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Smoking or Non-Smoking? November 9, 2008

Posted by sociallyacceptableinsanity in Atheism.
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I have always been intrigued and baffled by the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell.  Supposedly, everyone goes to one place or the other, though there is also that wonderfully bizarre place that the Catholics call Purgatory, which is kind of like a waiting room to Heaven.  It would take much to long to tackle that particular weirdness, what with all of the questions about venial sins, intercession and indulgences, so for our purposes here we will just stick to the basics. 

The drill goes something like this:  people who believe in god and play by all of the rules imposed on them by their particular religion will go to heaven. Everyone else will go to hell.  Heaven is a wonderful place of beauty and light where you are united with your loved ones for eternity.  Hell is a horrible, black place filled with fire and brimstone where you will burn for eternity.  Heaven is awesome, Hell sucks, so don’t screw up!

There are problems with this thinking (if you can call it thinking).  One is that each religion holds that only it’s followers will be “saved.”  Another is that it seems like the saved are more happy about the prospect of the unsaved burning in hell forever than they are about their own salvation.  I can almost hear them saying “neener, neener, neeeeener!”

It seems obvious to me that Heaven and Hell are concepts arrived at by the dual agents of fear and hatred.  We fear death so we invent a “better place” that we go to when we die, and we hate those that are different from us so we invent a bad place for them to go to after death.   We use the fear of hell to control ourselves and others around us, and we sometimes hate our lives so much that only the prospect of eternal reward keeps us going.

I think it’s pretty pathetic to regard life on this earth as nothing but a stepping stone to something far better or far worse.  I happen to think that life is pretty wonderful.  Yes, it can be painful, and messy, and sometimes almost unbearable.  But it’s LIFE.  Living, breathing, feeling, thinking, loving, doing, being, beautiful LIFE!  There is no better place than this, there is no worse place than this.  It is Heaven and Hell both, all wrapped up into one incredible and all too fleeting moment.  To spend your time worrying about where you may go after this is folly.  You are here, right now, with this one life. 

Live it.

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