Monday, June 29, 2009

Heaven.... Directions please?


I guess the promise of heaven is necessary and came about because it gives people the promise of a better place. Something to live for so to speak (Rather die to for would make more sense?) It makes life more bearable. I find this beautiful because it encourages people, no matter how shitty or 'unfair' their circumstances to live a 'good' life and be happy. Perhaps even help someone else along their way... Heaven is like the promise of a sweet to a good little boy from his mother.

This is a topic that has greatly fascinated me. So much so that it was one of the reasons i read the Bible, Qur'an and the Buddhist texts. Not that i was looking for Heaven or anything. It was more to understand why millions around the world resort to religion. Is this not why people are religious? In the aim of achieving everlasting salvation? booking their place in God's kingdom?
-Random thought... Have you ever looked around your church and thought "Yes, these are the people i want to spend eternity with!"-
Before i deliver my somewhat disheartening opinion of heaven i thought i would give a brief outline of heaven in different followings.

1.Islam- Heaven is called 'Jannah' which comes from an arabic word that means to cover or to hide (Allah's home in the sky is not visible) This is the land of happiness etc... Nothing new or exciting there. But while reading the Qur'an i also came up with a different impression. I am quite sure i have miss interpreted this but ill say anyway- The earth is heaven and we are all stewards put here to give it our contribution before moving on. As i said this may be my mind twisting things to suite my views.

2.Christianity- Keep this short... Living place of God and the land of those granted salvation by God. This is a quote that i found is pretty good food for thought...

"Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time! But he loves you!"
-George Carlin.
This quote make me think that perhaps Christianity has veered over the years? Perhaps the Christian God is not as all forgiving as has been taught of late. A lot of people better hope i am wrong...

3.Buhddism- The Buddhist concept of heaven and hell is entirely different from that in other religions. Buddhists do not accept that these places are eternal. It is unreasonable to condemn a man to eternal hell for his human weakness but quite reasonable to give him every chance to redeem himself. From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upward by making use of previously acquired merit. Hell is not a life sentence. Hell is a temporary place and there is no reason for anyone to suffer there forever. This seems to me a lot more palatable.

4. My view- This was quite influenced from ideas of Islam and Buddhism i think. I have always thought that the earth is Heaven. We have life and can do with it quite a lot though i would have to admit that our circumstances at the beginning of life have a lot to do with what we can or can't accomplish. We must enjoy our time here and perhaps use it to make ourselves useful to this world. There is no point in worrying about what will happen when we die because the fact is we will and no-one can escape it. The fact is death is necessary for life to continue. Imagine what life would be like if no-one died. Famine, overpopulation... This is a very Malthusian opinion but hey.... We are constantly breeding a superior stronger form of human who live longer and 'better' lives. But what is the point of living longer at the expense of enjoyment and happiness. Why drag on life instead of enjoying that fatty burger while you can or that beer and dying at 60 rather than pushing on to reach 120 living off rabbit food? Is that really living?
Life is a highway with birth at one end and death at the other. What you drive and in which lane is totally up to you so why not make the most of it? Who knows what is at the end? And the fact is we are all going to find out. I've been asked "what is going to happen to you since you don't believe in the after life?"
I am going to cease to exist and inspire the cabbages to grow.... Lets hope they taste good. At least we all know we will be useful.
I won't waste my life away praising a higher being or anything like that. If 'God' exists is the all forgiving and loving being He is said to be, for living a good life and being nice to others i am assuming it will be overlooked that i did not feed His massive ego but ritually kissing his ass every sunday and will not be sentenced to a lifetime of pain and suffering in hell to think about what i've done. What the hell would i do in heaven all day anyway? Smell the flowers and skip through daisies all day? Sounds like a whole lot of No-fun! I don't want to live for eternity...

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Beginning Of The End...

I'll start by saying that i am 18 now and for the last 10 years my views on religion have slowly gone downhill and have evolved dramatically over the years. I would also like to point out that i am not anti-religion or anything of the sort. In fact i am pro religion, it can be a beautiful thing. That being said i do not believe in the one God, this will be explained further on. Having seen all this you must be quite confused as to what religious group i fall into, i am too, so if you do know, please let me know.
I was born into a good christian family (All hypocrites if you ask me) but i was never really hooked on religion or filled with the 'holy spirit' or any spirit for that matter until i was about fourteen or fifteen but those spirits fall under a totally different category. With such a background i should have ideally grown up to be a good christian with solid morals and beliefs. But i didn't.
Everything was fine until i was about eight years old. I can clearly remember it was a sunday in the summer and i was sitting in a tree eating the forbidden fruit (was this really the apple? This i think is one of the many misunderstandings in the bible. Were there ever apples growing in the region where the bible was written? I think not. In my opinion the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate.) This tree happened to be behind the church and the adult church had just finished. The priest walked out of the church with the bowl containing the Holy water from that mornings anointments, he proceeded to empty the contents of the bowl over his flower patch raining down life giving goodness on them. A shiver run down my spine and my eight year old brain started whirring, immediately the solid foundations that had been drilled into me dissolved, i turned to my cousin for answers but she just smiled and continued to attack her apple with her boyish ferocity.
I needed answers, i had to get them. I clambered down the tree and jogged up to the priest. I asked him why he had poured out the Holy water out. He laid a pale hand on my shoulder ( Back off mister, you're not finding peace in my rectum... errr rectory...) And said:
"Son, this water was only boiled and blessed for and thus symbolizes..." my hearing cut off at this point. WRONG ANSWER buddy, this moment called for a 'white lie', to this day i wonder what would have happened if he had bent the truth a little. This day marked the beginning of a long list of questions beginning with 'Why...' which seemed to be very awkward and difficult to answer in any way other than "it was God's will!" This standardized answer led to me seeking my answers on my own.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams.

This is a quote which reminds me of one of the first questions i asked myself. Why do people believe in God? One answer that i thought up was because it is human nature to want to have an answer for everything. When walking down the street when you ask for directions, very rarely, regardless of wether a person knows or not will they say "I don't know sorry." (Unless you are in a place where they are just rude) In most cases people who don't know are likely to point you in the wrong direction rather than saying they can't help you regardless of the ramifications on you're part. The point is that putting this into consideration, when we, and our ancestors can not explain anything we love to point the finger at a higher being and have an answer to why something happened. I guess it is human nature. We have the burning need to know everything. In both Islam and Christianity we see this a lot. The Christian faith like to say "It was/is God's will." "Maktob" is in my opinion, the Islamic equivalent to "It was God's will." This word or phrase means "It was written" meaning the past present and future was written by ALLAH. Perhaps i am interpreting this wrong but i like to at least pretend that i have control over my life and what will happen in it. I do not like to think i am some puppet or tool of a higher being put here for His amusement. (Is God or Allah a man? A woman? We were made in His image.) Wether this is true or not, i am living how i want (within reason) and doing what i want! This brings me to my next question/ point, "What is heaven and where is it?"