Nrisimhananda Das: Pope Francis recently said that even the atheist that does “good” can be redeemed. The COMMENTS to his declaration as seen on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html are a vivid moniker or what happens when guru (in this case, the Pope), sastra (Bible), and sadhu (theologians) are in conflict. There is much controversy. As the Pope steers his flock more toward the Dalai Llama’s idea of religion (”This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” - DL), the statements in the Bible become more of a nuisance than a dictum. Disciples in the math of Srila Prabhupada will do well to study the effects of such dilution of canon statements.
While it may be true that all souls can be redeemed, the path of redemption is not, according to our teachings, reduced to pious acts. While we are instructed to rise to the level of the mode of goodness, the yuga dharma of Harinam cannot be circumvented in the march home, back to Godhead.
There are plenty of other “do-gooders” in the world building hospitals*, providing social services, and other philanthropic activities. Those endeavors alone cannot SAVE the conditioned soul from repeated birth and death. My understanding is that Srila Prabhupada charged us with the responsibility to teach first and foremost that the duty of all living entities is to serve Krsna through sankirtan. * Bhaktivedanta Hospital staff puts Krsna in the center.