Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Pope Francis claims that by following your "own" conscience, regardless if you believe in God or not, you will be saved and go to heaven. Yet the human conscience is not a sufficient guide to determine what is right or wrong. It is not the final, ethical authority for determining our human conduct because it is easily influenced by our surroundings. The reason why the world is in the mess that it is in is because men and women are following their own conscience. Pope Francis solution is a human opinion that makes man the final authority for determining spiritual truths. It is only the word of God that is the final authority in determining what we must do. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16. Our conscience must be held captive to the word of God. -Advent Messenger Commentary
The Independent | June 12, 2013
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. “Francis is a still a conservative,” said Mr Mickens. “But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.”
In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all”.
In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality, asking: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”