Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

It’s a mystery.

January 30, 2009

Do you ever get annoyed when, during a debate with a theist, they retreat into “God is mysterious; we just can’t understand him,” when they are confronted with something contradictory or un-answerable?

 

So then, you say, “But you’ve just told me all this stuff about God; how can he be unknowable?  Either you know him or you don’t.”

 

And then the reply is, “We can only understand what he has revealed to us,” and maybe, “Humans are incapable of fully understanding the mind of god.  We’ll get to learn everything in heaven.”

 

And that’s pretty much a conversation-stopper.

 

But…

 

Were you ever in conversation with a theist who tried to stump you on what banged the big bang?  “Maybe,” they say, “it was God?”

 

And you say, “No, look, just because we don’t know all the details about something doesn’t mean God did it.

 

And they respond, “But you should consider the possibility, if you are as open-minded as you say you are.”

 

So you say, “Of course I will consider it if we find evidence to support it, but we don’t have that.”  (Hopefully, during this discussion, you have already defined “evidence” and explained how a hypothesis needs to be testable, repeatable, and disprovable.)  “Besides, everything we know now about the way the world works was once a mystery that we solved because we found evidence.  So even if something is unknown now, it isn’t unknowable, and we will learn about it someday.”

 

And this may also be a conversation-stopper, though I don’t think it needs to be.  We can talk a lot more about science than we can about Heaven and where it is and how we get there and what we find when we get there.

 

But it occurred to me that these two arguments are very nearly the same; they both simply say, “We don’t know yet.”  If one is invalid, shouldn’t the other one be?

 

Plus, do we really want “conversation-stoppers”?  I’d rather end a discussion with something we agree on rather than one party slinking away wondering why they couldn’t explain the reason the other party’s logic was faulty, and then coming up with a really good reason at 3 AM that night.

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Eternity

December 2, 2008

There is an aspect of de-conversion that is not very obvious, and is not always what it seems, and is very hard to work through.  I am refering to the loss of that little reminder that no matter how bad things get, no matter how much time I waste, no matter which projects never get done, there is an eternity waiting for me where I won’t even remember this life and where everything will be perfect forever.

 

It sounds so obviously false from where I am now, one year from my de-conversion.  But this little parachute has served me well over the years, calming my worries that my life is out of control.

 

I am still learning how to deal with the anxiety that comes up whenever I can’t avoid the fact that I am working and commuting 12-hour days, living in a house whose mortgage alone takes up around 60 percent of the family income.  I don’t have much time to play, and I don’t have much money.  I work and when I get home I look out at my backyard to figure out how I can fix it.  I buy dinners that can be unfrozen during the week even though I enjoy cooking.  And every once in awhile I look at my life and freeze.  This is it.  This is all I’ve got.  If I’m not doing what I love right now, I’d better be working toward the time when I will be doing what I love.

 

There is no Heaven.  There is no reward, no mansion, no, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  We’re born, we work, we die.  And that’s it.  But that’s not the depressing part.

 

The depressing part is when I wonder if I will manage to make my own reward here.  It’s depressing when I see that the answer might be no, like it is for so many people.  How can I make my own “yes”?  How can I recover from the loss of that useful delusion; how can I trick myself into working cheerfully every day without that promise that everything will be okay?

 

I think I used to be a lot more optimistic.  But then I also used to be a lot more deluded.