Recently a friend told me a joke about a couple arriving in Heaven and receiving a tour. Their beautiful new home was on a golf course and every month it would switch to another famous course. They were shown the dining hall filled with wonderful food and told they could eat their fill and never get fat or have problems. The husband became upset with his wife and complained that if she hadn’t made them eat that stupid low cholesterol, gluten free diet, they could have been there 12 years earlier...
Made me think. With such a wonderful reward, how are people still brainwashed into believing suffering is a good thing? How are they convinced to give their money and time to the church?
When I see these pathetic postings postings "pray for me/ little Johnny/my mom on FB, I tell them they are terrible blasphemers because obviously Gawd gave them their problem, being omnipotent, and how dare they question his wisdom!?! not one has ever replied, my logic is unassailable!
So funny, your story reminds me of a strategy I have when I’m being “persuaded” by Mormons or JW or any other street Christians, I innocently play the Heaven Game with them. Here’s how it goes. Invariably, the conversation would get to the point of “being saved” and heaven & hell, I would seize this opportunity and start drilling down into heaven:
. So what do we do in heaven?
. Do we live in houses or apartments?
. What do we eat? (if we don’t eat, it’s no heaven)
. Who does the cooking? Do we have to wash the dishes? (if yes, it’s no heaven)
. Where do we go to the bathroom? Do we have to clean the bathroom? (if yes, it’s no heaven)
. Ahem … do we get to have sex (if no, it’s no heaven)
. Who do we have sex with?
. Can we have sex with anyone?
. Do we have to have sex with our ex?
. What if someone else wants to have sex with the same person we do?
You get the idea, just concentrate on bathroom and sex and the persuaders would get uncomfortable real quick. It’s fun, try it sometimes.
I have noticed that most of the more fervent believers seem to be in no particular hurry to go to their eternal reward. But that's a good thing. It's the ones who want to die young and meet their makers who are currently the most dangerous to society and the world.
When my late partner got involved in the states Death with Dignity program some of the religious nuts came out of the woodwork. They always say we should not play god and end our life. However, they play super god and use every life extending thing they can to live longer. They say they can't wait to meet Jesus, just not yet!!
Long ago, my ex husband had a friend who said he was READY TO DIE at any minute to go to heaven and be with Jesus. One evening, he came to our house, visibly shaken, saying that he had nearly run off the bluff into the ocean (don't remember why). I said to him, "Why didn't you go? You always say that you are ready to meet Jesus." He never said that again in my presence. I was in the church then, too, but in no hurry to meet Jesus.
Consider the first people who were Christian; there were some rich folk, but the majority were poor; women and slaves embraced Christianity because they could have the same reward in heaven as free men. They, as were/are many people, were already suffering, so the thought of heaven was, well, heaven.
Over the years and centuries, as the Catholic Church rose to power, people were offered heaven for suffering because 1. They were still already suffering but 2. The Church controlled who got into heaven (as the Pope was god's emissary on earth) and suffering people are easier to control. The panacea was the promise of relief from suffering.
If I thought for a moment that heaven was real and it took suffering to get in, hell, yeah, I would suffer.
What that struck me as a child / adolescent observing life's circus was the very temporal nature of the Christian "after life. Revelations 21. Streets of gold, the architecture encrusted with precious stones, the gateways to the holy city each consisting of one massive pearl. I asked the air why, to no avail as the adults in the room where quite clear that such questioning was blasphemous. Same with the Hell concoction. It's just a case of the most heinous suffering imaginable to us writ large and without end. A banal rendering of the carrot and stick scenario applied to the coercing of dumb animals. Yet, as we see daily in contemporary life, it works. The "fear" ( of an alleged God ) being put into the malleable minds of children. Child abuse in my view.
That's quite a strange heaven, don't you think? We are always picturing a better life after death, not just you, most people do. Religion is big business, they sell salvation and eternal life, the problem is that people pay for something that they can't be sure exists. In my point of view is like selling insurance, but much much less tangible. Just be good because being good is the human way, no reward required, no insurance pay
I'm agnostic; and Richard Dawkins said it well as a response to this...
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.
Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”
Its because its easier for them to believe. I know that sounds stupid but speaking from experience. Its easier to wish your problems away and if you can't then something bad happens its easy to say oh that was gods will instead of taking responsibility for what you have going on in life. I know i felt like a kid who realized santa was fake when i realized there was no god.... i still wanted to believe but could not.... any ways now my life is way easier but at the time it didnt seem so. hope this helps
Just my opinion of course but I think it has more to do with the sense of community connection than religion itself but religion is so pervasive that there aren't many options other than going to church. I think the same about giving our money for entertainment or big business. Humans are hard wired for survival so they overlook a lot in order to be accepted into a group.
Each denomination convinces its membership directly or through brainwashing that the only way to achieve that wonderful reward is to do whatever the church demands. Of course, this always involves not only blind faith and devotion but monetary contributions as well.