There’s a whole lot of smart guys telling the rest of the world that religion is a whole bunch of hooey. Let’s not worry about that.
Instead let’s dwell on the good stuff religion does.
Keeps us together. Helps maintain some level of respect for each other, and reduce the amount of violence we heap on each other. Those are all good things.
There’s one big problem every big religion faces. Getting members motivated to do good, and avoid doing bad.
In psychology this is reinforcement, positive and negative.
In many judeo-christian religions, the biggest positive reinforcement is called heaven. It’s a place good souls go after the body dies. Other religions have happy places as well, all with slightly different amenities.
As far as I can tell, way back in the beginning, christianity didn’t emphasize the negative aspects. It was some centuries before they began talking about hell. Even more centuries to imagine the idea of purgatory, hell’s waiting room.
Heaven. Hell. Whatever you want to call them, you can’t have a good religion without them. If people believed that there was no heaven or hell, then they would damn well do as they pleased. We’d be living in anarchy.
Therefore heaven has to exist in order for a religion to work. Hell also has to exist in some form, but not as importantly as heaven.
Here’s the fun part. Heaven and hell already exist. They are real.
And they are both right here.
My actions, your actions, everyone’s actions create ripples throughout society. They create a disturbance within the force of nature. They slightly alter the course of humanity’s future.
If you’re a good person, your memory, your actions, your “soul” does remain among the rest of us in the form of what you’ve left behind. You exist in the sense that we all remember you, respect you, and retain a small part of you long after you are physically gone.
Heaven is right here on Earth. You live on in the sense that part of you lives on within me.
So the next time you hear someone say religion is bad, or argue that religions shouldn’t exist, remember this. You’re already in heaven, and they aren’t. Sit back, be good, and enjoy eternity.