Reposted from Secular School Teacher by Ojibwa
I was sitting on the couch channel-surfing with my mom one afternoon when she stopped on Long Island Medium
, a self-professed psychic who supposedly puts the living in contact with the dead.
After watching for a minute or two I commented on how sad it is that this woman is making fools of these poor gullible people on national TV.
My mom turned to me and said, “Don’t you want to believe that we will meet up again in heaven after we die?”
I told her it’s not that I didn’t want to see her again but that such a belief is just not an option for me.
Even when my doctor once told me I was possibly riddled with lung cancer the god thing never even popped into my mind during the two weeks it took for me to make peace with my premature mortality (the "cancer" turned out later to be benign nodules).
I just couldn’t possibly buy into the notion of a heaven or hell based on the Christians' Bible with 400+ contradictions and whose authors believed the sun revolved around a flat, stationary earth on "pillars," which condones slavery, and is replete with unicorns, talking donkeys, vegetation, evil snakes, and many other such reality-breaching tales.
Later, thinking about the prospect of living forever, I wondered why it could even be considered to be such a wonderful thing. Who wants to look down and watch millions of kids starve to death each year, while tormented moms look helplessly on? What’s fun about that?
I spend so much time signing petitions – e.g. to help end slavery (a 190 billion dollar a year business), help indigenous people hold on to their land from greedy corporations or their culture from self-righteous missionaries, promote more humane factory farm conditions, end the brutal slaughtering of elephants, dolphins and sharks, and stop the vivisection of nonhuman primates and other lab animals – so that by the time I’ve finished my arm is tired from holding up the hand that blocks the part of the screen flashing associated images while the other feels the onset of carpel tunnel from clicking the "sign" button so much.
I don't want to even imagine being exposed to all these horrors on an eternal basis. And what would the weather be like? Perpetually sunny? That would get monotonous after a while too.
Even if I am shielded from viewing the suffering back on earth somehow, how could strolling hand in hand with the one I love not get boring? Especially if all you see is white puffy clouds. A week or two of that might be novel, but for all eternity?
What about the woman whose husband dies and she remarries a man she loves equally as much – does she get to keep both husbands once they’ve all expired? And what about her spouses? It’s unlikely they’d be so blissful having to share their wife with another guy.
What if I’m subjected to listening to a guy named Jesus reading from the Bible to masses of judgmental, sanctimonious Christians – and what if that arrogant John Boehner or smug Pat Robertson were in attendance? Hanging with that crowd doesn’t sound like a paradise too me. And besides, the Bible’s not really known for being a real page-turner and having read it cover-to-cover, revisiting it sounds more like a hell to me.
And what if it’s Allah who’s in charge “up there?” Hanging with fundamentalist, misogynistic Muslims sounds even worse. Or does each god get his or her own cloud on which to pontificate? And talking about people believing in Iron Age books about lands of milk and honey, will they have beer there?
At what age would I be entering those pearly gates? Now, when I’m still relatively young and healthy, or when I die, which hopefully will be when I’m old and decrepit? And if my mom’s so intent on seeing me there, what age would I have to be to qualify it as a heavenly experience for her? Certainly not my teens, which put the poor woman through much misery. She misses the baby years, but that would conflict with my ideal age.
And how can anyone be happy knowing some of the people they love best are in the process of being eternally sizzled alive “down below?” My Catholic great-grandmother expressed her fear of ending up in hell regularly.
BTW whatever happened to forgiveness? If I were God, I would forgive everyone simply because I couldn’t live with myself for a plan in which I condemned people to be forever burned alive because they made a few mistakes. Especially since I would know they would be prone to error being omniscient and having created them in the first place.
Sometimes I feel like I just want to curl up into a little ball and die witnessing all the suffering on this tiny planet, but then I think, would the world be a better place with or without me? The answer for me is to try to enjoy as many moments as possible and ease as much suffering as I can along the way. This gives my life purpose and the will to keep going, and the feeling of having been lucky to have been alive in the first place.
So the prospect of an everlasting heavenly existence ends up being a depressing rather than exhilarating thought. Fortunately, it just doesn’t sound plausible, especially since there are no historical first-hand accounts of Jesus
and archaeology disproves all four main Bible stories
Eternal life provokes zillions of questions and provides zero answers. But the one answer that works for me is that when I go, it will likely end in blackful nothingness. And then I will finally, truly RIP.
Sun revolves around earth
Job 38:13; Isaiah 11:12; Rev. 7:1
Eccles. 1:5; Psalm 93:1, 96:10, 104:5; Joshua 10:12; 1 Chron. 16:30
Earth rests on pillars
1 Sam. 2:8; Job 9:6, 38:4, Psalm 75:3
Lev. 25:44; Exod. 21:2,7,21; Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 2:18; Eph.6:5; 1 Tim. 6:1-2
Job. 39:9-10; Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10; Isaiah 34:7; Num. 23:22, 24:8; Deut. 33:1 (KJV-conveniently changed to "wild oxen" for American and International Standard versions)