Pope Francis has remarkably announced that all it takes to get into Heaven is to follow your conscience. To simultaneously invoke Godwin's Law and reduce the Pope's position to its most absurd: do sincere Nazi's get into Heaven?
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."
It's certainly true that anyone can be forgiven for any sin if they turn to Jesus Christ and accept his death as payment for their sins. However, that decision must be made before the point of death. The Bible is clear that there is no opportunity for repentance after death. So, God's mercy is unlimited, but you have to accept it before you die. Hopefully that resolves some ambiguity in the first part of the Pope's statement.
It's really the last two quoted sentences that are completely off the rails. Sin is not merely disobeying your own conscience. That would be an absurd standard for God to use. Does the Pope believe that when you get to Heaven you can continue living according to your own conscience? Or will you have to obey God when you get there? Why would a person who has denied God his whole life even want to go to Heaven if he then has to start obeying God?
Jeremiah 17:9 -- "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
Man's conscience is twisted. We are not "basically good". If the only standard God has is for each man to just do whatever seems right to himself then God is subservient to man. This is a popular view, even among those who call themselves Christians and who like to remake God in their own image. It is always tempting to reject what God has revealed about himself through the Bible and to substitute our own opinions, intuitions, and emotions. However, God is not subject to our control or to the prevailing culture of our age. God does not conform himself to our expectations or desires, but rather expects us to conform to him.