Why is it that religionists accept the concept of heaven without thinking it through to its logical conclusions? To them, that is what this world is all about. Live your life within the guidelines of morality, as dictated by a book that could not be more irrelevant to the modern world, so that you may enter the kingdom of heaven …. otherwise ye shall be condemned to the firey pits of hell. Oh yeah – it’s for eternity, by the way. Eternity. As in forever and ever and ever and ever.
Maybe it’s just me, but when you add that “eternity” caveat, doesn’t that make both versions of the afterlife seem like nothing to look forward to? Of all the vacations that I have ever taken, and of all the vacations that I would like to take but can’t afford to, I cannot imagine one that I wouldn’t eventually be sick of. You could send me to my own private island in the most beautiful Caribbean waters on earth, with all the free amenities, servants, delicious food and drink that I can partake in – it may take a year, it may take 5 years, but eventually it will get old and I will want to get the hell out of there. Maybe I’m off a bit, and it would take 20 years to become painfully tired of such an environment – but what is 20 years in comparison to eternity? Maybe it will take 1,000 years to get sick of it, but again - what is 1,000 years in comparison to eternity?
There is virtually nothing that a billionaire cannot afford to buy, and consequently I imagine that not much of anything falls into the category of a luxury at that point. If heaven is a land of milk and honey where you are richly rewarded with anything you desire, what would you have a desire for that would last an eternity?
If hell is eternal, wouldn’t you get used to that burning sensation pretty quickly? What is torture if you cannot eventually die from it? How do trillions of souls, who cannot die again, not stand up to one devil and change their environment? How does that devil manage to control all those souls and still find time to mess with mortals on earth?
If doing things like gambling, partying, having sex, cursing, telling lewd jokes, not going to church, working on a Sunday, etc. is what lands you in hell, and doing things like singing religious hymns, proselytizing, going to church, and living a quiet, sanitized life of utter mediocrity is what gets you into heaven, which kind of souls would you rather be surrounded by for ETERNITY? Once you get beyond the paradise surroundings, and you are sick to death of being waited on hand and foot, and tired of playing golf every single day with gold plated clubs and diamond tipped golf balls, and don’t want to ever see another luxury item again – the only thing you will have left to suffer through eternity with will be the trillions of other souls who you are surrounded by. It sickens me to think of myself ever being that position.
Once you think it through, the fact is that the only just reward that a god could ever grant would be the opportunity to come back to earth, or some other non-eternal place, and do it all over again. If I can’t have that, then leave me to disintegrate into the earth and become a part of whatever else happens to absorb me. The heaven concept sounds grand, but thanks to that eternity clause it will eventually be as maddening as hell.
I've always thought streets of gold seem dumb. Very highly impractical.
I couldn't agree more !
The irony in the appreciation of anything enjoyable, lies in the knowledge that it's NOT going to last forever (and/or that it's in limited supply).
Take away the 'threat' of 'losing it' (regardless of what it is) and it quickly loses some/much of it's appeal. The most common thought given to something unpleasant (pain/illness/grief/financial-difficulties ...) is not in fact, that we can't handle it in it's current state but, it's in the fear that it won't EVER end.
At one point in my life I thought of heaven as a get out of jail free place in that I could get off this planet, get out of this life, and there would be none of my dysfunctional family members there that I was convinced didn't deserve to be there. Then I got with a group that thought families could be united for all eternity. Now that was my vision of hell! Totally messed up my idea of freedom. They did however, believe in a graded system of heaven where you could be promoted and move up, so at least change was possible. But once again, admittance to each level was all based upon a select group of all males judging and directing your jumping though religious doctrinal hoops of worthiness and unworthiness " or exclusivity. The more I learned the more I was grateful that my father was an atheist and that he gave me a brain to use, Even though there have been times, that I have misplaced that brain in my many wanderings through various religious and philosophical groups as I attempted to verify what exactly was my understanding of the truth. I did finally come to an agreement with my Dad and that he was right all along. He told me something when I was six, I never forgot but resisted. "Man created God in his own image so that he didn't have to be afraid of the unknown." It finally makes sense.
The problem is that the word "eternal" implies that something will literally never end - so even when the theist attempts to adjust the definition of heaven to sound more appetizing, by adding levels that you can graduate to, there would have to be an infinite number of levels because of that whole "eternal" afterlife bullshit. If heaven is the be-all and end-all, and represents absolute paradise, then how can one level of it be any better than another level? Is it possible that your soul will eventually pass from one paradise to a lesser version of paradise? Because that kind of sounds like something that sucks. The concept is ridiculous any way you slice it, and anyone who gets dragged into this kind of debate and exits maintaining the same pie-in-the-sky visions of heaven is beyond delusional, imo.
What about the versions where the highest level of heaven is getting to be god of your own planet? Sort of like unlocking god mode once you beat the game... lol
How can there be a highest level to infinity? If you are god, what do you do for fun? How do you challenge yourself? I know you are joking, but I don't doubt that your question would be seriously asked by a believer who is reaching for straws after having this eternity epiphany brought to their attention. Ah, who am I kidding. Once a true believer gets frustrated enough, they just resort to their go-to apologetics - "god is too complex for humans to ever be able to understand him or his ways." commence zombie stare
Your dad's quote is exactly what it is in a nutshell. How concise some sets of words are!!
I totally agree. I had a religious friend ask me if I thought we wore clothes in heaven. wow. Also, if you die young and your spouse dies old, do you look young for eternity, and your spouse looks old? Just one of many bizarre questions that could be asked.
Yes, this is what makes our time on Earth special. It is LIMITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh man ... pleeease tell me they wear clothes in heaven! They have to. How could I possibly relax with naked grandma and grandpa lurking around. Just one more example of how heaven might actually resemble hell.
LOL future!!! I am NOT going if we don't, unless I can have the body I had with no stretch-marks from being pregnant back. ha ha ha. Luckily, we don't have to worry about it! :)
Problem being that you would likely have to put up with naked gr8, gr8, gr8 grandparents and beyond, which none would recognize u anyway and likely you wouldn't recognize them neither.
That is if any of them pass the tests to get there, which is doubtful.
So, if you make it there, you'd probably be alone,
They are likely to be elsewhere!
Yeah - that would be so gross to see all those naked relatives.