There is good news and then there is bad news but you have no choice in deciding in which order you want to read about it because I‘ve decided to give the good news first. (It’s good news for some of us) The good news is that Pope Francis has suggested that non-believers (non-Catholics) can book a place for themselves in heaven if they do well while serving time on this dear old earth of ours. The news was good for people like me who are weary of religious teachings that force dogma down people’s throats and give them little space to think freely. After all heaven doesn’t seem such a bad place going by the rosy picture that has been drawn about it by propagators of its existence.
But as always good news does not hold sway for long and the bad news soon followed. This time, by way of a statement, the Vatican quickly countered the Pope’s claim and said there is no such chance for non-believers. Be ye good or bad, you have no place in heaven which I suppose means great many of us are headed straight to hell.
People’s faith or the religion they choose to follow is strictly their own business as far as I am concerned but I also find it fascinating how , even in this age, when we’ve gone way ahead of the age of enlightenment (or at least I’d like to believe so) any talk of God, heaven and hell still stirs up quite a lot of controversy.
And going by all the commotion caused by the comments by the newly elected Pope Francis, it looks like he’ll have to learn to mind his words if he is to survive for long as the head of the worldwide Catholic Church.
I don’t see anything wrong with the Pope’s assertion that heaven is not the exclusive domain of good Catholics alone. Even if I don’t believe in the concept of heaven and hell as taught by some religions, what the Pope said can be taken metaphorically. Heaven and hell are both right here on this earth .That is more the reality. If people are told good will happen to those who do good and bad will happen to those who do bad, then maybe more people will do good irrespective of what their religious beliefs are.
Instead, trying to assert that only people who follow a particular faith can find a place in an imaginary utopian world called heaven is unhelpful and does little good, except maybe for those who want to stifle people who want to think freely and make up their own minds on what they should or should not believe in.
I’ll stick with what John Lennon said: – “Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us, above us only sky……………………