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I just finished my last post regarding perceptions of eternal life and how they might affect believers and non.

I stopped by Pharyngula and a similar topic must be on PZ Myers’ mind (link). He posted thoughts on heaven and hell, too.

On hell, he writes:

But all right, let’s assume God has figured out ways to permanently suppress the human spirit among all those deceased spirits, and actually has contrived a truly painful Hell, one that I can not imagine but that he can, being God and all. Now we’ve got the problem that the loving God we’re all supposed to worship is an imaginative, creative death camp commandant, one who also maintains a luxury spa on the side. In that case, let’s just scratch “loving” and “worship” from his description.

The whole concept of Hell is so demented and irrational, that many religious people have abandoned it. There are quite a few Christians who sensibly reject it and simply say that because their God is a loving God, everyone gets to go to Heaven. Of course, now they’re stuck with the concept of Heaven.

If you go read PZ’s post, he talks about the irrationality of a soul feeling pain or pleasure. It has nothing to do with pleasure and pain in our understanding of physiology.

I completely agree with that idea.

On heaven PZ says:

A paradise is also inhuman (I know, one can get around this by arguing that after death you can’t be human anymore, by definition; but then that requires throwing away the idea of life after death, which is what most people find appealing). Think about what defines you now: it’s how you think, your personality, your desires and how you achieve them — by what you strive for. Finish one project, and what do you do (after a little celebration, of course)? You look for something else to strive for, a new goal to keep you interested and occupied. But now you’re in heaven. All wishes are fulfilled, all desires achieved, we’re done with everything we’ve ever dreamed of, making Heaven a kind of retirement home where everyone is waiting to die. Waiting forever.

You can’t ask a human being to shed all of their aspirations without expecting them to seek new ones, and no, membership in the Choir Celestial isn’t going to be for everyone, nor is doing the finest job in the universe buffing God’s toenails.

If anything, PZ’s post reflects my views for the most part. It trips me out when believers say they are criticized for their “opinions.” I stay away from using the word “opinion”, because its definition is: “a view not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

I prefer views, because my thoughts are usually reflections of a consortium (term used loosely) of different people’s ideas.

I have been criticized for my views. Why here’s one here. And here.

On some level, those criticisms are valid. But they are inaccurate and un-cited. How pompous and babyish do people have to be before they think rationally?

I contend, should there be an all-powerful god, the concept of hell and the Christian view of heaven proves god’s lack of supremacy. His lack of greatness. His shortfallen brilliance.

There is no such thing as “all loving” when that brand of love is contradicted by its message.

God’s love is not a question of “fairness”. The question is of semantics. Don’t say that your god is all loving when it is obviously not true.

Esse quam videri. To be rather than to seem.

Don’t say, “God, we love you and we’re glad you’re here even though you’re invisible.” It makes no sense.

I’ve had conversations with believers where they say, “You can’t have heaven without hell.” But believers think God will defeat Satan. So they believer there will be a time where both do not co-exist. Their logic refutes itself.

Or maybe I’m wrong. I’m all ears. Believers … give me something non-contradictory to think about … for the love of rationality!

Loving living loved ones

This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about how people tend to take their living loved ones for granted. In the mornings, I wake up and think about the culture of belief in heaven and hell.

Does belief in heaven make believers act more lazy about loving their friends and family, I ask myself.

Due to limited space and other reasons, hardly anyone visited me during my first five or six years in Chicago. Now that Tina and I are married, my parents have visited more frequently than before.

If I thought too much about it, the last 10 years, I’ve felt under appreciated for visiting North Carolina sometimes twice a year. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? The cost was often something I couldn’t necessarily afford. As it was often a holiday — not only did I buy airfare for myself and for Tina — we made an effort to bring gifts and pay for group meals.

As a business person, I couldn’t help but think that the cost-benefit analysis sucked. Add a culture that wasn’t kind to non-belief, and I tended to have very stressful experiences when visiting North Carolina. Those days are generally gone. I’m out about my atheism, which means worlds to me. And Tina and I haven’t visited since last October because of our fertility expenses.

Exceptions to rules

I was on the phone yesterday with my brother Jon. I was telling him that we were going to be in North Carolina in August. I’m shooting regular reader and close friend Xina’s wedding. After the wedding which is in Asheville, we’re going to spend three days with my immediate family. Continue reading “Loving living loved ones”


Our parking spot is inside of a gate behind our condo. The gate opens with a remote control similar to a garage door opener. It closes automatically after 30 seconds.

Last Thursday, T and I were returning from an errand (I was driving), and I was telling Tina something with the car stopped right outside of the gate threshold. The nose of the car was within the way of the gate should it have closed.

The story must have taken 30 seconds, because the gate started to close.

I flipped out, I blurted, “Oh mother fucking shit!” and I honked the car horn at the gate.

The correct response would have been to push the remote control button again. My irrationality tickled Tina to laughing tears.

Tina laughed so hard she almost peed her pants. Every time I bring it up since, she laughs to tears.

You had to be there.

What irrational action have you done recently? Feel free to laugh at me too.