Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

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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 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, 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?”
(Editors Note: As a Christian your spidey senses should be tingling.  Alarm bells should be going off.  Eternal life is not rewarded for good living; that would contradict many other Scriptures which clearly state that salvation is not by works, but is all of God’s grace to those who BELIEVE (e.g., Rom 6:23; 10:9-10; 11:6; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.  Furthermore,  Conscience is an important part of human nature, but it is not an absolutely trustworthy indicator of what is right. One’s conscience can be “good” (Acts 23:1; 1 Tim 1:5, 19) and “clear” (Acts 24:16; 1 Tim 3:9; 2 Tim 1:3; Heb 13:18), but it can also be “guilty” (Heb 10:22), “corrupted” (Titus 1:15), “weak” (1 Cor 8:7, 10, 12), and “seared” (1 Tim 4:2). All people need to trust the Lord Jesus Christ so that “the blood of Christ” might “cleanse [their] consciences” (Heb 9:14).)
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