I think if there is one thing that unites most religionists is a belief in an afterlife. Generally that afterlife is seen as some kind of paradise, and really wouldn’t most people want to see their loved ones again? I would love to have another hour with my mother. Of course some have speculated this is where religion comes from anyway and that might be true. But I can not wrap my head around the idea of heaven at all.
First of all, where is this place and what part of us goes there? In some interpretations of Christianity it is just the soul that lives on, but in others we bodily resurrect. If our bodies rise, where do we go? It has to be a physical place. The earth becomes heaven? Kinda crowded, don’t you think? Another planet? Another universe?
And if there is to be a resurrection does that mean I get my psoriasis back? And my mother her brain tumor from metastacizing cancer? The Catholic Church™, Inc. used to be opposed to cremation because it would interfere with the resurrection. But don’t bodies decompose in the ground? I doubt there is too much left of the first Christians from 2000 years ago. Especially the ones eaten by the lions. Hey, what about them? Or the ones burned at the stake? Or were those witches? I always get confused on that.
If our bodies get fixed or restored in the resurrection do we get better bodies? The bodies of our youth? Do men get the body of Channing Tatum? Women look like Sofia Vergara? Or would we get our same bodies, but are happy with them? Is there sex in heaven or does god frown on it up there as well? If we have heavenly sex can we only do it to have heavenly babies? Do heavenly babies grow up in heaven or do they have to go to earth first? Or am I perfectly happy to watch all those heavenly bodies pass by me, but I have no desire for sex?
Wait a second! If I don’t want to have sex in heaven, then am I really me? If I see my ex-wife in heaven will I still feel a flash of angst, or will I have nothing but happy feelings? If we have nothing but happy feelings then we are not ourselves and what is the point of eternal life? Whose life is eternal anway? Mine or some perfected version of me that no one would possibly recognize?
If my personality changes to be happy all the time, do I have any freewill in heaven? If all the flaws are taken out of me and my body in heaven, why was I created with those flaws in the first place? And if I was created with flaws, how can those flaws potentially send me to hell?
Now, I know some religionists will say something like, “When you are in the presence of god, everything will make sense.” But will it? If I tell him I still think he botched the creation job or tell him I am bored after a couple of eons, will he send me to hell? What if the humans, following the example of Lucifer so long ago, decide to revolt, do we all get sent to hell, same as he drowned everyone in the flood? And certainly we would revolt, right? Isn’t that the story of the bible over and over again — god’s chosen people doing stuff he doesn’t like? Can that still happen in heaven?
And if it is just our souls that live forever, how does that work? Do we pass outside of time? How will we recognize our loved ones? Again, would we have the same crummy personality we have now or would be be changed? If we are changed into happy souls, aren’t we like Stepford souls? Does god really want to be surrounded by sycophantic robots? Do we just stay in purgatory until we stop asking questions? Is that what god wants?
If all we have are souls, where does the paradise part come in? Having our psyche floating around in space or something doesn’t seem very much like paradise. If we are pure spiritual beings, can we even interact with anything? What good are 73 virgins if we are pure spirit and we can’t do anything with them? Do we get something like phantom, vicarious pleasure? Or is pleasure not really part of the heaven experience?
If we can’t be human in heaven (and it seems very much like we can’t) why did god bother with the earth part at all? Why didn’t he just put us in heaven to start with? We could have hung out with all the seraphim, cherubim and whatever other phims and bims are up there without making a pit stop on earth. They did after all. Why do we spend such a tiny sliver of our eternal life on earth at all? Especially since god seems to think we are so screwed up. Why not just create us the way he wanted us in heaven?
For me, I’ll just stay in my hole in the ground after I die. I can understand that just fine.