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imagine there’s no heaven

October 27, 2011

So I’ve been thinking a lot about ideas of heaven. I would like to read a book that explains the cognitive dissonance between the two competing ideas of (1) human beings were like angels in the Garden of Eden, until they ate of the fruit of knowledge, and then were debased to become what we are now; versus (2) primates evolved, and the pinnacle of their (and all earthly) development was the birth of Homo sapiens.  That’s what I thought Paradise Lust would talk about, but it did not. At least one of Sheri Tepper’s books touches on these ideas, but does not elaborate upon them. Maybe there is an essay somewhere…

In any case, why do human religions sell the idea of perfectibility in heaven? When perfection is not only not possible, but I don’t even understand why it’s desirable. It’s so completely impossible that the only way I can see it could work is for heaven to be one timeless moment that lasts for infinity. That is, a frozen moment, where nothing is happening, nothing can happen. So you couldn’t have joyful reunions with dead relatives, or far ranging conversations with dead philosophers, because, first, both of those involve things happening. Even during death, things are happening: your spirit (if there is such a thing) goes elsewhere, to be recycled or reincarnated or whatever; your body begins to decay, and its constituent parts are recycled into nutrients. And second, all forms of life that we have ever countered have bodies, are bodies. Human beings like to think that we use only our brains to think, but scientists have discovered that we actually think with / throughout our entire bodies. Our bodies are receiving information from our environment, and processing that information creates emotions and thoughts and ideas. So if there is no body, there cannot be any emotions, thoughts or ideas. There cannot be relationships between entities, because there are no entities. So maybe spirits after death become balls of energy. But what need would balls of energy have to talk to each other? We communicate now because we have problems to solve together. Relationships, and everything else we know, grow out of the reality that life is hard, and it’s easier when you have help (friends, family, allies, teammates, whatever). If all troubles and problems disappear, there’s nothing to talk about, and there is no reason to connect. That doesn’t sound like ‘heaven’ to me.

Since life began on Earth, some 3.5 billion years ago, when has there ever been even one moment of ‘perfection’? Never! Evolution and adaptation mean constant change.

There won’t ever be any endpoint. No final solution. No unity, even with Godhead.

If there were a god or gods who created our universe, they are clearly not the type to sit around and contemplate their navel for eternity, or to seek followers who would do the same. Because if they were, they would have never gotten off their butt(s) and created the universe at all. So none of us would be here, there would be no Earth, there would be no Milky Way galaxy. There would just be God(s) and Their Navel(s). Forever.

I don’t see why something like that is supposed to be Nirvana. It sounds really boring to me, even for a day or two, never mind eternity.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. D-Man permalink
    October 28, 2011 02:25

    Go to TheGreaterReality.com to see a great spiritual book that also explains the mechanics of the universe.

    • October 28, 2011 10:59

      Thank you for your interest, but I’m not looking for a man to tell me what or how to think. I write about exploring my own thoughts.

  2. Var permalink
    October 29, 2011 22:02

    This is something I’ve always wondered about. The real gut-punch, for me, is what you say about no need for communication–I love words, and music, and art, and all those beautiful imperfect things that come out of our attempts to reach each other. We have no need for those in the “heaven” you describe.

    What I always thought would be nice is if the end of your life is a bit like the end of a really good book: at that moment, all the disparate pieces come together and you realize what it all means. For me, at least, I think that would be enough. 🙂

    (And I came here from slacktivist. Iffen you’re wondering.)

    • October 29, 2011 22:51

      Welcome, Var!

      Like you, I crave connection, but I also like diversity, and uncertainty. I don’t seek homogeneity. And Oneness is just oogy to me.

      I like doing bits and pieces of realizing all along the way. Every so often, I have a flash insight where I feel like I understand ‘everything’, but it never lasts, and it’s never anything that I can use words to talk about. Too right-brained, I guess. I do like your idea that maybe there will be a moment when I truly understand. 🙂

  3. October 29, 2011 22:58

    I have kind of a funky vision of heaven, but I think it fits in well with my theology of God as ever-loving, ever-healing. In my version of heaven, everyone is perfect in that they have perfect knowledge of the situations they participated in during their lives – they know and understand all of the pain and all of the joy. And heaven itself is a process of working through all of those wounds, of atonement for those things that you have done and forgiveness for those who hurt you. God’s love is bright and shining, but if you have chosen to bring darkness to others’ lives through hate and pain, it will hurt, especially at first. I’m not Orthodox Christian, but they have a strong emphasis on the idea of Jesus bringing re-creation to all of the Earth, and I certainly can’t see that just ending in heaven.

    • October 30, 2011 10:32

      That’s interesting, Shannon, and definitely unorthodox … but I like it! I always enjoy another problem-solver’s viewpoint – I learn stuff!!

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