• Stephanie wrote a new post, Life Driven Purpose, pg 42 2 years, 11 months ago

    By the way, Christians believe that when they get to heaven there will be no more struggle, pain, or sorrow. This means there will be no problems to solve during an eternity of praising the Master. Since purpose […]

    • Were all the mundane activities that comprise our day to day life to be rendered unnecessary, what would we have left? Is this a condition in which to aspire? Of course those with a belief in an afterlife would probably suggest an existence on some higher plane; the endless bliss of being in His presence, though this would be an obvious rationalisation.

      Having given some thought to the concept of an eternity spent in this way, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would not be for me. To generalise, I think most believing in an afterlife have not given the reality much thought at all. What we enjoy about life is the ordinary and contact with those whose company we enjoy. By eliminating these elements the prospect looks pretty grim and eternal oblivion seems far preferable.

    • Hi, Nitya,

      I’m Dan. Nice to e-meet you. His presence! Such nonsense, right?

      I would like to say this, however: I am as critical of religion as anyone on this site, but eternity as endless time is only one conception of eternity. (It is, admittedly, the most popular. I often think of eternity as you described it, and agree that that sounds dreadful,)

      It’s interesting to note that Christians can’t make up their minds about eternity. They describe it as eternal bliss AND eternal rest! (They’ve said “rest” at every damned Christian funeral I’ve ever been to. And one was too many… How could it be both?)

      I do wish Barker could get past the over-simplification.

      Eternity, according to Kierkegaard, i.e., from a more comprehensive and sophisticated Christian standpoint, has to be understood in a moral sense, as “the absolute distinction between the just and the unjust.” I can’t tell you precisely what that means without reviewing his writings, but it sure doesn’t mean a disembodied yet conscious existence for years and years and years without end…

    • Dan #7

      Hi Dan. Nice to meet you as well.

      from a more comprehensive and sophisticated Christian as well….I still think think any conclusions drawn on the nature of heaven come from the musings of the faithful because none of the details are made evident in the Bible. The sophisticated Christian may not add understandings any more coherent than the peasant despite having given it more thought to the possibilities.

      The much touted notion of catching up with deceased family members presents more problems for the imagination than it solves from my perspective. E.g. What age are you? What age are they? What about the relationship now dead family members have with their parents or grandparents? The whole thing becomes a logical nightmare with respect to relative ages and interrelatedness. And… what of the many people who didn’t get on with family members?

      The prospect of oblivion is a far more satisfying concept for me Dan, apart from the fact that any notion of gods or goddesses is simply beyond the pale. I can’t think of any upside of living for eternity that would entice me to a religious mindset.

    • Yes. I certainly agree with all of that.

      But a cop is only as good as the criminals he or she is dealing with, generally speaking. You have mediocre criminals and you get mediocre cops.

      Some – perhaps quite a few – Christians (the “criminals” in my analogy) do not think about such things as eternity the way Barker thinks about it, and the way most of the world – the religious and non-religious world – thinks about this idea; the ideas of some Christians are more esoteric and complex; so I bring these arguments up because I think we need to be able to discuss these issues on the highest level possible.

      Otherwise the enemy (so to speak) will outclass us and prevail. “God” forbid!

    • Dan #9

      You have mediocre criminals you get mediocre cops*.

      I see your point. Much prefer sophisticated criminals bearing sophisticated arguments myself! ;-)) This discussion has given me cause to think of the Terrence Malick interpretation of heaven in film The Tree of Life. He’s an extremely sophisticated criminal himself, though depicts a heaven with crowds of lost souls traipsing across a salt pan, finally meeting up with his mother who appeared the same age as himself. His imaginings must have appealed to many because the film had some good reviews! I’ve seen and read other thoughts on the topic where the later (more sophisticated) versions seem to have dispensed with the body completely and feature the disembodied consciousness you’ve suggested in #6.