I’ve been thinking a bit about heaven, and I do not think it’s a place I want to go. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but I’ve given it plenty of thought. Here are the main reasons I don’t want to go to heaven:
- Forever is too long. I get bored when I have to eat the same thing three days in a row. When I have gotten good at a new skill, I have a small window of time before I pick something new to conquer. It’s one thing to imagine what it would be like to have the time to master everything I love. I think perhaps it would take me a few thousand years. It’s another to imagine getting good at everything. Maybe that would take a few million years. But I’m having a very hard time thinking of why I’d possibly want to be around in a few trillion years. I can’t think of anything that would interest me for that long. It occurs to me that any deity who would consign me to eternal anything, whether it be bliss or agony, would be doing it more for his pleasure than mine.
- Others Deserve it More than Me. Discarding the notion that a sentence of eternal life is punishment rather than reward, I think it’s important to consider how I’d feel waltzing around in heaven when the likes of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Anne Frank, Ghandi, Christopher Reeves, Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov, the Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplain, Rodney Dangerfield, Katherine Hepburn, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, George Carlin, Charles Shultz, John Lennon, Penn and Teller, and my Father would not be there. I find it very interesting that Hitler tried to burn Anne Frank and we call him evil. The Christian god is burning Anne Frank at this very moment, and will not cease to burn her for another trillion trillion years, and when that is done, he will burn her for another trillion trillion years. And for this, we call him Good. I am told that if I only say the magic words and believe that the god Jesus sacrificed himself to the god Father, that I will be happy with this arrangement and enjoy heaven. I think that I would be a very bad person indeed if I could enjoy knowing that people who had contributed more to humanity than I could ever hope to are suffering. I don’t think I want this magic.
- I Don’t Think I’d Enjoy the Company. It’s hard to determine who might be enjoying their first thousand or two thousand years in heaven. I am told by believers in the Baptist Magic Words that the Catholic Magic words are wrong and that God has lovingly allowed millions of Catholics to go to their eternal punishment. This seems odd to me, since the Catholics were a lot closer to having a birds-eye view of the thing. Granted, they didn’t get their act together for a few hundred years, but the Protestants, from whom the Baptists are descended, didn’t hear magic words from their deity until over a thousand years had passed. On the other hand, the Catholics assure me that the Baptists and Methodists are wrong. This would be fine, except that the Church of Christ assures me that all of them are wrong. In fact, the only thing I can find in common with most believers in the god Jesus is that they think most other believers in the god Jesus are wrong. But in any case, I think the people in heaven sound like a real drag. If the Baptists are right, I’ll have to listen to Jerry Fallwell’s booming condemnations for eternity, and that sounds awful. If the Catholics are right… well, maybe Hitler will be there.
- It’s Too Easy to Get In. If there was something to do to get into heaven, maybe it would make more sense. But I am told by various believers in Jesus Magic that one does not need to do anything at all, apart from believe that the god Jesus died of crucifixion and then performed god-magic on himself, which had the magical effect of allowing the Father god to let me into heaven. That story is strange enough as it is. If I told you that I’d be nice to you, but only if you believe that last night I cut my arm off, and then sewed it back on with magical thread, you’d think me quite the buffoon. You’d also think I had very odd ways of choosing friends. I think the god Jesus’ way of choosing who goes to heaven is even crazier.
Hitler tried to burn Anne Frank and we call him evil. The Christian god is burning Anne Frank at this very moment, and will not cease to burn her for another trillion trillion years, and when that is done, he will burn her for another trillion trillion years. And for this, we call him Good.
Here are a couple of additional thoughts:
I have been told that if I perform the correct Jesus Worship Ritual, that when I go to heaven, I will not be troubled by those who are not there. Some people have told me I would forget that they existed. Others have said that I will remember but will not care because heaven will be so wonderful. If either of these is true, then I fully believe that I would no longer be myself. I am a person who cares about the suffering of others, and who is hurt when my friends are hurt. Some of the people who are already in hell were very dear friends. They were good people who tried very hard to make the lives of their friends better. I would not be who I am without their memory. So if the god Jesus intends to erase my memory, I think that is the same as a death sentence.
Even more troubling is the idea that the god Jesus will make me so uncaring because of my own pleasure that I will not bother to grieve for my lost friends and family. By all measures of goodness that I know, that would make me an evil person. I do not wish to become evil, so I do not wish to go to heaven.