I’ve focussed my last two posts regarding the debate on "Q and A" (here and here) on Professor Richard Dawkins more than Cardinal George Pell. For this final post I would like to suggest where I would have answered differently to Pell on a couple of points.
Can an atheist go to heaven?
At one point, Cardinal Pell was asked this question. Pell firstly tried to avoid the question, and then once pressed answered “Certainly”. I would like to suggest, firstly, that I would not have avoided this question myself as it provided a great opportunity for Pell to share a positive message about Christianity. Secondly, I would suggest that I agree with his answer, but I would want to qualify it. Admittedly, Pell wasn’t given the opportunity to do so, but neither did he press for one either. The way I would answer this question I’ve summarised as “optimistic exclusivism” – that is, I believe it is only possible to be saved by Jesus Christ (hence the ‘exclusivism’), but the way to Jesus Christ is open to methods I cannot even dream of (hence the ‘optimism’). I’ve written more extensively on here, so I’ll refer you there and leave it at that for now. Except to say, I'm even optimistic enough to hope that I will see Richard Dawkins himself there. I'm not sure who would be the most surprised, though!