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.
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!