Christianity with no afterlife
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24-02-2015, 08:20 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 01:36 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:52 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  This thread will pretty much be one of pure speculation, but I got thinking about it and wanted to ask all of you.

Imagine when Christianity was founded that there was no heaven or hell attached to the belief system. Either, when everyone died, there was no afterlife or they all got the same afterlife (picture Hades or Sheol). This would remove the biggest carrot and stick associated with religion. It would also make the idea of salvation quite different, as Jesus would only be absolving people of earthy punishment. That, of course, is quite a bit more testable than notions of eternal salvation. It's pretty obvious that not every wicked person dies or suffers in this life, and plenty of righteous people do suffer.

So, to get to my question: What do you think Christianity would look like in the modern age if there were no heaven or hell taught in the religion? How would that affect the number of believers? How would it affect those that do believe and how they preach?


My guess is there would be far fewer Christians, as it's be a harder sales pitch. For the ones that do believe, I'd imagine a lot of lax believers, as they don't have a constant threat of hell to coerce them into being better. That being said, I could also see a contingent of stronger "true believers" who feel a need to be right just to be right.

For further speculation, it's possible the religion (if it survived) would have morphed to keep itself alive. So, absent of any eternal salvation and any obvious divine intervention, they might take it upon themselves to police the sinners in this world. So, if a Christian punishes a sinner, would that be divine retribution? I mean, this type of thing does exist to this day, and that's with people already believing that God will judge them, anyway.

It would die the death! The Bible talks about the injustices of this world that are only fully corrected in the next. If Stalin is forgiven in the next world, what a merciful God! If Stalin suffers for snuffing millions of lives and oppressing 100 million others, what a righteous God!

"Christianity with no afterlife" ?
It would just be going back to it's roots. St. Paul thought only the saved were immortal.
Corinthians 5:3 : "For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
The Jews did not believe in immortality the way we think of it, (as any scholar knows).

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24-02-2015, 08:55 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
Quote:Saving the soul from itself. Fucker's got one hell of an appetite.

It's got its own kitchen. Tongue
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24-02-2015, 09:03 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 07:25 PM)pablo Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 05:39 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Why not? Salvation in the religious sense is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. To the extent that the concept of a soul presupposes neither dualism nor permanence, salvation is not incoherent.

Saving the soul to where?

It could be considered salvation from human nature as in it could help ones tendency to fall to ones passions.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

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24-02-2015, 09:08 PM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2015 09:46 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 09:03 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 07:25 PM)pablo Wrote:  Saving the soul to where?

It could be considered salvation from human nature as in it could help ones tendency to fall to ones passions.

Human "passions" evolved to promote survival. The concept of "evil" in the OT was taken directly from the Sumerian concept of "chaos". Read Martin Buber's "Good and Evil", (besides the "I and Thou" your Catholic professors seem to love). One does not need to be "saved" from the Human Condition. Your Jebus cannot do it, nor did he ever claim that was his mission. Religion is/does nothing but raise your circulating beta-endorphin level.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid160188
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-Look

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24-02-2015, 09:15 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 09:03 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 07:25 PM)pablo Wrote:  Saving the soul to where?

It could be considered salvation from human nature as in it could help ones tendency to fall to ones passions.

I thought the entire point of having a soul was to hold it hostage until you die. Why even have the concept of an eternal soul if there is nowhere for it to go after you die?
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24-02-2015, 09:21 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
Without an afterlife, religion does not exist. That is the entire point to a religion.


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24-02-2015, 09:40 PM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2015 09:48 PM by Escape Artist.)
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 11:01 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  You'd hardly find conversation stories of folks who became Christian because they were so terribly afraid of hell.

Actually, I became a Christian as a young child precisely because I was so afraid of hell. I knew I wasn't perfect and was unworthy of God's perfect heaven. The fear of what I deserved - eternal damnation - had me praying the Lord's Prayer* real quick. Undecided

*Make that the sinner's prayer. Derp. Facepalm

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24-02-2015, 10:03 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 09:21 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Without an afterlife, religion does not exist. That is the entire point to a religion.

Nope.

#sigh
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24-02-2015, 10:30 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
The end goal of Christianity is eternal paradise.
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24-02-2015, 10:51 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
I think the original choice, depending on how you lived your life, was the afterlife or death. The Catholic church had to invent hell to exert some control over the masses since at the time most people could give two sh*ts about an afterlife.
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