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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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. Rick

    catholics are confusing but i think i understand what they are saying . Everyone can be saved by good works. Only catholics can be saved

    May 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Dan B

    His entire job as CEO of the church is to get you to believe absurd nonsense. It keeps the cash pouring in.

    May 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  3. be honest

    religionist are like alcoholics,, they need praying buddies to share their delusion. And as most alcoholics drink to escape, religionist believe to escape.

    In the end, I'd rather be an alcoholic.

    May 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Dan

    If you don't criticize by belief that God exists, I won't criticize your belief they we evolved from an amoeba millions of years ago!

    May 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, Dan! No fair! A minute a go you said people evolved from tadpoles. Now you're saying we evolved from amoebas? Which is it? I need your guidance and intelligence.

      Oh, as an aside, is the Earth 6,000 years old or 7,000?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Dan B

      There is no evidence of the first one and a mountain of evidence for the second.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Dan B

      Your magical rib theory is so likely. LOL.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Ron54

      But Dan, you guys leave so much on the table.

      Proof reading is a good idea too.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • WASP

      @dan: truth atheist couldn't care less what theists believe as long a few things are met.
      1) no trying to "phrase" laws that promote your religion into our secular government.
      2) you folks don't try to indoctrinate our children while attending secular public schools.
      3 and this one is most important.............................we aren't bored at work just on here to have fun with you tight wads. XD

      May 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Evolution is fact.
      Even the Catholic church accepts that!
      There is an ever growing mountain of evidence from different branches of science accu.mulated over more than a hundred and fifty years that verify evolution.
      Creationists have yet to advance a single shred of evidence to support their assertions.
      As a matter of fact, the leading rabble rousers in the Creationist world – The Center for Science and Culture (sponsored by the Discovery Inst.itute) openly admit that their goal isn't to teach what they think is fact. An internal doc.ument leaked in 1999 described the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies". They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to "atheistic naturalism".
      In other words, they fear that teaching FACTS to children will drive them away from religion.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Carl

      No deal.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Dan


      But Dan, you guys leave so much on the table.

      Proof reading is a good idea too.
      Sorry Ron...you've been fortunate to go your whole life without a typo!

      May 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  5. ARVolt

    Saying that atheists can get to heaven is not only unnecessary, but also against what the Bible says. I agree that Christians are to love atheists, but there is plenty of evidence in the Bible to show that an atheist will not be accepted into heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • be honest

      wow,, we can't go to your invisible place. You know, the place you talk about and can't see and never proved to exist.

      That's delusional.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • OwMySkull

      Doesn't it also say in your Bible that God is all-loving? I guess not when it comes to non-believers and gays.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • ARVolt

      be honest,
      Wow! you sure are defensive. I never said that athiests were delusional.

      Just stated the fact that the Christian faith is built on the Bible and the Catholic leader is basically saying that the Bible is wrong. That's all. Nothing against Atheists (since an atheist doesn't beleive in heaven, why would she/he care).

      May 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      The bible contains "evidence"? Really? Where?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • ARVolt

      Yes. It also says that you must believe in God to enter heaven. Even Christians that live in sin will not get in.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Dan B

      Rule #1: You can't use a fictional book as "evidence".

      May 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • ARVolt

      Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear,
      Even in court, words in a letter or contract are considered evidence. Assuming one believes the words of the Bible, the words are evidence.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • ARVolt

      Dan B,
      i missed the evidence that shows that the Bible is fictional. where was that?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Any time I read a book that has talking snakes, donkeys and flaming foliage I get the distinct impression it is fiction.
      Add to that unicorns, half man half goat beasts, flaming snakes, 7 headed dragons that snack on pregnant women, locusts with the face of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tail of a scorpion wearing armor and tiny crowns and it can reasonably be ascertained that the story is about as true to life as Dorothy's sojourn in Oz.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Joey

      Did you read the part where it says that Jesus died and came back to life 3 days later. That is the evidence that the bible is fiction.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Evidence!?!? In the bible?!?!? LOL

      May 27, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  6. SMH

    As a non-denominational protestant follower of Chirst, all I can do is SMH

    May 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • ARVolt

      I agree. It just does not make sense at all.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      SMH? Stroke My Hamster?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • ARVolt

      google "what does smh mean" and you will get "shaking my head" as the first definition

      May 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear


      May 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  7. adds

    Why would atheists care in heaven if they don't believe God, heaven, or an afterlife exists?

    Are we created only as material beings, with no spirit?

    May 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • be honest

      never a proof of spirit. Or proof of a god or heaven, never once.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @adds, there is a very good possibility of that. there really is no legitimate reason to believe that there is a spirit.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Dan B

      None of that exists. We are all going to take a long dirt nap. Why can't you accept that?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  8. Reality

    The Pope's words are empty words in the 21st century. And why is that?

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Dan B

      Santa 12:25

      May 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Reality


      That is even a better summary.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  9. Bob Lewis

    It's all total nonsense, everything is right here and right now, available anytime. There's nothing else but here and now. It's the search for something else, some fantasy, otherworldly "heaven," existing in some non existent future that's the illusion preventing us from realizing what exists this very second.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Dan

      Yup. The distraction of religion has kept many people from living their lives to the fullest and being the best people they can possibly be. They somehow think that suffering here on earth will give them better rewards in the afterlife. If you believe in God then why not believe that he gave you this one life to use wisely here and now, not to throw it away for some promise of a better but unknown and undefineable future.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Dan B

      Terrorists take an extra step. They are willing to die (and kill others with them) because they believe there is some great afterlife. We really need to get rid of religion if society is ever going to get anywhere.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      technically we are unable to perceive "now" since it takes stimuli time to reach our brains and be interpreted. So to some extent we're living in the past.....at least by a few nanoseconds.

      May 27, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  10. Paul

    As a Deist who has long been a critic of the Catholic Church and the Papacy in particular, I must say how pleased I am with the comments of Pope Francis. This was the true teaching of Christ, that loving and caring for one another is what is important, not what we believe or don't believe.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • be honest

      which personality did that come from?

      Arrest the pope, cardinals and bishops for crimes against small children worldwide.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      May 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  11. be honest

    but many christians believe they never evolved.. Well,, I guess we can at least agree on that. Wish they would evolve and join civilized man so we can start creating a more caring world.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  12. snowboarder

    nah. as technology takes over thinking, the uneducated will rely more upon supersti tion.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  13. Rev. Rick

    The Pope's words will be met with derision and ridicule by most conservative and fundamentalist Christians, but I believe he is correct. Fundamentalism is the path of fear and separation.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • be honest

      nope,, rather all you guys are wackos..

      May 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ be honest – Thanks for proving my point...

      May 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Chad

    @Chad "Jesus most certainly did not proclaim that there was any other way to Heaven, than Him. That way is open to anyone, not just the Jews (which is what He was showing by engaging with gentiles), but it is the ONLY way. You are engaging in misleading people to claim anything else.

    @Doc Vestibule "And yet Peter says the opposite in Acts 10:34
    Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

    Nope – nothin' about the throny crowned carpenter there...

    @Chad "I think you are confused.. did you read the entire thing?

    That way is open to anyone, but there is only one way. You are engaging in misleading people to claim anything else.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Science

      That red horn-y thingy has got you by the tail aye chad ?

      May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • John Sharp

      There is no way to go to heaven. It is made up just like the silly religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
      You die, that is it. Grow up! There is NO imaginary friend participating in your life, the truth is overwhelming from the evidence around us.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, Chad: here's a thought. When you go to post your opinion, why don't you preface your comments with, "It is my belief that A,B,C" as opposed to making bald-faced assertions that A,B,C is a FACT. Believe what you want. Say, "it is my belief (or opinion) that A, B, C is a fact".

      Try it. I believe your god would approve of a little more humility, and a little less arrogance, from you.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Hope

      Yes indeed! The message of Salvation needs to be heard by all of mankind, so that everyone gets to choose the path to eternal life. Thankful for the countless men and women who are tirelessly proclaiming the good news around the globe every single day. A shout out to all those men and women!!!

      May 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      My error I made in haste to make the "tho.rny hat" joke seems to have given you a holy ere.ction!
      I have a feeling you're going to haul this out on every page for as long as you can.

      But regardless – Peter is talking about Christ in the remainder of the passage, but that doesn't invalidate the first part of the passage
      “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right."

      So yes, God was with Jesus but the passage does not state that He will sent the Jewish people to Hell if they don't convert.
      Don't forget about the 144,000 Jews who get a "God's Brigade" stamp on their foreheads come Armageddon.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @Doc Vestibule "But regardless – Peter is talking about Christ in the remainder of the passage, but that doesn't invalidate the first part of the passage"

      you were cherry picking to make a fallacious point.. ok, i get it now. I thought for some reason you had missed the entire passage that provides the complete context..

      thanks for the explanation!

      May 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Doc Vestibule "Don't forget about the 144,000 Jews who get a "God's Brigade" stamp on their foreheads come Armageddon."


      um... you did read the entire thing..right? or is this another cherry picking thing?

      Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” Revelation 14

      May 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Heaven Is For Presbytyrians

    St. Peter: Well, according to the celestial registry, you've been a good man. You may enter the Kingdom of Heaven and live for eternity at His side.
    Thomas: Thank you!
    St. Peter: Enter and join your fellow Presbyterians.
    Thomas: Oh, I'm Catholic, not Presbyterian.
    St. Peter: Oh, well then, go to Hell.
    Thomas: But wait a minute, you just said I could go to Heaven.
    St. Peter: Well, the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who have followed the one true path.
    Thomas: Presbyterians?
    St. Peter: Presbyterians.
    Thomas: Wh-wh-what about Catholics and Mennonites and others who lived faithfully by the tenets of their religion?!
    St. Peter: They blew it–next?
    Thomas: No-no-now wait! Wait, I attended mass, I took communion, I went to confession again and again!
    St. Peter: Waste of time; you might as well have stayed home Sundays and watched Red Fisher. He's Presbyterian.
    Thomas: And to think the Jews claimed they were God's chosen people.
    St. Peter: Oh, that was years ago. No, the Lord's finicky.
    Thomas: Finicky?
    St. Peter: Well, it was the Jews for a few thousand years, and God got into Muslims, 'cause He liked their hats; then, when they started slicing off hands, God went with Zen, then there was the Hopi Indians and the Aztecs for a while
    Thomas: What about us Catholics?
    St. Peter: Oh, He never liked them. The closest He got was the Anglicans, 'cause He liked Henry VIII's sense of humor.
    Thomas: So anyone who isn't a Presbyterian goes to Hell?
    St. Peter: No, no, Baptists go to Purgatory.
    Thomas: Oh, God likes Baptists?
    St. Peter: No, God likes to get their hopes up. Then, just when they figure they're in, dispatched to the nether regions.
    Thomas: Wow.
    St. Peter: And God never forgave the Mormons for the Osmonds.
    Thomas: But why, why Presbyterians?
    St. Peter: Because they're nice.
    Thomas: Nice?
    St. Peter: Nice–God's old, He doesn't want trouble.
    Thomas: Catholics are nice, too.
    St. Peter: Have you ever heard of a Presbyterian holy war.
    Thomas: Well, no.

    (from an old comedy skit by The Frantics)

    May 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      cute. my wife and i were married by a gay presbyterian minister. that should be close enough.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Ron54


      May 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  16. Kevin

    I'm an atheist, will someone PLEASE save me before I rot in hell? Oh, right, being an atheist I don't believe in hell either, so nevermind

    Just a thought, all of you believers worship god in the hope you will go to heaven, but "sin: on a daily bases... perhaps you should worship your devil and try to get on his good side

    May 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  17. Lester

    So in other words, Pope Francis is saying that Heaven is open to everyone, regardless of what religion or non-religion in which we presently believe, BUT only if we convert to Roman Catholocism. No thanks.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Jack

      I guess I'm lucky then Lester. I was born in a Catholic family but never fell for the dogma. I'm Atheist now so I've got all my bases covered. LOL

      May 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  18. snowboarder

    eternal life is the invention of primitive men afraid of death.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Lester

      And for those who want to reward their loved ones and punish their enemies for all of eternity for what they did in their very finite lives.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • John Sharp

      and I love the stories of "lakes of fire", lol. How scary is that. It is all so ridiculous I don't understand how anyone believes this obviously made up crap.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  19. Cordodriwood

    Nobody is talking about the most important part of this article. The interfaith position of the Catholic church has not changed. If you know about the Roman Catholic Church and are not a member, you are not saved and can't be, period. The fact that the Pope says that if you do good works, we will meet you there, does not mean he is letting you into Heaven. He just wants to talk to you at the soup kitchen and try to get you signed up. All the Bible studying Protestant Bloggers out there; Francis still has you burning for eternity. That's the issue.

    "The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who (are) aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”"

    May 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      The RCC sends mixed messages about this. As a Baptist married to my Catholic wife, all three priests at her church told me that as long as I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost, I would go to heaven. They didn't place any caveats on it...

      May 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  20. Dan

    Athiests want believers to prove God exists, yet they have no proof that we got to this point by evolution...go figure!

    May 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @dan, i would agree with you as long as i am willing to dismiss the mountain of evidence in opposition.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • HA25

      Let me guess – you have 15 kids. So your offspring will populate the planet more than mine. This is why mankind is in serious trouble.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Dan

      Logic for 2 Year Olds

      You are easily the smartest person of all time. Evolution is a moot point. It has been proven for years now. Delusional, brainwashed zealots are the only ones that deny it. Get your facts from science and the environment around you, not some r@pists wearing robes and spewing dark age fairy tales.
      How has it been proven for years? If you want to believe that we got to this point by evolving from tadpoles, that's certainly your choice.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • WASP

      @dan: two things.
      1) atheist simply means we don't believe in gods, not that we all carry degrees in science fields or believe in the scienctists any more than we do what theists say. we simply don't believe in magic which is exactly what a god is........magic.

      2) science has been explaining "evolution" for quite some time; however when we produce evidence it's never enough for the "theistic" mind.
      example: evolution is the long process of adaptation. it take a few generations for an adaptation to take effect, say humans growing from a natural height of 5' 5" to modern average of 6' or taller, if an adaptation proves helpful to a species like stripes on a zebra, then it helps those with the new trait to survive and pass on their genetics, if it is a failure those with the adaptation die out.
      "if evolution is a staircase, adaptation are the steps." DDO

      May 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Yes, Dan, you have nailed it yet again! The theory of evolution states that humans evolved from tadpoles. In fact, right now in my pond outside, I'm watching as about a thousand toad tadpoles are changing into the starting lineup for the Boston Celtics. Amazing stuff! Where can I get a copy of your book, "Dan's Origin of the Species"?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Joey

      Dan why is it that the only people who don't "believe" in evolution are the overly crazy religious zealots?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • WASP

      @attack: XD

      May 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Joey

      Also Dan, you should keep in mind that sufficient evidence exists in support of evolution to convince 99.85% of America's earth and life scientists that the theory is valid. Evolution is the key unifying theory that unifies many different branches of science, from cosmology to biology.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • John Sharp

      Well of course we want you to prove God exists, dummy. You have been saying he exists for 2 plus thousand years.
      So at this point, put up or shut up.
      The reason you can not, is because he or she does not exist.
      Evolution is scientific fact.
      The only people arguing this point are the religious people that are furious that the truth contradicts their fairy tale book.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:10 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.