Class Warfare Blog

February 18, 2020

Stepping Back Once More—Heavenly Condominiums

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:40 pm
Tags: , ,

Many theists I read on the Internet are claiming to want or to have a relationship with their god and that their future includes going to Heaven and being with their god for all of time remaining. This is somehow linked to their “purpose” in life, which is a strange concept simply because a purpose is a reason for doing something. Having a purpose in one’s life doesn’t give people a reason to live. It gives a reason to live in a particular fashion. I know this because people who do not have a “purpose in their life” do not automatically commit suicide.

As part of my effort to get people to take a step back from their beliefs to be able to address them a little more clearly, what happens if you take a step back from this one?

I can see why a person would want to believe this is so. An afterlife provides additional life and for most people that is a positive. For many of the very elderly life can be tedious and painful and not worth living but, we are told, in the afterlife, all of your fears and pains are wiped away and being in a god’s presence may result in an ordinary human being blissed out. Whether one can stand being in that state for any length of time is debatable but since the conditions of existence in these afterlives is anything but clear, such discussions will bear very little fruit.

But, I can see why a human being might want this state, but step back and ask “Why would a god want to hang out with you and a billion or two of your fellow travelers for ever and ever? What’s in it for the big guy? One of the properties of these gods is that they are complete in and of themselves, meaning that they need nothing and want for nothing, so there is nothing human beings in an afterlife can provide these entities to meet any kind of need, because it has none.

Would the fields of human souls waving in a heavenly breeze give a visage similar to what we take pleasure in looking at like a field of ripened wheat or spring flowers? Would we make a pretty sight? If this god the interior decorator for Heaven? But this god cannot need or want such a sight, no?

More primitive gods had needs, but as human one-upmanship progressed, our gods got less and less humanoid and more and more supernatural. So, gods with sisters and brothers and husbands had needs and this played out in spiritual dramas (consider the story of Osiris). But a monotheistic god has no siblings, parents, etc. and needs nothing from them even if they did exist, so we have kind of painted ourselves into a spiritual corner.

To answer this question with “Our god works in mysterious ways” is to punt on the question. It isn’t an answer any better than “I do not know.” And, if you don’t know, shouldn’t you want more information? People seem to buy into the, for example, Christian Afterlife™ wanting even less information that they would in choosing a retirement or assisted living home. Yes, one could trust your god to do the right thing . . . if it had a track record of doing only that, but still, shouldn’t that information be more available? Apparently it is not readily available as questions about Heaven on Quora range from “Will our pets be in Heaven with us?” to “Do we still have/get to eat?” and “What will we be doing in Heaven?” ‘What will it be like when I go to Heaven?” and “Will there be free will in Heaven?” and “Do people in Heaven hear us?” and “What does Heaven look like?” and “In Heaven is everyone pretty and thin?” and “Will there be money in Heaven?” and “Is there time in Heaven?” and so on. At least the retirement homes have brochures and web sites and contracts.

PS Some claim that you can hear the screams of anguish of those in Hell in Heaven, which would make residence in Heaven very much less pleasant. (Heck, we don’t even like freeway noise, so the screams of people who may be your friends or relatives might be unendurable.) That question should probably be added to the list.

23 Comments »

  1. Hello Steve. I have never understood the idea that heaven could be overwhelming bliss. When I was a kid in the SDA church I was told we would spend our time in heaven preaching the good news about god to all the other creatures and beings in the universe. Sounded like the unpleasant street outreach Sunday afternoons I hated having to do. Go around bothering people enjoying their day to tell them about a god being they had no interest in. It was hot sweaty in our Sunday go to church suits to fumble to get the right words out as people wanted you to either go away or argue with you about things you were not prepared to address. I once stopped at a home where a man was bench pressing on a set up in his yard. He demanded I also lift weights to talk to him. I felt trapped, I couldn’t lift what that man did and instead of talking to him about the SDA version of a deity I spent 30 minutes getting heckled for being a weak kid. They should have sent adults out with us. To me that is what heaven would be like, eternal embarrassment and frustration. Have you seen the show the ” The Good Place” on Netflix? It is an interesting take on heaven or is it hell? Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Scottie — February 18, 2020 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

    • Ain’t Church folk wonderful? Part of the hypocrisy is claiming superior morals while displaying inferior morals. Our president must have gone to that church. And the non-Church people can be nasty, too, just as your weightlifting neighbor was. All said, you seemed to turn out pretty well.

      I didn’t invent the idea of being blissed our in the presence of their god. There are references of people not being able to look at god and live and how their hair turned white when in the presence, etc. Apologist have taken such Biblical comments and extrapolated them to explain what Heaven is like. It is “Pure joy!” Really, has anyone ever experience that emotion for longer than a few minutes. What would happen if it went on and on and on?

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 1:26 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 19, 2020 @ 10:16 am | Reply

  2. Appears to me that if these folks had the curiosity and the gumption to ask questions, they might soon be one of us… 😆

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by shelldigger — February 18, 2020 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  3. I’ve taken a step back and decided it’s pointless to answer questions from a person who believes truth is relative.

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — February 18, 2020 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

    • Don’t announce it, just do it.

      On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 7:23 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 4 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 18, 2020 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

      • Steve, and we both know that truth can be relative and absolute, duh. It always depends on the specific circumstances, those influencing variables upon those specific circumstances, and then all other relative, indirect(?) but important variables/factors going into what shaped the “truth” or degree of truth in question. It isn’t rocket science. But it IS definitely a portrayal of the observer’s and/or measurer’s limitations to know everything at any given time. And even then the observer’s/measurer’s personal background and bias is a factor as well.

        Nothing of what I’m explaining can’t be understood by a high school student. 😉 I mean, unless you are a flawless psychic able to see into the future, just answer people’s questions honestly with as much of YOUR truth or all of your truth as is possible! Duh. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Professor Taboo — February 18, 2020 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

      • Hence, those people who runaway from answering questions honestly, thinking it’s pointless in doing so, are in fact demonstrating either their naivety/ignorance, or their slothy laziness to demonstrate their knowledge… or in this case, their level of “Faith” (fake faith) in some higher power. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Professor Taboo — February 18, 2020 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

        • BRAVO!! I say again BRAVO!!!
          You have described atheists superbly.

          Atheists always “run away from answering questions honestly”.
          Allow me to demonstrate:

          Do you agree that just because SOME truth is relative it doesn’t mean ALL truth is relative?
          …and…
          Do you agree that if ALL truth is relative, theism and atheism are equally valid so criticizing one or the other is irrational?

          These are the kinds of questions that send atheists scurrying.
          Watch! You’ll see what I mean.

          Like

          Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 7:14 am | Reply

          • 🙄😴

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Professor Taboo — February 19, 2020 @ 10:30 am | Reply

            • I rest my case.

              Like

              Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 10:31 am | Reply

              • Finally! Like Steve instructed you: “Don’t announce it [or repeat yourself], just do it.” 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by Professor Taboo — February 19, 2020 @ 10:38 am | Reply

              • Finally! Like Steve instructed you: “Don’t announce it [or repeat yourself], just do it.” 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by Professor Taboo — February 19, 2020 @ 10:38 am | Reply

                • If I don’t announce it, you guys won’t know what happened. 🙂

                  To recap:
                  1) I said you atheists run away from questions.
                  2) You responded by not answering my questions.

                  By all means, keep posturing about how your intellectual, evidence-based worldview debunks my bronze age mythology. It’s cute.
                  🙄😴

                  Like

                  Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 10:53 am | Reply

      • Too late.

        Have you ever considered taking a step back from your own beliefs in order to address them more clearly? Scratch that…

        What does it mean to “address belief more clearly”? Never mind…

        Your articles are enormously helpful to me. They serve to remind me what will happen if I unplug from the rationality God lavishes on human beings.

        “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…”
        (Romans 1:20)

        Like

        Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 7:02 am | Reply

        • Re “Have you ever considered taking a step back from your own beliefs in order to address them more clearly?” Yes, I have. Most recently, when my mother died. Her one regret in her long life is that I had “not been brought into the church” (that was her phrase). So, I went back to square one and read a number of apologetic books with the intent of withholding judgement. (I was not at that time a “militant atheist” yet.) That process took some time, but I came out of it confirmed in my atheism and ready to embrace it (which I had not done previously out of respect for my relatives, especially my mother). I recommend this process to you if you are willing.

          And, you chose a quotation from Romans, which I find interesting. At least of all of the letters attributed to Paul of Tarsus, this is one people consider to be actually written by him. Paul was peddling “Special Knowledge” that only he had in the form of revelations and visions (mostly from reading OT scripture, interestingly). Since his was the special knowledge, other claims of a similar ilk were denigrated leading to–Those who think they are smart are not so smart. Those who think they know do not know. Only the knowledge of God is worth having, the rest is a futile pursuit. So, you think that this person, Paul the author of Romans, is a fount of wisdom when it comes to knowledge? You are just quoting someone who shares your biases. Well, now I know that there are at least two. Thanks for filling me in on that.

          Like

          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 19, 2020 @ 9:55 am | Reply

          • Paul is NOT claiming special knowledge, Steve. He is claiming that God has made Himself known to ALL people. Paul is claiming that God is COMMON knowledge.

            Atheism rejects the wisdom that has been understood by billions of humans around the globe throughout all history. It is YOU who claims to have “special knowledge”.

            Thanks for filling me in on that.

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 10:08 am | Reply

            • So, Paul never says “I am not a liar!” (having been accused of being a liar)? Paul never describes where his information comes from? Paul never upbraids churches for going against his teachings by listening to other teachers? Paul never expounded upon what knowledge of god was? Paul never offered nothing new?

              The claim that knowledge of God was “common knowledge” belies Paul’s mission. If it were common knowledge, what would Paul have to say? How could Paul keep an audience? How could Paul justify all of his trials and tribulations based upon his mission to share what people already knew?

              Do you ever think about what you say before you say it, or do you just spout the nonsense you were taught?

              On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:08 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

              >

              Liked by 2 people

              Comment by Steve Ruis — February 19, 2020 @ 10:16 am | Reply

              • Paul is talking about people like you, Steve. You know God but refuse to acknowledge him as the source of your consciousness. You refuse to be grateful.

                You claim truth is relative, then criticize theists for the things they believe.

                Do you ever think about what you say before you say it, or do you just spout the nonsense you were taught?

                Like

                Comment by John Branyan — February 19, 2020 @ 10:28 am | Reply

                • Re “Paul is talking about people like you, Steve. You know God but refuse to acknowledge him as the source of your consciousness. You refuse to be grateful.

                  You claim truth is relative, then criticize theists for the things they believe.”

                  Paul was talking about people like me as I can counter most of what he was saying. He wasn’t stupid, he knew that people who thought for themselves were his enemy.

                  I know your god? Really? You believe I do, but I have a hard knowing your god when your god does not exist. I know one thing about your god: it does not exist. That is the sum total of what know about your god.

                  I criticize Christian truth claims not because they are not true, but because they are contradicted by their own scripture. In Matthew it is claimed that believers can pray for anything and it will be theirs. But Christians say that their god answered all prayers but sometimes the answer is “no.” This is not what scripture says and so was made up by some idiot trying to explain why true believers do not get what they pray for every single time. I mock people who make claims they pulled out of their asses I mock people who claim things are there that aren’t there. I mock Christians who claim that the Bible is the literal truth (Objectively Literal Truth) and then turn around and claim that some such Biblical passage is metaphorical.

                  I do not claim that the universe has to conform to My Truth™ but mock people who do.

                  On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:28 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

                  >

                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — February 19, 2020 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  4. Gods should come equipped with a high boredom threshold.

    As boring as the prospect of spending eternity with Yahweh sounds, that must pale next to nothing for Yahweh Himself, if he has to put up with the likes of Branyan.

    Guitar “god” Eric Clapton penned ‘Tears in Heaven’, but a more apt title might turn out to be ‘Ennui for Eternity’.🤔

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by chris schilling — February 18, 2020 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  5. I recall reading one preacher from, oh, the 1800s, I think, who claimed something similar to what you ended your essay on, that one of the “entertainments” offered by heaven was to be able to look down and watch the suffering of sinners in Hell and mock them.

    I was brought up Catholic, was taught by nuns in the early 1960s, and had such a convoluted image of heaven, hell and purgatory (which was still a thing back then, apparently now they’ve decided purgatory doesn’t exist, I’ve been told) that I don’t think any of us knew what the blazes was going on. If you were really, really bad, you went to hell. If you were only slightly bad, you went to purgatory where you would burn for, oh, a few hundred thousand years or so, and then be taken up to heaven. Oh, and then there was something called “limbo” where the souls of unbaptized babies went because even though they were totally innocent of everything, they were still somehow sinners because Eve talked Adam into eating a piece of fruit. Limbo wasn’t hell, but it was a dull and nasty place because you couldn’t be with god. Saying certain prayers would take time off your sentence in purgatory, somehow. They even listed how many hundreds of years it would knock off in some of the prayer books we had at the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — February 18, 2020 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  6. “Do you agree that if ALL truth is relative, theism and atheism are equally valid so criticizing one or the other is irrational?”

    No.

    Theism only exists because some people are so damn sure their invisible friends exist. This belief, or supposed truth if you will, has no basis in fact. Hence theism is equally as valid as History Channel productions. Ancient Aliens anyone? You can speculate all day long, you can be a smug ass know it all, highly educated in your specific fantasies, but that is not truth or anywhere near it.

    You want truth, start with some facts. Facts are truth. Playing around with word game gotchas is pointless asshattery.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by shelldigger — February 19, 2020 @ 4:28 pm | Reply


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