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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mailbag: Hopeful Afterlife

The mail I receive is generally either friendly or "burn in hell" type messages. This one, though, I thought was interesting enough for a post (I'm not sure if it's in response to this morning's request). Celina writes:
dont you want an afterlife? all you have to do is accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and He will embrace you in Heaven. why wouldnt you want to go to Heaven and spend an eternity in bliss? isnt that worth beleiving in?
No matter how much I may hope something is true, the only things worth believing in are those things for which there are good reasons. On the Christian Heaven, though, I don't necessarily believe that it's a place I would even want to go to. The details of it are obscure:
  1. What would I do everyday?
  2. Would I remember those I loved in this life who are now suffering eternally in Hell?
  3. Would sleep be required?
  4. Would I be endowed with the knowledge of the universe?
  5. Would there still be crime and, if so, what types of crime?
  6. Would I be the same person?
The details of Heaven that I do know, though, lead me not to want to spend an eternity there:
  1. I, presumably, would have to follow the laws of the Bible (slavery anyone?).
  2. I would have to spend an eternity there. I don't know if I would want to spend an eternity anywhere.
  3. I would be surrounded by people who had surrendered rational beliefs in this life. That means I would be with the likes of Ray Comfort, but Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Benjamin Franklin, and countless others would not be there.
  4. Many of my friends are atheists, since I am now involved in atheist groups, so I wouldn't have them there with me.
  5. I would have an eternity with this God fellow. If he's the miserable, vainglorious ogre that he is portrayed as in the Bible, being around him would be anything but bliss.
So, from what I can tell, I wouldn't want to spend an eternity in Heaven as it wouldn't be bliss. If the only other alternative is spending eternity in Hell, well, I guess I would choose Heaven. But that's sort of like asking if I would rather have both my legs broken or to be kicked in the groin several times.

If I could get something like Create-Your-Own-Heaven software, I would design something along the lines of:
  1. First and foremost, the ability to die if I so choose.
  2. I would be exactly the same person that I am now and with exactly the same knowledge. I would have some superior form of body, though, especially a computer-like brain.
  3. I would have all the necessary essentials and some luxuries automatically provided for so that I can spend all my times pursuing my own interests. Any study or educational materials would be automatically provided for as well.
  4. Most of everyone would be there, but I would be able to choose who I do and do not see.
  5. The surrounding would be much of what they are now, except all the maintenance and construction are automatically done. There's also anarchy as there is no need for government anymore.
I think that covers the basics of it. I could spend eternity learning all sorts of new things. I could study every field of knowledge and eventually unlock the secrets of the universe myself. God would just be like the Hint button when you get stuck on something. I would also be able to reminisce and visit with any person in history, including every Founder of America and every great scientist.

Oh, and there would also be some sort of time machine available to view any segment of history (with no ability to change it). How wonderful would it be to watch the evolution of the universe in accelerated speed? At a million years per second, it would be the greatest four hour movie ever viewed.

But still with this wonderful afterlife that I hope for, I cannot believe it exists. I would love for it to exist, but there's no good reason to believe in it any more than believing the mail man will show up Monday and deliver a package to me that contains a sizeable diamond in it.

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