Heaven
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Mr Smartypants

Minneapolis, MN

#22 Dec 4, 2011
Being Alive wrote:
<quoted text>
I guess that most of them are still concerned about what lies for them beyond the grave. While they know that there is a Heaven, and while many of them feel that they are definitely ascending into heaven, many of them might be concerned with the sins of their past and consider the possibility that they are going to Hell.
I wonder if it's because they realize that if there is a God, He can see through all the legalistic bullshit they use to justify their sins. Luther started the whole 'salvation by faith' thing that says that basically that one can be an asshole and still get into heaven by faith alone. Even when I was a Christian, I thought that was bogus--to me, faith and works are pretty much synonymous. Anybody can profess faith in just about anything, but if you want to know what a person truly believes deep in his or her soul, just watch their behavior.
However, to be frank, death is scary. Even if you know that there is something waiting for you after your life on Earth, it's still a rather strange and scary thing. I'll give death credit that it's not a very enjoyable experience for most.
Personally, I don't find death scary at all. Not in the least bit. What scares me is dying because that often involves a lot of physical pain. The thought that nothing but Oblivion lies beyond the grave is actually sort of a comfort, but I think that's because I feel that I've lived a reasonably full life. Also, it's because that life itself is a bit over-rated and I still haven't figured out whether existence is on the positive or negative side of the Joy-Suffering Continuum.

The only sort of afterlife that makes any sense to me is what I'd call 'solipsistic reincarnation'. Not reincarnation in the usual sense of Hinduism, but the idea that there will always be a conscious that's aware of its own existence. In this system, there's no carry-over--no karmic bank account that goes from one existence to another, no memories of past lives, no precognition of future lives. There's no sort of chronological continuity--hell, every reincarnation might be in a completely different universe with it's own set of physical laws. Most importantly, there's no sort of goal like Nirvana (the concept, not the band), and every reincarnation, the Self goes through the same existential crap over and over again. There were an infinite number of past lives and there will be an infinite number of future lives, ad infinitum. Actually, I find such a concept depressing and almost would prefer Oblivion instead.

Of course, I do have a faint scintilla of hope that there's some sort of Paradise, but one of my own creation. The Christian version of paradise sounds like having to spend eternity in Salt Lake City, but even more dull. My paradise would look like a Maxfield Parrish painting, there'd be marijuana brownies growing on every tree, slapstick comedies would play on every movie screen, and there'd be plenty of large-breasted women interested in having scuba sex with me. But I digress :)

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#23 Dec 4, 2011
Mr Smartypants wrote:
Here's something I couldn't understand when I was a True Believer...
If there is a Heaven, it's supposedly a zillion skillion times better than our Earthly existence and is the ultimate goal for existing. If somebody really, truly believed in Heaven, you'd expect them to joyously run to the top of the nearest building and fling themselves off knowing that in a few moments, they'd be with Jesus forever. Even if suicide is a sin that would keep somebody out of Heaven, you'd at least expect True Believers to rejoice when they find out they have a terminal disease because that just means they'll get to Heaven quicker.
But, no, most Christians seem to fear death just as much as any infidel, even more so. Makes me wonder if they really believe in Heaven's existence. The only decent counter-argument I've ever heard is that they don't want to leave their friends and family behind in this Vale of Tears. I'll buy that, but there's a good counter-argument--if you're over the age of 50, you presumably have more friends and family waiting for you in Heaven than on Earth.
'Nother thought: I remember watching Leo Buscaglia on TV talking about how people cope with death. What stuck in my mind was when he stated that, in his experience, how people acted on their deathbeds had very little to do with their faith (or lack thereof) and have very much to do with whether or not they thought they had lived a full life.
I've asked this question many times.

If they truly believed? Their churches would provide death services-- an independent third party would kill the believer, eliminating the suicide issue, and send them directly to heaven, and their family too.

And all the shooter would needs do is ask forgiveness, and he's off the hook for murder...

... then the next one in line shoots >him< and asks forgiveness, and so on and so on... until there's one left.

Alas, that last one would have to play in traffic or something....
Mr Smartypants

United States

#24 Dec 4, 2011
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
I've asked this question many times.
If they truly believed? Their churches would provide death services-- an independent third party would kill the believer, eliminating the suicide issue, and send them directly to heaven, and their family too.
And all the shooter would needs do is ask forgiveness, and he's off the hook for murder...
... then the next one in line shoots >him< and asks forgiveness, and so on and so on... until there's one left.
Alas, that last one would have to play in traffic or something....
That reminds me of a similar idea: according to most denominations, there's an age of accountability around 7-10 years when kids aren't held accountable for their sins. Seems to me, that a real loving parent would kill their kids before that age to guarantee their salvation. When the parent is done offing his or her kids, then they can ask Jesus for salvation. Seems that a woman named Andrea Yates tried that in Texas a few years ago...

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#25 Dec 4, 2011
Mr Smartypants wrote:
<quoted text>
That reminds me of a similar idea: according to most denominations, there's an age of accountability around 7-10 years when kids aren't held accountable for their sins. Seems to me, that a real loving parent would kill their kids before that age to guarantee their salvation. When the parent is done offing his or her kids, then they can ask Jesus for salvation. Seems that a woman named Andrea Yates tried that in Texas a few years ago...
Yeah.... what a sick culture it is.
Fact

New Delhi, India

#26 Dec 8, 2011
Christians beleive that somewhere 'up there' exist futuristic and otherworldly hell and heaven. Where are these futuristic and otherworldly hell and heaven located? Are they located on some lofty island or on some mystical planets somewhere 'up there'? Are they located below the earth or above the earth? Can heaven and hell encompass God, or anything else for that matter?

"Everyone speaks of going there, but does not even know where heaven is. One who does not even know the mystery of his own self, speaks of heaven, but it is only talk."
(SGGS p1161)

It is god who encompasses everything including the so called hell and heaven, not other way around. And the same one god who encompasses everything resides within our bosom as well. Therefore, any hell and heaven that reside in god must also reside 'here within' ourselves. Thus, imagining or believing the notion that hell or heaven are mere futuristic and otherworldly existence is a creation of man's inconsistent understanding of these terms. Therefore, whatever is 'up there' must be demonstrated here on this earth; otherwise it has no meaning.

"He claims to know the lord, who is beyond measure and beyond thought; by mere words, he plans to enter heaven. I do not know where heaven is. Everyone claims that he plans to go there. By mere talk, the mind is not appeased. The mind is only appeased, when egotism is conquered. As long as the mind is filled with the desire for heaven, he does not dwell at the lord`s feet. Says kabeer, unto whom should I tell this? The company of the holy is heaven."
(SGGS p325)

Accordingly, the distinction between hell and heaven is so predominant that it causes fears and mental conflicts; resulting in unmeaning rites, rituals, ceremonies, paths, and beliefs; creating fake fear of hell and death, and expectation of some far-off heavens, and so on.

"Everything is within; there is nothing beyond. One who searches outside is deluded by doubts."
(SGGS p102)

Heaven is higher spiritual state of consciousness, and hell is a lower state of consciousness. To put it in simple terms, the enlightened mind is its own heaven whereas the unenlightened mind its own hell. Therefore, hell and heaven are 'here' and 'now'.

Since: Sep 10

Los Angeles, CA

#27 Dec 13, 2011
Mr Smartypants wrote:
Here's something I couldn't understand when I was a True Believer...
If there is a Heaven, it's supposedly a zillion skillion times better than our Earthly existence and is the ultimate goal for existing. If somebody really, truly believed in Heaven, you'd expect them to joyously run to the top of the nearest building and fling themselves off knowing that in a few moments, they'd be with Jesus forever. Even if suicide is a sin that would keep somebody out of Heaven, you'd at least expect True Believers to rejoice when they find out they have a terminal disease because that just means they'll get to Heaven quicker.
But, no, most Christians seem to fear death just as much as any infidel, even more so. Makes me wonder if they really believe in Heaven's existence. The only decent counter-argument I've ever heard is that they don't want to leave their friends and family behind in this Vale of Tears. I'll buy that, but there's a good counter-argument--if you're over the age of 50, you presumably have more friends and family waiting for you in Heaven than on Earth.
'Nother thought: I remember watching Leo Buscaglia on TV talking about how people cope with death. What stuck in my mind was when he stated that, in his experience, how people acted on their deathbeds had very little to do with their faith (or lack thereof) and have very much to do with whether or not they thought they had lived a full life.
Great perspectives.
I've wondered about this belief in heaven, fear of death paradox as well. It really doesn't make much sense at all. You would think that suicide, based on belief in the afterlife rather than the wish for nonexistence, would be the highest proof of faith possible, but christians often say that this will cause one to go to hell if you do it...or at least catholics, because there is no way to confess of that mortal sin.

Since: Sep 10

Los Angeles, CA

#28 Dec 13, 2011
Mr Smartypants wrote:
<quoted text>
Personally, I don't find death scary at all. Not in the least bit. What scares me is dying because that often involves a lot of physical pain. The thought that nothing but Oblivion lies beyond the grave is actually sort of a comfort, but I think that's because I feel that I've lived a reasonably full life. Also, it's because that life itself is a bit over-rated and I still haven't figured out whether existence is on the positive or negative side of the Joy-Suffering Continuum.
The only sort of afterlife that makes any sense to me is what I'd call 'solipsistic reincarnation'. Not reincarnation in the usual sense of Hinduism, but the idea that there will always be a conscious that's aware of its own existence. In this system, there's no carry-over--no karmic bank account that goes from one existence to another, no memories of past lives, no precognition of future lives. There's no sort of chronological continuity--hell, every reincarnation might be in a completely different universe with it's own set of physical laws. Most importantly, there's no sort of goal like Nirvana (the concept, not the band), and every reincarnation, the Self goes through the same existential crap over and over again. There were an infinite number of past lives and there will be an infinite number of future lives, ad infinitum. Actually, I find such a concept depressing and almost would prefer Oblivion instead.
If those are the only two options, oblivion does sound a lot better. The infinitely repeating existence is basically Nietszche's existential view, where you get reborn into the same life again and again, without any kind of carry over of consciousness or memory, so you better make the best of your life. Sounds lame. Infinite deep, dreamless sleep sounds better.
Mr Smartypants wrote:
<quoted text>
Of course, I do have a faint scintilla of hope that there's some sort of Paradise, but one of my own creation. The Christian version of paradise sounds like having to spend eternity in Salt Lake City, but even more dull. My paradise would look like a Maxfield Parrish painting, there'd be marijuana brownies growing on every tree, slapstick comedies would play on every movie screen, and there'd be plenty of large-breasted women interested in having scuba sex with me. But I digress :)
Your version of paradise is pretty nice! Man, I tried a weed brownie once, and got so high that I thought that I might have been actually dreaming my whole entire life, and I was starting to wake up. I didn't kiss the sky, I think I kissed like, jupiter!

What is scuba sex?
Mr Smartypants

United States

#29 Dec 14, 2011
Insane messiah wrote:
<quoted text>
Great perspectives.
I've wondered about this belief in heaven, fear of death paradox as well. It really doesn't make much sense at all. You would think that suicide, based on belief in the afterlife rather than the wish for nonexistence, would be the highest proof of faith possible, but christians often say that this will cause one to go to hell if you do it...or at least catholics, because there is no way to confess of that mortal sin.
Thanks, IM! My experience is that folks who claim that there's an afterlife cling to life just as fiercely as any unbeliever. If we're all just a single heartbeat away from an infinite cosmic Disneyland, you'd think that True Believers would do anything possible to shorten their lifespans as long as it didn't get themselves damned to Hell.

Remember a few years ago when Anal, er, Oral Roberts claimed that if he didn't raise something like 7-8 million dollars that God was going to 'take him away'? Seems to me that if getting reunited with Jesus and God is the ultimate goal of existence, Oral's threat would be "give me $8 million or God will force me to live in this 'vale of tears' for a very long time". BTW, some sucker businessman did cough up the money--the ol' story about a fool and his money. The irony is that Anal, er, Oral Roberts lived to be 92--which would be a great achievement for a materialist, but a tragedy of sorts for somebody who's trying to get to Heaven. Of course, his shithead followers--who follow the Health 'n' Wealth Gospel in opposition to Jesus' anti-materialistic teachings--completely failed to notice any sort of hypocrisy or irony whatsoever.
Mr Smartypants

United States

#30 Dec 14, 2011
Insane messiah wrote:
<quoted text>
If those are the only two options, oblivion does sound a lot better. The infinitely repeating existence is basically Nietszche's existential view, where you get reborn into the same life again and again, without any kind of carry over of consciousness or memory, so you better make the best of your life. Sounds lame. Infinite deep, dreamless sleep sounds better.
I would really hate it if I had to live the same life over and over, ad infinitum, even if there weren't any sort of carryover. Not that my life's been too bad, but I'd like to think there'd be more variety. The only way reincarnation would be tolerable is if existential lessons learned in one life would carry on to the next incarnation, or if there were some other way to fine-tune subsequent lives so that there's some sort of forward progress.
Your version of paradise is pretty nice! Man, I tried a weed brownie once, and got so high that I thought that I might have been actually dreaming my whole entire life, and I was starting to wake up. I didn't kiss the sky, I think I kissed like, jupiter!
Thanks, IM! The Christian version of Paradise sounds duller than Salt Lake City. The old song is "In Heaven There Is No Beer", and I'm sure the tight-asses would definitely not allow pot either. Jesus said that people wouldn't marry or be given unto marriage in Heaven, so sex is out. All the cool bands like Led Zeppelin would be in Hell, so it's just boring harp music for all eternity. What's worse is that insufferable assholes like Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn would be there and you'd have to tolerate their self-righteous blathering forever. Sounds pretty hellish to me.

If there is a real Paradise in any sort of objective sense, I'd imagine that it's a place where everybody gets all the gratification they want according to their own rules. In other words, it'd be a multitude of Paradises that are not under the control of organized religion.

Congrats on enjoying a fortified brownie! I've never understood the extreme paranoia surrounding what must be the most pleasurable and least harmful mind-altering substance out there. It's not just that legalized marijuana would ruin profits for the tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical industries, but something more than that.

I think it's because pot is also a mild psychedelic. To me, psychedelic experiences give me a much stronger sense of divinity than sitting in a church, and I'm sure organized religion fears the competition. Also, psychedelics help people see the world at a slightly different angle and the parallax makes subtle truths pop out--and one of the most devastating truths that the Establishment doesn't want to get out is that organized religion (and politics) is pure, unadulterated BULLSHIT whose primary purpose is to manipulate people. That's why pot is so strongly connected to the counter-culture and all the authoritarian control freaks are so fearful of it being legalized.
What is scuba sex?
Pretty much what you'd imagine it would be. I have a weird scuba fetish, and the thought of getting it on with a woman underwater wearing an oval mask, an old-fashioned swim cap with chin strap, a double-hose regulator, and classic Nimrod fins, well, it just makes my mask fog up. I've dated a lot of land-lubber women who are pretty nice, but I'm still holding out for a Zale Perry or Sylvia Earle type who wants to sit on my meat snorkel :)

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