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Switch to Forum Live View "Rethinking Heaven"
2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 7:18AM #1
Adelphe
Posts: 28,707

...is the title of a piece in the April 16th edition of TIME magazine (made the front cover, actually--how refreshing TIME refused the gag-order imposed on all things...Christian.)


This post was prompted by a comment by Monsieur Cancienne in another thread echoed all too frequently by others.

The "Rethinking", btw, needs to be on the part of non-Christians rather than Christians:

"...At odds with all this is the secular scientific view expressed by Stephen Hawking last year.  Dismissing the idea of heaven to the U.K's Guardian newspaper, he said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.  There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

The view prompted Wright [Anglican bishop, NT scholar, theologian, and author N.T. Wright] to engage Hawking in the Washington Post, where Wright suggested that the secular dismissal is itself tied to a misconception of the afterlife.  "Of course there are people who think of 'heaven' as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful," he wrote.  "No doubt that's a problem as old as the human race.  But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock."


Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 8:17AM #2
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,280

In this age where we can transfer information by post-it note, e-mail, fax, snail-mail, voice, telephone, voice-mail, cassette recording, DVD, text, Facebook, CB.......hummm.....I could probably think of more...smoke signals, Morse Code.....to me it seems a lack of imagination to think the information that constitutes self cannot be >stored< by other means than a bag of flesh. (And likewise, the intelligence that constitutes God).


sdp

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton

A map is not the territory.                                                                 Alfred Korzybski

God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests. He is that element in life in virtue of which judgment stretches beyond facts of existence to values of existence.      Alfred North Whitehead
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 8:36AM #3
Paladinsf
Posts: 3,660

May 24, 2012 -- 8:17AM, stardustpilgrim wrote:

In this age where we can transfer information by post-it note, e-mail, fax, snail-mail, voice, telephone, voice-mail, cassette recording, DVD, text, Facebook, CB.......hummm.....I could probably think of more...smoke signals, Morse Code.....to me it seems a lack of imagination to think the information that constitutes self cannot be >stored< by other means than a bag of flesh. (And likewise, the intelligence that constitutes God).


sdp


And what evidence do you have that such a thing actually happens? And words in book are not convincing evidence of anything but wishful thinking. So bother telling what your favorite book of fables says or does not say. You guys can't agree on what it says anyway so the rest of us have no reason to regard it as anything but fiction.


SO: Evidence pls.

The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
The belief in supernatural religion will kill us all if we don't outgrow it.

When I first read "End of Faith" I thought Sam went too far. The more I read and listen to these "believers" the more I wonder if maybe he wasn't right after all.
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 8:41AM #4
Paladinsf
Posts: 3,660

" "Of course there are people who think of 'heaven' as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful," he wrote.  "No doubt that's a problem as old as the human race.  But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock.""


So if bible makes it all that "clear" where do these ideas of streets of gold, river flowing by the throne of god, angels with harps, lambs and lions sharing beds - where did all that come from?

The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
The belief in supernatural religion will kill us all if we don't outgrow it.

When I first read "End of Faith" I thought Sam went too far. The more I read and listen to these "believers" the more I wonder if maybe he wasn't right after all.
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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 9:39AM #5
Blü
Posts: 24,840

Adelphe


"But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock."


Were he making some point like, Christians never get to heaven or The Christian dead don't have fun or When you're dead, you're dead or You're just going to have to wait in the ground till you're resurrected at the Last Trump or the like, I might think he were saying something outside of the modern postmortal mainstream.


But since although 'heaven isn't the place where people go when they die', nonetheless heaven and earth 'overlap and interlock', which looks like a loophole large enough to sail an attack squadron of Costa Concordias through.


So (a) where in his view do people go when they die? and (b) is that your view?

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:20AM #6
lope
Posts: 11,112

May 24, 2012 -- 8:41AM, Paladinsf wrote:


" "Of course there are people who think of 'heaven' as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful," he wrote.  "No doubt that's a problem as old as the human race.  But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock.""


So if bible makes it all that "clear" where do these ideas of streets of gold, river flowing by the throne of god, angels with harps, lambs and lions sharing beds - where did all that come from?





When someone in this physical world wants to talk about spiritual things, we are forced to use things in this world as symbols of what we are discussing about the spiritual realm.  Nothing in the spiritual realm can be proven.  After we have said that, it makes no sense to keep demaning evidence.  If we could prove the existence of God we would not need to talk about faith.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:22AM #7
F1fan
Posts: 11,266

May 24, 2012 -- 7:18AM, Adelphe wrote:


The "Rethinking", btw, needs to be on the part of non-Christians rather than Christians:

"...At odds with all this is the secular scientific view expressed by Stephen Hawking last year.  Dismissing the idea of heaven to the U.K's Guardian newspaper, he said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.  There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

The view prompted Wright [Anglican bishop, NT scholar, theologian, and author N.T. Wright] to engage Hawking in the Washington Post, where Wright suggested that the secular dismissal is itself tied to a misconception of the afterlife.  "Of course there are people who think of 'heaven' as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful," he wrote.  "No doubt that's a problem as old as the human race.  



I'm not sure why non-believers are the people who have to rethink heaven when believers have a broad set of conceptions about it themselves.  It's the same dilemma non-believers have with much of Christians as we are dealing with many differing sects with different details about even the most basic concepts.


I'd say it is fair to not consider the idea of heaven when we look at the biological function of the human body and human experience.  Death is certain.  We observe no signs of any sort of experience by our personality after brain death (as opposed to clinical death where NDE is claimed).  Heaven seems to be a benefit for the living believer, not the dead believer.  


But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock."



Well if the two overlap, then earth is within "God's sapce" which is heaven.  So heaven is right here on earth, as well as on the moon or Jupiter.  It sounds as if earth is only separate from the rest of "God's space" because we are limited to this planet.


In a way i think this can work as a metaphor, where heaven is a positive and loving state of mind, while hell is a negaitive and hateful state of mind.  This works much better than the idea that heaven and hell are actual places where souls end up.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:23AM #8
lope
Posts: 11,112

May 24, 2012 -- 9:39AM, Blü wrote:


Adelphe


"But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock."


Were he making some point like, Christians never get to heaven or The Christian dead don't have fun or When you're dead, you're dead or You're just going to have to wait in the ground till you're resurrected at the Last Trump or the like, I might think he were saying something outside of the modern postmortal mainstream.


But since although 'heaven isn't the place where people go when they die', nonetheless heaven and earth 'overlap and interlock', which looks like a loophole large enough to sail an attack squadron of Costa Concordias through.


So (a) where in his view do people go when they die? and (b) is that your view?





Note the word overlap.  If we exist spiritually now, dying physically does not send our spiritual existence to any place.  We simply remain spiritually alive without the physical existence.  In this physical world everything has a place.  It may not be that way in the spiritual realm.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:26AM #9
lope
Posts: 11,112

May 24, 2012 -- 10:22AM, F1fan wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 7:18AM, Adelphe wrote:


The "Rethinking", btw, needs to be on the part of non-Christians rather than Christians:

"...At odds with all this is the secular scientific view expressed by Stephen Hawking last year.  Dismissing the idea of heaven to the U.K's Guardian newspaper, he said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.  There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

The view prompted Wright [Anglican bishop, NT scholar, theologian, and author N.T. Wright] to engage Hawking in the Washington Post, where Wright suggested that the secular dismissal is itself tied to a misconception of the afterlife.  "Of course there are people who think of 'heaven' as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful," he wrote.  "No doubt that's a problem as old as the human race.  



I'm not sure why non-believers are the people who have to rethink heaven when believers have a broad set of conceptions about it themselves.  It's the same dilemma non-believers have with much of Christians as we are dealing with many differing sects with different details about even the most basic concepts.


I'd say it is fair to not consider the idea of heaven when we look at the biological function of the human body and human experience.  Death is certain.  We observe no signs of any sort of experience by our personality after brain death (as opposed to clinical death where NDE is claimed).  Heaven seems to be a benefit for the living believer, not the dead believer.  


But in the Bible, 'heaven' isn't 'the place where people go when the die.'  In the Bible heaven is God's space, while earth (or if you like, 'the cosmos' or 'creation') is our space.  And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock."



Well if the two overlap, then earth is within "God's sapce" which is heaven.  So heaven is right here on earth, as well as on the moon or Jupiter.  It sounds as if earth is only separate from the rest of "God's space" because we are limited to this planet.


In a way i think this can work as a metaphor, where heaven is a positive and loving state of mind, while hell is a negaitive and hateful state of mind.  This works much better than the idea that heaven and hell are actual places where souls end up.





My guess is heaven is existence without a place involved and hell is non existence.  I don't think the earth is within God's space.  I think spiritual beings not physical things are withing God's space but I don't know that the word space is applicable to the spiritual realm.

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 10:29AM #10
F1fan
Posts: 11,266

May 24, 2012 -- 10:20AM, lope wrote:


When someone in this physical world wants to talk about spiritual things, we are forced to use things in this world as symbols of what we are discussing about the spiritual realm.  Nothing in the spiritual realm can be proven.  After we have said that, it makes no sense to keep demaning evidence.  If we could prove the existence of God we would not need to talk about faith.




First, we demand evidence from those who claim that ideas about the "spiritual realm" are true, as opposed to symbolic, metaphorical, or speculative.  So it is for the claimant to be careful not to phrase statements that assert religious ideas are true in reality versus something believed to be true but possibly not.


Second, spiritual things ARE of the physical world since it is physical beings thinking about them.  To be aware that we humans have abstractions within our minds that project some reality beyond the physical is a wise thing.  I see no problem with theists performing rituals and holding beliefs so long as they are aware that they are symbolic.

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