I don’t know about you, but my idea of heaven is somewhat vague. I think that’s intentional on the part of the powers-that-be, those who encouraged my juvenile and adolescent belief in heaven, but that doesn’t clarify for me exactly what heaven is, where it is, or what it will be like if and when I get there. So I checked around.
The Catholic dictionary says this:
In Holy Writ the term heaven is used to designate the dwelling-place of God, His angels, and saints, as well as their happiness…The supernatural beatitude of heaven fundamentally consists in the intuitive vision of God, i.e., the seeing of God face to face and in experiencing perfect happiness through this beatific vision.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me that’s very unsatisfying. If I’m a good boy all my life on earth, and I qualify for a slot in eternal nirvana, all I get, as my just reward, is an “intuitive vision of god”? WTF? Am I finally going to meet this guy, face to face, or will I only intuit the meeting? I thought heaven was a fun place where you got to have ecstatic, near orgasmic experiences; where existence had no down side, no negativity, where everything was always positive, always creating joy and happiness, where all the suffering we experienced on earth was non-existent. A beatific vision is simply a joyful vision. While that might be uplifting for a few seconds, what about the rest of eternity?
It seems to me that heaven will have to have a lot of stuff to help wile away the time, (and what IS eternity but time? And a whole lot of it.) because the perceived slow passage of time is usually associated with boredom, and boredom doesn’t strike me as a desirable characteristic of the heavenly experience. On earth, we go to amusement parks, or movie theaters, or sit in front of our TV when we want to allay boredom, and even then, repeated dosages of the same tired sitcoms, indie-films or merry-go-rounds become the very definition of boredom.
Me, when I’m bored, I pick up a good book and become immersed in fictional or real worlds described by a good writer. But do I need to die and go to heaven to do that? No. I can do that right now, so perhaps I’ve already died and went to heaven?
And how about sex? Sex is the best thing we have down here on earth. I hope we get to take it with us. I assume that there will be sex in heaven, and not just with our spouses. Anyone we want. The Muslims seems to think so, with their 72 virgins, and they stole much of their theology from the Judeo-Christian tradition. And if you’re gay, you should have unlimited gay-sex, because god doesn’t discriminate. If you’re good enough to get into heaven, you should be able to partake of the best that is offered.
But wait! Heaven is starting to take on a decidedly hedonistic hue in my fanciful imagination (and what else do I have but my imagination – theology tells us nothing about heaven). Hedonism is frowned upon in most religions, and don’t religions mirror the mind of their leader?Maybe god’s idea of heaven is all that we should expect. No roller coasters, no cotton candy, no sex. Is it possible that the blueprint for heaven is already in front of us?
I gotta tell you, if being in heaven involves going to church every day, not just on Sundays, and praying to Mr. Beatific Visage, and singing hymns to him on a repeated non-stop basis, that to me sounds a lot more like the other place – you know, hell! Especially if I have to do it for eternity.
Even really devout Christians seem to be confused about what heaven is all about. Except N.T. “Tom” Wright, Bishop of Durham, the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England. He’s not confused. He’s got it all worked out:
God will download our software onto his hardware until the time he gives us new hardware to run the software again for ourselves.
Whoa, dude! That’s so high tech! You gotta admire a god that keeps up with the times.
Can you spell A-P-O-L-O-G-E-T-I-C-S?
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Reminds me of this Robert Earl Keen song called “Is there wireless in heaven?”
That one blonde has HUGE cans, beer gut too, but HUGE cans. Well done sir.
Now that’s what I call an amusement park!
Still, an aunt told me I was “just being stupid” when I opined that for me it would be a bit more heaven like to see crisp, early fall days, and early morning rides on a good-natured, willing horse when I would want it. Good people, horses, dogs, music of all sorts, maybe even a flat-head engine to work on, that’s what would be heavenly to me.
Strangely, I am supposed to be looking forward to a church service that goes on for eternity, except when practicing some form of sychophancy. Things I’ve eschewed and avoided all my life.
Something about a bunch of saints casting crowns on the ground by a silent sea and some damned odd animals who may, I suppose, have some curiosity value.
I keep thinking of Parke Godwin’s two companion books, “Waiting For The Galctic Bus” and “The Snake Oil Wars”, and just sigh.
Sarge, I haven’t heard many people say this, but after all the shit we go through in 80-90 odd years of life, did you ever stop to think that perhaps the sleep of eternity could be heaven? I know that the older I get, the more I look forward to going to bed.
Actually, yes, and oblivion will be just fine … I mean just nothing, not even consciousness.
Rudyard Kipling even wrote a neat poem about what he thought the “afterlife” would be like in his ideal. That would be OK with me (he includes a milenia or two of sleep and rest after this life in his offering) if it were something actually that existed.
Started on Interferon yesterday (one of those “forlorn hope” thingees) and escape from that, even in oblivion, would be just fine with me.
I’ll trouble the world for yet a while, but I’ll not see the mid seventies, I’ll be extremely lucky (or… not…depending) with what’s on my plate.
My wife and I were discussing the fact that I will be ending my tenure here sooner rather than later, and we took some time out to watch TV. A wildlife program, it was, about moose.
Couldn’t help myself, I began to sing one of my favorite “guy” songs: “Moose…moose…I like a moose, I’ve never had anything quite like a moose, I’ve lived a long time and my morals are loose…”
She did that thing where she rubs her temples, sighs in exasperation, and says, “You may very well die sooner, but sometimes you make my days with you seem longer”.
She also recalled the “skeleton” incident. Shook her head.
I admit it, SHE will deserve rest and oblivion after a lifetime with me.
If it’s any comfort, I’LL miss you. And your comments.
“…I’LL miss you. And your comments….”
Thank you. As for my comments, most of my life I have been invited, not to say been urged to keep my comments to myself. If someone says this sentiment is justified, well, I don’t say ‘no’.
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My first thought looking at those pictures was, “I’m sure glad I’m looking at boobs bouncing around rather than bouncing bags of franks and beans.” Then that made me think about how, aside from seeing the not so pretty ladies naked, the whole nudist thing is troubling since free boobs means free franks and beans, and probably more of those than boobs. I suppose that might be one reason why we ban nudity, because as great as free boobs are, most don’t want to have to deal with free sausages as well. That’s sort of how censorship comes about, isn’t it? You ban what you don’t like, but if you care about being fair, you have to ban far more, so protection from penises sadly means no boobs.
Speaking of which, last month someone allegedly built a snow penis on their front yard and a neighbor is suing everyone because when the police came out (at the neighbor’s request) they just laughed and drove away. The neighbor was horrified for the effect it would have on her child, a boy. I suspect homophobia.
I’m rambling, no doubt due to a severe lack of sleep, so it’s funny you all speaking of death as sleep. There are times when I’m busting my ass for my work that I question wtf I’m doing it. The wife does as well when she believes my colleagues aren’t doing as much work as me. Why don’t I just ease off a bit and make things easier for myself? All I can say is that I can’t. For some reason, I care. I care that things are done right, I care about my job. I care about the immensity of the responsibility I see myself having with my job and so I push myself. Also, I think I NEED something to do, and the harder it is the better. Perhaps I’m sick in some way. Those who see heaven as lounging 24/7 probably think so.
So that gets back to this heaven thing. How can it be the same for everyone when everyone doesn’t have the same hobbies, like the same food or drinks, enjoy the same entertainment or take the same vacations? And what of nuts like me who don’t take vacations? Heaven, as it’s often described, would be a hell for me. Then maybe we each get a unique, customizable heaven. But what of the many who seemingly can’t be happy unless they KNOW everyone is doing the same fucking thing as them (and probably taking extra pleasure in forcing people against their will to do what they’re doing in exactly the same way as them)? No heaven for them, then.
Heaven is a ludicrous idea that no believer ever gives much scrutiny to, much like all the rest of religion.
Back to work…
Franks and beans? Too funny.
Since Xtians are so convinced of heaven, and that heaven is SO much better than life here on earth, why do not they commit suicide to be with their Lord in paradise?
I know what you mean, Philly. I have music to get out, and it doesn’t write itself. Had one of the worst arrangement crisis’s you can get. From good to bad they go like this:
1) You work, a piece you figure will be good is actually good.=good 2) The piece you are afraid will be bad turns out to be good. =good 3) The one you think will turn out good turns out bad. Not necessarily a bad thing, you can figure out what’s wrong and fix it. 4) you do one and it turns out to be nothing much at all. Just blah. Those are the toughest because you can’t easily pinpoint the crappy parts to fix, or the good parts to punch up a bit. Have been working on a #4. In that case I spend no more than four hours jiggering with it, and if there is no appreciable improvement, start from scratch. Boy, do I hate that!
And when I have a good, productive process going, I can’t stop no matter how I feel or how tired I get. It’s all but impossible to get back on track if you do.
“Heaven, as it’s often described, would be a hell for me. ” That’s pretty much it for me, too.
I noticed something in those pictures that made me sit up and take notice…besides the obvious, I mean. OK, I may be aging, disabled, and ill, but I’m not stone, and I’m hetro, so I will admire if something is presented. (Wife was standing right beside me, commenting on the clothing and support needs of the young ladies in question. She just retired from selling “inimate aparell”, likes to keep her eye trained)
I noticed that they were happy and obviously enjoying themselves, and damned if that didn’t make them even more attractive to me.
Here’s something for all the aging talk. 😉
I had to laugh at the thought of the girls enjoying themselves so much. I have to confess I’m envious. Before me was the free lovin’ time, and after me kids are doing all kinds of stuff. I got stuck in the miserable, “just say no” era. No naked roller coaster rides in my day, dag nabit!
I keep wondering what attraction a large, vibrating thrill ride has to a naked woman. Why ARE they smiling so much?
🙂 🙂 🙂
We’ll never tell!
Chap… is that why women like Harley’s?
I’m not telling, remember?
Hallelujah, I think my fear of roller coasters has been exorcised. 🙂
Well, once again, it’s time to clue-in the ignorant.
Everyone, here, like many Christians, seems fixated on the idea that the redeemed are to live in Heaven for eternity. Of course, this shows that many do not know their Bible.
Try to remember how all of this started. God created a planet with plants, animals, culminating with the creation of mankind. The original plan was to have a livable biosphere for the purpose of sustaining a creation comfortably and happily. Then, sin came along, disrupting everything. If one were to read the Bible for any other purpose than to mock and deride it, they would soon see that the overall theme is restoration… in other words, God wants to return His creation to it’s original habitation, free of the effects of sin. Man, originally, was created perfect. God seeks to rehabilitate man, eventually restoring him to his original state.
Eventually, God intends to establish His seat of government here, on Earth. (Revelation 21: 1-3) The Earth will be made new as in the beginning. Man was created for useful labor, looking after and sustaining his home. Earth will be the eventual home for the redeemed, throughout eternity, not floating around on some cloud, strumming harps like some demented moron/automaton. These theories are started and spread by infidels and ignorant fools with no knowledge of scripture.
There won’t be any sexual intercourse in Heaven, for sure. I don’t know about the New Earth… perhaps, as sex was created to be a pleasurable experience between a MAN AND A WOMAN, not entirely just for procreation. Anyway, as John so aptly puts it, sex isn’t everything, especially after a week of driving a rig on shitty roads, enduring bad weather and dodging lead-footed four and eighteen-wheeled morons, all I want to do is enjoy a weekend of relaxation, including sleep. I’d be just as happy relaxing on some white-sand tropical beach under a parasol, watching young and succulent things cavorting about, all the while sucking down a cold one (or two or three) and doing absolutely nothing.
This confused world is NOTHING like the one that God initially created. Remember, it was nearly destroyed in a world-wide catastrophe, (the Flood) and totally rearranged and transformed. It’s crust was fractured by cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanism, even knocked off of it’s axis a few degrees, producing the seasons that we now have. Originally, it had a uniform climate, all over, with vastly superior life forms, man included. Unfortunately, his capacity for sinning was also greatly increased by virtue of his superior physical and mental acumen. It was this transgression that initiated God’s judgment in bringing the Flood upon the Earth.
Whatever awaits in Heaven, (I do know, actually, but, that’s probably beyond many, here, at this point) is moot beside what eternity can provide on a rejuvenated, sin and sinner-free New Earth. Maybe if you cretins would spend less time mocking and slandering God and His Word, actually taking some time to read His Word, you might not have to speculate like you are and do, so much.
Oh? It just happened to pop into existence? Yea, right. Would you like to buy a bridge? Real cheap, for you, half off. It’s in New York. Just send me your life savings and I’ll send you the deed.
Hey, Giddy. Do you attend one of those happy-clappy churches where everyone shouts “Hallelujah” and “Praise the Lord!” and all that stuff, constantly reinforcing each other in your mutual delusions, like the ones you wrote up there?
Yeah, Johnny, it just “happened to pop into existence” through Lucifer/Satan, who cherished envy and lust in his inner being, manifesting itself into open rebellion, later on. Sin, in and of itself, is a mystery. Some say that if you could explain it, it would be justified in some way. There really was no reason for it to be at all, yet Satan chose to defy God just as you infidels, his namesakes, do. As many intellectually-bankrupt fools like to believe, sin did not originate with God or as a result of His creative work. Perfection entails freedom to follow or leave, an act exercised daily by you and other infidels here whom have chosen the latter. God doesn’t/didn’t make automatons.
Satan, on the other hand, doesn’t include choice in anything. You DO or ELSE! Sound like the world we live in? It ought to, it’s his world… for now, anyway.
And, just as I am who I am and not Larry Wallberg or any of those others, I don’t belong to any “happy-clappy” groups nor anything close. I am a Christian… period. A Bible-reading, Bible-believing, humanism-despising, infidel-correcting individual that believes the truth should be given at least the same time as all of the Darwinist/Dawkins-ist bullshit that you bozos love to wallow in.
Cl, I liked that post you did. Yes, infidels only have traditionalist mumbo-jumbo to rely on for their mocking, (and their own natural inborn animosity) which doesn’t give them a whole lot of anything for ammunition as most tradition is simply the musings of pagans and undercover infidels. As for Philly, well… heh, heh… he’s ‘special’. I don’t expect he’ll say anything that would give anyone the slightest inkling he’d approve of anything that doesn’t agree with his own cherished opinions. He’s got too much invested in his ‘following’ to ever recant. A lot of bitterness, there, too, over something.
As I am back on the long haul, weekends are all I have to devote to my flock of infidels. I do trust my charges to always find new ways to mock and deride truth, but, hey… it goes with the territory!
Gideon “Yeah, Johnny, it just ‘happened to pop into existence’ through Lucifer/Satan, who cherished envy and lust in his inner being, manifesting itself into open rebellion, later on. Sin, in and of itself, is a mystery.”
Who made Satan?
“As many intellectually-bankrupt fools like to believe, sin did not originate with God or as a result of His creative work.”
Obviously. I mean, back when Ford made a car that burst in to flames when it got hit from behind, it couldn’t have been Ford’s fault.
“Perfection entails freedom to follow or leave, an act exercised daily by you and other infidels here whom have chosen the latter.”
How perfect is a perfect creation that, none the less, fails to be perfect? How perfect can the perfect God that created it be?
“Satan, on the other hand, doesn’t include choice in anything.”
Who made Satan?
“You DO or ELSE!”
“Believe the right thing or spend eternity being horribly tortured!” ~ God
“And just to make it a little humorous (for me) I’ll add a little enigma and contradiction to the mix so that a sizable number of my creation fail to figure out my mind and get it (horribly) wrong. Gotta keep the herd thinned out.” ~ God 😉
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SI / Sarge,
Happy new year. I agree with you that the traditional concepts of the afterlife seem boring and unfulfilling.
I wrote this post tonight, before you made your comments, then, popped over here where I found you said almost the exact same thing. If you really are the Exterminator / Trinity / Larry Wallberg, one thing I’ll give you is that you at least know your Bible.
So true. Isn’t it ironic that PhillyChief — in the name of logic and reason — makes the across-the-board, fallacious claim that “no believer ever gives much scrutiny to” the idea of heaven, when, in fact, here are two who’ve obviously given the idea quite a bit of scrutiny?
Imagine my surprise. Mr. Rational Theist believes the exact same shit as Gideon. Who woulda thought?
Yeah, I was gonna say… when you agree with Gideon, the proper response is to go “Ah shit, what’s wrong with me?” and slink away to a corner hoping nobody noticed.
Giddy’s his own man. If unique is what you seek, you found him.
However, we all know you’re Godless Randall.
If you’re accepting the existence of Christian Heaven as fact, then debate over its particulars and rules for admission isn’t scrutiny, jackass.
Is that what you guys think? If so, that’s funny. Add that to the litany of atheist claims without evidence. Just like I’m also “jason” and all the others who disagree with Team Scarlet A. Are you guys really that paranoid? Come on! FWIW, I was actually thinking “Godless Randall” was another masterful invention of Larry Wallberg. However, I couldn’t amass enough evidence, not even with my black hat on, so, I quit playing around with the idea. It’s a futile waste of time.
Man, you really do need to take some classes. Can you read? Do you even try? Or, do you just see the letters “cl” and dip into knee-jerk, “I must disagree with everything because I’m an atheist” mode? I believe in an afterlife. I don’t tout it as fact, precisely because it is my belief. In contrast to, say, yourself who preaches atheism like some sort of gospel truth. Nothing in belief precludes scrutiny. So, yeah, your claim that “no believer gives much scrutiny” to the idea is – like most of your claims – utterly ridiculous and without warrant. Of course, I don’t expect you to admit it, either. We all know the drill: you’re PhillyChief, the oh-so-rational, super-duper smarty pants, chest-puffing atheist who’s never wrong about anything! There’s no point in debating a fundamentalist of any stripe, cupcake. Move along.
Exactly. Talk about hitting the nail on the head! I guess that’s the unfortunate plight of those poor, underconfident souls who are afraid of girls in high school: a lifetime of overcompensation through chest puffing and vagary. It really must be a living hell to feel so small inside that you lash out at anyone and everyone who disagrees with you. Like clockwork.
Anyways, Giddy… be safe on the road. No meth, and watch out for ice patches.
An ounce of scrutiny would reveal no evidence for an afterlife. Belief in an afterlife, therefore, is based solely on faith, which is at odds with scrutiny.
You may claim that the existence of an afterlife isn’t fact, cl, but Giddy does, along with details based (to varying degrees) on the Christian bible. So do I see you two applying scrutiny to the whole Christian heaven idea? Yeah, in the way two Trekkies might scrutinize the possible outcomes of an encounter between a Romulan Warbird and the Defiant. Giddy would be the one with the prosthetics, speaking in Klingon and demanding everyone address him as K’Krok, whereas you’d be the douchey one. 🙂
David Mabus, aka Dennis Markuze