WOW! I have always been told by religious DOGMA that good works alone will not lead to a heavenly aftermath (after death) - You have heard the saying "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions?"
Well, well....look at what the new pope has to say...
Atheists and other nonbelievers largely welcomed Wednesday's (May 22) remarks by Pope Francis that performing "good works" is not the exclusive domain of people of faith, but rather a place where they and atheists could and should meet.
In a private homily, Francis described doing good not as a matter of faith, but of "duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because he has made us in his image and likeness."
Then, referring to non-Catholics and nonbelievers, he said, "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."
Reaction among American nonbelievers ranged from mild surprise to warm welcome. Some say they see Francis' remarks as a sign that nonbelief — atheism, humanism and other forms of freethought — is being normalized, while others see recognition of what they say they have known all along: Having no faith does not mean having no morality.
"We are a community that is just trying to do good and live good lives, just like most communities are," said Greg Epstein, Harvard University's Humanist chaplain and author of "Good Without God." ''His statement is an acknowledgment of that. It is welcome and it is gratifying."
Epstein was struck by the contrast of Francis' remarks and Tuesday's broadcast of an interview by CNN's Wolf Blitzer of an Oklahoma tornado victim. When Blitzer asked the woman if she wanted to thank God for her family's survival, she replied she is an atheist.
"You have this small example of this soft-spoken young mother who is recovering from the tornado who by her presence, her quiet dignity, not only exemplified what the pope was saying, but overshadowed him," Epstein said. "The quiet dignity of her just being a person and so clearly a good and loving person, it makes my reaction, and I would think a lot of people's reaction (to Francis' remarks), 'Well, of course.'"
Dale McGowan also affirmed the pope's recognition of nonbelievers. His Foundation Beyond Belief collects funds from nonbelievers and distributes them to charities and relief organizations and organizes teams of secular volunteers. To date, Foundation Beyond Belief has raised more than $35,000 for victims of the Oklahoma tornado.
"Anything that decreases the mistrust and fear between people is a good thing," he said. "Some people might say it contradicts past statements (of other popes), but I don't care about any of that. It is terrific when a position evolves to where we can put division behind us, and this is an example of that and I think it is great."