Tag Archives: afterlife

Share and Share Alike

30 Dec

Tis the season of holidays and celebrations and New Years…and religion. Which means a visit from the local religious affiliates and their spokespersons. They all seem like very nice people but their visit, no matter how brief, always ends with the handing over of the pamphlet…and that’s where they always lose me.

This year’s pamphlet went something like this:

It is true; most people are pretty good. However, contrary to popular opinion, not all good people go to heaven. In fact, you do not have to be a bad person to go to hell. Another interesting fact found in the Bible is that you are not really as good as you think you are.

Last year’s went like this:

What you MISS by being a Christian: HELL! (but see above)

Nothing says Holiday cheer and good will to all like a visit from your local Christian organization. That’s for sure! But don’t despair because the pamphlet lists the three things one must do in order to get into heaven…

1. Be genuinely sorry for your sin. (You are a sinner so don’t try to deny it)

2. Believe that Jesus died for you.

3. Ask Jesus to save you and take you to Heaven when you die. (I guess you shouldn’t forget to add the “when you die” part or else you’ll go right away?)

Anyway, it’s that simple! So simple that you’d think that after 2,000 years and change Jesus would have an overall approval rating greater than 31%, but he doesn’t, for only 31% of the world’s people consider themselves Christian. President Obama has an approval rating over 40% after 6 years…and nobody even likes him!…so go figure.

So according to my pamphlets, 69% of the world’s population is going straight to hell, plus all of those Christians who don’t subscribe to this rather orthodox interpretation of Christianity. And that’s why I don’t believe in any religion’s god because I think that god could do a lot better than reaching only 31% of everyone in over 2000 years. Heck, he should be able to do it in an instant… don’t you think?

It seems to me that most everyone on this planet always wants to feel exclusive and special about their beliefs. Somehow when something is available to everyone, and for nothing, it simply loses all of its value. Maybe that’s why we can’t get everyone on the same page when it comes to taking care of our planet. So Who, I wonder, do we think is taking care of Heaven…if there is such a place? Yes, I was a no good sinner down on Earth, and I helped wreck the place…but I said I believed and asked to be saved and now the after livin’ is easy and Jesus does all the heavy lifting.

But why isn’t Heaven for everybody and must only the like minded apply? I suppose that’s what makes Heaven so special, it’s exclusivity. Hell, on Earth anyone can get in! We are a greedy lot and it is hard to share the things we possess but you would think that after all of the pain, suffering and strife we go through together here on Earth we’d all just agree to share in an afterlife of peace and rest.

God knows, What would be so wrong with that?

Hey Zeus! Is That Jesús?

3 Apr


Archaeologists say they have discovered the ‘Gates of Hell’, the mythical portal to the underworld in Greek and Roman legend. The site, in southwestern Turkey, is said to closely match historical descriptions of what was, once upon a time, a small temple with traditional Greco-Roman pillars said to have stood next to a wall with steps leading down to a cave doorway filled with foul and noxious gasses.

Describing the site over 2 thousand years ago, the Greek geographer Strabo said: “any animal that passes inside meets instant death.” In fact the portal still spews noxious carbon dioxide fumes which are still lethal to those who breath it.

It seems strange however, that such a deadly place would have a visitors center. What were people thinking when they visited there? Was this just a clever way for the ancient Greeks to eliminate malcontents and trouble makers that they didn’t want around anymore? “Hey Nikki, show these people the gates of hell. They’ll love it! And don’t worry about the fumes folks because…you know…the place is mythical.”

But then again religious beliefs and those who believe in them unquestioningly have always baffled me. Once upon a time hell was underground and heaven was up on the highest mountain tops. Then once humans visited those places we believed that heaven and hell were just a little further out of reach. Now we are sure that they must be in another dimension because we can’t find them anywhere in this one.

It has always amazed me how people who seem to question the validity of  just about everything these days never seem to have any questions about the efficacy of Bible stories…even when they seem to make very little sense or are childishly whimsical… For instance: How did Adam and Eve populate the world all by themselves without the help of incest? How come Jesus and all of his Jewish friends walked around Judea calling each other by Greek names? Or why did all mothers back in the day think that sending their babies down rivers in little baskets was a great way to get their kids adopted into a royal and loving family? 8 people and 2 of every animal species on 1 boat? What divinely inspired writer could possibly have thought that the sun moved? (not to mention the creation of daylight savings time just to have more time for killing people) And no matter how old the Shroud of Turin is, why isn’t anyone curious as to why Jesus’ sweat shadow looks like a medieval knight from Prince Valiant’s Nordic castle?

Anyway, maybe that’s just me, but people once believed that the underworld was a place where souls went after death and at that moment of death the soul was separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and transported to the entrance of Hades.

Nowadays many still believe in the soul separation thing and an afterlife in some other-where where living people cannot go…But curiously, even if most of us believe that we are headed to someplace nice and wonderful like Heaven where God and all of our family and friends are waiting to be reunited with us, no one is in a hurry to “smell the vapors” and get there any time soon. And if we meet someone who is we call them crazy and write them a prescription for Prozac!

We even have laws prohibiting the voluntary passage through that portal by any humans at anytime other than their God’s chosen, naturally prescribed, day of reckoning… no matter how ready they are or how much pain they are in, or are suffering etc… We don’t want to hear it! There will be no going to that wonderful place of bliss unless God says so, or there’s some kind of unavoidable man made collateral damage… or whichever comes first.

Why is that? What do we all have against death if happiness beyond compare awaits? Even Jesus said, “To conquer death you only have to die.” But even so, for a paradise that we only have to die to get into… there really is no one who is dying to get into it… is there?


When Will He Return?

28 Mar

Voltaire once said, “All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God.”

And that has always made me wonder…Wouldn’t an innate knowledge of God have been the perfect element to include in a creator’s creation?

But, since it is the Easter season I would like to follow up my last post with another question about what most Christians see as a key component to Christian belief and doctrine and that is that not only did Jesus ascend into heaven bodily where he now sits at the right hand of God (who is also he) but also that Jesus will return someday.

So my next question is: How and when will he do that and how will we know that he is here?

That may sound like a silly question because most stories of Jesus’ return involve an apocalypse or an Armageddon which I am assuming no one could miss but when Jesus was here he never mentioned that he was God or that he would ascend unto Heaven, later to return in a can’t miss demonstration.

He also never advocated any other belief system other than devout and orthodox Judaism nor did he ask for anyone to eschew those beliefs and follow him in a different direction and religion. Also while he was here few people on the planet took any great notice of what he was doing or saying and if not for the later evangelizing of Saul of Tarsus we might have missed him all together.

So might it not be possible that his return visit will cause little stir or notice amongst an even larger world’s population?

What do you think?

Where Did He Go?

27 Mar

I just have a question… and I am being serious when I ask it and I am not trying to be flippant or rude or disrespectful at all. I sincerely mean that, although I do realize that simply by asking the question I will appear flippant, rude and probably disrespectful.

But here’s the question:

I saw this statement today “He Is Risen” and I know that the “He” refers to Jesus/God and I know that the word “Risen” refers to his having left the grave and ascended to heaven and I also know that since Jesus’ body went missing also, we are not just referring to his soul having risen but to his body having risen along with it too. 

So I just want to ask if anyone knows where he went…as in where is heaven?

I haven’t been to church in a while and I am a bit in the dark  as to where religious folk these days consider heaven to be. Is it an actual place? Is it in this reality as in our physical universe or is it in another dimension that can’t be seen by living beings?

I am assuming that since we Christians believe that Jesus took his body with him then bodies must be of some use there but this is just speculation on my part because the rest of us here on Earth never take our bodies anywhere after we die and many of us agree that it is our soul that does the extraterrestrial traveling.

I don’t see how heaven could be in our minds because those cease functioning when we die otherwise we certainly wouldn’t bury the dead or have their bodies (and minds) cremated. And if heaven and Jesus were in the physical and visible universe (As I believed when I was little) we certainly haven’t spotted either with the Hubble telescope yet even though while traveling at the speed of light Jesus’ body would only be 2,012 light years away by now. (Of course I do realize that God could do better than the speed of light if he wanted to)

I also know that many people believe that their loved ones are out there somewhere (and I’m not even excluding myself from that group) because whenever Jonathan Edward or other mediums of his ilk says he is communicating with them many gather around to listen in on the conversations.

Although I hate to think that life in Heaven means hanging around for all eternity just waiting for John to answer his head…but I have always been taught to suppose that anything is possible.

So once again, I am asking all of the true and faithful believers out there…and I ask without judgment or prejudice or disrespect to anyone’s beliefs, because we all must admit that there are quite a few different and varied beliefs out there.

But to all who possess faith in the belief that “He Has Risen” and considering that this is now 2013 years after the event and in light of all of the scientific discoveries that have been made since then and in light of the fact that billions of people were recently so fascinated with the apparent importance of choosing a new Catholic Pope, I humbly ask:

Where do you believe exists the destination to which he went?




Heaven and the Hall of Fame

26 Jan


I was thinking about baseball and heaven yesterday…

A question that I used to ask my students, usually depending on the occasion and reading material we were discussing, was “Do you believe in heaven?” Most students if not all would raise their hands.

Then I would follow up with, “Who thinks they will someday go there?” And all who had first raised their hands would always  keep them raised. I never thought that unusual. In fact I think it would be unusual to believe in heaven and then not think you were going there. That student would probably be a candidate for the child study team.

But I digress…here’s where the baseball part comes in.

Is heaven like the Baseball Hall of Fame? Must we have and have lived with exceptional moral skills to get in? Do we have to have lived a life with the moral skill set equivalent of a Willy Mays or Babe Ruth Or will Bill Mazeroski skills get us in there? What if we live a decent life but our moral batting average is more like Mario Mendoza’s baseball batting average? (It wasn’t very good and he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame)

Or do we have to hang out in Purgatory (Do we still have that?) for a while and wait for the Heaven Veteran’s committee to vote us in?

The reason I ask is because it seems to me that whenever one of our loved one’s die those of us who knew them in life form a veteran’s committee of sorts and automatically vote them in…don’t we?

I mean you never hear Jonathan Edward say, “Hey, I’ve got a spirit coming in and it’s a hot one! Anybody out there have a loved one whose gone to hell?”

Anyway, I’m just asking. What do you think? Is getting into Heaven like getting into the Hall of fame?


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