I don’t have religious faith these days, but that comes not from hostility or lack of trying. I’ve written here in the past on the issues of faith and belief and lack there-of. And even the nostalgia that I feel for the times when an a deep faith in God was present at all times.
But those days are gone, and that’s okay too. I’m happy as I’ve been ever having cast off the religions of human creation and accepted my simple and beautiful moment in space-time. My family, my friends, nature and science and love and mystery and all the phenomena I encounter provide as much meaning and direction as I seek. Everything is wonderful. But I can’t tell the future. The door’s not closed on belief in the unknown gods of the universe. Maybe.
And since doors open from both directions, it’s a comfort to know that it remains open from the other side, too.
According to Pope Francis, anyway. Asked if “God forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith”, the new Pope responded:
“Given that — and this is the key point — God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience…The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience. To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil.”
I’m sure the hard-working duty-upholding Catholics will work quickly to remind the world that indeed, atheists are not welcome in the that great kingdom in the sky, and the non-believers will reject the forgiveness of a God that does not actually exist, I’m content this morning to take the such words from the Vatican as a surprisingly compassionate balm, for today at least, and welcome sign of progress towards peace.