!

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    • its clear he is just looking for public approval. how can you enter the kingdom of God having not even believed in his or its existence? how can you seek to enter the kingdom of God having not taken Christ as your Saviour? how can you seek to enter the Kingdom of God having not asked to be forgiven of your sins and been baptised? Utterly ridiculous to say such things to non believers. If a non believer BECOMES a believer and repents of sin and takes Christ as his Saviour then yes! he will surely enter the Kingdom. There's more to salvation than following one's 'conscience'. Pope Francis should really know that i mean come on. Atheists please do not be fooled. Even some believers in Christ will not enter the Kingdom because they have not done what needs to be done. Far less for a non believer! so my advice to you is to repent of your sins, ask for God's forgiveness and be baptised by the water. then and only then will you have a chance of entering the Kingdom. Bless.

      (8)(2)
  10. Have we ever wondered why we can't speak to our father directly and that we must go through our brother?
    Ever wondered where and how Christianity originated?
    What is paganism and where did the name originate?

    Based on the Christian sentiment, what do you think of Exodus 21?

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    • who says you cannot pray to the Father directly? my friend you have been misled. you can ABSOLUTELY go directly to the Father. If you believe in the Holy Trinity you will understand this concept completely.

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  11. What he says means nothing. ..What the Bible says means everything. ... He that believes not is condemned already. ...

    (30)(4)
  12. this pope isa mad man this is a big concern for catholic's .heard this man said stuff in the past and all i did was SMH.

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  13. Next he'll tell Islamic kids they can visit Santa at the north pole. He just doesn't get it. To myself and other atheists there is no magical heaven. Its a ridiculous human invention. It only exists in his delusional head. http://www.facebook.com/AustralianAtheists

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  14. Okay so in practical terms : I might know that stealing from somebody is wrong, but I might not care because I like nice things and I don't like that person so I will steal from them anyway. This means that my conscience will not say "don't do it" because again, I like nice things and I don't care. So by following my conscience or lack thereof I am still doing something I know is wrong. Come again, Pope Francis???

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  15. This Pope scares me. He should read the New Testament and try to
    understand what is written there. Not that the other Popes before
    him were any better, they were too busy with politics, every one.

    I agree with what Mr. Terence Joseph said, we all, Christians or not
    better be careful for we are now living in the last days. A time that
    we cannot tell one false prophet from another. Our brothers on the
    whole better be careful. Most of them instead of reading the Bible,
    prefer to listen to what others have to say. The enemy of your Soul is
    out there like a roaring Lion seeking whom he may devour 1. Peter 5:8.

    It may not be long, before the Anti-Christ is revealed, but brace
    yourselves, it will not be nice to be alive at a time such as this.
    Pray for this Pope; Pray for St. Lucia, Pray to receive the Holy Spirit.
    Without the Holy Spirit, you will not make it. Do it while there's time.

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  16. Interesting conversation. Follow your conscience, and set yourself free .

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    • Interesting conversation I agree. Lends itself to constructive discourse. My interpretation is that whether or not you are saved according to the "church", you can, one day, fall on your knees and God will forgive you.

      It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. However, we as "Christians" prefer to sit and judge others with our sinful eyes because they do not live our "ideal" lives.

      Now tell me: what makes my sins as a "christian" more forgivable than other sins? As a believer am I ready to give up all I have and stay wanting to feed, clothe and house a fellow brother or sister? Am I ready to dismiss others who speak ill of my brothers and sisters in their absence? Do I pray for the non- believer instead of chastising and bad mouthing him or her?

      It is always easy to proclaim verbally and loudly that we "believe" in God, but how many of us even try to demonstrate the humility and compassion in every part of our lives?

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  17. This pope is truly evidence of what the bible says gonna happen in the last days, he has said Christians need apologize to the gay community, Now he is saying atheists don't have believe in God to heaven. 1Tim 4_1-said, Now the spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.This pope for long time has been preaching doctrines of demons. There's only one way to the father is through Jesus Christ our lord.

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  18. This contradicts th teaching of Jesus Christ

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  19. if mate say that for true he is a complete idiot and not making sence because believing in god and his son jesus christ is one of the foremost things you have to do cause if you dont believe in them how can you believe you are a sinner and need to repent and ask him to save you so you dont make it to hell fire. so if no then what is the point of the verse john 3:16 where it says for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever BELIEVETH on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. you see how these fellas leading people astray.

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    • There are people without belief in God, who obey their conscience. I know many such persons they have lived and behaved in a godly manner in keeping with the Christian edicts. Why wouldn’t the gates of heaven be flung wide open for them? Not that they would want it because their conscience has been their ultimate guide. Spiritual rewards or civic punishment neither lure nor deter them from doing what they belief to be right.

      The Pope is acknowledging non- believes (atheists) and believers (Christians) who obey their conscience will be rewarded in heaven. In other words you do not have to be Christian; you do not have to have faith in God, only you will judge your conduct. It seems like a tall order but in our hearts of hearts we know when we are honest, fair, forgiving, loving, greedy, murderous, jealous and vindictive. A compassionate self can teach far more than a preacher preaching hell and damnation along the straight and narrow road to heaven.

      Pope Francis is not a hell, fire and brimstone preacher. He speaks compassion, love, caring and the free will of conscience. How can that lead people spiritually astray?

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      • he speaks utter rubbish totally contrary to the word of God. and by doing so, he is doing nothing but leading the people astray. there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you know the Word of God, you would know that what this Pope is proclaiming is total and utter nonsense. Wake up people!

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    • Dummy you are a saint. Why don't you have wings and levitate or a sweet chariot has not come down in flames and taken you away?

      (12)(3)
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