Saturday, May 02, 2009

Thinking of Heaven

The other day i got into a discussion about the Christian version of Heaven. My friend wanted to preach a sermon on how great it is that Christians have a hope in a second life. The friend wanted to compare two funerals, one Christian and one secular.

Normally I don't get into the Heaven discussion because a person's personal views of what heaven is can be so deeply important to them. That day i felt like i was being told there was two options: Hopelessness in no second life OR Hope that we will see them again.

I felt the sting in that. My personal view (and hope for me) is that there is no heaven. I can not see heaven as a fun or nice place. I know, you will be with your creator forever and ever...

But i feel that it is sort of like being invited to a party but you have to know the secret knock first. (the Secret Knock being the correct religion)

The host says: come to my party. it will be so much fun! you'll love it. Really amazing people will be there!

Me: I don't really like meeting new people, but i would love to hang out. Will anyone i know be there.

the host: no

me: what about my friends?

host: well, no. They aren't friends with you.

me: so you want me to come to a party where i won't know anyone and have to share you with a bunch of strangers?

Host: my friends are really awesome.

me: what about my friends?

Host: they are okay. but they aren't as good as my friends. You should be friends with my friends.

Maybe this is being too harsh, but how horribe would you feel if you showed up at the pearly gates and realised you were the only person from your family there? Or you mother didn't come? Then when you ask why they aren't there, you get told "Well, you didn't do enough to save them"....or "They didn't want to make friends with the host".

Generally one life, making the best that you can out of it, sounds better to me than putting all hope getting to do it 'perfect' the next time. I want to make the most out of my time, here and now. I want to value the people around me. I want to believe that we can work towards making the world a better place.

I don't want to believe in a god who hands out party invitations to the ones who figure out the correct secret knock.


Lee Clarke said...

I understand where you are coming from because I have often wondered some of the same things. How can there be no tears there if someone I know and love isn't going to be there?

It sounds like a cop out but I have just got to trust that God knows what he doing and it's all going to be ok.

kris said...

I should be very clear about this: i don't believe that there is no heaven. I just don't want to go. I've told God i'm happy with this one time around and He can figure out the rest...

jenne said...

i like to think of heaven as a second chance to get right all the things i fucked up the first time around.

if i would be miserable in heaven, guess i won't be part of that club... and if it doesn't exist, at least i had something to look forward to.

becky said...

i've always thought that God was only valuable if He was practical. If He didn't help me in the here and now, what's the point?

Unlike Kris though, I love the idea of showing up to a party where I don't know anyone. But then again, I wouldn't enjoy it if it was Heaven and there wasn't anyone I knew.

I guess the thing is, it sounds like you don't think most of the people you care most about will be in heaven. which sucks, but you don't know. what if it's the opposite? or half and half or two thirds or whatever?

it's something you have no control over. it's like trying to follow a trend. the only cool person is the one who doesn't care about what everyone else is doing and knows that their decision ---good or bad-- is their own. let everyone else decide as it is.

if you were really miserable in heaven, I'm sure God would let you out. it's not supposed to be prison "for your own good." it wasn't that way the first time.

i've often wondered if i was going to be in heaven...and i just don't know. i believe God wants what I would be happiest with and if He knew I'd be miserable in heaven, he'd let me be dead forever. and i'm ok with that. "love to hang out and the party and all," but if I'm going to be miserable, I'd rather have God's idea of giving me peace.

so if you show up to heaven, and i'm not there, stop thinking you're bigger than God and taking responsibility for my actions. get off my back and go do whatever the heaven you want. cause God and I care about something much bigger than you're pitiful sense of righteous guilt about "not doing enough for me." God and I care about what I did for me and what I want.

Odysseus Snelling said...

See the way I see it much of what we believe is arse-backwards... in so many things, but in a large part in our perceptions of the after-life

Every time a Christian gets up the front of church and says... "I can't wait to get to heaven so I can sing like that..." I just have to cringe. The idea of perfection expressed in a statement like that is wrong. If there is a heaven we won't be perfect, in the sense that we can all do EVERYTHING perfectly. I believe that each will retain ones own gifts and abilities (although maybe at a refined level, mainly through the centuries of practice you'll be able to do...) Those who can sing will sing, but those who don't won't.

It also seems that Christians, especially those who have such a heavy emphasis on eschatology, use their belief as an excuse to be disengaged from the world. Basically a, "That's not my responsibility beacause the world is about to end..." And yet we forget that in The Lord's Prayer was ask that things will be on earth as they are in heaven (and realistically that's only going to happen if we make the effort to get that to happen... but maybe that's just me.

Forget the secret knock... I've got back-stage passes to the hottest gig in town... oh, wait... that's hell! :S

Odysseus Snelling said...

Oh, yeah, to Becky on the question of happiness in heaven vs sadness and oblivion... I think I once read something that suggested that maybe mortal life is a test that God gives to us all, to see if we're going to be happy with eternal life. If we can't work out how to be happy here, then we won't be expected to be so in eternity (and as such won't be there)... just wish I could remember where I read it...