Heaven Can’t Wait

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.

 

Religion, Guilty or Innocent

There’s a whole lot of holier-than-thou smart guys running about, telling the rest of the world that religion is a whole bunch of hooey.

They might be right.

Then again, what’s their problem?

My guess is that they are blaming a whole lot of badness on the fact that religion exists, and a whole lot of people claim to be religious.

First off, I don’t think you can actually blame religion itself for much badness in the world.  Sure, Daesh and Taliban claim to act for religious reasons.  Religious states such as the Vatican or Israel also claim to made their decisions based on holy texts.  Political demigods such as Erdogan and Trump are in the same category in that they have based much of their public appeal on religious grounds.

Wait!  There are so many examples where religion is the basis of great evils in the world.  Doesn’t this mean that religion must be the bad guy here?

No, definitely not.  It’s not logical, it’s not scientific, it’s not fair.  Only because all these players use religion to further their own selfish purposes doesn’t mean that religion itself is the bad guy.

Religion is a device that helps holds groups together.  I talked about this earlier.

I was going to talk about heaven here, but this point is probably more than enough for now.  So, heaven is just going to have to wait.

See you next time!

 

Hate. Part 2.

Everyone loves a good story. Fables, myths, legends, adventures of all sorts are the kind of things we thrive upon. Since Homer sung of Odysseus in the Iliad and Odyssey, up to the most modern incarnations of Superman, our souls thrive upon stories. A good story is food, for it uplifts our spirits and binds us together with friends. A good story becomes part of our life foundation, laying a bedrock of beliefs guiding our storm-tossed lives towards a constant star. Yes, stories are an important part of our lives.

The story I wish to tell is of a soul, like Odysseus, fighting nature to find his true resting place. Unlike the most wily of men, the soul in this story is yours. For your soul must constantly obey and battle the forces of nature in order to maintain an even keel. You must breath, eat, and sleep. Part of you desires companionship, another a sense of accomplishment. You must fight darkness and cold, the press of humanity and the oppression of both enemy and friend.

This story I wish to tell takes your soul first to the end of its journey, to heaven; a place where love is plentiful and the pain of reality a dim shadow. That such a place may exist has been told in all cultures, from Jesus to Buddha, every tribe, every culture has described its own version of a place where the dark forces of nature no longer apply.

What makes the stories of Jesus and Buddha powerful is that they describe the path to heaven. Other men have told similar stories: Gandhi and Schweitzer. They all begin as ordinary men, but through great trials end up becoming something greater. We extoll them as pinnacles of humanity, but in everyday life pay them little heed. Great churches and temples exist to help other souls reach the same heaven, with unknown success. These places of worship seem more interested in their own survival than the elevation of their members.

The story I wish to tell begins in heaven, and then returns you to the world of men. For it must be in the world of men that change takes place. And it must be the entire world of men that attains heaven, for it does you no good if only you attain heaven. We are a connected world, a small planet in an infinite cosmos.

What is that heaven? How is it best described? Believe it or not, you already know the answer, for you have already been there. For it is the heaven of a blissfully ignorant child. A child who grows up in love, and support. A child who does not know the hatred of a neglectful or resentful mother. A child who does not know the rejection of an absent father. A child who does not know the hate of a country or culture that denigrates others. A child whose school days are absent of the aimless bully. And finally, the blossoming child who never knows the hatred of the opposite sex, turning innocent thoughts of love into a tool that wrenches their heart apart. This world, for as long as it can last, is the heaven we wish to reach.

We all knew that heaven, if only for the most fleeting of moments. Taking each event in turn, that moment lasts longer and longer. At some point in your life you came to the heart-wrenching conclusion that hate exists, and you hardened yourself to that fact. You cried. It may still make you sad. But you learned to live with hate. Up to that moment, you lived in heaven, a world without hate.

How do we attain that world again? How can we all work towards a future where hate is an emotion studied in textbooks as an artifact of our primitive past? There is a way to try and attain that future. Follow me, Gentle Reader, and see if it isn’t possible to reach that heaven together.