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.
Thankfully, we Adventists have Egg White, God's Wholly Profit, to fill in all the details for us! She had dozens of visions of heaven, sent straight from on high, to flesh out the details for us. Here is one of her first, where she conveniently names a few of the people she met there. I would say she got that trick from Dante, but I don't think she was clever enough to read him. When she did read, though, she usually liked what she found, and often copied it wholesale. Funny how Adventists forget how much of her inspired word from god is plagiarized.
That was interesting, HP - sounds like a nice place to visit, but I highly doubt I'd want to stay there for eternity.
"So it was the tree of life on either side of the river of life. Its branches bowed to the place where we stood, and the fruit was glorious; it looked like gold mixed with silver."
I would have been like "Dude, I dare you to go pick that fruit."
Every once in a while, i get to pepper people with questions about heaven. It will finally get around to them saying "no one knows". Then i ask them if i can bring anything with me, and they say "don't be ridiculous". Once, my sister got mad at me for asking my nephew about heaven. She made me stop. I think i planted a seed, because recently he said that he doesn't believe all that ghost/haunted house crap, but he still calls himself catholic. I may have a chance to pull him out. The main question that makes them pause is "the location of heaven". I also like the looks i get when i ask "If your brain is dead and in the ground, how do you experience anything?"
Some parents will say anything to keep their children believers! When I was 11, after the funeral of an uncle, I upset my younger cousin (then 6) by telling her that she couldn't take her favorite teddy to Heaven with her if she died like uncle Bob can't take his favorite hat which we put on his grave, she ran to her father, telling them what I said and they responded, "Don't listen to him, he knows nothing, of course you can take Sam to Heaven." Yes, it's about telling them anything to keep them, truth means nothing to Christians. I learned from that age that they are mostly chronic liars.
Ironically, they are primarilly lying to themselves.
Sounds like the same story King Tut's father must have told him. ;)
I joke, but what a sucky afterlife that would be. Where is the justice if the rich remain rich and the poor remain poor? Nothing particularly perfect about that!
I think the one factor which cannot be overestimated is that the party, whether in heaven or hell, goes on FOREVER. Whether you're singing hymns or being tortured, it's going to be The Same Routine, day after day after day, not for a hundred years or a thousand or a million or a billion or a trillion years, but for TIME UNENDING! So, question: is there any mechanism which allows those trillions of human souls not to become bored out of their skulls or wind up climbing the walls (if they have walls!), even before the first millennium of occupancy is elapsed? It strikes me that, unless the big guy has a HUGE stash of Valium or its equivalent, that heaven could become bedlam before you can blink. As for hell, I would expect an insurrection by the inmates before the first century was up, maybe even with the help of the folks upstairs!
When you boil them both down, heaven and hell are the products of someone's fertile, though not horribly analytical imagination. I mean, we've managed to tear the concept apart with simple armchair analysis. The further heaven is dissected, the less like "heaven" it looks.
LOL, If I woke up in heaven my first comment would be, WTFn Hell am I doing in this sh1t hole, send me to the other place so I can be with my kin! :-D-
You likely weren't intending humour with this post, but I had a good laugh nevertheless. I completely agree - I think if christians considered the ramifications of every promise that the afterlife entails, they'd have to acknowledge the problem of atrophying pleasure centres in our minds, or vice versa. There is only so much karmic good/bad that we can experience before the monotony of it loses all meaning.
Also, I've always thought Newton's 3rd law of motion could easily be applied to this formulaic catastrophe. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; therefore, the idea that a 13 year old with a mental illness who kills herself should go to hell for the exact same period of time as saaaaay, Adolf Hitler, makes everything about the afterlife seem baseless and without any point or function.
I've heard a myriad of things about heaven, as well. Christians have told me everything from animals DO infact go to heaven, to the claim that god wouldn't let people have sex in heaven. I've even heard one theory that everyone that dies ends up in some sort of time continuum, whereby they are essentially put on hold until EVERYONE dies, so we can all arrive at heaven at the exact same moment. No shit.
If we can learn anything, I think it's that theists will shape shift absolutely any theory to what best suits what they need it to mean to them at that time. Anything that they can't mutilate in such a way gets placed in their fictional creator's hands. Faith, or something stupid like that. Uggh.
so we can all arrive at heaven at the exact same moment
Ack!! Can you imagine god snapping his fingers and BAM! - you are elbow to elbow with a trillion of the most boring people in the universe? I'm imagining it being like that horribly uncomfortable moment in church (for me, anyways) where the congregation is told to stand up and shake hands with everyone you can physically reach and say "peace be with you", or something like that. Not to sound like a curmudgeon, but I always hated that. I wonder how germophobes, claustrophobics and introverts manage to convince themselves that heaven is paradise.
I totally agree. I've always wondered how extreme introverts like myself were supposed to cope with with their newfound "family" in heaven? I get pissed off as it is if my own parents call me too many times in a week. I can't imagine having to be tolerant of 10's of billions of others who I don't know or care about. Uggh heaven sounds worse and worse the more one talks about it hahaha.