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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. Shinjukuboy

    This is old Catholic doctrine, nothing new. Otherwise, everyone born before Jesus automatically goes to hell after they die. And otherwise, anyone in any part of the world where there is no Christianity goes to hell after they die.

    May 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • M

      Yeah, there doesn't seem to be a lot of fairness in that.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Sihle Ngcobo

      You seem to make 'sense' but thats just it, its just sense. Its not scriptural. The bible clearly lets us know that those that reject Christ will be condemned [Mark 16:16], infact is condemned already. With regards to those who lived before Jesus, the bible lets us know again that they will be judge according to their conscience. God gave to everyman a conscience and that is what guides you until you meet Jesus. So those who lived before Jesus will be judged according to their deeds as testified by their conscious. [Romans 2:12-15]
      Again those in the world today who have never heard of Jesus when they die they will be judge as those who lived before Christ. They will be judged according to their conscience.
      Romans 2:12 "says those that have sinned without the law will be judge without the law...." in verse 14 says "for the gentiles which have no law, do by nature the things that are contained in the law, these having not a law are a law unto themselves" Verse 15 "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;"

      Finally I think the pope was probably quoted out of context. he meant that Jesus has died for every man. Which what the bible says. But the man must still receive Jesus into their lives. John 3:16 "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". The atheists still needs to receive Jesus to go to heaven.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Sihle Ngcobo,

      Genesis 6:3, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that He also [is] flesh".

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God"

      Luke 17:21 "Behold! The kingdom of God is inside (within) you".

      1 Corinthians 3:9, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building".

      May 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Hey, Loopy, do men who have abused their brothers go to heaven? Are you sure?

      Why should they?

      May 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  2. debi

    ok this is insane...the Atheists I know have NO INTEREST in going to heaven, and dont believe it even exists. They are humanists and believe they dont need God to be good and can be good on their own if they so choose....., so WHY would they want to or listen to the Pope, be interested in heaven, or value the chance of going to a place they dont believe in?

    And i wonder if the Pop has read Ephesians 2 ??

    May 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • M

      Maybe it's to round up people who are getting ready to leave, and/or to bring back those who have left. There was a study that talked about the increasing size of "nones" – people with no religious affiliation.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Peregrine

      It would be nice not to hear Pascals Wager for a while.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Yes the Pope had read Ephesian 2 and contemplated on its meaning much more than 99.9% of devout catholics did.
      He is now has an enlightened and divine understanding of the passage .

      May 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Billy

      Ephesians????? Those people were only miserable before they invented antihistamines. They are A-OK now without any superstitions.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Roger

      Judas did as Judas did. We are not robots.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  3. Jim V

    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.”

    It's this kind of double talk crap, that makes that whole RC outfit, a perversion of whomever Jesus really was!

    May 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • M

      and why do you let this upset you?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • OMG

      Jesus said he is going away... and he will prepare a place for his disciples – a place for his closest friends.

      As usual – the closest people to Jesus had no clear idea what he was talking about.

      Thomas asked – "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

      Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

      --

      Jesus is the only way to God.

      If you do not "believe" in Jesus, you can't know God.

      –What does it mean to 'believe' in Jesus?–

      Is there a prayer?

      Do I sign a contract?

      What is more important to Jesus:

      – My Beliefs?

      – My Life?

      Which can I change? I think my life – what I say and what I do (even doing 'good deeds' – a frightening thought to some Christians)

      How do I change what I believe?

      I feel like I am auditioning for His approval!

      I think the way of Jesus, and NOT somebody's words about Jesus, is the real meaning behind:

      "...no one comes to the Father but by me."

      May 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Roger

      The idea here would be the same as Judas. When knowing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, he betrayed Him. So it is with anyone knowing that the Catholic Church is the church that Jesus founded. Knowing this, without ignorance if they choose not to enter, they cannot be saved.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • OMG

      Didn't Judas do what God wanted him to do?

      Didn't Jesus say Judas would do it?

      No Judas – no death and resurrection – or at least not how God had it planned.

      No?

      May 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Roger

      Judas did as Judas did. We are not robots. Thanks

      May 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • OMG

      True.

      I'm just asking questions – unsure about some things.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  4. Ted

    If you want to go to heaven you better listen to the One who came from heaven, Jesus: "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." John 3:3 "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." ...John 14:6

    May 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Ron50

      yawn...

      May 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Roger

      They should also listen to those He sent, ""He who hears you, hears me" and "whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us". They should also listen to the decisions from the visible authority over the whole Church; "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you"

      May 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Ted

      Rog, indeed. We listen to The Lord and to those He has sent. We have their writings in His Word. Those who make it up as they go are obviously false teachers and should be regarded as false, and not from God. They should Not be listened to, they should be rejected and exposed for the false teachers they are.

      May 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  5. Ted

    Catholicism has been sending people to hell for a very long time. They always taught works, with maybe a little faith. Thats enough to send you to the wrong destination. Now it seems they are teaching works alone, forget about faith. Nice job poop.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Roger

      "The first thing is ever to recollect that all Christian knowledge is reduced to one single head, or rather, to use the words of the Apostle, this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. A teacher in the Church should, therefore, use his best endeavours that the faithful earnestly desire to know Jesus Christ, and him crucified, that they be firmly convinced, and with the most heartfelt piety and devotion believe, that there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved, for he is the propitiation for our sins.

      But since by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments, the next consideration, and one intimately connected with the preceding, is to press also upon the attention of the faithful that their lives are not to be wasted in ease and indolence, but that we are to walk even as he walked, and pursue with all earnestness, justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness; for He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things the Apostle commands pastors to speak and exhort.

      But as our Lord and Saviour has not only declared, but has also proved by His own example, that the Law and the Prophets depend on love, and as, according to the Apostle, charity is the end of the commandment, and the fulfilment of the law, it is unquestionably a chief duty of the pastor to use the utmost diligence to excite the faithful to a love of the infinite goodness of God towards us, that, burning with a sort of divine ardour, they may be powerfully attracted to the supreme and all­perfect good, to adhere to which is true and solid happiness, as is fully experienced by him who can say with the Prophet: What have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?"

      May 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Ted

      Roger, it seems you are trying to defend this diabolical system. You need to repent and ask for God's forgiveness, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. No "church" can save you.

      May 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  6. TiagoTiago

    Interesting how the moment he says somthing people disagree with they stop accepting that he represents God.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  7. Harald

    For an atheist it makes no difference whether or not the pope believes that atheists go to heaven, because for us, such places as heaven and hell don't exist.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, that's the funny part. Makes no damn difference. But it might piss off the religies to think they have to share heaven with atheists. That warms the very heart of my bottom.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What about your cockles? 😉

      May 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • alex

      Makes difference to me. Heaven and hell do not exist, but catholics do, many of them.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Athy

      Too damn many.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • M

      Suggest you all examine the tone of your posts – don't seem very enlightened, but you do seem angry, and I'm an atheist. Let the power of your arguments do your talking.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • The real Tom

      M, you can "suggest" all you want. I'll write what I wish, and I don't give a rat's hind end if you approve of my "tone" or not.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • M

      Clearly, that's obvious, and is what makes your argument ineffective. Is your point to vent or persuade?

      May 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Don't give a ripe fvck if I persuade anyone, nor do I need to vent.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • M

      Then the point of your posts is lost upon me.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Boo hoo for you.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • M

      Mr. Hitchens would be disappointed in you ....

      May 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I doubt it, but if he was, I can live with it.

      I'm not here for your benefit and I don't care whether you approve of my posts, my manners, or me, M. You're inconsequential.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • M

      And I think therein lies your challenge – an ability to be civil. Good luck.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, dearie, you are so silly. I'm perfectly capable of being civil. I just don't care to be mannerly in the presence of azzholes and morons who deserve to be ridiculed for their stupidity and ignorance.

      You seem bothered by that. Tough.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  8. GOOD NEWS

    Heaven is for all good people who do good deeds.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    May 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  9. Steve

    As an Atheist I could care less about what the Pope says.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Dippy

      Could care? Or couldn't care? What do you really mean?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Steve

      SOrry, let me be clear. I don't care about what the pope says. I don't believe in the Pope.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Dippy

      So you couldn't care less.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Ken M

      Well the Pope exists man, that much is true.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Dippy

      Thank you. That is a pet peeve phrase of mine.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Steve

      The pope exists, there is proof of that, I have seen it for myself. How ever I don't believe in his message. As an athiest I never felt the presence of God or Jesus in my life. Even when I went to catholic school and went to church. I have never felt what others have when they speak of God and Jesus. That divine presence of faith in God has never been in my life even when I believed. Now I no longer do and nothing has changed.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Beth

      Then why did you take the time to read this. Heaven is real & Jesus is coming back.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Sihle Ngcobo

      Steve. Believing has nothing to do with your feeling.

      Jesus is real whether you can feel it or not. I will throw you a challenge, take the bible and open to John 3:16-17 and read it to yourself slowly and carefully and see if you will not believe. Try it.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • LIGHT

      listen steve,

      Christianity is a real religious and the Christ is a real prophet( he is not the God or even the son of God),but the problem is in the Bible as it is not the real one.

      Satan and Antichrist added and changed too much in the bible to match their plans preparing the stage for the coming of the antichrist.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Christianity is a real religious"

      And people wonder why some of us laugh at you.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Beth

      You said, "Then why did you take the time to read this."
      I don't know why Steve read it, but I read these articles because the religious have such a detrimental eefect on almost everything they get their habds on. It's important to keep informed about what the Satan incarnates and their cronies are up to.

      You said, "Heaven is real & Jesus is coming back."
      Christians have been making that same claim for close to 2000 years now. It was bullshit then, and it is bullshit now.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • LIGHT

      Sorry for the mistake in my spellig,but no mistakes in my idea.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, yeah, there are plenty of mistakes in both, sweetie.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • LIGHT

      Steve -ask yourself these questions:

      From where i came?

      From where came the Earth?

      From where came the life?

      Believe me if you are looking for the truth and ready to accept it God will guide you.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      @LIGHT

      You said, "From where i came?
      From where came the Earth?
      From where came the life?
      "
      You may want to take a couple of science classes at your local community college. While science may not answer all the questions, it has far more than you give it credit for. Your ignorance is no evidence your imaginary friend was involved.

      Claiming "goddidit" does nothing to answer the questions. It only changes the question to where your imaginary friend came from. To assert that some agent did something, you now have the burden to establish that this agent exists. Without such evidence, you have nothing but an unfounded hypothesis. Furthermore, your hypothesis relies on magic. Under most circumstances, inserting magic into your hypothesis, makes it less likely to be true.

      If you wish to convince anyone that your imaginary friend exists, I suggest to supply some evidence. Good luck.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • LIGHT

      For that LinCA

      What about the logic?Do youbelieve in it or also you do not?

      What is your proof that your third grandfather was there?

      Did you see him?did you hear him?of course not.

      Why you do believe in him while you did not see him?

      But the logic leads us to know for sure that he was there.

      May 25, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • LinCA

      @LIGHT

      You said, "What about the logic?"
      Your "logic" is horribly flawed.

      Just because you have unanswered questions, doesn't mean your imaginary friend did it.

      You said, "But the logic leads us to know for sure that he was there."
      There is ample evidence that people reproduce (again, if you have questions about that, may I suggest a science class). The mechanisms of human reproduction are fairy well understood. It doesn't require any magic.

      But, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that there is anything even anywhere close to your imaginary friend. You may as well assert that the Easter Bunny farted the universe into existence, and that the Tooth Fairy waved her wand and started life. There is exactly equal evidence for that hypothesis as your childish one. That makes it just as likely.

      May 25, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • LIGHT

      For that LinCA

      Actually i now exactly what i said........please dont repeat it too much like that.

      Do you know what is the law of mechanism?

      If what you are saying is true.......why many people spending all thier life without getting children?

      That mechanism you are talking about will lead us to the first male and female.....and the question will be the same......from where they came?

      You can read the questions but you can not understand the spirit of it.

      May 25, 2013 at 3:58 am |
    • Steve

      First, I am not the type of atheist that will go out of my way to prove to you that god doesn't exist, nor am I the type that will rant and rave about how god doesn't exist. Posing philosophical questions to me just makes me shrug and say I don't care. Its like me asking you if god is so powerful can he make an object he cannot move? Because if he can, he's not all powerful then right? Its a cunumdrum. What you believe is okay. I don't have a problem with christians, muslims and other religions. Everybody has the right to choose their own path in life. My whole thing is that even when I went to catholic school, went to church, went through the first communion, I never ever once in my life felt God's presence. Even when I had i thought I had faith in him, that sense of divinity that others say they feel just never was there. I opened my heart and my life to him and he never showed up. This tells me two things, that he doesn't care or he isnt there. I chose the latter in this regard. To me, the evidence of his existance isnt there, so I don't believe in him. Its okay to not believe. Just as its okay to believe.

      May 25, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • LinCA

      @LIGHT

      You said, "For that LinCA"
      Do you know of any others?

      You said, "Actually i now exactly what i said........please dont repeat it too much like that."
      Tough shit. I will compose my posts as I see fit. I will address your dimwitted ramblings line by line.

      You said, "why many people spending all thier life without getting children?"
      It's a choice. People that have the reasoning ability of an average 10 year old will be able to make decisions about whether or not they want offspring. It isn't really that hard, if you have the ability to think about it.

      You said, "That mechanism you are talking about will lead us to the first male and female.....and the question will be the same......from where they came?"
      With that one sentence you show your boundless ignorance of basic scientific principles. But again, your ignorance is no evidence that your imaginary friend is real. Just because you are too simple to understand, or even consider, other possibilities, doesn't mean that there is such a creature.

      You believe in a mythical creature for which there is no more reason to believe it exists than the Easter Bunny. Your beliefs are no more rational than those of a five year old.

      May 25, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • light

      Keep searching steve,dont close the door,you will not press a button for god and he will appears to you,if you are really looking for the truth you will find it one day.

      Forget about the Bible and Christianity they are both fake as i said before satan and antichrist added and changed to much in the bible to facilitate the antichrist mission.

      Search in Islam and dont care about waht they are saying in the media.

      Remember there is no human god,there is no son for god.

      May 26, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  10. christopher j davis

    They will say Lord when did we do thise things.The lord will reply when you did it unto the least of thise you did it unto me.Jesus saves he is the way the truth and the life and no man comith unto the Father but by him.All others are thives and robbers.It is written. Your friend in Lord Jesus Christ. Chris.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Agnes Nostic

      Jesus saves, but Moses invests.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  11. Gerry de Bayonne in my Nose

    Don't ask questions!

    May 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  12. Limited Ability

    Another thing that the pope cannot do, besides not being able to speak for Jesus Christ and God, is to make anyone a saint. Only God can make those whom He chooses into saints. No mortal man has that kind of omniscient power to do so. And now this about atheists who are not Born Again entering into Heaven. What is going on up there in the Vatican one just has to wonder because that is certainly not Biblical and not God's words or directive.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Harald

      Don't complicate things.There is no god, no heaven, no hell, no angels and no afterlife.
      No supernatural being will protect you nor will it punish you.
      Your life is what you make of it and once you die it's like pulling the plug. Nothing before birth and nothing after death.
      Easy, isn't it. Just enjoy life it's the only one you ever have.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Roger

      How about the preacher when he says, "I now pronounce them husband and wife." Is he a mortal man speaking for God too? I thought only God can join them together?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Athy

      Harald: right on, man

      May 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  13. Gerry from Bayonne

    Oh my God! I was on here last night, but hadn't darkened the doors of this hate-fest in about six months. I can't believe how un-satiisfying and soul-crushing this – YOU – this pack of losers are to still be here spewing your bile and venom night after night.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, it's great fun.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You wouldn't darken the door as much if you stopped stuffing your gob with those Whoppers, fvcktard.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  14. Russ C.

    The Pope also said, "On their death bed, Athiests will receive total consciousness". Wait!, Maybe that wasn't the Pope, let me check my sources.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  15. Fieldkorn

    A frequent – and incorrect – application of Old Testament law as being outdated misses completely the context in which such law was given. There were/are moral laws that cross over eons and peoples ("Thou shalt not kill, etc.), ceremonial law that was specific and peculiar to Jewish worship, as well as laws that would help define what is a Jew. All too often – as is the case with poster Bob he seeks to fuse these elements into a single sphere of legal requirements. They are not. Just as Jews were not/cannot eat certain things the book of Acts clearly states how the Lord removed that barrier to those who people who are the grafted branches of the newly extended but foretold church.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Agnes Nostic

      then why do so many Christians use Leviticus to vilify gays?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  16. Gerry from Bayonne

    Religion. Opiate of the masses? A true opiate of the masses is a belief in nothingness. That huge solace of believing that for all our murders, greed, cowardice, and betrayals, we are not going to be judged.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      More drivel from the usual suspect.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      Obviously hooked on the opium of your own righteousness – and pseudo intelligence.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Athy

      That's the way it is, Gerry. Wishing it were otherwise doesn't work.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Dippy

      Viscous? Well, at least you spelled it right. Unfortunately, it was the wrong word.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Gerry, honey, at the very least, I HAVE intelligence. You are a moron.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Harald

      Good thing is that there are no limits for belief beside ones imagination. Believing in God is not different from believing in white unicorns, tooth fairies and similar stuff.
      Reading and believing the bible is equivalent to reading and believing the stories of the brothers Grimm.
      Bit if it helps you just go on and do whatever you need to do.
      Meanwhile I enjoy real life without worrying about anything that comes after death.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • hee hee

      I was going to go out and kill a kitten just now, but then I read your post. That was close!

      May 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Sihle Ngcobo

      Harald the bible is nothing like those fairy tale stories, the bible is the Word of God in truth. It is actually God inspired writings. How do I know this simple, through practice. Through following and doing the Word of God I have come to know the Bible as more then an ordinary book.

      For example. The subject of healing. Do you know that you can pray to God for someone who is terminally sick to be healed in Jesus Name, just as the bible teaches us and the person could actually be healed? How do you explain that. I have seen women who had their wombs removed by doctors for one reason or the other, I've seen them give birth to children. These are not fairy tales, these are true stories, that i can personally testify to.

      Try reading the bible for yourself you will realize that its not just a mere book, it is God inspired and potent with the ability to change any situation.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "the bible is the Word of God in truth. It is actually God inspired writings. How do I know this simple, through practice. Through following and doing the Word of God I have come to know the Bible as more then an ordinary book."

      You do realize that just about any treatise on any subject can claim the same sort of devoted following based on absolutely nothing, don't you?

      May 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sihle Ngcobo

      You said, "For example. The subject of healing. Do you know that you can pray to God for someone who is terminally sick to be healed in Jesus Name, just as the bible teaches us and the person could actually be healed? How do you explain that."
      It's complete and utter bullshit. It doesn't work. There's a couple of dimwits from Philadelphia that are on trial for murdering their second child that way. See:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/prosecutor-parents-refusal-to-seek-medical-attention-led-to-infants-death

      May 24, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I just have to laugh when some moron claims that prayers will heal someone. It's so absurd that there's no pleasure in ridiculing such a silly notion. How do idiots who bray this sort of sh!t explain why a person who has had profound faith in their god, has given his/her entire life to serving said god, and prayed for deliverance suffers a horrible, painful death?

      If that's the best your "god" does for those who give their entire lives to him, you have a really sadistic god.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • LIGHT

      For that Harald,

      Can you tell us how you enjoey your life meanwhile you have to do these things:

      You have to sleep,which means you will waste a great part of your life.

      You have to work,which means another great part of your life will be lost.

      Soon you will be old or sick.

      What about poor people?they can not share enjoying?

      What about sick people?some of them can not even to move?

      What about thos who died in earlier ages?

      What about those in the jail?

      How those all can enjoy?

      May 25, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  17. The Way It Is

    There can be no doubt that the pope is a mortal man. He has never spoken for, does not now speak, and will never speak for God or change what is in the Holy Scriptures. He would be or is in serious error proclaiming that anyone, including atheists, can enter into Heaven without they first giving their life to Jesus Christ and converting. They clearly cannot enter into Heaven at the time of their death but they obviously don't even want to, so case closed.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Well, it's sort of like a trip to Disneyland–Fantasyland, and all...

      May 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  18. Gerry from Bayonne

    I think the pope should be like the folks on this blog – in other words, viscously denounce everyone who disagrees with him.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why are fundies like you so unbelievably stupid? Look up the word "viscous." You are a dumbbell.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Athy

      Viscous? Like thick oil, maybe? Hm.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Agnes Nostic

      "viscously"? So it wasn't "Moses" who came down from the mountain, it was "Molasses". Thanks, that clears up a lot for me.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Bwah!!!

      May 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • hee hee

      Oh c'mon... the guy was typing "iou" fast and missed the "i". Take it easy there killers.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Attacking spelling or grammar is just another ad hominem.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Bullsh!t. Gerry doesn't know the difference between "vicious" and "viscous."

      As far as being an ad hominem, US, sue me.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  19. The Only Word

    "He that believeth on Him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the ONLY begotten Son of God." - JOHN 3:18 (KJV) There you have it in Biblical Scripture! There is No Other Way to enter into Heaven but to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your LORD and Savior. Anyone who tells you any different is in serious error as that is not God's word.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Roger

      Which one is better off? The one who doesn't accept HIm but does what He says or the one who says I accept Him and doesn't do as He says?

      "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned."

      May 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • hee hee

      It says so in the scriptures? Well now I believe it. But wait... isn't the pope infallible? Theology is so subtle and complex.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Sihle Ngcobo

      Roger, don't you get it? Its not possible to believe and not do what he says and its not possible to do what he says and not believe. Do you understand? If you believe you are already doing what he says. God is not so concerned about doing right or wrong. First of all you cannot do right if you don't have God in your life. The bible natural goodness is as filthy rags to God. So the first step is to accept Jesus, when you do, you will be changed into a new man. 1 Corinthians 5:17 – If any man is in Christ he is a new person, old things are passed away, all things have become new. Then once you have accepted Jesus you will now have the ability to do right.

      This thing is about a nature. People sin because they are sinners, its their nature to sin. But once you are born again God gives you a new nature and with this new nature, it becomes natural for you to do right.

      I hope you get my point.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, nonsense. You, Sihie, seem to be under the misapprehension that hypocrites do not exist.

      May 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  20. peterz

    It llooked like heaven existence in doubt ?

    May 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Ted

      II tthink itt allways hhas bbeeen.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
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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.