Heaven & Hell

Most religions have a belief structure surrounding the afterlife. Raised Southern Baptist, my early beliefs were of Heaven and Hell, where the good and bad respectively, go after death. As I became an adult and ventured out into the world, I discovered that although the concepts of Heaven and Hell were common, the how of entry varied. In other words, what did it take to get into one or the other varied. I began to explore beyond religious constructs and found that I had questions. A big one was, if the how of entry could be different, perhaps the whole concept itself could also be called into question. Thus began even more examination.

What if Heaven and Hell are really about this life, while still living, and not some place in the sky (Heaven) or in fire under the ground (Hell)? I’m sure you’ve all known someone whose life is a living hell… perhaps it’s you?

What if when we die, we all become beings of Light, given an opportunity to review our lives and learn from what we did right and what we could have done better? That there is no punishment, only love?

I’ve learned that many people share my consideration, even some who are deeply religious. I would like feedback on these “what ifs?” but please do a deeper dive and not just a knee-jerk reaction based on what you believe.


9 thoughts on “Heaven & Hell

  1. I like the concept of only love and light after death. Maybe it’s more a chance to learn from past mistakes before coming back to live as a more developed person.

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    1. Exactly. Part of the human existence is to learn from our mistakes… the idea that the same would happen in an afterlife makes sense.

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  2. It’s been many years and I’m still not sure what I believe. I would say I hover between agnostic and atheist, but I think there is definitely something to be said for the world in the now being a person’s own heaven or hell. As humans, and with this amazing power of speech we have, we have the power to cut down or lift up anyone in our life. I feel like, until I can understand true vitriolic hate, I have no chance of understanding the ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ of hell, and likewise, until I can understand how someone could give up the whole of their existence to prove a point, or make a stand (and why I am not willing to do the same, even if that makes me cowardly), I will not understand heaven either.

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    1. Interesting thoughts. The power to cut down or lift up… deep, and yet many miss the opportunities to lift up, instead seek to cut down.

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  3. Jeanne- I was raised Roman Catholic and admit that I still find comfort in the rituals, but long ago I too questioned the validity of heaven and hell. I started to believe that these religious “stories” were just ways to control the chaos and the masses; which is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just not the truth. I love the idea that we all become beings of light and that we get to examine our past. Most of us question our previous decisions at times throughout our lives, never getting a definitive answer as to whether or not we made the right decision. It would be nice if, after death we could get some confirmation.

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  4. Morning Jeanne,
    So many thoughts rush to the surface. I don’t know if a can capture one. My Grandmother had dentures and loved to eat. She would carefully pull out her dentures and say “Don’t ever let spmeone tell you there is a heaven or hell. This is our hell!”
    I roam through this period as an atheist. I rarely even consider the existence of some place to go, some force, something responsible outside my self. Maybe in analogy, maybe I accept acceptance of a higher being when trying to understand those around me. It is a secret club I belong. There is no place, no community, no tithing. In my word everything is the victim of our creation by neccessity: right, wrong, up, down, beginning, end, left, right and heaven and hell.
    I accept love. I understand it no better than I do life…but I accept it as I seem to be surrounded by it. It is a blessed warm blanket, it is a solitude of darkness. Maybe love is the atheist’s heaven and hell.
    Good words Jeanne.

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  5. This post and all the replies makes me sad. I read my Bible daily. I am not a church going person I’ve been unchurched for over a decade. My disillusionment was not with the Creator but with the false teachings within the ‘church.’ Belief in heaven and the place of punishment that most call hell is a matter of faith. I have faith that every word in the Bible is true, I have faith in the unseen God of the universe, whose name is Yahweh. His name is important to him. Most translations have removed His name and replaced it with a title, Lord. He reminded the Israelites often that his name is Yahweh, some scholars believe it is pronounced Ye-hove-ah. He does not wish for any to perish, the lake of fire talked about in the Bible was never meant for humans, it was for the fallen angels who rebelled and left their first estate, that is heaven. At the same time, according to His Word, there are those who will refuse him even up to the last and as sad as that is they will choose the punishment over Him. This makes me sad because like my heavenly father, I do not wish for any to perish. He says in his word that his people perish for lack of knowledge. That knowledge is just how much he loves us and the provision he made for us to spend eternity with him in glorified bodies. I just can’t imagine what that will be like. He is a jealous God, after all, he created all things through Christ Jesus and nothing that was created was made without Jesus. I think he has a right to be jealous for his creation when the created worship other gods including the god of secularism. It takes a lot of faith to believe that there is no creator. The beautiful order that is the universe and all that is in it, clear down to the subatomic level sings of it’s creator. I’ve read through His word more than once, a number of passages and chapters and books I’ve read many, many times over. Each time He speaks to my heart and I learn something new, gaining a deeper understanding of Yahweh. I’ll keep on learning until my dying breath, and I’ll keep on praying for the ones who do not know him until I pass from this world to the next. Still it saddens me to know that there are so many who do not know Yahweh in the way that He wants them to know Him. He will not impose His will upon people, unless someone asks for His will to be done, then it is freely given in love. My heart breaks for the lost. I hope you do not consider my comment a “knee-jerk reaction based on my belief.” It is based on what I believe, but, I’ve had many years to contemplate the meaning of my life and I want for everyone to discover the love the creator of all things has for his children, and we are all his children, even those who have run away from his love. Blessings to all of you.

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    1. Thank you for your considered response. I wouldn’t call it knee-jerk, at least not completely, but instead one based on years of reading the bible. I’m sincerely delighted that you have that faith. But, at least for me, there’s no need to feel sad for me. My own faith is based, not in anything established, but in the experience of feeling “at one” with all that is. I am not lost, but since my path is different than yours, I may appear that way to you. Blessings of Light and Love

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