Heaven and Hell

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cromulent, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #1
    So what does everyone percieve heaven to be? I've always been fascinated by the pull people seem to feel towards this idea. What is it that drives you onwards and follow your belief (often to the determent of your life on Earth) in the hopes that you will be granted access to heaven?

    Likewise what is the main repulsion for you when you consider hell?

    I'm assuming religion has moved on from the interpretation of hell described in Dante's Inferno.
     
  2. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #2
    Many Christian sects these days have settled on the claim that "hell" is being eternally cut off from God, and that the unsaved commit themselves there. This is meant to get them around the problem that an all-loving God who'd pitch anyone into a lake of fire makes no sense.

    The new problem this leaves them is that since they cannot demonstrate the presence of God, this world is pragmatically indistinguishable from hell by their definition. If you ask me, hell apparently isn't so bad after all.
     
  3. Qoxiivi macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

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    #3
    To me, the whole heaven and hell thing is a societal control mechanism, the underlying technique of which is well known and used in the advertising and public relations industries:

    1. take behaviors/attitudes which you want to discourage and 'attach' them to something that scares people

    2. take behaviors/attitudes you want to encourage and posit them as the solution to your manufactured fear

    Spelled out simply, its nature as an infantile exercise in cajoling people into obedience becomes, to me, transparent:

    "Ok, here are some rules. Obey them all and, well, you know that thing you're really scared of? Dying? Well, instead of that, you'll continue living in the most fantastic place you can imagine. Oh, and all the people you knew, loved and miss dearly who've died - well, you'll see them again and get to spend the rest of eternity in bliss with them. It'll be great. If you don't obey them however, well, that's not going to be good. Not only will you die, but imagine the worst torture you can possibly think of - well, you'll get that instead for eternity."

    As for what heaven or hell are actually like, I consider that, factually, to be a moot question. Even people who believe in such fancies will, in my experience, rarely provide a coherent description or convincing legitimization of the two concepts.
     
  4. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #4
    Roma Locuta Est – Causa Finita Est

    Well, the Great Inquisitor aka Bendict XVI wouldn't agree…
    link
    So there you have it… who could agree with that? :rolleyes:
     

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  5. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #5
    I'm an atheist. This thread was not meant as a discussion about the purpose of heaven and hell in societal context. I just meant it as a way to understand why christians believe what they do, and what drives them on to keep believeing.

    I'd also be interested to know why christians think atheists lack faith. That one has always had me a little puzzled. Surely, atheists are the ones who exhibit the most faith.

    As I said in the original post, I believe religion has moved on from the days of Dante's Inferno :).
     
  6. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #6
    George Orwell speaks about this is 'Such, Such Were The Days' when he says that in his childhood everyone believed in the literal Hell with fire and brimstone, and yet none were ever frightened or overawed by it, as if their sub-consciences were reminding them that the whole idea was, frankly, absurd.
     
  7. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #7
    Perhaps you have misunderstood… Benedict XVI is the current Pope… that is what he believes.
    It has not moved on at all.
     
  8. Qoxiivi macrumors regular

    Qoxiivi

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    #8
    To me, the techniques employed in the heaven/hell fallacy are inextricably linked to the reasons why people still believe it. I think they believe what they do (or, at least, don't bother to challenge those beliefs) by and large because it's comfortable and comforting to think that you're not going to die - and most people who believe think they're going to heaven.

    Has anyone been at a funeral where it's been assumed that the person who has died has actually gone to hell as opposed to some imaginary 'better place'? Every believer, regardless of the past transgressions of the deceased, seems convinced that surely God wouldn't send dear old Geoff to hell and that he's up there now "looking down on us" or is "finally reunited with dear old Maude". That's a very comforting thing to think at a time of severe grief and this accounts, in my opinion, for much of its pervasiveness

    As for why Christians think atheists lack faith, well, personally I couldn't care less. To me, even entertaining the question seems ludicrous. I don't have theories on why people who don't believe in Thor carry such convictions; to me refusal to believe in something that's openly illogical, self-contradictory and baseless is a given.

    On the other hand, strong burdens or proof are incumbent upon those who profess the existence of something unlikely and fanciful - which God, heaven and hell are in the extreme.
     
  9. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #9
    The only point I want to make is that agree with Sartre: "Hell is other people".
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Frankly, if half the righteous souls who think they're going there end up in heaven, it would be hell anyway.
     
  11. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #11
    Well said… as usual. :D
     
  12. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #12
    With 16 Popes with the same name can you blame me for getting that wrong? :)
     
  13. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #13
    Non existent. GUess what? Hell doesn't exist either.

    Both are manufactured locations that exist only in human hopes and fears.
     
  14. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #14
    I'm going to sidestep the questions in your original post, and instead speak to this comment. I hope this is okay. :)

    As a cradle Catholic who has, in the last 13 years or so, taken his faith very seriously, trying to grow spiritually, and especially within the last couple of years, neither the threat of Hell nor the promise of Heaven are primary reasons for my faith.

    I realize this might be contrary to others here on the board, or out in real life.

    My goal isn't to get to Heaven. My goal is to bring Heaven to Earth. I do that by following Christ's example and reflecting as much of God's Love as I can on other people. I'll control the things I can, how I act and what I believe, namely, and let God take care of the judgment part.

    Or, at least that's what I *try* to do.
     
  15. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #15
    I'm quoting a link from another similar thread on this topic. The link above is about a bishop discussing what he views is a misperception by Christians of what the Bible says about heaven.

    Personally, I have the view that being "good" here on earth and trying to make the world a generally better place is simply the right thing to do. I don't do it because I think there's a heaven or hell waiting for me otherwise.
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #16
    If I may I'd like to amend that.

    "Hell is other people.....and their luggage"
     
  17. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #17

    Especially those wheely-type-ones-with-the extendable-handle-that-keep-falling-over-in-front-of-me-in-the-bloody-queue-at-the-airport. :mad:
     
  18. Queso macrumors G4

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    #18
    An extremely good example of why hell must involve suitcases :)
     
  19. NAG macrumors 68030

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    #19
    It is commendable that you're not so goal oriented as to try to win the race, so to speak. Still, you should always look at what you think your heaven is and if that is actually what other people want. Not saying you aren't, but still be careful as to not assume that your ideas are automatically right.

    Anyway, where did concept of hell originate anyway? I know that the modern pop version is basically ripped off from a piece of fiction (Divine Comedy). I mean, the idea of the Devil is also relatively new to Christianity.
     
  20. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #20
    Summed it up nicely for me. :)

    No sense in forming a schema for something I don't have any rational basis for thinking exists.
     
  21. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #21
    It should since that was actually political satire, but not really.

    God still exists in this world. Technically it's more like purgatory or limbo. Hell is worse.

    Of course, because the alternative is hard for some people to swallow.

    Relax, you're probably going to Purgatory. You'll be happier there. It's not great, but it isn't bad either (and yes, I realize I say that every time, but there it is).
     
  22. Apemanblues macrumors regular

    Apemanblues

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    #22
    I perceive them to be metaphors, for states of mind, but what do I know?

    As for the afterlife, Valhalla sounds awesome, but I'd settle for a simple "level 2". I'm not banking on it though. The universe might want it's atoms back.
     
  23. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #23

    I literally like the sound of 'Elysium'. It's just a lovely sounding word!
     
  24. Apemanblues macrumors regular

    Apemanblues

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    #24
    Well wherever it is, I like the idea of drinking and eating a lot and shouting heroic things in the voice of Brian Blessed.
     
  25. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #25

    My local is heaven!? (Well apart from the Brian Blessed part, Environmental Health Laws and all that...)
     

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