Author Topic: "Fear" of heaven?  (Read 1306 times)

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Offline neopagan

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"Fear" of heaven?
« on: August 22, 2013, 01:15:25 PM »
In my many years of theism, I was never really comfortable with the idea of heaven.

As a nine year old, I distinctly remember crying in fear about all the heaven stuff - going somewhere I knew nothing about and had never experienced.  My mother tried to console me with stories of streets of gold, lions roaming around peacfully, seeing old relatives  (who I generally did not remember), and chatting with Jesus/Noah/Adam, etc.  I found no comfort in those assurances, especially since they only reinforced my fears - it was all a strange and foreign place I had no frame of reference for or even a longing. 

As a teen, I chafed about "witnessing" to people, because I was not comfortable trying to scare them with tales of hell and damnation, then pulling a bait and switch to sell Jesus and those streets of gold.  Furthermore, I was lousy trying to sell heaven, since  it creeped me out. Nedless to say, I was never a "soul winner" my baptist faith loved to make of its adherents.

As an adult, heaven was one of those many questions or uncomfortable notions I pushed to the back of my brain and soldiered on for the cause.  I used to think, I would rather just die and be no more... can I "waive" heaven? Then came deconversion.  I no longer have issues with heaven, at least no more than I have with Valhalla or Atlantis.! It does not exist, it cannot exist... and it all makes sense now.

I wonder, was I the lone believer who didn't look forward to going to that place as a believer?  I still hang out with xians and they all make a big deal out of heaven; they love it and long for it they say, even claiming "this world is not their home" (a phrase that never made one lick of sense to me).

What say you... fellow former xians?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 01:18:29 PM by neopagan »
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 01:47:21 PM »
When I thought about the concept of Heaven as a place in and of itself with the gold streets and such, I was unmoved to be honest. I could never picture in my head what the environment would be like or how I'd be able to perceive it. The idea of floating on clouds listening to harps and singing Alleiuia for all eternity wasn't what I pictured. I guess it was more the concept of Heaven being all about the arrival there and being immediately overwhelmed by the awe of it without giving much thought to how being confined to it endlessly would eventually get old.
As a christian I didn't give much thought to the place of Heaven itself as much as I thought about the "heavenly situation" that I hoped to have revolving around me for eternity. Heaven was more than a place it was a state of mind that had me in the place to be where I was actually pals with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I'd have an eternity to develop fantasies which I could live out without fear of hurt, harm, or danger! My mortal limitations would be gone and I would have access to the BE ALL END ALL and I'd actually be accepted as a quazi family member of this God of gods!


Offline stuffin

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 02:07:59 PM »
As a 10 or 11 year old in Sunday School (Catholic/Catechism Classes), I questioned the Nun teaching us about heaven. Apparently only humans were allowed in heaven. I could not understand how heaven could so wonderful if I couldn't be with my dog. She tried to sway me to a different thinking but I was unreasonable, almost got my knuckles whacked. That was probably my first clue regarding my Atheism.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 02:10:46 PM by stuffin »
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Offline epidemic

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 02:15:13 PM »
I guess it was more the concept of Heaven being all about the arrival there and being immediately overwhelmed by the awe of it without giving much thought to how being confined to it endlessly would eventually get old.

I have solved the getting old thing.   Heaven would require you be completely lost in the process.  You no longer are you but part of a collective mind sorta like the Borg. 

But another thought was that you could live a sort of heavenly "Groundhogs Day" for eternity.  Every day as you wake you can enjoy the things that make you feel best not remembering past interations of the same repetitive task.

even better you might be able to do resets every so often so you can build up some experiences.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 02:17:00 PM by epidemic »

Offline Truth OT

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 02:17:48 PM »
Maybe the big surprise regarding Heaven is that the people that get to go there won't be people (human) at all once they are there. Perhaps the Heavenly realm could be eternally barable if we could realize it as our conscious selves but experience it from a far superior point of view that involves senses we have yet to imagine. Our present reality is to us what out 5 senses make of it, but in the "heavenly state" maybe reality takes on a completely different meaning as it could be perceived and experienced from vastly superior points of view.
With that in mind heaven could be a microscopic world set up on a pile of shit that we would be persuaded by our senses to perceive as a golden paradise of unending pleasure.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 02:19:23 PM »
I guess it was more the concept of Heaven being all about the arrival there and being immediately overwhelmed by the awe of it without giving much thought to how being confined to it endlessly would eventually get old.

I have solved the getting old thing.   Heaven would require you be completely lost in the process.  You no longer are you but part of a collective mind sorta like the Borg. 

But another thought was that you could live a sort of heavenly "Groundhogs Day" for eternity.  Every day as you wake you can enjoy the things that make you feel best not remembering past interations of the same repetitive task.

even better you might be able to do resets every so often so you can build up some experiences.

Sounds like that would be no more than God's way of hiding the fact that there's a glitch in the matrix to me.

Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 02:25:51 PM »
Good points OT, but that all gets back to what makes it weird.
It is all coulda, woulda, shoulda be stuff with precious few details in the bible. It was all supposed to big this big surprise you know nothing about.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 02:31:59 PM »
I guess it was more the concept of Heaven being all about the arrival there and being immediately overwhelmed by the awe of it without giving much thought to how being confined to it endlessly would eventually get old.

I have solved the getting old thing.   Heaven would require you be completely lost in the process.  You no longer are you but part of a collective mind sorta like the Borg. 

But another thought was that you could live a sort of heavenly "Groundhogs Day" for eternity.  Every day as you wake you can enjoy the things that make you feel best not remembering past interations of the same repetitive task.

even better you might be able to do resets every so often so you can build up some experiences.

Doesn't this scenario make us out to be the "robots" theists always claim god did not make us to be? Their much hyped free will concept seems shot either way in heaven
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 02:36:01 PM »
I just imagined heaven as "Nice" fluffy cloud...all your problem are solved sort of place. Didn't think about it too much, when I did, it was about "If it was so nice, why did the angels rebel?" or other troubling questions...but I just generally thought "Well God/adults know better than me" After knowing how animals and people rot and/or are butchered....anything seemed better than that, so I just counted on that.







An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 02:59:36 PM »
The nice thing about heaven being so poorly defined, from the Christian point of view, is that each believer gets to make up what it is and be motivated by it. Unless the heaven they make up scares them shitless, like it did for neopagen. But apparently most people have some generic and cloudy view of the place that pleases them or sounds inviting and hence they are willing to with their religious narrative of choice.

And yep, if I was a christian, I'd be looking for a loophole (besides hell) to get out of going.  There might be circumstances under which living forever might be enjoyable, but not if there was always a god guy in the room.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 03:15:02 PM »
I've described my aunt's scenario of heaven many times on this forum, but it is so striking, that I am just going to do it again.

In my aunt's heaven, it is a perpetual Sunday dinner at my grandparents' house.  All of our beloved family members are doing practically the same thing that they did in life.  The women are in the kitchen, chopping and stirring the sauce.  And the men are in the next room, enjoying "the game" on some celestial tv-thingy.  Then the dead all sit around and feast and chat and laugh.

And I suspect, when it is all over, the females do the dishes.

Tell me again about hell.....


Offline Nick

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 03:27:25 PM »
Neopagan, I'm with you.  The thought of heaven always creeped me out also.  It always seem incredibly boring.  What were you suppose to do after the 1st 24 hrs.?  I also had nuns trying to explain it.  Did not help any.  That is one area where mans imagination fell short.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 03:30:15 PM »
I've described my aunt's scenario of heaven many times on this forum, but it is so striking, that I am just going to do it again.

On the one hand, I find that completely unimaginative and dull.  On the other, I find it very human and touching.  Our ideas of heaven say a lot about what we love and desire.  Pure love.  No conflict.  No suffering.  To be surrounded by loved ones.  Your aunt was lucky in that she was able to enjoy her own heaven a couple of times a year.  How sweet.  I think I sort of prefer her heaven. 
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Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 03:32:42 PM »
I just imagined heaven as "Nice" fluffy cloud...all your problem are solved sort of place. Didn't think about it too much, when I did, it was about "If it was so nice, why did the angels rebel?" or other troubling questions...but I just generally thought "Well God/adults know better than me" After knowing how animals and people rot and/or are butchered....anything seemed better than that, so I just counted on that.

It ends up being SPAH doesn't it?  Some folks see heaven as fluffy clouds, some as 72 virgins, some as an eternity exploring the cosmos... For a god who claims to not be the author of confusion, YHWH can sure confuse things
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 03:37:12 PM »
I've described my aunt's scenario of heaven many times on this forum, but it is so striking, that I am just going to do it again.

In my aunt's heaven, it is a perpetual Sunday dinner at my grandparents' house.  All of our beloved family members are doing practically the same thing that they did in life.  The women are in the kitchen, chopping and stirring the sauce.  And the men are in the next room, enjoying "the game" on some celestial tv-thingy.  Then the dead all sit around and feast and chat and laugh.

And I suspect, when it is all over, the females do the dishes.

Tell me again about hell.....

We have the same aunt... :) 

I think I could enjoy that about as long as the game on celestial TV.  Once the drunk uncle starts babbling and the crazy cousin starts screaming about "Dem'crats" I'd look for the hell chute too
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 03:41:13 PM by neopagan »
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2013, 03:47:58 PM »
Neopagan, I'm with you.  The thought of heaven always creeped me out also.  It always seem incredibly boring.  What were you suppose to do after the 1st 24 hrs.?  I also had nuns trying to explain it.  Did not help any.  That is one area where mans imagination fell short.

I think that's a thread around here somewhere... It does seem like the faithful haven't put much thought into what they would be doing for all eternity.  My wife says "worshipping the Lord, singing his praises."  Oh yeah, I'd have a ball with that for the first 18 billion years, then what? Better yet, wouldn't "the Lord" get tired of it?

 
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2013, 03:58:51 PM »
Neopagan, I'm with you.  The thought of heaven always creeped me out also.  It always seem incredibly boring.  What were you suppose to do after the 1st 24 hrs.?  I also had nuns trying to explain it.  Did not help any.  That is one area where mans imagination fell short.

I think that's a thread around here somewhere... It does seem like the faithful haven't put much thought into what they would be doing for all eternity.  My wife says "worshipping the Lord, singing his praises."  Oh yeah, I'd have a ball with that for the first 18 billion years, then what? Better yet, wouldn't "the Lord" get tired of it?

I actually questioned that about Jesus long before the heaven thing. The praise for dying and having a crappy three day weekend for your sins would be cool and all for 20 to 40 years, but after 2000???? Wouldn't anyone be..."OKAY! enough thanks. Please don't mention it anymore! I did other shit, you know?"
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2013, 04:00:12 PM »
^^^ So, heaven is like a Vegas lounge act that never ends? 
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2013, 06:03:47 PM »
The concept of heaven always bothered me because to me "heaven" is a very subjective thing.  One person's heaven is a million other people's hell.  There has been mention of streets of gold.  Who maintains them?  Is street maintenance that person's heaven?  And what about the flow of milk and honey?  That would seem to attract pests.  Who's heaven would include pests?  How does the milk not spoil?  And what about the weather?  Are there seasons?  Does one get to choose a preferred climate? What if someone you really care about did not qualify?  How is it heaven if people you care for aren't there?  What if those you love on earth are suffering?  Can you enjoy knowing that is going on?  Yes, I guess I had a fear of heaven.  It just seemed too implausible.
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Offline eartheconomyspirit

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2013, 06:37:20 PM »
In my many years of theism, I was never really comfortable with the idea of heaven.

As a nine year old, I distinctly remember crying in fear about all the heaven stuff - going somewhere I knew nothing about and had never experienced.  My mother tried to console me with stories of streets of gold, lions roaming around peacfully, seeing old relatives  (who I generally did not remember), and chatting with Jesus/Noah/Adam, etc.  I found no comfort in those assurances, especially since they only reinforced my fears - it was all a strange and foreign place I had no frame of reference for or even a longing. 

As a teen, I chafed about "witnessing" to people, because I was not comfortable trying to scare them with tales of hell and damnation, then pulling a bait and switch to sell Jesus and those streets of gold.  Furthermore, I was lousy trying to sell heaven, since  it creeped me out. Nedless to say, I was never a "soul winner" my baptist faith loved to make of its adherents.

As an adult, heaven was one of those many questions or uncomfortable notions I pushed to the back of my brain and soldiered on for the cause.  I used to think, I would rather just die and be no more... can I "waive" heaven? Then came deconversion.  I no longer have issues with heaven, at least no more than I have with Valhalla or Atlantis.! It does not exist, it cannot exist... and it all makes sense now.

I wonder, was I the lone believer who didn't look forward to going to that place as a believer?  I still hang out with xians and they all make a big deal out of heaven; they love it and long for it they say, even claiming "this world is not their home" (a phrase that never made one lick of sense to me).

What say you... fellow former xians?

The Christians have been reading the wrong book.

This is what Jesus actually said about the matter.

Discovered in 1945 was the Gospel of Thomas after being buried for 1700+ years.  In the GOT  he said 59 Jesus said, "Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see." Interestingly you will not find that in any Bible. Why?  It makes this stuff personal and you need to scare folks if you want to use religion for power or to serve an ego.


Heaven is a place on earth, for those that lose their ego and become an authentic  go(o)d neighbour.

Offline epidemic

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2013, 07:38:06 PM »
Your aunts heaven clearly would be hell.  Again think about the timeframe .  Hanging with the loved ones .  For billions of years.

Don't you think that you might devolve into an uncomfortable silence after the millionth time discussing family stuff.

Offline Nick

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2013, 09:28:27 PM »
Yeah, if I have to hear about uncle Frank's corns one more time. ;)
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Offline neopagan

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2013, 10:00:41 PM »

The Christians have been reading the wrong book.

This is what Jesus actually said about the matter.

Discovered in 1945 was the Gospel of Thomas after being buried for 1700+ years.  In the GOT  he said 59 Jesus said, "Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see." Interestingly you will not find that in any Bible. Why?  It makes this stuff personal and you need to scare folks if you want to use religion for power or to serve an ego.


Heaven is a place on earth, for those that lose their ego and become an authentic  go(o)d neighbour.

It's not "good form" to accuse people here (and christians in general) of not reading your pet book, insofar as I am unaware you are omnipotent.   As a matter of fact, I have read the "GoT" as well as the gospels of mary, judas, the tales of the shepherds and any number of extant gospels and such I cannot be bothered to try to recall right now. I have also forgotten the titles of a lot of the fairy tales dear old mom read me too, up to an  including a tired old tale of two wolves.

All those other gospels are of about the same questionable reliability as the gospels found in your "wrong book" and I reject them as well.

Now about  this heaven, wherever it may be... it isn't.
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline freakygin

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2013, 11:04:49 PM »
I just imagined heaven as "Nice" fluffy cloud...all your problem are solved sort of place. Didn't think about it too much, when I did, it was about "If it was so nice, why did the angels rebel?" or other troubling questions...but I just generally thought "Well God/adults know better than me" After knowing how animals and people rot and/or are butchered....anything seemed better than that, so I just counted on that.


When i was a kid, I used to imagine heaven pretty much like Olympus
Kingdom on the cloud, angels flying around, cupid playing harp.
Delicious foods, Sweets and Fruits everywhere..
We drink sweet grape juice (I imagine that's the taste of wine)
And the best part is, they're absolutely FREE..

However, that beautiful image was completely destroyed
When a stupid priest (which i hate so much) claims that he'll be in heaven.

From then on, I imagine heaven is a lousy place filled with Assholes..

EDIT: Add quote
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 11:16:13 PM by freakygin »
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Offline eartheconomyspirit

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2013, 12:01:46 AM »

The Christians have been reading the wrong book.

This is what Jesus actually said about the matter.

Discovered in 1945 was the Gospel of Thomas after being buried for 1700+ years.  In the GOT  he said 59 Jesus said, "Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see." Interestingly you will not find that in any Bible. Why?  It makes this stuff personal and you need to scare folks if you want to use religion for power or to serve an ego.


Heaven is a place on earth, for those that lose their ego and become an authentic  go(o)d neighbour.


It's not "good form" to accuse people here (and christians in general) of not reading your pet book, insofar as I am unaware you are omnipotent.   As a matter of fact, I have read the "GoT" as well as the gospels of mary, judas, the tales of the shepherds and any number of extant gospels and such I cannot be bothered to try to recall right now. I have also forgotten the titles of a lot of the fairy tales dear old mom read me too, up to an  including a tired old tale of two wolves.

Firstly, who are you to decide good form. I can choose any form I like so long as I am not dishonest or disrespectful. I did not accuse anyone. I simple said the Christians have  been reading the wrong book. I should have qualified that by saying, the wrong book in terms of a Jesus interpretation, granted.  As far as my research goes, this is simply a fact. Of course if you want to challenge that conclusion you'll have to read my research and address that, otherwise its just an immature polar discussion of assumptions  :-) .

The correct Jesus interpretation, and not my pet book, again according to my research, is the Gospel of Thomas. I took the time to interpret each of its 114 sayings and compared the 60+ that were in the Bible and isolate the balance to see what was significant about those. They seem to make clear sense.

My assessment of your unawareness stands. Sorry, but it is was it is.  Oddly those "fairy tales", unless your referring to Santa Claus, are called and recognized as wisdoms by wiser people than you or I. More evidence in support of the unawareness, I'd suggest.     

Quote
All those other gospels are of about the same questionable reliability as the gospels found in your "wrong book" and I reject them as well.

That's simply inaccurate. Take any saying you like from the GOT and let's discuss its merits.

Quote
Now about  this heaven, wherever it may be... it isn't.

Heaven is a metaphor for joy and love and the like, from a GOT, PLATO and Go(o)d wolf perspective.

Some of you  atheists seem more hung up on, or attached to perhaps, the religious imaginings of these  things called Go(o)d, Devils and  Heaven than the Religious folks. I'm pretty certain there all just metaphors. Not something to bother with so directly. Is it because they are easy targets, do you think. Just a thought   ;)

Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2013, 07:16:48 AM »
^^^ So, heaven is like a Vegas lounge act that never ends?

No It is a lounge act that had ended and the audience has no choice but the continue clapping....forever.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2013, 07:35:46 AM »
Some of you  atheists seem more hung up on, or attached to perhaps, the religious imaginings of these  things called Go(o)d, Devils and  Heaven than the Religious folks. I'm pretty certain there all just metaphors. Not something to bother with so directly. Is it because they are easy targets, do you think. Just a thought   ;)

So....what is "heaven" a metaphor for, exactly?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline eartheconomyspirit

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2013, 07:43:52 PM »
Some of you  atheists seem more hung up on, or attached to perhaps, the religious imaginings of these  things called Go(o)d, Devils and  Heaven than the Religious folks. I'm pretty certain there all just metaphors. Not something to bother with so directly. Is it because they are easy targets, do you think. Just a thought   ;)

So....what is "heaven" a metaphor for, exactly?

GOT #19 Jesus said, "Blessed is he who came into being before he came into being. If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death."

Interpretation - Paradise (or heaven if you prefer) , for Jesus, maybe within the context of our life. In meditation perhaps you should be silent in thought but alert or aware to the five senses, smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste. Allow the left brain to stand silent for a moment, perhaps.

How do sense functions change in relation to the seasons? Being masters of the moment relieves us of the fear (or taste) of death. Similar in meaning to Plato's courageous philosopher king.
Perhaps alluding to the importance of a real conscious presence and sensing of reality in the spiritual mix. Masters of meditation may be able to shed some light here, perhaps.

A Buddhist perspective
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L4ljV33lFzI#!

That taste (of food) is divine. That music is heavenly. The view of nature is beyond words. That massage feels so go(o)d, it’s out of this world. The comfort of caresses and hugs. The scent of those flowers is to die for.

There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres. ~ Pythagoras

Are there other “heavenly” moments that relate separately or collectively to the senses?

Offline eartheconomyspirit

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Re: "Fear" of heaven?
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2013, 07:45:57 PM »
P.S. You won't find that Jesus saying  in the Bible, yet it is authentically 1700 + years old and that is not an assumption :-)