Re: Atheists and salvation
posted at 6:02 pm on May 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Point 1: You’re probably going to get more comments in that thread than in your Holder thread, AP.
Point 2: The point of the first part of the passage quoted in the Atlantic was that Jesus came to save all mankind. However, we can choose whether or not to follow in that salvation — and that includes atheists. Free will, after all, makes that our own choice. That is basic Christian doctrine, which isn’t limited to the Catholic Church.
Point 3: The part about doing good speaks to meeting each other in this life, not the next. Pope Francis is actually gently rebuking those who would argue that people without faith at all or the “wrong” faith must therefore be bad. The part that starts, “And we all have a duty to do good,” is a separate thought and would be better expressed in its own paragraph. With that in mind, Francis’ meaning is clear enough for me:
And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. 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.”
The final there refers to the conjunction of doing good works in this life to reach communion with each other in the present, not in Heaven. It’s an instruction on how to live life with all of God’s children here now, and as such is hardly controversial … but we frequently need reminders, as our fallen nature dictates.
This doesn’t sound like Pope Francis’ view of eschatology, but of genuine ecumenical outreach.
Point 4: You’re going to get more comments than my Holder piece, AP, and yes doggone it, I’m jealous.