Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

15 Dec 2014

Notes Toward a Theology of Pets and the Atonement (Spoof)


Angry catLast week, Pope Francis made headlines by announcing in his weekly address that we will be able to see our pets in heaven. Specifically, he pontificated, “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” Since this statement is sure to set the theological world abuzz, I thought I would use this week’s blog post to help delineate some key theological implications of this statement:

(1)  Since Paradise is only “open to” all of God’s creatures, it is clear that the Pope is not advocating Pet Universalism, but something on the order of Hypothetical Pet Universalism or possibly Pet Amyraldism. It seems unlikely, however, based on the Pope’s track record, that he affirms the dread doctrine of Limited Pet Atonement.

(2)  As such, we must conclude that some pets do not meet the criteria for regeneration. Based on other Roman Catholic materials, it seems fairly clear that baptism is a critical piece of the puzzle. I am convinced that it is theologically necessary to conclude that while most dogs will go to heaven, cats universally go to Purgatory and thence to hell. This is because all cats refuse to submit to baptism—especially baptism by immersion. In my former life as a catvangelist, I found this to be consistently true.

(3)  The foregoing suggests that cats have been “given over” to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:24). Paul’s words later in the chapter are particularly instructive: while dogs do sin, they always look guilty afterward and seek forgiveness. Cats, on the other hand, “knowing that those who do unrighteous deeds deserve death, not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.” Cats definitively prove the doctrine of total depravity.

Dog prayingI could go on, but I thought the blogosphere would be the perfect place to collect additional materials toward a theology of pets. When you’re all done, I will collect all of your responses and forward them to the Vatican.

Nothing serious, please—any responses that are not at least a little bit funny will be snagged and summarily deleted by our blog enforcer.

6 Responses

  1. Kent Hobi

    Corroborating the idea that dogs have a certain regenerative quality but at times can falter, was an editorial comic in the Christian Century issue that was dedicated to people who claim to have been in heaven and come back! The scene was a dog on a stool speaking to his fellow dog audience! A placard on an easel near the speaker dog read, “My five minutes in heaven.” The dog on the stool commented with that guilty look in his eyes, “Unfortunately I can’t remember what Jesus looked like, but here is a detailed description of the sandwich he was holding.” Yes my own dog Max appreciated and understood the difficult dilemma this dog was placed in during his five minutes in heaven.

  2. Tim Scott

    Just wondering, do cats really have to submit willingly to baptism? Why not just throw them in the baptismal? Ex opere operato, right?

  3. Dave W

    Mary and I had to give a cat a bath once when we were house sitting. After that episode its owner said the cat would join them in the shower. I believe the incedent led to the cat becoming a Presbyterian.

  4. I caution against an inadequately nuanced view of cat spirituality. The case could be made that they follow the example of the early English Separatist Baptists by regularly self-baptizing (

    But it’s true that they will rarely accept immersion.

    As for their consistent lack of visible repentance, those who know cats well understand that devout cats are only trying to avoid the overt and excessive emotionalism characteristic of dogs. Cats understand that repentance is about so much more than superficial “feelings.”

    We should probably commend their emotional restraint and welcome them into Christian fellowship despite their hangups over details like mode of baptism.
    (By the way, it’s a fact that cats are cessationists; dogs are continuationists.)