Heaven and The Problem of Evil
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18-11-2013, 09:39 AM
Heaven and The Problem of Evil
One thing I've realized that I seldom see Christians talk about in any detail is heaven. Now, the Bible only gives us glimpses into what heaven is supposed to be, but it doesn't seem to be talked about other than in the most vague sense imaginable. I've noticed this both back when I believed and after I stopped. The only consistent thing I hear about it is that there is supposed to be no suffering. Now, how that is achieved differs from person to person. You might think that you'd feel sad thinking about loved ones that ended up in hell, but some people suggest that you are simply incapable of thinking about it (some go so far as to say your memory of those people is erased). Also, there is no sin or suffering in heaven, and certainly, no one is hurting anyone up there.

Now, that can conjure up some odd mental images, but where it really gets weird is how any imagining of heaven mixes with the most common forms of theodicy and modern apologetics.

There are a lot of different ways to try and solve the Problem of Evil, but the most common ones you hear about these days are Free will, you have to know dark to appreciate light, and the best of all possible worlds. Lets look at those in depth a bit in context with heaven.



Free Will:
Free will has always been a big deal for the Abrahamic religions. Many consider it the cause of all of our current suffering and the justification for the existence of hell. You can ask why God has to work under this framework and why it's necessary for us to be able to be this terrible for God's great plan, but rest assured that this is because of [reasons]. Sometimes, people speculate that this is because God needs to know that we really love him, so we have to be able to love him on our own, and that this isn't super creepy or narcissistic because of [more reasons]. I'm starting to get off track, but what's important is that free will is really important.

So, the believers all die and go to heaven (yay!) and everything is wonderful beyond all imagination. Also, they are being nice to each other, because if they weren't, it wouldn't be wonderful. So, are they able to sin or be mean to each other? Do they still have their free will? Yes or no?

Yes: Yes, they still have their free will, but they never make bad decisions. What the fuck?! Why couldn't God have made us this way in the first place? And before you say "well, only the good people go to heaven, so of course they behave themselves", according to the Bible there are no people on this planet who are without sin. It's not like they are already that good or anything. There's obviously some type of transformation going on here, and YHWH is clearly holding back on Earth. So, this leads to the conclusion of unnecessary suffering.

No: What the fuck!? I thought that free will was super important to justify The Problem of Evil because of [reasons]. This answer just invalidated this approach of theodicy on first principles.



You have to know dark to appreciate light/The best of all possible worlds:
(I'll combine these two here, because they work similarly when discussing heaven)

So, the idea here is that God faces some sort of limitations (because [reasons], of course) and that we have to suffer here before we can enjoy heaven there. It's a rather convenient Post Hoc justification, but it is what it is. The point is, we suffer some finite amount here so we can enjoy heaven infinitely there. Now, this seems like a bit of a math failure regarding how finite and infinite numbers work, but whatever. Now this leads me to an important question: does the amount we suffer in this life in any way impact our enjoyment of heaven (for all eternity!)? Yes or no?

Yes: Yikes! As creepy as it sounds, the most optimal solution here is the torture the ever-loving crap out of ourselves/each other as much as possible for optimal bliss later. Lets hope we weren't wrong and there is no heaven! Also, why does an all-loving God "bless" some people with more suffering than others? This seems unfair. Is it [reasons]?

No: So, as long as we've "suffered", then that's good enough to get the most out of heaven? Then anything more is unnecessary and God is being unnecessarily cruel. Anything beyond having souls exist in human bodies for just baaaarely as long as needed and then killing them and sending their souls to heaven is gratuitous. What the crap, YHWH?

Of course, the obvious answer is that these two approaches are simply Post Hoc rationalizations for why we get the world that we live in and can observe while simultaneously talking about God and The Problem of Evil. It's painfully obvious that either the yes or no answer to the question above point to a world that is clearly different than what we have, so, if you believe that heaven involves no suffering, then you have to come to the conclusion that God didn't craft the world in the most optimal fashion (making the best of all possible worlds fail).



So, there you have it. As soon as you start imagining an infinitely wonderful heaven, the Problem of Evil rears it's ugly head again, destroying several hundred years of carefully crafted apologetics. I really with Christians would talk more about heaven in Bible studies and ask these sorts of questions.
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18-11-2013, 09:51 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
You seem like a clever young man, and that's a very good question, but I'm afraid it's turtles all the way down.

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18-11-2013, 09:58 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
Stop trying to apply logic to illogical ideas. Big Grin

1. If free will in heaven exists without sin or suffering, it can exist on Earth. That's all-powerful;
2. If a place exists where sin is not possible while still allowing free-will, it can exist on Earth. That's all-powerful;
3. If people can go to heaven experiencing minimal suffering, while other experience incredible suffering, there is imbalance in the 'test';
4. If people can go to heaven if they've never heard of the Christian religion, there's imbalance in the 'test';
5. If there is a cutoff age where an early death guarantees entry to heaven, there's imbalance in the 'test';
6. A short lifespan with an eternal reward/punishment based on belief, which you really have little control over, is an incredible flaw;

Nobody can explain heaven but they sure are busy trying to sort out the specific rules for entry.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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18-11-2013, 10:26 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
I lol'd. Big Grin

There is only "problem of evil" for idiots who define good as god. Dodgy

As for heaven, there's Gwynnies! Heart Big Grin

Which is to say, I'm so absurdly in love with that dang Gwyneth Paltrow, sometimes I look at her and go the fuck away. Which is a loss of identity, a joyous loss, but a loss. Tongue

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18-11-2013, 11:14 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
(18-11-2013 10:26 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I lol'd. Big Grin

There is only "problem of evil" for idiots who define good as god. Dodgy

As for heaven, there's Gwynnies! Heart Big Grin

Which is to say, I'm so absurdly in love with that dang Gwyneth Paltrow, sometimes I look at her and go the fuck away. Which is a loss of identity, a joyous loss, but a loss. Tongue

Enjoy HoC! Hooray for side-boob!

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I like to do this, imagining his brain short circuiting for a few seconds every time he looks at his Qwynnies. It makes me chuckle a little inside my cold, dead, godless heart... Wink

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18-11-2013, 11:19 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
His Qwynnies. Big Grin

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18-11-2013, 11:31 AM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
Some of this ties in with what I was taught with the Jehovah's Witnesses... That after Armageddon, only a chosen few would actually go to heaven, and that Earth would become a paradise similar to what most people imagine heaven to be.

The JWs believe that heaven is literally a government from which either God or Jesus rules, those chosen to go to heaven being his sort of parliament.

How they arrived at that conclusion I'm not entirely sure.

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18-11-2013, 12:13 PM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
(18-11-2013 11:31 AM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  Some of this ties in with what I was taught with the Jehovah's Witnesses... That after Armageddon, only a chosen few would actually go to heaven, and that Earth would become a paradise similar to what most people imagine heaven to be.

The JWs believe that heaven is literally a government from which either God or Jesus rules, those chosen to go to heaven being his sort of parliament.

How they arrived at that conclusion I'm not entirely sure.

Probably [reasons].
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18-11-2013, 02:41 PM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
(18-11-2013 09:39 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  One thing I've realized that I seldom see Christians talk about in any detail is heaven. Now, the Bible only gives us glimpses into what heaven is supposed to be, but it doesn't seem to be talked about other than in the most vague sense imaginable.
Yes, that’s why Christians seldom talk about it in detail.
Quote:There are a lot of different ways to try and solve the Problem of Evil, but the most common ones you hear about these days are Free will, you have to know dark to appreciate light, and the best of all possible worlds. Lets look at those in depth a bit in context with heaven.

Free Will:
Free will has always been a big deal for the Abrahamic religions. Many consider it the cause of all of our current suffering and the justification for the existence of hell. You can ask why God has to work under this framework and why it's necessary for us to be able to be this terrible for God's great plan, but rest assured that this is because of [reasons]. Sometimes, people speculate that this is because God needs to know that we really love him, so we have to be able to love him on our own, and that this isn't super creepy or narcissistic because of [more reasons]. I'm starting to get off track, but what's important is that free will is really important.

So, the believers all die and go to heaven (yay!) and everything is wonderful beyond all imagination. Also, they are being nice to each other, because if they weren't, it wouldn't be wonderful. So, are they able to sin or be mean to each other? Do they still have their free will? Yes or no?

No: What the fuck!? I thought that free will was super important to justify The Problem of Evil because of [reasons]. This answer just invalidated this approach of theodicy on first principles.
Key word is was. By the time we’re in heaven, free will has served its purpose. It doesn’t need to continue eternally to serve as an explanation for POE.

One could argue that by accepting salvation, we’re voluntarily giving up free will.
Quote:You have to know dark to appreciate light/The best of all possible worlds:
(I'll combine these two here, because they work similarly when discussing heaven)

So, the idea here is that God faces some sort of limitations (because [reasons], of course)
Ya know, the parts that you gloss over as [reasons] might have a bearing on the discussion. Just sayin…
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18-11-2013, 02:49 PM
RE: Heaven and The Problem of Evil
(18-11-2013 02:41 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
Quote:You have to know dark to appreciate light/The best of all possible worlds:
(I'll combine these two here, because they work similarly when discussing heaven)

So, the idea here is that God faces some sort of limitations (because [reasons], of course)
Ya know, the parts that you gloss over as [reasons] might have a bearing on the discussion. Just sayin…

Probably not since they are all made-up, invented, lacking any evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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