Author Topic: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?  (Read 12674 times)

Marge_Innavera

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2011, 03:52:05 pm »
Does't suprise me in the least, not when you consider the depths of cruelty to which human beings sank in the course of the 20th century.  :-\

Of course, I suppose it isn't necessarily possible to know everything to which the New Testament was written in reaction, but I suppose if you are being ostracized by your own community, shunned by your own family, and (at times literallly) crucified or thrown to the lions by your government, there was some comfort in believing that the people who were doing all these horrible things to you in this world would be getting theirs in the next.  :-\

But the difference is that if you are thrown to the lions or even crucified, which has to rank with burning alive as one of the worst ways to die, death would eventually release you from your suffering.

Waiting to gloat over your enemies "getting theirs" in the next life doesn't sound too consistent with Jesus' teachings; but then, compared with Paul, Christianity has never taken Jesus all that seriously.

Offline Marina

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2011, 04:01:45 pm »
Quote
And who says the gods invented the universe just for us?

They didn't!  That's [one] of the big problems I have with the world today, and organized religion.   The universe was not created just for humanity, IMO.
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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2011, 05:49:34 pm »
   If you were a God, why would you invent, or make a universe?  In order to have
someone to associate with?  Or would you do it because you wanted people to use for people to be on your side of the argument.  The way I see it.  If you read the
bible, he made man in order to have them take his side in the universe.  For them to be against the Devil and his minions.  If you don't take his side then you will be sent
to hell, and burned for eternity.  I think that has been my particular problem with
God all the way.  That would be like having children in order to have more men to
go to war with your enemies.  I find that difficult to accept.  Not very God like, if you
will.



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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2011, 06:44:34 pm »
Appreciate?  Sure.  But the OP was about worshipping a god.  And who says the gods invented the universe just for us?  It probably was for their own enjoyment, so appreciation only goes so far.

Good point. I couldn't bring myself to say "worship." The title of the thread involves a few assumptions -- 1) that we not only believe in God, we even worship him/her, 2) that the existence of heaven or hell is iffy -- that I don't buy into.

I don't wonder about the possible non-existence of heaven and hell, I ASSUME they're myths. I don't worship God. I am agnostic, so I don't totally even believe in God. So maybe I'm not the best person to answer this poll.

However, my answer didn't involve the assumption that god(s) created the universe just for us. If you believe in god(s), and if you assume that s/he/they created the universe, you certainly can appreciate him/her/them for that achievement without believing yourself to be the only beneficiary.


Offline Wayne

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2011, 07:05:19 pm »
I don't claim that my impression is the authoritative truth about what the text of the Bible says, but overall to me it is surprising how little detail is provided in the Bible about an afterlife. At the time of Jesus, the Jews were sharply divided as to whether there was any afterlife at all. The Pharisees said there was an afterlife and the Saducees said there was not. I take that as an indication that the "Old Testament" does not give a consistent authoritative answer.

It was clearly the pop-cultural obsession of Jesus's time, but there was no clear religious unified position on it.

I'm pretty clear that when Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven he, at least usually, meant the new way of doing things that he wanted to encourage here on earth during our usual lifetimes. We are told that he did make a definitive statement on one occasion that there is an afterlife - supporting the Pharisees against the Saducees - but most of the time he was talking about changing how we do things in this life. Given how little he talked about an afterlife, it wouldn't surprise me if somebody just threw that into the text later, slash fiction style, because they wanted him to have said something about it.
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Offline Wayne

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2011, 07:13:28 pm »
It's only the spin-off material, the epistles and Revelation that give much of a position. To me that makes the Biblical argument for an afterlife pretty weak. To me it comes across as just an afterthought in the last 15% of the Bible, including Revelation which was not even consistently accepted as canon in the early church. Even the stuff in Revelation is not clearly about an afterlife - it sounds like someone who is justifiably dissatisfied with the Roman Empire, "predicting" - or rather calling for - its overthrow.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2011, 07:16:16 pm »
The trouble with all religions is that the Infinite has to be funneled through the very finite minds of human beings.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Wayne

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2011, 07:19:44 pm »
So that's it for Heaven. As for Hell, there are two words in Biblical Hebrew that are usually translated as Hell. Sheol actually means "grave" - not an afterlife condition, just the burial place. And Gehenna is an even more literal location: a specific valley used as a garbage dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Dead bodies were dumped there if nobody claimed them; it was a terrible thing to have that happen to you. That is what going to hell meant.

All the stuff about fire and brimstone is literally a description of decaying flesh in the garbage dump. There is nothing metaphysical about it.

Again, this is my impression, nobody has to agree. Still, I'm pretty sure I'm right  ;)
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2011, 07:21:10 pm »
Yes, the question that this thread seems to be asking is whether there's some kind of intrinsic benefit to the act of worshipping.  If one knows that there is no actual afterlife reward... is the activity of worshipping some kind of positive mental or spiritual activity on it's own?

For me personally, the answer is an easy no.

I'm very suspect of the idea of worshipping.  And, I'm miles and miles away from being a religious person.  So, my personal answer is no.  And, in some ways, I actually hope that there isn't an afterlife.  I hope that death is like being in a deep sleep with no dreams.

And, as has been here in this thread, I think a lot of religion is really politics.  Ancient politics are embedded in old religious documents/doctrines and obviously people still use religion to control other people.

I'm very cynical about religion.
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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Would You Still Worship God If There Was No Heaven or Hell?
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2011, 07:52:42 pm »
  If you were a God, why would you invent, or make a universe?  In order to have
someone to associate with?  Or would you do it because you wanted people to use for people to be on your side of the argument.  The way I see it.  If you read the
bible, he made man in order to have them take his side in the universe.  For them to be against the Devil and his minions.  If you don't take his side then you will be sent
to hell, and burned for eternity.  I think that has been my particular problem with
God all the way.  That would be like having children in order to have more men to
go to war with your enemies.  I find that difficult to accept.  Not very God like, if you
will.

Agree.  This idea assumes god needs help.  If he created everything, including the devil and his minions, I daresay he'd have no trouble taking them all out without needing any help from anyone.  Hence the strange idea of being a member of God's Army or a Soldier for Christ.

As I recall very faintly from the Sumerian religion, humans were created to tend the garden for the gods.   So humans were created for all kinds of reasons in different religions.

Quote
So that's it for Heaven. As for Hell, there are two words in Biblical Hebrew that are usually translated as Hell. Sheol actually means "grave" - not an afterlife condition, just the burial place. And Gehenna is an even more literal location: a specific valley used as a garbage dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Dead bodies were dumped there if nobody claimed them; it was a terrible thing to have that happen to you. That is what going to hell meant.

All the stuff about fire and brimstone is literally a description of decaying flesh in the garbage dump.

This is what I read as well.  Early Hebrew tribes didn't really have a concept of Heaven/Hell as the modern Christians see it.  It was a belief concept shared by their pagan neighbors.  THIS life is what was important, so if you needed to worship like there was no tomorrow, you did, because literally, as a human, there was no tomorrow, today was all you had.  And if your god didn't deliver, you went to another god who could.  The monotheists were odd in that they turned any failure on their god's part to help them into a masochistic self-blame.