I’ll Pass on Heaven, Thanks

What with my hobby of blogging against religion, I often get asked if I’m worried about going to hell (or, if they’re trying to be polite, “not getting into heaven”). Right off the bat, I’m approximately as worried about going to hell as I am of being abducted by aliens that look like Snoopy, or finding the Loch Ness Monster in my bathtub, or Glenn Beck winning a Pulitzer.

But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I believed in heaven. I still don’t want to end up there. I’ve never had anyone describe heaven to me in a way that I think “yeah, I’d really like to go there.” The sole exception is the Pastafarian heaven. If you’re unfamiliar, Pastafarians follow the path of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, may you be blessed by his noodly appendage. Their heaven has a beer volcano and a stripper factory.

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Admit it, you’re reconsidering your religion right now.

But the Christian heaven, as it’s been described to me, is completely unappealing. And even if heaven were some magical place full of tacos, Jack Daniels and loose women, I wouldn’t be willing to kowtow to the Christian deity to get in, any more than I’d be willing to be buddies with Hitler in exchange for riches (damn, right off the bat I take this post full-Godwin).

Before I get into my Hitler vs God analogy, we should discuss what I’ve been told Heaven is. For the sake of argument here, I’m only talking about what Christian friends have told me it is. Discussing what my Muslim, pagan, Jewish, Mormon, or miscellaneous friends have told me would only draw this post out, and despite all of those bitching about my fixation on Christianity, most of you couldn’t care less about other religions.

Heaven, as pretty much everyone can agree on, is perfect. You get to be BFFs with Jesus, meet up with all your dead relatives, and life is 100% all the taste, none of the calories. Good for you. But what exactly does that entail? As Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.” How can you be in the same place as anyone else without there eventually being some bad? Do we get wiped of our sense of self and become some sort of robots (without the cool laser eyes and death pincers)?

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I know it’s just a comic strip, but even as a Christian I wondered this very thing.

Any kind of heaven that wipes away my original self isn’t a place I’m terribly gung-ho to get to. I see it being on par with someone fixing my insomnia by beating me with a 2×4 until I’m in a coma. Technically, you delivered on your promise, but it certainly isn’t what I actually wanted.

Many people use heaven to justify the misery we see around us in life here on Earth. Bad things happen to you until you die, but no worries, because afterwords everything’s all peaches and cream. All’s well that ends well. Life is hell, but then you go to heaven. Spare the rod, spoil the species. Frankly, I don’t buy it. A father doesn’t get to redeem himself for beating his children all year with the promise of going to Disneyland for Christmas.

And there’s the ultimate rub for me. I happen to think that the Christian god isn’t one I’d want to cozy up to in any case. Look at what’s happening in the world: the earthquake in Japan, genocide in Africa, child molestation in the Catholic church, Justin Beiber… if the Christian god has time for a personal relationship with every single human being on the planet, you think he’d have enough time on his hands to prevent some of this. And even given all of that, look at everything God does to people in the Old Testament: he turns Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt for looking over her shoulder, he send bears to maul children for calling someone bald, he orders people to commit ethnic cleansing… these are the acts of a psychotic, petty dictator, not a loving, benevolent creator.

So even if I had the chance to go to heaven and spend eternity with that god, I’d turn it down. I wouldn’t suck up to Hitler while he was trying to rid Europe of Jews just to make MY life better. And given how God acts in the Bible, I don’t much see how worshiping someone like that for the reward of heaven is different.

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~ by kriskodisko on November 4, 2013.

6 Responses to “I’ll Pass on Heaven, Thanks”

  1. Beautifully written and good points all around. BTW I’m stealling that comic. 🙂

  2. I have to correct you.

    God sent two bears to kill young men (that’s the original translation) who were telling someone to “go up” which meant “die”… this was essentially a mob threatening one man. There were no little kids involved.

    As for Lot’s wife – part of understanding God is understanding that when He gives us an order, we are meant to obey it without question.

    What I believe is that He gave that order not because He TURNED her into a pillar of salt but because if she or anyone looked back and stood for too long, they WOULD be turned to a pillar of salt. The heat alone from the city would probably have blinded someone. Imagine what would have happened if she stood there a moment. It’d be like looking at a nuclear explosion.

    The “ethnic cleansing” you refer to, the bible is pretty clear (in later books) that this was a race of barbarians who were sexually abusing, sleeping with, and sacrificing their own children to pagan gods/blocks of wood. The Lord deemed this to be so ingrained in them that He ordered them all slaughtered. You might not agree with this, but He is God and could see into the hearts of them to know if they’d ever change or not. He decided no, they wouldn’t.

    You unfortunately take the stance that God allows things to happen because He’s evil or “bad” or wants to see suffering instead of understanding that He allows evil to happen because we choose it. You yourself said in this that you’d rather NOT go to heaven and would choose it over God and you’re really not a bad dude. God can’t FORCE people to be good, He can only guide them. These things that you talk about happening in the world now (earthquakes, floods, etc) it’s all in the bible! And it’s actually there to try and warn us that we still have time to return to Him. However, sooner or later things will become so dark that the only thing that will save us is Christ’s return to take care of business once and for all.

    We don’t necessarily have anything “wiped” when we get to heaven. We are merely reverted back to the state that He created us in. Which is perfect, loving, and without pain and suffering. Think of yourself on the best day you’ve ever had, and then imagine that it’s ten times better. This is only a glimpse of what this will be like. You will still be you, and still remember things, but you will be peaceful, happy, and safe.

    Heaven (I should also state) is actually NOT where we’re going. The bible is pretty clear that heaven was made for the angels as hell was made for satan and his minions. We are going to the New Jerusalem (according to the book) which is a city in which Christ Himself is the sun and the twelve tribes of Israel are represented on the gates.

    You are of course welcome to disagree with everything that I’ve said. ^_^

    Love you lots.

  3. I wonder if all those catholic inuisitors went to heaven, or the popes who had children and mistresses. How does deal with the christians who burned people who were supposedly witches but weren’t? If these people go to a good place after they die, I guess that life is actually a free for all and as long as you confess before you croak, it’s all good. I dont’ get christian logic—oh yeah, it doesn’t exist.

  4. We are not going to heaven?O_o What? The new jerusalem? And.. where is that? Is it over, under, right of , left of to, in front of, in back of, or in the center of Heaven?

  5. Actually, I ….totally agree with this. (Except the comparing God to Hitler bit, but that’s beside the point.) I don’t really understand how Heaven is awesome when many of my friends and family would, according to common Christian theology, be in hell. I don’t want a heaven where I magically forget about my friends and family. So I’m pretty much hoping that maybe there’s no afterlife after all. I know it sort of goes against Biblical cannon. haha.

  6. Although the comment by Lisa also makes some decent arguments. *Is the most wishy-washy person ever*

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