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Heaven

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But what if you suffer from vertigo?
The dreams of man
Religion
Icon religion.svg
Snooze buttons
Disturbing your sleep
Recurring dreams
♫♬In Heaven There Is No Beer

Heaven is a(n) place/emotion/plane of existence/state of mind/spiritual realm that you really wanna go to after you die that may or may not exist.

Views are diverse about what heaven, if it exists, will be like, even within a particular religion. Beliefs range from being able to do whatever you want, to watching sinners burn in hell, to singing praise and playing harps in the clouds, to a spiritual experience beyond comprehension, to a mere bodyless state of happiness. Agnosticism about what Heaven is like seems the most reasonable position, on the grounds that it is simply outside of any living person's experience. What we cannot experience, we cannot know anything about, and so anything goes.

Heaven is purported to exist by some Jews, most Christians, and most Muslims, and many other religions.

Heaven is hotter than Hell[edit]

In 1972, an anonymous[note 1] article appeared in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Optics that demonstrated that the temperature of Heaven (525°C) is hotter than Hell (<444.6°C). This was based on Isaiah 30:26 and the liquid-gas transition point of brimstone (sulfur) Revelation 21:8. This article was "refuted" in the The Journal of Irreproducible Results in 1979.[1]

Christianity[edit]

Most Christians hold that Heaven is 1) where all the saved will go to 2) experience eternal happiness and 3) be in the presence of God 4) forever.

The writers of the Bible themselves express vagueness concerning any fuller description of heaven the future of the faithful,[2][3] and most Christian churches denominations concur with them. However, this does not prevent a diversity of opinion or even argument about what makes up Heaven.

Many preachers teach, simply, that Heaven is where you spend forever worshiping God. As most people understand "worship", it's not entirely surprising that many Christians (and, of course, mean, old, evil atheists) would prefer an eternity in Hell as superior, and perhaps more fun — and way cooler (by at least 80°C).

Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica portrays one of the ways of having a good time in Heaven: watching people getting tortured in Hell, which will make you really happy that you aren't being tortured.

According to some other Christians, especially Roman Catholics, very little is known about heaven — except that you want to go there. (It's the destination, not the journey.)

Post-Christian views[edit]

Sarcastically, heaven has been defined as:

A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.[4]

As an additional note: Have you seen the people who claim to be securely destined for Heaven? Would you want to spend eternity with them? Eh; it'll turn out OK.

  • Heaven… is a place… a place… where nothing… nothing ever happens.[5] (No! that's not true, warfare will happen at least once! See Revelation 19:14.)[6][7]

Islam[edit]

Islam teaches that righteous Muslims go to Paradise or "Jannah" when they die. A common western misconception is that men get very pleasant sexual rewards in Paradise — in fact they get two wives and a hundred concubines,[8] (or more accurately Houri) which sounds a bit like hard work.

The hundred concubines may not be real women though, but "Houri", who are apparently designed for men's sexual pleasures. They are always virgins and their sexual relationship with men does not affect their virginity. Furthermore they do not get older than thirty-three years of age.[9] As with all passages from holy books there are some believers who take them more literally than others.

A conversation between a Guardian journalist and a failed female suicide bomber went as follows:

  • Guardian: According to the Koran, male martyrs are welcomed to paradise by 72 beautiful virgins; and women martyrs?
  • FFSB: A woman martyr will be the person in charge, the manager, the officer of the 72 virgins, the fairest of the fair.[10][note 2]

Other views see the Islamic paradise as a direct equivalent to the Sugar Mountain offered by most religions and understand that the virgins thing is a myth. Many Mormons say the same thing about the part in their Book of Abraham where every person in Heaven gets their own planet. [11]

Arguments about the existence of a heaven[edit]

Against[edit]

  1. That no proof exists for the existence of a heaven
  2. That God does not exist (i.e., strong atheism)
  3. That God, if he does exist, is evil, or unjust, or cruel, or insane
  4. That the soul does not exist, either at all, or after death, and so can't go to heaven (i.e., materialism)
  5. That heaven is a tool used by corrupt "religious" officials to manipulate the masses, rather than real

For[edit]

Most arguments for Heaven are either rejections of the above objections or appeals to an ideal — such as undying love, or complete happiness, or complete justice — that does not exist in the known Universe. The latter argument can devolve into an argument from emotion.

Arguments against the justice of a heaven[edit]

Bad men could change, given time, and become good, and therefore do not deserve eternal torture. Good men can become corrupt and bad, given time, and therefore are not worthy of eternal happiness. So why should heaven or hell be eternal?

Not to mention that, as noted above, if one goes by the book you'll basically be brainwashed[note 3] to worship God forever and ever, ever, with things never changing even a bit — let's see if even the most die-hard Fundie can withstand an eternity that way —, and this without considering other issues that appear when one deals with infinity. Of course you'll hardly ever see preachers, priests, etc. bringing up those issues.


Arguments on the absurdity of heaven[edit]

Heaven as blackmail[edit]

While heaven may not have been originally invented to scare people into thought control, Christianity took the Judaic version of heaven and sure milked that belief-ultimatum for everything they could. Heaven less as a reward but more as a reason for believing, for being good, for not questioning things. After all, not getting into heaven is quite the missed opportunity. One you'll have a lot of time to regret. This was a very powerful tool for several centuries of cruel toxic rule by fear.

Time scale[edit]

Ask yourself, what will you be doing after the first billion years in heaven? It's likely you would have mastered all the universes languages and learn the secrets of the 11th dimension. Perhaps it's in vogue there to stare out a window for a few centuries. Maybe create some imaginary dinosaur friends. It's quite possible after the trillionth year in heaven you might start saying and doing strange things or perhaps be self-harming. Or maybe all people do is prostrate in front of god and bob their heads up and down praising him forever. Is that still fun after a quadrillion years? If so, likely the angels have to administer a happy drug that is eternally intensifying to avoid developing a tolerance. A good question to ask oneself is, do I really believe that in an octillion centuries, will I still be active in heaven trying to pass my time with new diversions or maybe just kneeling before God singing his praises? Does the idea of this make you feel even a little queasy in the stomach?

Description[edit]

Heaven is described in a rather bizarre way throughout the bible in both testaments. A rather detailed description of it can be found in Revelations, giving precise details of which jewels adorn which gates and how many units of pure gold guilds the many arches in heaven. It is described as a city but it is also vaguely referred to as a ghostly place. Angels use precious measuring sticks to set up a perfect architecture. There is an elaborate set of thrones and levels for the different angels to seat themselves (heaven seems divided by class). It is also geometrically a perfect cube which raises the question, if heaven fits millions (maybe billions) of people, then it must be very high...and yet the whole thing is illuminated by a lamb so, does that mean there are no floors? Or perhaps each floor has an open centre like a modern five star hotel? The materials are quite magical as walls can be solid gold yet crystal clear. The brigh lamb must be sort of like the Wolverine from Xman who can self-heal, since that kind of radiation it emits should be rather toxic for any creature. Heaven has rivers, streets, trees and something vaguely described as a city (probably as pure coincidence something just like a 1st century city?). It isn't known if there is a large theme park with waterslides and a 150 foot verticle drop.

Paradoxes[edit]

There are several obvious flaws in the description of heaven. A glorious place of happiness. And its counter part, a grotesque underground torture chamber where the loving forgiving God boils the skin off of his children, for a very long period of time. Yet would someone in heaven, enjoying its bliss, be able to be happy knowing a close friend or a brother or sister was roasting in hell? If dogs aren't permitted would someone be happy knowing they'd never see their beloved creature again? Various metrics are given about who gets in and out of hell and yet at the same time it seems just believing in Jesus as saviour gets you in there which raises the question what's the point of the metrics? God created the entire universe filled with a zillion supposedly empty planets (and galaxies) and yet in the end, it is all reduced to a heaven and hell which begs the question what was the point of all those galactic clusters so far away you can't even see them without an enormous extremely complex telescope?

Heaven as ethereal[edit]

The bible describes heaven with quite a bit of detail and yet still leaves a lot of information out. While being described as a physical city it clearly has some quirky supernatural phenomena (like a glowing lamb and winged angels). And yet the overwhelming majority of Christians see it more as a happy ghostly place with buildings and bodies transparent and radiant all on top of fluffy clouds. Could heaven be both a bejeweled city and a never ending Pink Floyd happy acid trip at the same time?

Heaven as being with God[edit]

For those Christians who realise how inexcusably cruel a burning hell would be, they often claim that hell is just existence without God. It's nothing like what's mentioned in the bible. Why one Earth would someone ever take that book literally silly? The argument would be, those who choose to be without God would spend eternity missing out on all the fun of being with God. The question remains, what does it even mean to be with or without God in the afterlife? And would spending forever in a grey drab doldrum not become relatively cruel after a few thousand years?

Biblical literalist heaven[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Allegedly it was first written by Paul Darwin Foote in 1920.
  2. It is indeed the supreme sacrifice to kill oneself in the hopes of becoming a mid-level manager.
  3. Basically, no sin means no free will. Remember also that it's stated in the Book of Revelation that there will not be no more sadness (bliss cannot be fully enjoyed if it never stops) and it's also mentioned elsewhere that there'll be no memories of the old heavens and Earth (in other words, you'd live oblivious to all those people being tormented in Hell)

References[edit]

  1. Theological Thermodynamics
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:9: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
  3. 1 John 3:2: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
  4. Bierce, Ambrose, The Devil's Dictionary, Castle Books, NY, 1967
  5. Talking Heads (David Byrne), Heaven, on Fear of Music
  6. The Bible and Heaven
  7. Revelations 19:14
  8. Wives and concubines
  9. Concerning The Hur al-'Ayn (Houris)
  10. Guardian interview with female suicide bomber
  11. http://www.thewire.com/culture/2014/02/mormons-dont-get-planet-once-they-die-say-mormons/358669/