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I’ve been thinking a bit about heaven, and I do not think it’s a place I want to go.  That may seem like an odd thing to say, but I’ve given it plenty of thought.  Here are the main reasons I don’t want to go to heaven:

  1. Forever is too long. I get bored when I have to eat the same thing three days in a row.  When I have gotten good at a new skill, I have a small window of time before I pick something new to conquer.  It’s one thing to imagine what it would be like to have the time to master everything I love.  I think perhaps it would take me a few thousand years.  It’s another to imagine getting good at everything.  Maybe that would take a few million years.  But I’m having a very hard time thinking of why I’d possibly want to be around in a few trillion years.  I can’t think of anything that would interest me for that long.  It occurs to me that any deity who would consign me to eternal anything, whether it be bliss or agony, would be doing it more for his pleasure than mine.
  2. Others Deserve it More than Me. Discarding the notion that a sentence of eternal life is punishment rather than reward, I think it’s important to consider how I’d feel waltzing around in heaven when the likes of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Anne Frank, Ghandi, Christopher Reeves, Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov, the Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplain, Rodney Dangerfield, Katherine Hepburn, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, George Carlin, Charles Shultz, John Lennon, Penn and Teller, and my Father would not be there.  I find it very interesting that Hitler tried to burn Anne Frank and we call him evil.  The Christian god is burning Anne Frank at this very moment, and will not cease to burn her for another trillion trillion years, and when that is done, he will burn her for another trillion trillion years.  And for this, we call him Good. I am told that if I only say the magic words and believe that the god Jesus sacrificed himself to the god Father, that I will be happy with this arrangement and enjoy heaven.  I think that I would be a very bad person indeed if I could enjoy knowing that people who had contributed more to humanity than I could ever hope to are suffering.  I don’t think I want this magic.
  3. I Don’t Think I’d Enjoy the Company.  It’s hard to determine who might be enjoying their first thousand or two thousand years in heaven.  I am told by believers in the Baptist Magic Words that the Catholic Magic words are wrong and that God has lovingly allowed millions of Catholics to go to their eternal punishment.  This seems odd to me, since the Catholics were a lot closer to having a birds-eye view of the thing.  Granted, they didn’t get their act together for a few hundred years, but the Protestants, from whom the Baptists are descended, didn’t hear magic words from their deity until over a thousand years had passed.  On the other hand, the Catholics assure me that the Baptists and Methodists are wrong.  This would be fine, except that the Church of Christ assures me that all of them are wrong.  In fact, the only thing I can find in common with most believers in the god Jesus is that they think most other believers in the god Jesus are wrong.  But in any case, I think the people in heaven sound like a real drag.  If the Baptists are right, I’ll have to listen to Jerry Fallwell’s booming condemnations for eternity, and that sounds awful.  If the Catholics are right… well, maybe Hitler will be there.
  4. It’s Too Easy to Get In. If there was something to do to get into heaven, maybe it would make more sense.  But I am told by various believers in Jesus Magic that one does not need to do anything at all, apart from believe that the god Jesus died of crucifixion and then performed god-magic on himself, which had the magical effect of allowing the Father god to let me into heaven.  That story is strange enough as it is.  If I told you that I’d be nice to you, but only if you believe that last night I cut my arm off, and then sewed it back on with magical thread, you’d think me quite the buffoon.  You’d also think I had very odd ways of choosing friends.  I think the god Jesus’ way of choosing who goes to heaven is even crazier.

Hitler tried to burn Anne Frank and we call him evil.  The Christian god is burning Anne Frank at this very moment, and will not cease to burn her for another trillion trillion years, and when that is done, he will burn her for another trillion trillion years.  And for this, we call him Good.

Here are a couple of additional thoughts:

I have been told that if I perform the correct Jesus Worship Ritual, that when I go to heaven, I will not be troubled by those who are not there.  Some people have told me I would forget that they existed.  Others have said that I will remember but will not care because heaven will be so wonderful.  If either of these is true, then I fully believe that I would no longer be myself.  I am a person who cares about the suffering of others, and who is hurt when my friends are hurt.  Some of the people who are already in hell were very dear friends.  They were good people who tried very hard to make the lives of their friends better.  I would not be who I am without their memory.  So if the god Jesus intends to erase my memory, I think that is the same as a death sentence.

Even more troubling is the idea that the god Jesus will make me so uncaring because of my own pleasure that I will not bother to grieve for my lost friends and family.  By all measures of goodness that I know, that would make me an evil person.  I do not wish to become evil, so I do not wish to go to heaven.

RELATED LINK: The Morality of Hell



5 thoughts on “Heaven

  1. I finally understand Calvin’s definition of humanism in the light of what you state in your point #2. While I don’t consider myself to be a humanist (in that I don’t think humans are collectively worthy of praise or even particularly special) I see why a Calvinist or any of Calvin’s intellectual bastards (could have said descendants, chose not to) can’t help but see it that way.

    The demand in any of the schools of reformed theology (with which we most constantly strive here in America) is to strip oneself of esteem and more importantly, to strip one’s neighbors of same for their eventual benefit. I’ve always thought that the whole “He must increase and I must decrease” battle is won at a funeral service in which the preacher spends 90% of his time talking about the saving power of Christ and 10% talking about the deceased. In your point #2, you cite many people who were selfless, many more who gave more than their due for others and some people who simply improved the lives of others while pursuing their own material gain (the Stooges were the most selfless obviously, as those poor bastards never made any money).

    The reformed Christian must view these lives as wasteful and despicable and even when filled with heroic labor, that labor must treated as a necessary evil and nothing more. The point being, we are humanists not because we think humans are the peak achievement of an unguided universe, but because we do not see being human as an especially bad thing to be given the options.

    This really is a Eureka moment for me.

    To continue, merely postulate another option (having a glorified body with which to worship God the Father for eternity) and you can live in relative luxury and call yourself an ascetic. It’s arguably the most morally irresponsible position I’ve ever heard, but that’s no surprise coming from a religion whose own initiating statement is the very constitution of moral relativism, in its equivocation of anger and murder.

    Posted by Clint | September 27, 2010, 3:26 pm
  2. Wow. I’m really glad to have contributed to an epiphany! I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven, so I’m especially glad that new thought inspired new thought.

    A Jesus Worshiper said to me recently, “When we believe in Jesus, we become worthy of the kingdom of heaven.” It struck me as very ironic. By allowing someone else to cast a magic spell on me and make me “worthy,” I give up the moral impetus to become worthy myself. Oh, sure, I can if I want to, but if I simply submit to the magic spell, I can then sit happily in my room drinking scotch and playing Boggle until death takes me and I no longer have to take a dump every morning before beginning to drink again.

    What’s more, I’m going to have a billion billion trillion years to inhabit a perfect body. The harm I cause myself in this body seems to hardly matter. If you told me all I had to do was pay a hundred dollars to receive ten billion dollars, I’d do it in a heartbeat. (I want it in writing, and a note from your banker first…) Similarly, if I can give up any reason to be good to anyone — including myself — by submitting to a magic spell, and I get an eternity of reward for my laziness… why not?

    Posted by hambydammit | September 27, 2010, 3:41 pm
  3. This is why it’s important for Christian’s to demonize atheists as evil and immoral. It makes then feel more comfortable about us going to hell.

    All our good works are framed as either unwittingly doing the work of God and getting no personal credit for it, or actively laboring against God’s will.

    Posted by Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life | September 27, 2010, 5:32 pm
  4. Why its really quite simple my primate friends,

    Evolution dictates that those species that evolve will survive as a species, while those that dont are eventually doomed to extiction.

    Simply just think of Atheism as an upcoming extinct species while those with the God gene continue on to heaven..

    Just Kidding,

    I am however amazed by the fact that so many of you seem to suffer from being rejected by the vast majority of society.

    Become a Deist and have fun playing the middle..

    ; )



    Posted by PG | September 28, 2010, 1:25 am
  5. I won’t go to Heaven if the Christians turned out to be right, even if god invited me. My reasoning is this:

    * In the Bibles, God is immoral, cruel, and unfair
    * The devil is always portrayed as the messenger of truth and knowledge, or a tempter
    * While god and Jesus say hell is full of fire and such, the devil never says that. And remember, god is liar.
    * None of the people I love and care about will be in heaven

    I’ll take my chances with hell and the devil. I’m thinking we’ll have some awesome galactic internet connection since he loves knowledge so much, and he can tempt me with sex, drugs, and rock and roll all he wants. I’ll even take him up on those!

    Posted by Dana | October 4, 2010, 2:40 pm

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