Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
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05-07-2014, 10:15 AM
Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
When I still believed in religion, one of the things that just didn't make sense to me was the Heaven thing. It sounds really nice, but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made to me. Eternal bliss sounds nice and all, but when you put it under the microscope, it looks more like the eternal death that atheists believe in with a slight - and I feel, much more depressing - twist.

Atheists believe that when you die, you're dead and that's all there is to it. Religious people often find the thought of that so morbid, but when you think about it, the concept of Heaven may be even more morbid, especially if you believe in Hell. In all honesty, how would it feel to go to Heaven knowing that family members or close friends that you loved were in Hell (I know, no religious person I've come across ever believes that their son, daughter, best friend, and anybody else they deeply cared about would ever go to Hell, no matter how bad their actions)? Wouldn't that make you feel incredibly sad? Yet, heaven is supposed to be a place of eternal bliss. So what happens to your memories of life on Earth? Do they simply get erased? That thought seems incredibly depressing. Do you basically just live in suspended animation (like how they freeze prisoners in the movie "Demolition Man")? Something like that just seems absolutely pointless. I'd much rather be dead and gone than spend an eternity like that. Any way I tried to look at it, it made no sense.

Did anybody else here that's a former believer ever ponder stuff like this when you still believed?

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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05-07-2014, 10:23 AM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
I very nearly drowned once when I was around 14 or so. My fault, kayaking accident. But from that I felt I knew what happened after you die. I believed that everyone went to the same "state" once they were dead. A formless state, and those who believed would feel the warmth of god and feel perfect bliss. Those who didn't would still feel the contentment but would not feel the warmth of god.
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05-07-2014, 10:25 AM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
I did think about it a lot, although I was just a kid.

The thing is I never thought anyone I know would go to Hell because we were all pretty nice people. I wasn't taught that I should follow the Bible word by word, so I was pretty sure I was going to Heaven.

I remember, however, thinking that some kids that bullied us when we were very little might go to Hell, and I felt that was justice Tongue

I was really young though when I started wondering how the hell (no pun intended) an afterlife could work and questioning religion, so I don't remember much about my thoughts on the concept of Heaven.

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05-07-2014, 10:36 AM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
Not to blow one's own trumpet too loudly - but I did just post a wee vid about this...



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05-07-2014, 11:13 AM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
Being raised Catholic, I realized that the religion taught a concept of heaven but I could never really wrap my head around what it was supposed to be.

As I have gotten older and learned from others all the different ideas as to what heaven is, it's even harder for me to have a grasp on the concept.

From angels sitting on clouds playing harps, to people having castles and jewels in crowns, to streets paved with gold...I can't really assemble an image in my mind. It seems that the idea of heaven is different to everyone.

The only thing I 'get' is the need some people have to think they will see their deceased loved ones again. I just don't 'get' the idea of how or where or in what form.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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05-07-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
When I was 8, heaven seemed a pretty good idea to me where I'll meet my mom again but then my pets started dying and I would ask my mom if they'll go to heaven and she said no they just turn to dust and there won't be any animals up there. Believe it or not, thats when heaven started to bore me. Whats the point of having a castle if I won't have dogs playing in my yard?
Anyhow, I told myself okay maybe heaven will be so beautiful I will forget all about animals. So I concentrated on other things, the rivers of milk and honey, the sweet fruits and stuff made of gold and pearls. But wait a minute... gold and pearls will be as good as wood up in heaven since there will be no concept of money so thats another thing. And also soul doesn't need to eat and drink so whatever are we going to do with the rivers of milk and honey?
And the muslim heaven has ranks, like the highest heaven for the veryyy good people, the middle heaven for mild good people and the lowest heaven for the not too good people, so that means even in heaven people will be like 'Look at Lisa her house is so big I wish God gave me that big a house.' So we will still be greedy and envious?
The concept of heaven is clearly man made since it talks about gold, and pearls, and castles, and fruits and all these things only appear good to a living person. Not to a soul.

All great truths begin as blasphemy - George Bernard Shaw
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05-07-2014, 07:04 PM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
As a believer, I never thought very much about heaven. I was told as a Catholic that people who go there experience complete bliss and live forever in the presence of God. I pretty much just accepted that like a good little sheep.

But I had a conversation about heaven with my sister, who is still a believer, just last weekend. I brought up how awful eternity sounds and she said that heaven is timeless. I pointed out that eternity has no meaning without time (although in retrospect I don't think that's correct) and she said that we use the word eternity because we don't understand timelessness. I said it all amounts to the same thing - forever, without end - and finally got some agreement.

So then we moved onto the question of how a person can have eternal bliss with loved ones in hell. She answered something along the lines of heaven being so wonderful that it just wouldn't detract from it. Ohmy

So I mentioned that even in heaven God would still be the same God, would therefore still require worshiping, and I imagine it to be like spending an eternity on ones knees. She replied worshiping yes, but not on ones knees. The sacrifices would all have been finished and would no longer be necessary. Therefore, being on ones knees would no longer be necessary either. (Huh? I always thought kneeling was for respect, not sacrifice-specific.) I asked how she thought eternal worshiping would be bliss and she replied that people in heaven will want to worship God and God will keep them so amazed that they will never get bored.

I said it just sounds like the best narcotic anywhere and she got offended. I ended up having to explain that I wasn't being flippant and it was my honest point of view, but I found her defensiveness about it to be telling of the cognitive dissonance.

We moved onto other religious tangents from there, but there you have the perspective, and rationalizations, of a believer. Ugh.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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05-07-2014, 08:21 PM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
Oh, I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I failed. I simply couldn't do it.

Back when I was still a christian, the description of heaven never appealed to me one bit. Most people would describe it as 1) a place without time and without the bounds of the flesh, and 2) a place where one spent all eternity doing nothing but worshiping god.

Of course, that sounded more like hell to me. It's timeless, so it's also pointless, since no ambition, desires to be fulfilled or sense of satisfaction can exist.

Then there's the eternal worship. That just sucks. I never liked prayer. Even when I was at my most devout, I never liked praying. It was boring as shit and I just wanted it to end. It was also entirely meaningless. First, god supposedly already knows my mind, so he'll know whether or not I'm devoted to him. Second, god's will is done completely and utterly 100% regardless of whatever the flying fuck any human being says or does.

All prayer ever was and ever will be is a pointless arbitrary bullshit act supposedly done to satisfy some childish need for affirmation in an almighty dictator, not unlike elections in North Korea giving the president 112% of the votes.

In the end, the concept of heaven is one of a place that would be eternal torment were it not for the childish dictator apparently brainwashing everyone to enjoy it. So much for fucking free will, eh?
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05-07-2014, 09:34 PM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
Quite early on, I doubted the whole "sitting at the right hand of Jesus" thing. How many right hands does he have? Do you bump the last person out of the Big Seat, or do you stay in your seat until somebody better comes along? What's wrong with his left hand? Does the 2,748th person resent the 2,747th person for being 1 seat closer?

It just made no damn sense.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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05-07-2014, 10:06 PM
RE: Former Believers - Did You Ever Try To Rationalize The Concept Of Heaven?
Before I deconverted, the concept of heaven was false to me. It was taught to me that you do not go to heaven when you die, in fact heaven was not what it was. The kingdom of god was what is sought after in my old beliefs. However I did try to justify hell, which would happen weather the kingdom of god is back or not. I thought because the core was hot and made of magma hell was there. This was the Black Hebrew Israelite side of my old beliefs.

[Image: Guilmon-41189.gif] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOW_Ioi2wtuPa88FvBmnBgQ my youtube
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