Thoughts about Heaven and Hell by a somewhat reluctant non-believer.
|Forewarning: These are my thoughts on Heaven and Hell. I don't wish to anger anyone by sharing this, though I realize that may be inevitable. Read on if you wish or don't if you don't. The choice is yours. But if you decide to read on, go in knowing that, though I have studied several different religions of the world, I am not particularly religious. If that is what you're looking for, you may prefer to move on.
Thoughts on Eternal Damnation and the Other by a (somewhat) Reluctant Non-Believer
From what I understand, Christians live to die. The primary task is to do what religion (or society, depending on how you look at it) deems to be “good” during our time here on earth so that when we croak, we will go to Heaven and experience eternal joy. Or, if we veer from the path and do otherwise (certainly being a somewhat reluctant non-believer qualifies for this), we will go to Hell and suffer never-ending pain and torment. It’s a fine concept I suppose for encouraging particular patterns of behavior—it’s fairly compelling and oft regurgitated fodder for unimaginative figureheads in the Christian world of today.
But the idea that such places as Heaven and Hell exist is folly.
You see, humans have the wonderful ability to adapt. That’s an important and frequently used skill—something we’ve needed throughout history to survive. Without the ability to adapt, we’d not have been very successful at the whole business of life. We adapt to the changing environment, our living conditions, the quality and quantity of our food stuffs, progressive technology, advancements in science, and so on and so forth. We even adapt on the cellular level; with some kinds of illness, immunity develops as cells adapt to provide protection against harmful agents (they’re mean, those harmful agents). Similarly, we adapt to regression. We are capable of coping with very little when very little is all we have. If you paid attention in history class you will know that there are many fine examples of this. That we have the ability to adapt cannot be contested. Thanks for that one, Heavenly Father. (High-fives all around.)
But because we have the ability to adapt (call it evolution if that floats your boat; go with the God thing if it doesn’t), there is no possibility that we will ever experience Heaven or Hell.
Is it not reasonable to assume, fellow human, that if we are exposed to a thing long term (I’m talking the “eternity” kind of long term), no matter what that thing is, eventually we will use our aforementioned ability and adapt to it? You know, survival of the fittest and all that. We have done it before.
Eventually, the long-experienced thing will become the norm. And when we pass from this life, if the whole business about “eternity” is true, we will have time to adapt to the conditions of Hell, friends. Eternity is a bloody long time from what I understand, though I don’t suppose anyone understands it fully. Still, is it really such a stretch to say that if we are exposed to the pain and suffering of Hell for all of eternity, eventually we will be able to adapt to Hell’s pain and suffering and soon “pain” and “suffering” will cease to exist?
You see, when a thing—let’s say “suffering” considering the context of this essay—becomes the norm, it loses its identity. Suffering can no longer be considered suffering; our adapting to it means that now suffering is neutralized—it will become but an archaic word in the dictionary. This is because the norm equates to that which is mundane, dull, tedious, commonplace, eye-pokingly lackluster and so on. And that right there is when the threat of Hell loses its power. Sure, it may be unpleasant for a while, but we are more than capable of neutralizing Hell.
And here’s another crazy thought:
Suffering is only suffering when we also have joy by which to compare it. Otherwise, how would we recognize it for what it is? A bit daft is the human race—we need a measuring stick by which we can compare things. Without a comparison, we cannot recognize a thing’s place on the grand scale of good versus bad, beautiful versus ugly, kind versus mean, torture verses miscommunication. We must have moments of joy so that we can recognize what is not joy.
Same deal for those whiling away their eternity in Heaven. That which once gave joy must at some point become redundant. Heaven dwellers need a bit of pain to recognize the good else joy would become quite a snooze-fest. There must be pain in Heaven, and there must be joy in Hell. So please tell me if you would, what’s the freaking diff?
It all boils down to this: there is no joy of Heaven, and there is no pain of Hell. There is only the norm, and the norm is neutral. We’re already there, baby.
I wish I could believe the definition of eternal damnation and the other as explained by Jesus. I really, really do. But unfortunately, I remain a somewhat reluctant non-believer.