home
RSS
Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the end of his weekly audience April 10 at the Vatican.
May 23rd, 2013
03:59 PM ET

Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

By Dan Merica, CNN

(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 tenet 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.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,731 Responses)
  1. sandalista

    Cool. If the Pope says so, it must be true...

    May 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Papa knows best !!!

      May 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Mr. Flibble

      HAHAHAHA!! Good One!

      May 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  2. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

    Boston: "The bible is very inconsistent and various Christian sects interpret it differently."
    B. Deacon: "The truth is not fluid, the interpretations are." LOL.

    What a load of BS. The interpretations have always been CONFLICTED.
    "Truth" indicates OBJECTIVE truth which no one has even proven.
    When has any so-called object truth or object ANYTHING been deemed objective without some ...
    ....CONSENSUS among mankind??????????????????????????????????????????????????
    .
    get REAL!

    That's the main problem with Christianity: conflict and division – and they hide behind BS called "objective" blah blah blah.

    May 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • JFCanton

      But this is the problem with a certain brand of critic: they need to stop taking positions that can be shot down with the story (appropriately, Hindu) of the blind men and the elephant.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  3. Bostontola

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523143741.htm
    Scientists Offer First Definitive Proof of Bacteria-Feeding Behavior in Green Algae

    Amazing how god(s) use evolution, isn't it.

    May 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  4. siggis94

    I believe that its not what you believe in that will determine if you will be saved. I believe it depends on your soul and how you are viewed overall. If you are viewed as a heartless christian who hates gays and non-believers (ex. Westboro Baptist Chur... *ahem* I mean Hate Group), then you will probably not be saved. However I have a friend who told me he is a atheist, however he seemed a bit unsucure about that. He is my best friend of nearly 10 years. He has one of the brightest characters I've ever seen. I would be ashamed and shocked if he went to hell. I really think if the Christian (and other communities overall) view someones character as positive and good-willed, they can be saved. I am a strong believer and wouldn't use someones beliefs as a judgement for where they will go, but their overall character.

    May 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Michael John Anthony

    CNN, you mean "core tenet", not "core tenant", unless you are talking about someone living inside a core.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Arnold Bambi Marconi

      Michael John Anthony, thanks for providing that deep insight. What's your take on the solution to the incorrectly replicating chromosome dialectic problem? Does it need relativistic corrections?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Dean

      Arnold, you b-tard. I just laughed up my lunch. LMFAO

      May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • JFCanton

      This is why proofreaders should be paid more.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  6. luker6401

    "Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You have never forsaken those who seek You."
    Psalm 9:10

    May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Clive

      What's my line?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • sam

      YEAH QUOTE THAT BIBLE

      May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      That verse isn't from the bible that the Pope read from.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Art

    The Pope is spreading false doctrine. Has he read the Bilble? How can this guy lead people when he doesn't know what the Bible teaches. I would not follow this guy nowhere.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      You must follow God. God chose the Pope. Therefore you must follow the Pope. Pope inffallible

      May 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Is there any person you would follow in belief?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  8. luker6401

    The atheist must have a strong faith to believe that there is absolutely no God or Heaven. where did that proof come from? I can look at creation all around me and see that it is too big and too intricate to have just evolved or appeared from nothing. To look at the stars in the sky on a clear night or the sun shining bright during the day and say that it was formed from nothing is stupid. It would be the same as looking at a building and saying that there was never an architect or builder.
    Im sure that this comment will draw alot of hateful replies and remarks but the truth remains that Jesus is the One True God and the only one that can redeem a person. The pope is leading alot of people away from the truth. Many are lost and few will find the narrow way that Jesus describes in His word. Only Jesus can save a person. Not the pope, not Muhammed, Buddha, Confuscious or any man made religion.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Oh kiddo, this old canard?

      What you are looking at is an effect and saying there was a very specific cause without evidence. Just because there are intricacies in the universe in no way implies that there had to be a good to create those complexities.

      Try again, this time without committing any fallacies.

      Thanks

      May 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Xtianity is not a man made religion ? Looker: you must not been born of a woman.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • boocat

      You just don't get it do you? Atheists don't believe in anything. Believing in nothing is not a belief.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by ' luker6401' contains an instance of the Argument from Ignorance Fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • boocat

      Yeah....we get it...it's like the old George Carlin line "my god has a bigger d**k than your god." GET REAL!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • ...

      "Big" is relative. I'm sure an ant thinks your car is big too, but I'm sure they would think a "God" built that car too, right?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'I can look at creation all around me and see that it is too big and too intricate to have just evolved or appeared from nothing'

      i am sorry that you cant wrap your head around the concept and have to fill the gap with the idea of magic and supernatural beings.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bostontola

      luker,
      This atheist doesn't think god's existence or not is a provable thing at our level of development, its not a relevant point. If no man made religion (which is all religion) can save, which one should a person associate with?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • samsjmail

      saying that there was never an architect or builder

      Ok, let me get this straight. The Pharoah wouldn't do what God wanted him to do, so God killed all of the "first born sons of Egypt".

      It never occured to God to just kill the Pharoah?

      Are you sure he was the "architect" of the universe? He doesn't really seem all that bright to me. Maybe some other, smarter god was the "architect", and the Christan god was just a subcontractor?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Ok, let me get this straight. The Pharoah wouldn't do what God wanted him to do, so God killed all of the "first born sons of Egypt".

      Not to mention that apparently he needed markers on houses so he knew not to go there.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Shayna

      Atheists do believe in 'something'. We believe in the power of people to solve their own problems. We believe that, as well as people can be the most evil, that people can do the greatest good. We believe that we have have the right to determine the purpose & course of our own lives.

      We do not say we believe in nothing because then we are letting you define us, your beliefs are "something". Wedefine ourselves by what we are, not by what we are not.

      Also, as far as saying there is no proof there is no god: The burden of proof always falls to those making the claim. I do not have to prove that the moon is not made of green cheese, you have to prove that it is. It is impossible to prove a negative.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • HA25

      Even IF (And I don't) but IF I gave you that the Universe had a Creator – you still made a gigantic and unfounded leap to say it was the God of Christianity; God the "Father" of Jesus Christ – that made it. Keep in mind, every religion ever made – all said "their" God made the Universe.

      What makes Your God and Jesus Christ the one that made This Universe? Because He Said So? Did He even say so or just the Old Testament that said there was Light before there was a Star..??

      Can you prove that our Universe, even our Galaxy, isn't just some tag hanging off the back of the Real Universe that the Real God created which is a billion times more perfect than this one? The amount of theories and Gods that fit the 'The Universe is so big and beautiful' argument is about equal to the number of stars in This Universe. Which – if you didn't know – is about a BILLION BILLION stars. Writing out the number alone is too big to fit into the Milky Way...

      May 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The teleological argument doesn't work in an abstract sense. Most of these comments here barely pass for informed, though-does anyone really think it's significant that the Hebrews represented God as needing talismans? Of course they did.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      luker6401

      Our humanisms' partakers of Celestial Life Ordainments seems to avoid scripture that states quite succinctly that the kingdom domains of Godly reservations lays upon the insides of all Celestial Life Manifestations. From wherein does lay the Godly of Gods; all of them being our bodies' husbanded beneficiaries by which they take safe harborages inside all Celestial Life and reap from our digesting ways all things needed for their Godliness Lives to endure and maintain our bodies' welfare issues. Surely the Gods who made us all from their inside husbandry perceptions are not without making physiological mistakes now and then! These atomically based beings of godly perspectives can only imagine what their atomized constructs will look like and they hope their Celestially Manifested Beings will all be Heartfelt Celestial Constructs of pleasurable conditionings!

      May 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    Ken wrote, "We are all imperfect beings" because "god" makes so many mistakes...

    Why don't you try building things atom-by-atom? God and God's families and His brethren living within the atomized cosmos have a really hard time building our cellular mainframes from the insides out!

    May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  10. Gigi

    this is news??? just because someone may not believe in something, doesn't mean it isn't real. Whether you believe it or not, the earth is still round, it travels around the sun, we all breathe the same air, we all cry when we hurt, we all laugh when we are tickled.... and we are all brothers and sisters. see ya on the other side... 🙂

    May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Are you equating heaven being as real as a round earth?

      Yikes.

      P.S., I don't laugh when I'm tickled.....

      May 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  11. J in NJ

    I would like to know from Speckahrdt or any other athiest intellectual what is the moral reasoning to do good or put another way why should we not be cruel or evil. There is absolutely no explanation. The bs line "humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god" while I do not disagree I can see no reason by any athiest why I have to be good. I want to know why I should not be cruel. If there is no God and there is nothing different between me, you and the rocks on the ground why not do whatever I want?

    May 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Ira

      Our morality comes from doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

      We don't do it out of fear of a boogy man in outer space or do it for some reward–we just do it.

      Does your Christianity so blind you to this simple truth? Have you been SO dumbed down by your religion that you can't understand this?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      You can do what ever you want J, as long as you are responsible for your action, J.
      Don't do evil things J, and hope that saying Hail Mary 9 times will get you into heaven.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • ...

      Committing heinous actions results in social discrimination and isolation, which is extremely detrimental to survival.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'what is the moral reasoning to do good or put another way why should we not be cruel or evil. There is absolutely no explanation'

      The most obvious answer is self-interest.

      'bs line "humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god" while I do not disagree I can see no reason by any athiest why I have to be good'

      sorry that you express your hate for it by calling it a bs line. You should know better than that if you are a believer, especially when you then go on to say 'while i do not disagree'

      May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • J in NJ

      No I am not religious at all. Agnostic actually but I enjoy philosophy and I cannot find a single athiest writer who can put forth a moral reason why not be cruel/evil. So you are only nice to people so they will be nice to you? What if you are nice to me and I do not return in kind. Kind of blows your arguement.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • JFCanton

      It's a little simplistic to cite the Golden Rule when outside the context of modern religion it was usually stated from the negative side: i.e. don't do what you don't want done to you.

      How would a humanist tradition be consistent about the fine distinctions that are needed in practice?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'So you are only nice to people so they will be nice to you? What if you are nice to me and I do not return in kind. Kind of blows your arguement.'

      That is too simplistic a break down of it but actually it proves the argument because now that I know how you are then that will change how I interact with you in the future and thus you injure yourself.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • HA25

      It's not really that hard. Most posts have been saying the the "long" way as the Golden Rule. It's called Empathy. It's an instinct and has allowed humans to survive. An individual human will not survive. We survive only in society's that help each other. This is why the USA is the best nation on earth – we help each other and value differences which make us stronger.

      By the way, recent research has shown that animals too have Empathy (Do they have God??) Most often showed when a female "adopts" the newborn of another female (and sometimes even of another species). This never has any real benefit to the adopting mother. It is entirely an act of empathy.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry J you've come to the end of the discussion for atheism. Unless you profess religious belief and pose this question at which point they call you names. To pose it from an agnostic perspective leaves them perplexed

      May 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • li_lbutte

      I am agnostic bordering on being an atheist and I would ask you why you need a reason to be morally 'good'?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Susy

      Ira- you do realize that saying your morality comes from doing unto others as you would have them do unto us, is from Christianity, don't you? You don't realize where your morals have come from.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  12. Erotique

    The Bible does not teach this and if the pope is supposed to be God's representative on earth, he should know that. Bible says salvation is by faith and acceptance of Christ as saviour. Specifically says NOT by works or deeds.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      The pope has a special book that no ordinary Xtian can ever have access to.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • OMG

      How is faith and acceptance not a work or deed?

      How did you come to "believe"?

      Was it a gift (something God gave you, but not to others?) or did you do something?

      Why did God give you the gift, but not the Pope?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • J in NJ

      The Pope was crystal 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."

      May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The Bible didn't ask the question of what to do with people who hadn't the opportunity to know Jesus, though. We might reasonably project that they are exempt from any punishment for that.

      From there a lot is determined by how one defines "opportunity." Does someone raised in a godless household have the opportunity?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  13. cedar rapids

    Well, obviously, this is not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Ira

      I know this is funny, but I don't get it.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Pete

      Life of Brian, yo. Life of Brian, by Monty Python.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Dean

      I get it! I get it! 🙂

      May 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  14. luker6401

    Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and to Heaven. One day every knee will bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord regardless of whether you have trusted in Him or not.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ira

      No I won't.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Jewx, Xtians, Muxlims is fighting about this on Earth for the last 1500 years. It will be interesting to find out how long the fight will last in heaven and who will win in the bloody end.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • faith

      not me

      "Angel Moronic
      Jewx, Xtians, Muxlims is fighting about this on Earth for the last 1500 years. It will be interesting to find out how long the fight will last in heaven and who will win in the bloody end."

      May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • I am not sorry

      Not I. If there is a hell then that is where all the rock and rollers, all the movie stars, the better majority of the great poets and thinkers are. While your on your knees kissing jebus where he wants to be kissed you can hold my coat, I understand I won't be needing it.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  15. Susy

    Many atheists, and even nonpractising Christians have a poor understanding of Christianity. An issue here is the confusion over the meaning of the word "redeemed" verses the meaning of salvation. Christ indeed redeemed everyone, but not everyone will attain salvation. There has been a misunderstanding of what the Pope meant by atheists are redeemed.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ira

      He didn't say "salvation."

      He said "starvation."

      May 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  16. Ira

    I'm an atheist, and I like this guy.

    Of course, I still think he's wrong about there BEING a heaven (so thanks, but no thanks), but he's obviously a good soul.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • faith

      "Ira
      I'm an atheist, and I like this guy.
      Of course, I still think he's wrong about there BEING a heaven (so thanks, but no thanks), but he's obviously a good soul."

      no! dodo thinks a non-Nazi god-hating fascist fool is a "good soul." ain't she sweet? (don't let lil fatty rectum Sammy find out!)

      May 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  17. samsjmail

    I was born in a non-Christian country and indoctrinated into a competing religion from a young age.

    I had a Christian missionary, but he had a speech impediment.

    Can you confirm that i will go to heaven if I believe in Lord and Taylor?

    May 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Ira

      Now THAT'S funny!!!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Saintpi

      Romans 10:9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

      10 For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

      11 For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

      12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

      13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Ira

      Saintpi:

      What did Jesus think about cut and paste?

      Which section of the bible covers that?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • I am not sorry

      Hey Saintpi,

      "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet." (1 Timothy 2:12)
      "Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses." (1 Samuel 15:3)

      He seems like a nice god if you are a sociopath.

      And please hush up, men are taking. You wouldn't want to offend god would you?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  18. Saintpi

    God's love towards man made Him to send His only Son Jesus, to die the shameful death on the cross in order to reconcile man back to God!
    We must not forget that though God is LOVE, God is also a CONSUMING FIRE!
    God extends His hand of fellowship to ALL men on planet earth but SALVATION on come to THOSE who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
    It does not matter what you are told, even if the messenger is an ANGEL of God, God made it clear that "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost". "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"
    It does not matter what you choose to believe, it is appointed unto man once to die and after that, the judgment. You can either choose to live by what the bible teaches or you can live life your own way. It is YOUR choice! One day, you will wake up and find out if God is a joker or not! Let us make hay why the sun shines. There is no repentance in the grave! Once you die, it is FINISHED!!! No more chance of redemption!
    A word is enough for the wise!!!

    May 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • samsjmail

      My totem pole says you can go to heaven even if you don't believe in my totem pole.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      your god sounds like a right violent nut.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      We must NOT forget that using RANDOM CAPS, and LOTS of exclamation points makes EVERYTHING we SAY true!!!!!!!!!!!!! and MUCH more CONVINCING!!!!!!!!

      May 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  19. John

    Last time I check Jesus said he was they only way. Pope be a little confused.

    May 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Saintpi

      True. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! As much as human feelings may want to disbelief this, THERE IS NO OTHER SALVATION OTHER THAN THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS SHED ON CALVARY!!!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • OMG

      Where did Jesus say that?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ira

      That's because you're reading the wrong book.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Ted

      Those gods that men make are a vain lot, including the Christian storybook one. Funny, always wanting worship of just themselves. It's always a good clue.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  20. Bostontola

    The bible is very inconsistent and various Christian sects interpret it differently. Christians on this blog differ greatly on the pope's statement. Religion is about truth, but you guys can't agree on hardly any of it. If truth is that fluid, how do you trust any of it?

    May 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      the truth is not fluid Boston, the interpretations are.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Buck Rogers

      "yeah let God be true, but every man a liar, as it is written." Gal 3:4

      May 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      As fluid as Joel Osteen's hair ?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Doh

      Christians have more denominations than you can shake the Bible at, each with their own interpretations.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Sammy

      In fairness, it's only a few groups that assume that only they have the true form of Christianity.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • OMG

      We are imperfect beings. All of us.

      Of course we won't get it right.

      God wants a relationship with us. It is love.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Sammy

      Buck Rogers
      That's Romans 3:4, not Galatians. You should read your Bible more.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Ken

      "We are all imperfect beings" because "god" makes so many mistakes...

      May 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Boston, you say: "The bible is very inconsistent." Sigh. O.k. give us one example. Yes, I'm sure your internet sources will allow you to cut and paste many supposed ones, but I don't have the time nor the inclination to address all of them–so pick your best one and I'll prove you wrong.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Kake

      OMG, how can a "god" be in "want" of anything?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      As imperfect beings, you could easily have gotten this whole thing about God being actually real completely wrong, correct?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Inconsistencies run the gauntlets of our shelled beliefs. None of us are exactly of the psychologically egoistic sameness let alone our physiologies are all made with little differences of latent similarities and yet they are different and are of sameness. Go figure!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Kake

      Conversation, how is it that your "god" made a guidebook that lends itself to such conflicting interpretations? Seems a pretty weak god you've created. I'll go for Aphrodite over that Christian fool of a god anytime.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Buck Rogers

      Sammy, thanks for the correction..... Regardless, Christ is right and the Kingdom of Heaven is "not of this world" because it will pass as He said. We are to look for a New Heaven and New Earth as the present Creation awaits "fire" to be burned up with "fervent heat" (II Peter somewhere....).

      May 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Kake...you ask an interesting question (how can God be in want of anything). We use the term "want" because it is the only human word we have to describe the "thing." God may very well have a different emotion about it–something we can't explain. Don't read too much into the word "want"–its based on human limitations, not God's.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • OMG

      @Sammy
      @ As imperfect beings, you could easily have gotten this whole thing about God being actually real completely wrong, correct?

      Yes. We can't fully comprehend God.

      This is a good thing – we need a God who is greater than our ability to understand Him.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Pete

      OMG
      That also means that every person who ever "experienced" God, the people who wrote the bible, and every person who has ever interpreted it was also imperfect. So, why would you ever trust any of it?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Kake...are you really asking me why God is responsible for our own lack of wisdom, and more often, intellectual laziness? More to the point, what did the people who wrote the books and their various audiences understand? We are separated by thousands of years of language and changing culture...there's going to be some confusion for those who don't undertake an intensive study.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Pete

      Yea, Jesus is the only person in the Bible that is supposed to be perfect.

      The Bible is not my God – but it points to God.

      Jesus lives. I have access to him today.

      I trust Jesus.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      Why would anyone ever put their trust in something that they cannot fully comprehend?

      Why do you get to define a God who is beyond our ability to understand? In truth, we may understand what God actually is very well. You may not like the answer, but that wouldn't prevent it from still being the truth.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • OMG

      @Sammy

      Since I'm imperfect I need help from a perfect being (God).

      What do you fully comprehend in this world?

      May 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Pete

      OMG
      Jesus lost his temper in overturning the tables of the moneychangers. He wasn't able to convince more than a handful of people during his lifetime. I really don't see how you can argue that he was "perfect".

      If you place the Bible above actual truth then you are worshipping it like some idol. The Bible could point to any of several dozen different versions of God; how do you choose?

      Jesus died. You assume that he was also this divine Christ character, but do you have any evidence?

      If Jesus is God, and God is beyond our comprehension, how can you possibly trust him? If he is God, then that implies that you understand him enough to place your trust in him, which means that you must understand him a whole lot indeed unless you simply give your trust to everything.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      If we're both imperfect, why should I believe anything you have to say over my own understanding of things?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • OMG

      I don't know.

      That is up for you to decide.

      I'm just saying what I believe. It is not up to me to make you believe anything.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      If you are like a computer, and that computer is imperfect, would you trust it's calculations are accurate? You, an imperfect being, have concluded that a perfect being does exist without benefit of any evidence to support your conclusion. Why should we trust you?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • OMG

      Pete –

      I know. His disciples – his closest friends – deserted and denied him when he was crucified.

      It is perfectly honest.

      Jesus didn't apologize for over-turning the tables – I think he believed his actions were justified.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Sammy

      Don't trust me. Do what you want.

      I'm not a computer. Or a robot. I'm a human being.

      I believe I was created to be in a relationship with my Creator.

      We call him our "Heavenly Father" – He is like a parent.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      And I don't believe what you say you believe. That's how atheism works. We simply don't take people's claims on faith.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Pete

      OMG
      People make all kinds of mistakes believing that those actions were justified. That just makes Jesus human.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Sammy

      I used to be an atheist. That is not how atheism works.

      It just meant I didn't believe in God.

      @ Pete

      He was human.

      I think by perfect, people mean he neverd did anything wrong in the eyes of God.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      "Perfection" is an abstract concept, correct? Can there ever be an actual thing that is perfect?

      May 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • OMG

      @Sammy

      Probably only a deity make a claim of perfection.

      May 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Sammy

      OMG
      Or anybody making a claim about a deity being perfect. Just because I can say something like "The square triangle" it doesn't make such a thing true, or even possible.

      May 25, 2013 at 1:26 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.