September 19, 2013
Pope Francis, new to the job, has been saying some queer things—most recently, that unbelievers, even atheists, can go to heaven. All you have to do, says the Pope, is obey your conscience. Sin is going against your conscience.
Is he trying to invent a new religion? This is so far off the beaten track of Christianity, it really ought to be named something else—“me-ism” (rhymes with deism).
Okay, he’s trying reach out to the world, maybe get them thinking Christianity isn’t so bad after all. In this he’s only following the lead of various flatline Protestants. “Hey, I know! What if we say it doesn’t matter what you believe, you’re all still gonna go to heaven? What if we say abortion is okay, adultery is no big deal, and evolution is true? What if our ministers put on sherbet-colored suits and perform same-sex marriages right there in church—followed by ‘The Vagina Monologues’? And we’ll throw in some goddess-worship, too! And rewrite the Bible! When the world sees we’re just like they are, they’ll love us!”
Blind fools—the world will kick your teeth in. Meanwhile, Christians will stampede for the exits, leaving no one in the pews but clueless old dunderheads who can’t understand why no one else thinks they’re as cool and clever as they do.
If it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God, if all you need for salvation is to be easy with your conscience, why have a church at all? Why bother with the Bible?I’ll betcha Adolf Eichmann was easy with his conscience.
Maybe the Pope ought to get out more often. Maybe he should see what people’s consciences let them get away with. We have “Christians” in Iowa shouting “Thank God for abortion!” Can’t Francis see what kind of shape this world is in?
This poor world needs saving; and it’s the Church’s job to be a light in the darkness. It’s the Church’s job to show that there’s a better way, God’s way—not to be conformed to the world’s way. “I’m OK, you’re OK” is not the message of the scriptures.
The city on the hill is looking more and more like the slums around the bottom of the hill.
If works of the flesh could save us; if the uninstructed conscience were truly all we need—then why, in God’s name, did Jesus ever have to come to earth and suffer on the cross? He could have saved Himself an awful lot of trouble! But the preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness. (I Corinthians 1:18)
The Pope’s approach to this fallen world is not new. Once upon a time it moved St. Paul to cry out, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” (Galatians 3:1) And our churches are indeed bewitched.
It’s not just the Roman Catholics who tweak the Gospel message. What denomination has ever been satisfied with just the word of God? How often, over the centuries, have they tried to improve on it? But we can see now where the unbroken march of error leads us.
Me-ism is a sham that subverts the mission of the Church and insults God to His face. Has that ever turned out well? The conscience that has not been saved by faith in Jesus Christ is no conscience at all: not one of the Ten Commandments is safe from it. “I answer only to my conscience” is as sure a prescription for wickedness as the world has ever known.
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It’s true that sometimes—the key word is “sometimes”—the gentile, the non-believer, will do what’s right and pleasing in the sight of God. If it were not so, the human race would have annihilated itself thousands of years ago. We are all the work of God’s hands, and He built into us safeguards that limit the evil we can do—not as individuals, not as nations, but as a species on the whole. We are all capable of being saved by Jesus Christ; but we are none of us capable of being saved by ourselves, a good conscience notwithstanding.
Maybe the Pope’s strange remarks will inspire Christians to search their souls, and seek God more earnestly. We can always pray that that’ll be the case.
Then again, maybe all he’s going to do is wreck his church.
© 2013 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com