This conversation is closed.

If you did not have religion or never exposed to religion; how easy would it be for you to believe in a heaven and hell?

I will start by saying I was raised in a religious home; we attended church 3 times a week whether we wanted to or not. In my mid-30's I started to recognize subtle similarities to various world religions and the religion I grew up believing. This made me wonder...if not all religions teach of a "heaven" or "hell" as where one goes when one dies based on how the person lived on earth...would those who are not exposed to religion believe in a heaven and hell or something similar?

  • thumb
    Jan 4 2012: "...Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment." (II Chronicles 19:6)

    :)
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2012: tis funny because the head of the catholic church in 1999 came out and said hell cannot be attributed to god because of gods merciful love, the concept of hell with fire and brimstone's in the bibles represents the frustration and agony someone goes through if they seperate themselves from god which he describes as the source of life and joy.

    then he goes on to say people should be careful interpreting metaphysical texts.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2012: Never exposed to religion does mean to explore the world without prejudice.

    If one does this and with time it will be undeniable that heaven and hell are both on earth and on all places. It will be clear that hell is manmade as cause of their sufferings from the love they were deprived of.

    If anew we will learn around the globe how to install love again and spread it where we go, all hell will vanish leaving our natural state of happiness.
  • thumb
    Dec 29 2011: It's good to question. And it's good to grow. There was a time when I was afraid to question religion as well, but then I got to a point where I realized that if God can create the immensity of the universe, reflected in the miniscule complexity of a quark, then He surely won't mind if I scratch my head and say, "I don't understand all this business - help me with a few of these questions!"

    People tend to confuse religion with God, which is why they stop believing in God when they stop believing in religion. Once you separate God from religion, God becomes more beautiful and less tyrannical.

    I still believe though, to the original point, that we in our questioning nature instinctively understand that there are infinite worlds beyond that which we can see or feel, and so even if we had not established religion, we would have some concept of Heaven and Hell. And yes, they have been used to suppress.
  • thumb
    Dec 28 2011: Excellent debate, Ms Capito, and one which leads to a variety of very good questions. However, in order to respond to how EASY would it be to imagine a Heaven or Hell if we did not have religion, I would say it would be very easy. The reason being is that we as humans have so many different beliefs in life after death and so many different religions and as you can tell from the comments, so many different ideas. Not only do we each have various ideas, but our concepts can even change several times over the course of our lives. But the ONE things that we all have in common is some sort of idea that there is a life beyond what we see. This is what ultimately sets us apart from other creations.

    Therefore, I believe that our belief in an afterlife is as instinctive as eating when we are hungry. The creation of religion is simply like making a meal: it feeds that need.

    Now, for dimple answers to difficult questions: we do not "know" that Heaven and Hell exist. Those of us who believe in that concept go by Faith, which is a belief in the truth of something when there is no empirical evidence either for or to the contrary.

    Last question: yes, there is great historical and cultural evidence that proves that Heaven and Hell have been used as control devices, which churches worldwide have used subjugate and subdue dissent.
    What is the great sadness in all of this is that the religion and practice of Christianity has in a way separated us from the message of Love Peace and Salvation through Jesus Christ. It has led us to wander down many other paths and come up with many ideas that fit into the way WE want to see the world, sometimes leading us to a corrupt and singular view. While it is wonderful to explore and to think I also believe we should always testour beliefs to say "is this the truth or just what I want to be true?". If it's the latter, then we're probably wrong.

    Again, great questions, and wonderful answers with great perspectives. Thank you
    • Dec 29 2011: "Not only do we each have various ideas, but our concepts can even change several times over the course of our lives."

      BINGO! This is where I am now. Once I started to read about and learn more on other religions this is where my questioning started. Not that I have lost faith in the religion I was brought up in, but more I have opened my eyes to the possibility that there is never going to be a one way religion that is all knowing and the only way to whatever version of heaven one believes.

      I remember the very thing that changed my thoughts... I was raised to believe that the Catholic religion is wrong; praying to priest to talk to God and praying a rosary, using statues, Saints...etc., then the thought crossed my mind...how could the God I believe in send a grandmother that is a dedicated Catholic her entire life, never harmed a soul or said a foul word to anyone to hell just because she is a Catholic? This is the moment I said SOMETHING ISNT RIGHT with that thought.

      With or without a documented religion I personally believe that there may not be the heaven and hell I was taught about. So its not so much I am living to die just to get my "mansion of gold". I am living to take care of my family, be a kind person, do kind things, take care of the less fortunate, and not allow anyone to take advantage of those that I love. I have never stolen, harmed another, or done anything I was not willing to do at that time so I cannot have regrets on past choices.

      I question because I am human; have a willful way about me and never want someone to tell me this is the only way you can believe or you are doomed to some version of hell. To me, some religions are nothing more than a control device to keep those that free think in a tiny bubble and limit them to only certain thoughts which is nothing more than communisim religion in my way of thinking.
      • Dec 30 2011: Christy, I was raised in a faith that taught heaven or hell also. And, when my grandmother got very old, and I was in my twenties, I started thinking of the hell that awaited my grandmother, how is it that the Bible says God is love, and then he will punish humans eternally for only 60-70 years of imperfect life. I still had faith in God's existence, but I started to question christendom's religious teachings.

        Religion in my humble opinion, has shaped the thinking of many people who do not want to search for truth. Here are some verses that someone showed me in my own copy of the scriptures, and at the time my grandmother died, they were very comforting to me. Why? Because they showed me what death is. Death is the opposite of life. We are not sent anywhere. We simply go to sleep.

        "The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all." Ecclesiastes 9:5

        "There is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beasts, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. All are going to one place. They have all come to be from dust, and they are all returning to the dust."
        Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

        When Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, he said..."I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep'...John 11:11,14-44 has the entire account.

        Death is a state of sleep according to the Bible. There is even the following statement about the soul: "...The soul that is sinning-it itself will die" Ezekiel 18:4

        God promises a future where death will not exist....but now, we die, and are buried. Nothing separates and goes somewhere else. At least not according to the truth revealed in the holy scriptures. Many people believe what they hear from a pulpit.....few read the Bible to learn for themselves. Each of us is responsible.....
      • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jan 7 2012: I'm not so sure the concepts of heaven and hell would always pop up in a religion free environment.

      Sure, we'd ask what happens after we die. If the environment had the science we have today, then perhaps most people would accept that our consciousness ceases when our brain stops working. I expect the proportion of people who believe this in a world infused with religious beliefs is pretty high. Perhaps top 10 versus any particular specific view of the afterlife assuming even Christian related sects have different interpretations

      Expect, some might still explore ideas of souls or spirits or what is life. This might lead to afterlife ideas. Still its a big jump from this to a heaven and hell without the other religious stuff floating around

      However, a lot of afterlife concepts are historical to particular cultures shaped by thousands of years initially without science. Even without science initially different cultures don't share beliefs in heaven or hell as per some sects of Christianity. A lot of religions today have roots pre-science and these concepts born in ignorance have infused "following generations.

      Anyway a religion free environment is hypothetical. Thousands of years of beliefs, mostly contradictory if taken literally still shapes modern life.
    • thumb
      Jan 8 2012: Verble, appreciate your comments.

      I note heaven and hell and the seeds of most surviving and even relatively new religious beliefs/movements developed in times of great ignorance. I doubt the concept of heaven and hell or an afterlife is as instinctive as eating when hungry.

      Many of us don't believe in an afterlife even when surrounded by the leftovers of millions of different religious beliefs. Imagine how many more would believe life simply ends when our brain/body stops if they had the benefit of modern science and weren't exposed to the remnants of dead religions and those still actively that have developed from their predecessors.

      Suggest, the question about what happens when we die is close to universal, but question whether the jump to an afterlife, let alone heaven and hell is instinctive, especially if given the benefit of modern science. It certainly isn't to me and lets say 10- 20% of people, and we've been surrounded with religious ideas since birth.
  • thumb
    Dec 28 2011: To answer your question directly, it would be virtually impossible to believe in heaven or hell if we had not been exposed to the concepts by the cultures we developed within.

    However, both concepts are quite common and they appear in some form or another in almost every culture.

    The details may vary but the basic idea of an afterlife is almost universal.

    Does that mean there is an actual place we might call heaven or hell?

    The honest answer is: No one knows. (Unless they have been to heaven and/or hell and returned to tell the tale.)

    The fact that the concept is ubiquitous is intriguing. That we seem compelled to envision a life that continues on after our body dies tells us more about our psychology than it does about what heaven and hell might be (assuming they exist.)

    In my view, the Christian view of heaven and hell are complete fantasies, and as you say, they were likely employed as a means of controlling, but not boys and girls, rather, masses of uneducated Christians. They have also served as powerful tools for proselytizing.

    The development of the concept of heaven and hell as physical places is an interesting topic of study. If you are interested, a quick google search will get you started.

    There are other "views" of heaven and hell. Namely, that they are not places at all but states of consciousness.

    Another thread that runs throughout our history is the notion that "what we are looking for is within us."

    Some have expressed this in religious terms. Some have expressed it in philosophical terms. Still others in psychological terms but the message is the same:

    - What we are looking for is within us.
    - Nosce te ipsum. (Know thyself.)
    - The kingdom of God [heaven] is within you. – Luke 17:21
    - What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization. – Abraham Maslow

    This state of knowing oneself might be called, by some, "heaven" or simply "fulfillment."

    It seems to me, it is a worthwhile pursuit.
    • thumb

      E G

      • 0
      Dec 28 2011: So Thomas you think that the hell and the heaven is a product of cultures , I agree with you. They aren't neither places nor states of consciousness nor they are within us .
      The heaven in my simple opinion is where God exist (I don't know if God occupies space) and the hell is where God don't exist .
      • thumb
        Dec 28 2011: Hi Eduard,

        I don't believe in very much. I find it unnecessary to believe (particularly in "metaphysical" phenomena.) I do accept many people believe and many do not.

        To clarify, I do not think "heaven" as envisioned by, say, Muslims and Christians is any more real than, say, Elysium is, as envisioned by the Greeks. So yes, in that sense, heaven and hell are the products of cultures.

        You believe in God?

        Is there someplace that God does not exist?
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 28 2011: Hi Thomas:

          I do believe in God. I use this expression 'God exist' not in the sense I say about me that 'I exist' = ' I'm in a certain place ' .
          'God exist' means a state of existence ( the debate between atheism and theism is not if God exist/is in a certain place but it's about God existence.)
          You can say God is everywhere and nowhere outside of our reality/space and I can't explain too much how is that . But in our reality I think God is where the good is done because somehow 'the good is done' means God . On the other hand you asked "Is there someplace that God does not exist?" and I ask 'does God needs place to exist''? and at this last question Idk the answer.
          I don't know if I'm clear enough , if I'm not announce me ........

          I think that the hell and the heaven are the products of cultures somehow and I think they have reality too , how is that reality is hard to say rationally.
          Why don't you believe in God ? (I'm very interested to know this...thanks).
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2011: Excuse me for butting in, but I am a follower of the Christ (not an orthodox Christian) and heaven and hell are states of mind here on earth while we live. After death, I believe life continues but how, I have no idea ......
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 31 2011: Hi Helen:
          You are welcome.
          Let's explore a bit to can make some sense here : how the hell and the heaven are states of mind, have you drawn this conclusions from the Bible? how?
          And , let's look at what I said : the heaven is where God exist : if He exist in our mind (and up to a point that happen) the heaven can be a state of mind but not only .
          "After death, I believe life continues but how, I have no idea" We'll find out , :)
      • thumb
        Dec 28 2011: Hi Eduard,

        I did not say I do not believe in God. But I don't.

        I do not believe in God because I do not need to believe in God.

        Why I do not need to believe, I leave to other's imagination.

        The word "God" is very emotionally charged ... it means different things to different people. Some people "believe" in God and say this constitutes "knowing." Some say they do not believe in God and say this constitutes knowing. Some say they do not believe in God but they do not know one way or the other. Some people say they know God but, when pressed, it turns out they think they know God because there is "irrefutable evidence" that God exists (and perhaps they read about Him in a book.) There are even some who say they know God exists because they have met Him (or talked to Him, or "seen" Him, etc.)

        And so on.

        I do not believe in God because I do not need to.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 29 2011: Hi Thomas :

          "I did not say I do not believe in God" (lol) You didn't but you don't believe in God.

          You don't need to believe in God .................hmm, now asking myself why do I need to believe in God ? Why ?....hmm... It gives sense to my life ?

          You don't need to see God , to meet Him , to have that 'knowledge' .......... I don't either , not in that sense . You know , I guess you read Nietzsche , what true is his 'the hammer probe' , you hammer and as a result you hear the noise of emptiness , don't you ?
          I don't hear that noise.
      • thumb
        Dec 29 2011: Hi Eduard,

        You do not find that life makes "sense" if you do not believe in God?

        Your life's meaning is founded on a belief?

        That would be most unsatisfactory to me.

        Would you sell me a house if I told you I believed I had the money in the bank?

        I have not read Nietzche so I do not understand "the hammer probe" reference.

        If it is an implication that I am somehow "empty" (or deficient in some way) because I do not believe in God it would not be an apropos reference.

        If you are saying you feel fulfilled (you are not empty) because you believe in God, I am happy for you.

        However, I do not hold belief in particularly high regard. For me, believing God exists and believing He does not exist are intellectually and cognitively equal.

        Belief is useful of course.

        Believing in possibility fosters an open mind.

        Beyond that, we either know or we do not know.

        I am comfortable with both.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 29 2011: Hi Thomas

          Firstly: I didn't mean harm to you , you'll see why .

          The hammer's probe is as it follows: Nietzsche considered the religion as a building and when he knocked in the wall of this building he heard the noise of vacuum ,of emptiness from inside of it, and he draw the conclusion that because the noise heard is of emptiness the religion is empty inside .
          This process is called : to philosophize with the hammer . (I said it in my own words , maybe it's so accurate but I think that express the Nietzsche's idea). I didn't mean that you are 'empty' , I just meant to ask you somehow if you think that due to of the many different ideas of God and of what people believe about God beyond this ideas is nothing, is vacuum ? is it, what do you think?

          Now : -my life's meaning is not founded on a belief or at least I'm not aware of it , my life's meaning rest upon me being like God and nothing less (I'm not now of course) , you see, the problem is how is God in my view, and I wanna make this view universally accepted even though I can't do that now . And I have this meaning of life mainly because the hammer's probe proves me there is something deep there ; I still don't know why for so many people results a noise of vacuum , of emptiness after the probe ..............but I'll find out.
          All I said don't implies (not for me) "If you are saying you feel fulfilled (you are not empty) because you believe in God".
          "For me, believing God exists and believing He does not exist are intellectually and cognitively equal." Why ? you understand know why is very important for me to know that.

          (The hammer's probe said differently : think at the words and the ideas that are being transmitted through them , the walls = the words , the ideas =the inside ).
      • thumb
        Dec 29 2011: Hi Eduard,

        QUOTE: "... I didn't mean harm to you , you'll see why ."

        I didn't think there was any malice in your comments ... thanks for your concern.

        QUOTE: "I just meant to ask you somehow if you think that due to of the many different ideas of God and of what people believe about God beyond this ideas is nothing, is vacuum ? is it, what do you think?"

        Yes. And no.

        When we believe what we believe is "real," there is a possibility (a probability, really) that what we believe is actually not much more than a phantom of our own imagining.

        Throughout the ages, we have created "Gods" ... how many of them are real?

        All of them?

        A few of them?

        None of them?

        One of them?

        In a sense, I agree "religion" is a vacuum.

        THAT we believe, provides comfort (obviously.) WHAT we believe in may or may not be "true." Usually, it's not.

        That is not to say people do not derive real succor from religious beliefs. We obviously do or religions would not be so prevalent.

        ---

        I've got to go out. I'll write more later.
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: There's not much more to say.

        If something exists (or doesn't exist) and we do not know it (whatever "it" is) believing it exists or doesn't exist are simply that - beliefs. They are intellectually and cognitively the same ... a belief.

        ----

        If you are trying to be like God and you do not know if God exists how will you know if you have failed or if you are successful?

        If you do not know God, how do you know you are not already like God?
        • thumb

          E G

          • +1
          Dec 30 2011: Hi Thomas :

          Ok , so you think: -I do believe in possibility (in general). I disagree with you on the idea that there is a possibility in general to be true the contrary of what we believe because there is no possibility of God to not exist , there is just a possibility of us to don't see/know it but we can do that :
          - first: nothing can be know just simple doing nothing , if we wanna know if God exist for real we have to try to find out and therefore it's irrational (sorry , I don't wanna use hard words but...) to say that the possibility of God to exist is intellectually and cognitively the same or almost the same with the possibility of God to not exist if we didn't undertake any research about it.
          -second: if we agree on the first we have to think now at what we have to do in order to know if God exist . There has been tried by rationalism (Spinoza , Leibniz , Descartes ) to be proved the God's existence , it hasn't been managed in that way to be accepted scientifically God's existence (I don't wanna say they did nothing , they did a lot and their works are of a special beauty ) from here results two possibilities :
          -1) we can't know if God exist
          - 2) we can know if God exist but the way they tried to find out this it's not the proper way.
          I'm the follower of this second possibility in other words I don't think that by science we can prove if God exist or not, therefore whatever science or some people in the name of science say us about God's existence it's not relevant for me .(and it shouldn't be for anyone). An argument for this position is Bernard Russel's book ''The problems of philosophy'' and let's not forget Russel has been an atheist.
        • thumb

          E G

          • +1
          Dec 30 2011: So we have to find the proper way to find out if God exist or not and by saying "If something exists (or doesn't exist) and we do not know it (whatever "it" is) believing it exists or doesn't exist are simply that - beliefs. They are intellectually and cognitively the same ... a belief." you give an intellectual comfort because you think there is a possibility of God to not exist to the people and therefore they don't try to undertake researches to find out the truth (of course the other possibility may happen but looking at how the things are now this 'may' transforms in 'can't') . And they usually end up being atheist. In my opinion this is a refusal to science .

          "If you are trying to be like God and you do not know if God exists how will you know if you have failed or if you are successful?" By doing the research I can find out how is God and if He exist and I can shape me after Him , but it's not a easy thing to do and it take an entire life period .

          "If you do not know God, how do you know you are not already like God?" I already answer to this question;

          And something else very important in my opinion: the situation as it is now requires that each of us to undertake the research on our own ; it cannot be one how do that and the rest of us to do nothing because in this case (as was proved so far) we label that one with ' he claims that had a personal revelation of God , that met God' and everything else remains unchanged .

          I guess you see know more deeply why the life's meaning of some people is resting on being like God . :)

          What do you think?
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: Hi Eduard,

        I did not say I think there is a possibility that God exists nor did I say there is a possibility that He/She/It/Ta does not exist.

        I said I do not believe in God because I do not need to believe and I leave it to other people's imagination as to why I do not need to.

        If God exists - and one believes He does not - an intellectual debate about His/Her/Its/Tas existence, in my opinion, would be somewhat demeaning and disrespectful. It would be like discussing someone who is sitting next to you on the sofa with a third person while "ignoring" the person being discussed.

        I mentioned I do believe "in possibility." (Possibility, in general.)

        For example, even if everyone believes in God, there is a possibility He does not exist; and even if everyone does not believe in God, there is a possibility God does exist.

        If God does exist and no one knows God, it is at least POSSIBLE to know God.

        And so on.

        So, in my worldview, if you want to be like God, it means:

        1) You believe in God, or
        2) You know God, and
        3) You believe in the possibility you can be like God.

        If you know God, then it is simply a matter of going through whatever machinations you believe will result in you becoming God-like.

        If you do not know God, I would suggest embracing the possibility that you can know God would be a profitable undertaking for one who aspires to be God-like (otherwise your life's goal really would be predicated on belief, supposition, and your own, or someone else's, imagination.)

        But the whole discussion is academic.

        Why?

        Because "God" is a word that might refer to something "real," something imagined, and so on.

        AND there might be "something that is real" that some people call God, others call Nirvana, and still others call "Ruth," or something else.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 30 2011: "I said I do not believe in God because I do not need to believe and I leave it to other people's imagination as to why I do not need to." Ok .

          And you believe in possibility in general , it meaning that everything is possible either way we think at it ? (even if that....there is a possibility, or even the contrary....there is a possibility ): there is a possibility for the contrary of what we believe to be true; is it right?
          Well , take my comments as I've been talking against the possibility in general (even if I didn't) , let's say I believe there is only one possibility :God to exist (I change a bit my comments to express it) . What would you think in this case?
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: Hi Eduard,

        If you believe in only one possibility - that God exists - it is still a belief.

        It means, by definition, you do not know.

        It is as intellectually valid a statement as someone who does not know saying, "I believe in only one possibility - that God does not exist."

        Both statements are beliefs. In both instances, the people making them do not know.

        What I have noticed is many of us are uncomfortable admitting we do not know.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 30 2011: "If you believe in only one possibility - that God exists - it is still a belief." Nope , not only I do believe this but I claim that it is universally the true : there is only one possibility in this case : God to exist (please read again my comments) to see my argumentation for this , thank you (perhaps you now will start laughing and say : What this guy he already thinks that knows that I gonna read his comments again ?).
          "It means, by definition, you do not know" now knowing what I said it means by definition that I don't know how to prove it but I know the way to do that , I just haven't yet walking to the end on that way .
          "What I have noticed is many of us are uncomfortable admitting we do not know" If you talk about theists , yes .
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: QUOTE: "So we have to find the proper way to find out if God exist or not..."

        Yes.

        QUOTE: "...the situation as it is now requires that each of us to undertake the research on our own ..."

        It would seem so. If I eat food, it will not satisfy your hunger.

        Of course, "on our own" seems challenging for many of us. We usually read what others say (for example, David Hawkins, or the Bible's authors, etc) and form an opinion based on what we read.

        A simple "thought experiment" coupled with observation would seem to indicate that this approach is not particularly effective. First, we can observe that virtually none of us agree on the interpretation of ANY text, whether it is the Bible, the Qur'an, a poem, a post on this forum, or a treatise on economics. Second, if that which we refer to as God actually exists and is accessible to human beings, it would have been accessible to humans before any of these texts existed. In fact, it would have existed before writing of any kind existed. So the experience of "God" would have to be possible to some preliterate protohuman sitting in the savannah doing "research on his or her own."

        And experiencing "God" would also have to be possible to anyone now even if they had never heard of Jesus, Buddha, Maslow, Swedenborg, Hawkins, you, or me.

        In my observation, few of us actually do our "own research." We read other people's ideas (which are often based on other people's ideas!) and then we "vote" - I vote for Jesus; I vote for in Mohammed; I vote for Dawkins; etc. (We might qualify our statement and say I believe in what they say but that's pretty much the same thing.)

        If water exists and it quenches thirst, anyone could "discover" water and be quenched regardless of whether or not they have ever read about water, met anyone who has ever drunk water, and so on.

        If water does not exist, we can spend from now to eternity talking about it and we will never find water.

        We seem to like explanations. Even if they are someone else's.
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2011: Hi..........The only thing that I know is that I do not know...Socrates.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 31 2011: Hi Helen :

          I can continue , the more I know the more I find out that I do not know anything , so let's try to know more and more and more.................
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 31 2011: Hi Thomas :

          "A simple "thought experiment" coupled with observation would seem to indicate that this approach is not particularly effective" let's see that :
          Your first: - it's true there many contradictory interpretations and we don't agree with one another easily but there is a solution : criticism , let's find out the truth together , only just saying that there are many contradictory interpretations it's useless , let's look beyond the walls and find out the truth , the criticism exactly as it is in science can lead us to it , why to not try that? We don't vote , we find the truth and follow it .
          Your second: -God has been and is accessible to any human being who lived and live on this planet .

          "In my observation, few of us actually do our "own research."" right, and everyone recourse to atheism .
          "If water exists and it quenches thirst, anyone could "discover" water and be quenched regardless of whether or not they have ever read about water, met anyone who has ever drunk water, and so on." The same thing happen with religion , only it to be a religion ; the religion was created to answer to the needs of the people .

          Let's move on Thomas (as a whole: our ideas , our interpretations ......... they have to evolve in order to make sense in an evolved society ) .

          Best
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: Hi Eduard,

        While I appreciate your confidence when you say, "not only I do believe this but I claim that it is universally the true," you saying this is not any different than any other religious person saying the same thing about what they believe. The Bible is universally true. The Qur'an is universally true. The Vedas are universally true. David Hawkins is universally true. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

        Yes, your subjective experience, no doubt, leads you to believe that your assertion is somehow different than, say, Peter's (who believes the Bible is universally true.)

        But you will certainly understand your assertions that what you believe to be universally true, carries as much weight as anyone else's claim that what they believe is universally true.

        The difference (for you) is you probably think somehow you are "different." You may think you are "right" and they are "wrong." You know something that is universally true (consciousness, say) and they believe is some theistic delusion.

        As I said, if you believe, even though the content of your belief is "different" it is still a belief. And beliefs are essentially the same.

        You either know or do not know.

        If you believe, you are saying you do not know.

        It's as simple as that.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 31 2011: "While I appreciate your confidence.... you saying this is not any different... " If you mean by this that all I say it's just a claim ... well , it's not, I can prove my claims , of course not as the ultimate truth but ..... .

          "The difference (for you) is you probably think somehow you are "different." You may think you are "right" and they are "wrong." You know something that is universally true (consciousness, say) and they believe is some theistic delusion" I think I'm right and some others are wrong and I guess, that others think about me the same thing : we just have to find who has the best explanation .
          "You either know or do not know." I know , not everything but I think enough, to believe what I believe .
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2012: Even having been raised a Christian, and finding enough favor with the philosophy of Islam to consider myself Muslim, I do not believe in Heaven and Hell as literal postmortem places, but as metaphors for a state of existence wherein your life is either a positive one or a negative one. When through the results of decisions you make you find yourself in undesirable situations from which you cannot extricate yourself, this is Hell; when through the results of decisions you make you find yourself in desirable situations at which you can share its positivism, this is Heaven.

    Amongst the philosophy of addiction treatment programs, there is a nice quote which I think is apt in describing this: "I'd rather be three feet from Hell and walking out than a mile out and walking in." Basically, when an addict gets to a very bad condition, that is Hell, and recovery is the process of walking away from that condition. When the addict has not yet reached "rock bottom", they are on the path /to/ Hell.

    As to whether an afterlife exists or whether such an afterlife might be divided into precincts such as is found in the common and literal interpretation of Christian theology, I cannot say, nor I am inclined towards or against much speculation. For all I know, reincarnation is just as real a possibility; Heaven would be the reunion with God of which we are parcel, Hell would be another go at life, under different circumstances, in an attempt to cause us to realize our destiny.

    Last, I /do/ think I would have arrived at these conclusions without exposure to religion. I live in the secular United States, and society has rules, both legal and normative, which when followed results in symbiosis, while which when broken results in punishment. Certainly is prison Hell, and staying out of it is Heaven. I think of religion not so much as theological tenets, but of behavioral guidelines. Society will always develop its own religion, with or without the interference of preexisting religion.
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2012: It would be as easy as searching planets in stars!!!
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2012: Christy, the situation you suggest i.e. not being exposed to religion, is unlikely given our societies are infused with thousands of years of religious beliefs with roots in the pre scientific era.

    If these hypothetical people were exposed to modern science and no religion, I suggest a reasonable proportion would believe life ends when our brain stops working.

    Others might explore other concepts that might end up as a more speculative beliefs, maybe even gods, aliens, goblins and afterlife concepts. Less than in real society which is infused with religious beliefs, concepts and dogma. Perhaps a few of these might even end up with heaven and hell concepts, but a minority.

    Another scenario is someone banging their head when crashing on an island and losing all knowledge of and contact with any religious beliefs. Suggest it would be unlikely this clean slate would end up with complex and detailed beliefs similar to any existing religion built upon generations of belief paradigms, scriptures, revelations and prophets. Assuming the test subject forgot science as well you might end up with something close to the belief systems in prehistory, whatever they were.
  • thumb
    Jan 6 2012: There would be no concept that resembles heaven or hell if not for religion.
  • thumb
    Jan 5 2012: If this is a taste of a religious debate I can't wait for a political one!
  • Comment deleted

  • Jan 4 2012: I want to contribute the following information:

    In the Bible, "soul" is translated from the Hebrew ne'phesh and the Greek psy-khe' . Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, "soul" means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.

    What is the origin of Christendom's belief in an immaterial, immortal soul?

    "The Christian concept of a spiritual soul created by God and infused into the body at conception to make man a living whole is the fruit of a long development in Christian philosophy. Only with Origen (died c.254 A.C.) in the East and St. Augustine (died 430 A.D.) in the West was the soul established as a spiritual substance and a philosophical concept formed of its nature. Augustine's doctrine owed much to Neoplatonism" Quote from New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Vol XIII, pp.452,454

    "The concept of immortality is a product of Greek thinking, whereas the hope of a resurrection belongs to Jewish thought...Following Alexander's conquests Judaism gradually absorbed Greek concepts." Dictionnaire Encyclopedique de la Bible (Valence, France; 1935)

    "Immortality of the soul is a Greek notion formed in ancient mystery cults and elaborated by the philosopher Plato." Presbyterian Life, May 1, 1970 p.35

    "Do we believe that there is such a thing as death?...Is it not the separation of soul and body? And to be dead is the completion of this; when the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and the body is released from the soul, what is this but death?...And does the soul admit of death? No. Then the soul is immortal? Yes." Plato's "Phaedo," Sec. 64, 105, as published in Great Books of the Wester World

    Like others have stated, the belief in an after life preceeds the Bible...
  • Jan 3 2012: Heaven and hell are a way to explain the afterlife. I believe it is impossible to prove or disprove the concept you speak of, but, personally, I have doubts that there is a heaven and hell due to the fact there are many different concepts that try to explain the afterlife.
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2012: I am perhaps not making myself clear. When I stated the above it was to confirm that heaven and hell are concepts existing in other religions. I did not say that they were the same concepts as the Christian conception of heaven and hell.

    I was under the impression that according to the Hindu Puranas, there are fourteen worlds in the universe - the seven upper and the seven lower and that the viewpoint of Hinduism, heaven and hell are merely different worlds, bound by time, space, and causality.

    Also according to Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera, that the Buddhist concept of heaven and hell is entirely different from that in other religions. Buddhists do not accept that these places are eternal. It is unreasonable to condemn a man to eternal hell for his human weakness but quite reasonable to give him every chance to develop himself. From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upward by making use of the merit that they had acquired previously. There are no locks on the gates of hell. Hell is a temporary place and there is no reason for those beings to suffer there forever.

    I believe it is our individual perception of religion that is now causing us to question what were 'given' facts. Greater communication - mainly through the internet (and such sites as these!) allow us to see, hear and query long held religious, cultural and familial beliefs. Some see this as a threat to their own identity and therefore religion. Does debate make us wiser for there cannot be proof except in belief? Is Belief truth of the existence of heaven or hell?
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2012: I apologise to the many contributors for my inexperience in reply. It is a very long time since I have been priviledged with such healthy debate and therefore am limited in not only my choice of reply but also in my capacity for understanding. I look forward to finding the time to engage in more open conversation.
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2012: Thank you for your reply Eduard. I was under the impression that this was a free dialogue and not one where a member attacks another for a different opinion. Obviously you know better than anyone so I shall leave it at that however please note that the core of my reply was to the question noriginaly posted ie:

    I would disagree to say that heaven and hell are biblical concepts. They are not limited to the Bible. They exist in many religions, ie Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism

    Do not presume superiority in your faith Eduard - it limits the possibilities of being human.
    • thumb
      Jan 3 2012: QUOTE: "I would disagree to say that heaven and hell are biblical concepts. They are not limited to the Bible. They exist in many religions, ie Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism"

      The Christian concepts of heaven and hell are not shared by Buddhism or Hinduism. Buddhism does not even contain the Christian concept of a God. In HInduism, one would not spend eternity in what Christians refer to as hell; and, again, their concept of God bears little resemblance to the Christian, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎)
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jan 5 2012: would Buddhist consider their religion to be atheistic? and just out of curiosity what are the correlations between Buddhism and evolution (I'm actually intrigued)?
    • thumb

      E G

      • 0
      Jan 3 2012: Hi Stanna :

      We have to be ready everytime for 'attacks' :) .

      To not presume superiority in my faith ......... from an human perspective I think that my faith is superior .
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2012: This reminds me of Voltaire, who said if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. So perhaps it's not if we believe, but why.

    One of the reasons I like Mother Theresa so much is because of how much doubt she had. Doubt is the essence of Faith, not its opposite. For those who claim absolute faith have nothing of the sort.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2012: depends how vulnerable, needy and desperate you were.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2012: Peter, do you believe that some of the writings of other religions are simply the products of human imagination, often reflecting or building upon the ideas/beliefs/values/paradigms in the surrounding culture/society at the time. If so, there is some common ground with non believers who see the bible the same way.
    If you believe all other writings are inspired by supernatural forces e.g. the devil/demons, well then the closest we may get is that some religious writings may be the product of heighten psychological states.

    Interesting to see Christians who take the bible literally debate with Christians who don't. Are they still Christians in your view if they believe Jesus is part of the God Trinity and died for our sins and was resurrected but that the universe was not created in 6 days or is about 6000 years old?
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: I found an article for you, of something I'd heard some time before:
    http://www.ovrlnd.com/Cults/poprejectshell.html
  • Dec 30 2011: Suppose we ignored the concepts of "heaven" and "hell" and anything at all related to "after one dies." Then we would be free to focus on the present and the things we can say and do and control to make our lives and the lives of others good. Congratulations on recognizing the "control" function of religion. Now you can re-program yourself according to your own positive values and co-create a positive life for others and for yourself. You probably deserve more respect than you currently give yourself. This is your life. You are entitled to think what you think and believe what you believe.
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: i would say they are more than just control devices, but on a simple level are just that. and it may seem cruel to say this, but i have met people who are too stupid to determine their own ethics and so need someone else to dictate what a good life is, to them. sad really.
  • Dec 30 2011: The word "soul" is translated from the Hebrew ne'phesh and the Greek psy-khe' .The soul is a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, "soul" means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.

    What is the origin of Christendom's belief in an immaterial, immortal soul?

    "The Christian concept of a spiritual soul created by God and infused into the body at conception to make man a living whole is the fruit of a long development in Christian philosophy. Only with Origen (died c.254 A.C.) in the East and St. Augustine (died 430 A.D.) in the West was the soul established as a spiritual substance and a philosophical concept formed of its nature. Augustine's doctrine owed much to Neoplatonism" Quote from New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Vol XIII, pp.452,454

    "The concept of immortality is a product of Greek thinking, whereas the hope of a resurrection belongs to Jewish thought...Following Alexander's conquests Judaism gradually absorbed Greek concepts." Dictionnaire Encyclopedique de la Bible (Valence, France; 1935)

    "Immortality of the soul is a Greek notion formed in ancient mystery cults and elaborated by the philosopher Plato." Presbyterian Life, May 1, 1970 p.35

    "Do we believe that there is such a thing as death?...Is it not the separation of soul and body? And to be dead is the completion of this; when the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and the body is released from the soul, what is this but death?...And does the soul admit of death? No. Then the soul is immortal? Yes." Plato's "Phaedo," Sec. 64, 105, as published in Great Books of the Wester World

    Like others have stated, the belief in an after life preceeds the Bible...
  • Comment deleted

    • Dec 31 2011: I do believe the Bible is a form of control but I want to make clear not in a harmful way but perhaps in a way that someone at some point thought would be the most "good" way for us to live. Really...are the Ten Commandments that bad to follow? If we think of it in a moral way, no I think the Ten Commandments are very moral and the way my morals tell me is a good way to live.

      Are the Ten Commandments easy to follow? I will say NO WAY! Unless you are on an island with no other human then yes, you have a chance. But the rest of us are no better than a snowball in hell. Not gonna happen. At some point in our lives whether intentional or not, we have broken one or more of the commandments.
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: To Peter: I would disagree to say that heaven and hell are biblical concepts. They are not limited to the Bible. They exist in many religions, ie Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism. The creation of a heaven and hell concept are essential to the core controlling truths of any religion. Without the fear of hell and the reward of heaven, followers would not be controlled in their behaviour or deeds. Religion is a collection of cultural, familial and belief systems that are designed to control or manipulate large amounts of people in close proximity hence the association of religion with the development of civilisations. We are manipulated by the threats of good and evil every day. I have chosen to retain my Orthodox Christian faith as a simple 'LifeGuide' and ACT upon my human instincts of nuturing, caring and championing others. A new religion? No. A belief in Heaven and Hell? No. A belief in the preciousness of Life and the perseverence of the spirit/neural and electrical impulses which make each of us individual human beings. Yes.
    • thumb

      E G

      • 0
      Dec 30 2011: Stanna :

      With respect: you don't know what are you talking about , in christianity the fear don't have to exist under any circumstances and the real christians (=the guys who don't fear the hell) don't go in heaven as a reward for their holy life lived on earth and this mainly because the heaven it's something holy (you can think in this way).
      This idea of fear and reward maybe have been used by some demagogues who called themselves christians but it doesn't mean that it is an christian idea . It has it's roots in the ancient mythologies, there was the idea of fearing the gods who rule the universe , we have to move on .... the christianity did that, why to not do that we ?

      "Religion is a collection of cultural, familial and belief systems that are designed.....bla bla bla" again respectfully you don't know what are you talking about from my perspective, and it's normal to have the idea of fear and reward thinking in this way . It's true that when you look at the most of the people who are religious you can't think differently but it doesn't mean that the religion is about what that people let you to see it's about.
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: An important point to note is that ALL religious doctrines originate from people who claim to have some superior knowledge by way of revelation or special insight. Religious faith is first and foremost faith in the messenger(s) of that religion, and it is precisely at this juncture that we have ample reason to doubt. Since you and I have no means of verifying claims like heaven and hell (or even of God), the only faith we are capable of exercising is faith in the messengers, and that includes all the intermediary messengers who passed the doctrine from the originator to us.

    One of the critical lessons of life is that human beings are liable to believe and say things that aren't true, whether by honest mistake or by intentional deceit. This is why we have science: a systematic method for testing human claims against physical evidence. In areas where we cannot test claims (i.e. unscientific subjects), our confidence in the claim is only as good as the confidence we have in the messenger's factual integrity, which for human beings in general is not good.
    • thumb

      E G

      • 0
      Dec 30 2011: "An important point to note is that ALL religious doctrines originate from people who claim to have some superior knowledge by way of revelation or special insight" and how do we know they don't have that ?

      "the only faith we are capable of exercising is faith in the messengers, and that includes all the intermediary messengers who passed the doctrine from the originator to us" (laugh) I can't tell you about three religions in which you don't have to have faith in the messengers because once you practice them they are self-evident : christianity, buddhism and confucianism. We however, have to check if they were transmitted correct to us throughout the history but this is somehow self-evident too.
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: "how do we know they don't have that?"

        We don't: we neither know they had special insight nor do we know they didn't. That is why the believer must first and foremost place *faith* in the messenger: believing the messenger to be a special person who reveals what common people cannot see.

        It would be foolhardy to simply assume anyone who preaches and/or records a doctrine is uniquely qualified to be a messenger of that doctrine, given what we know about the fallibility of human beings and the emotional biases intrinsic to religion. The only rational default position to take, therefore, is skepticism: insistence on validating said doctrines.



        "We however, have to check if they were transmitted correct to us throughout the history"

        If you have to check whether or not historical doctrines were correctly transmitted to us, then those doctrines are not, by definition, self-evident.

        If Galileo declared all objects fall at the same rate when dropped. We don't need his words to know that, though. Anyone can discover the same principle, having never even heard of Galileo.

        You cannot make the same claim for heaven, hell, Christ, original sin, karma, reincarnation, etc., etc. All these doctrines -- especially in their details -- depend entirely upon transmitted information from people we are told to trust.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 30 2011: "We don't: we neither know they had special insight nor do we know they didn't." So you're saying that we can't know if they have that some superior knowledge by the way of revelation or by special insight . I disagree with you,we can know but I agree
          with you on this ""It would be foolhardy to simply assume anyone who preaches and/or records a doctrine is uniquely qualified to be a messenger of that doctrine, given what we know about the fallibility of human beings and the emotional biases intrinsic to religion""
          because we don't have to assume anything , we just have to look at evidences : it's simple if someone have a special knowledge by the way of revelation then the knowledge would look like something special and when applied would be proven true , that's why I said they are self-evident . The Bible have been proven true by many people throughout the history and this can be checked (just some examples St. Pavel , St.Augustine , Martin Luther , even Schopenhauer , and many many people ) therefore the rational position is to check , to make research and not the skepticism.

          When I said that we have to check if they were transmitted correct throughout the history to us i was talking about checking if they were transmitted accurate , without wrongs which could alter the meaning of what is send to us. We don't have to confuse if something is transmitted accurate with if something is accurate and true by what it is , by the content , because if something is accurate through its message it is and has to be self-evident usually when applied.You prove yourself this "If Galileo declared all objects fall at the same rate when dropped. We don't need his words to know that, though. Anyone can discover the same principle, having never even heard of Galileo." right , and I say the same thing for ( just an example) the Bible , what Bibles says is self-evident when applied and it has been proven by that many people who applied it .

          you
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 30 2011: You said the contrary :"You cannot make the same claim for heaven, hell, Christ, original sin, karma, reincarnation, etc., etc. All these doctrines -- especially in their details -- depend entirely upon transmitted information from people we are told to trust." but you didn't say why, so why ? Did you apply them and found them wrong ?
      • thumb
        Dec 31 2011: Please explain how you or I could *prove* that heaven exists, or that hell exists, or that reincarnation is fact. Similarly, how can anyone *apply* the doctrine of heaven or of hell in their life? These are places you supposedly go after you die, and as such are not accessible to the living.

        This is what I mean by these claims depending entirely on someone's recorded revelation. Unless you can present some practical test to tell whether or not these claims are true, I hold to my original position: these doctrines depend entirely on transmitted information from people we are told to trust.
        • thumb
          Dec 31 2011: The truth is that the tools and methods of empirical science would remain powerless to confirm the existence of a transcendent metaphysical God even in the event that such a being existed. It’s just not the sort of question science can answer. – Daniel Loxton
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Dec 31 2011: Hi Tony :

          Thomas can't be more right than quoting Daniel Loxton .

          Well , how can I prove that heaven exist or that hell exist ?
          All I said is that if we apply what the Bible says it becomes for us self-evident because it is usually proven true when applied , the Bible don't say anyone to apply 'the doctrine of the hell or of the heaven' , it's absurd , (this are doctrines created by humans starting from the Bible, and it's nothing to apply from this doctrines) and no religion according to my knowledge ask you to do that , we apply what can be applied and doing so we prove that what can be applied is true , after that we believe that we have enough reasons to accept the entire Bible , (the same thing with buddhism ......).

          Best.
      • thumb
        Dec 31 2011: I rest my case then: the doctrines of heaven, hell, reincarnation, etc. depend entirely on the testimony of people. Therefore, the only reason we would have to believe in them is to accept the pronouncements of people claiming to have special knowledge or revelation. Therefore, faith in these doctrines is first and foremost faith in the messengers themselves.

        Eduard, if I'm understanding you correctly, you say that since other doctrines of the Bible have proven true in your own life, then we are safe to trust all the other doctrines recorded in the Bible. This is a huge assumption, and does not logically flow from the facts.

        We know without a doubt that this kind of reasoning is faulty because it leads to contradictions. We can examine every religion on the face of the earth and find within them certain things that are true, wise, inspirational, etc. However, all religions taken together contradict one another. Even taking the two religions you cite (Buddhism and Christianity), the Buddhist doctrine of all suffering being the result of personal craving contradicts the biblical view that suffering is the result of Adam's sin. The Buddhist and Christian views of salvation are also starkly opposed to each other. According to the New Testament, salvation is found through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and reincarnation is conspicuously absent.

        The only thing I find self-evident in the doctrines of heaven and hell is peoples' emotional biases. Everyone would like to believe in an afterlife where we can spend an eternity in peace, and where all wrongdoings are remedied. I think the reason people are so eager to believe things they cannot prove is because they *want* those things to be true.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Jan 1 2012: Tony:
          "Eduard, if I'm understanding you correctly, you say that since other doctrines of the Bible have proven true in your own life, then we are safe to trust all the other doctrines recorded in the Bible. This is a huge assumption, and does not logically flow from the facts." Not exactly, because : - some(the most) doctrines of the Bible are proven ture in the life of many people , not only mine and how the Bible have consistency there is no assumption to make when I say that using some texts of the Bible I can prove the others .An argument which I think is enough to destroy the idea that I made an assumption is the simple fact that have been many people who proved the truth of some texts of the Bible in their life and after that have used that texts to prove not practically but theoretically in a rational way the truth of the others. Do you wanna start string here hundreds of names ?

          Looking further at what you're saying : some doctrines from a religion are proven correct and with them it's proven the truth of the entire religion ; comes another religion which have some other doctrines and they are proven true too and with them there is proven true entirely this second religion which is in contradiction with the first , how is this possible ?

          Firstly: I won't talk about specific doctrines from different religions ; I’m not sure how much you understand them and I don’t understand them completely either .
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Jan 1 2012: We have to understand first that none of our propositions are completely true , every our proposition contains an amount of falsity and an amount of truth : this is called fallibilism( from one of Karl's Popper books ). Giving it, is logical to think that what we comprehend from different holy scriptures it's not completely true , it meaning that our doctrines (let's not forget the doctrines are created by humans) are not completely true ; when we apply them it’s proven true what is true from that doctrine .
          “all religions taken together contradict one another.” Maybe, so what ? I don’t see how is this an argument against what I said because : - I never talk about religion as being self-evident but about what can be applied , if what can be applied from a religion (some doctrines) are in contradiction with some others from a second religion , both set of doctrines being proven true, then we have a problem because we have two contradictory truths ………. A logical problem, not a religious one .It’s a naivity thinking if two doctrines/religions/propositions are in contradiction they both are false.
          In rest knowing we are fallible and that we build our religions (starting from some holy scriptures) it’s easy explainable how we reached contradictory positions even though we start from some proven truths .
          "Everyone would like to believe in an afterlife where we can spend an eternity in peace, and where all wrongdoings are remedied. I think the reason people are so eager to believe things they cannot prove is because they *want* those things to be true" I don't want those things , the hell and the heaven aren't about that.

          Best.
      • thumb
        Jan 1 2012: Hi Eduard,

        "It’s a naivity thinking if two doctrines/religions/propositions are in contradiction they both are false."

        I apologize for not being clearer in my argument; I did not mean to imply the mutual falsity of two contradicting religions. What I am saying is that the logic of accepting an entire religion based on the proven truth of *some* of its claims is fallacious. This is what the contradiction of multiple religions (with each one having its own demonstrated truths) proves. To quote you directly:

        ". . . we apply what can be applied and doing so we prove that what can be applied is true , after that we believe that we have enough reasons to accept the entire Bible"

        As you and Thomas correctly point out, we have no way of testing certain religious claims. The veracity of these claims rests entirely on the people who proclaimed them. However, just because the writers of the Bible made some true statements does not mean *all* their statements are true, practically or theoretically. The fact that people can be partially correct is at the very center of my argument. So long as our only source of information about heaven and hell is through the mouths and pens of fallible human beings, there will be significant uncertainty on those topics.

        Religious faith downplays this uncertainty, treating it as less of a problem that it is. Faith, as the Bible defines it in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, is to "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".


        "I don't want those things , the hell and the heaven aren't about that."

        The Bible is clear that heaven is a place without suffering or strife (i.e. a peaceful place) and that hell is where infinite justice is dispensed (i.e. wrongdoings remedied). Perhaps I was unclear again in conveying my thoughts, but I think we can both agree the promises of heaven and hell appeal to peoples' natural desires, and this influences people to believe.
        • thumb
          Jan 1 2012: Hi Tony
          I agree with Eduard. I did get to the stage where sufficient of the bible was making sense, that I accepted that the rest of it was true on faith alone. there is so much in it that a lifetime would be insufficient to get to the bottom of it intellectually. We have to make a step of faith; & trust God, things then are easier to understand. I have been studying it for 25yrs or so & find it fascinating how the 66 books Intertwine. There is also much that didn't make sense until the time was right. Eg the middle east standoff, & the emergence of a cashless society.

          :-)
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Jan 1 2012: Hi Tony:

          So your main objection is that the results of our logic are in contradiction with the others and because both of them can't be tested we have to have faith in the people who transmitted to us among many other truths the results of their logic . I gonna say what it doesn't mean : -it doesn't mean our logic is wrong
          -it doesn't mean our results are completely false
          -it doesn't mean we can't trust the people who however a bit earlier said us some very deep and unusual truths .
          But there is a way out of here : - as I said and how we agreed this people prove with their life some truths; many of this truths are of a moral nature (to not lie , to forgive , to be gentle....to be holy in the end ) and as we know from the reality it takes an entire life period to prove this truths : therefore the possibility that this people to lie to us (to compromise themselves ) it's almost zero , to suspect them of misleading us it's a bit strange and it's not correct at least morally .
          And not forget : the most part of the truths proclaimed and the most important one are self -evident when applied .

          "Faith, as the Bible defines it in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, is to "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"." (lol) really I don't wanna talk about it (my apologize).

          "I think we can both agree the promises of heaven and hell appeal to peoples' natural desires, and this influences people to believe." This happen , but it's not like that for everyone who understand deeper the Bible :I don't wanna go in details but a true christian live only under the God's influence , his desires as a man have to disappear gradually in time .... and many other things.

          (if my way of talking in English it's a bit strange , sorry for that : someone here on TED said to me to not be so proud ......... I'm not....... but...)

          Best
      • thumb
        Jan 1 2012: Hi Peter,

        "We have to make a step of faith; & trust God"

        Trusting God is one thing. Trusting a human messenger is quite another. Problem is, you cannot accept certain doctrines such as heaven, hell, original sin, etc. without placing unflagging faith in the messenger's accuracy, unless of course you happen to have a direct line of communication with God to corroborate. So long as the messengers are human and we lack communication with the divine, it leaves us in an position of uncertainty stemming from the fallibility of human beings.

        I've never communicated with God, and one cannot build trust in someone they've never had any contact with. At best, all you can do is trust the person who claims to speak for God. This is why I say religious faith is first and foremost faith in the human writers of the holy book(s).

        There are a thousand ways this thread could diverge. In the interest of keeping the exchange manageable, I'll try to keep focus on the original point: "If you did not have religion or never exposed to religion; how easy would it be for you to believe in a heaven and hell?" It is my contention that without exposure to a religion (i.e. exposure to certain messengers of allegedly inspired doctrine) neither you nor I would arrive at the any religion's concept of heaven or hell except by random speculation. These are concepts beyond the exploration of mere mortals. Thus, these doctrines inescapably depend on the veracity of the messengers, as our confidence in any untestable claim can only ever be as good as the confidence we have in the messenger's factual integrity.
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Jan 1 2012: There is possible to communicate with God .


          I gonna be missing for some days from TED , if you'll post an answer to my comments check for my answer after some days.......... thanks and have a great time !!
        • thumb
          Jan 1 2012: Hi Tony
          I understand your scepticism. The bible was indeed penned by mere mortals. Is your contention then that a being capable of creating the universe is incapable of directing men to write a book? Presumably you also doubt his ability to communicate directly with we mere mortals ? God has promised to draw near to those who try to draw near to him. The ball is in your court.
          On the question of heaven and hell. As they are described in the book, that is my source, so it is doubtful if I would have known about them otherwise. We are assured that our eternal state will reflect the opportunity we had to know God, and how we used these opportunities. As far as I knew, I was destined for worm food. When I was given an outside chance of eternal life I could see no valid reason to spurn it. The truth or otherwise of the bible for me hung on whether God kept his word if I obeyed him. He did, & the rest is history. Folks have absolutely nothing to lose, but most refuse what is the option of eternal life. Why ? Beats me; pride I guess.
          BTW God & I are now in regular contact, as are most Christians.

          :-)
        • Jan 1 2012: Hi Tony,
          I agree with you, if we did not have the Bible, or organized religion, we would not have believe in heaven or hell. Just from mere observation of life around us, we would conclude that there is a cycle of life. Things are born and things die. That's it. And as has been stated already, the belief in an afterlife precede the Bible.

          Two days ago I posted some information on this.

          And as far as what Peter says, I say with all due respect to him, that my faith is not blind. I do not accept any teachings without researching them. The Bible itself encourages us to dig for "understanding" to search for "wisdom" as if hidden treasure. I did not believe part of the Bible, and then assumed the rest was true. I continue to learn, as faith is something that can increase just like knowledge and understanding.

          At John 17:3 Jesus said to take in "accurate knowledge of him and his Father". And at 1 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul says that God's will is that "all sorts of men....come to an accurate knowledge of truth".... and furthermore at Romans 12:1 Paul entreats Roman Christians to serve God with their "power of reason".

          I really and truly understand why so many refuse to even talk about religion/God/Bible. Many who claim to have faith say "Just believe". I can't.....I need to study, and research, and make sure of all things with my power of reason. When my faith is based on accurate knowledge, then, motivated by love of God and my fellowman I will be able to "make a defense before everyone that demands of me a reason for the hope in me", but I will be able to do so with a mild temper and deep respect.
          God wants us to love him and love others, but like a loving Father, he respects our freedom of choice. We choose.
          If we truly want to find the truth about the God of the Bible, then look at what the Bible says of him: "Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you" James 4:8

          Anyone reading this is welcomed to ask me about my faith. All my love Mary
      • thumb
        Jan 2 2012: Hi Eduard,

        My main objection is when people express certainty in claims that cannot be tested. I'm not saying all the doctrines in the Bible are false, any more than I'm saying they're true. What I am saying is that many of the Bible's claims are uncertain to us human beings. The biblical message of faith, however, is that we need to be *certain* about things we cannot "see" (this means things we cannot verify).


        "But there is a way out of here . . . many of this truths are of a moral nature (to not lie , to forgive , to be gentle....to be holy in the end ) . . . therefore the possibility that this people to lie to us (to compromise themselves ) it's almost zero . . ."

        A person does not have to lie to be wrong. This is why I never questioned the moral integrity of the biblical authors, any more than I question the moral integrity of my Mormon friends, or my Jehovah's Witness friends, or my Sikh friends, or even you. The fact that people of good conscience can strongly disagree on fundamental claims about God, heaven, hell, and other critical doctrines is proof positive that the human capacity for assessing spiritual truths is very poor even under the best of conditions. It is precisely out of respect for people of differing faiths who prove their integrity by their very lives (and in some cases by their deaths!) that we must admit uncertainty.


        "if my way of talking in English it's a bit strange , sorry for that"

        No apology is needed. I greatly respect you for conversing with me in English about all these deep topics when it is clear English is not your first language. I consider you a gentleman, and I have enjoyed our exchange so far!
        • thumb

          E G

          • 0
          Jan 3 2012: Hi Tony:

          I agree with you with the idea that even we are moral we can be wrong , there is need of a bit of faith and Peter take the lead with some explanations on this , I don't have time to continue , sorry .
          I just wanna say that there aren't so many claims which can't be tested from the Bible and as I said somewhere above all this claims are of a relatively little importance (even of no importance for being in the bible language 'redemeed').

          Thank you .
      • thumb
        Jan 2 2012: Hi Peter,

        "Is your contention then that a being capable of creating the universe is incapable of directing men to write a book? Presumably you also doubt his ability to communicate directly with we mere mortals?"

        Clearly no. By the same token I also don't doubt Barack Obama's ability to call you on the telephone tonight and brief you on top-secret matters of foreign policy concerning the present situation with Iran. However, if you told me tomorrow that the President of the United States did exactly that, I could not believe you unless and until you could prove to me that you were in such a position as to be privy to this kind of information. Even then, I would need some reasonable evidence demonstrating that such a thing did happen, after having established the fact that it could.


        "Folks have absolutely nothing to lose, but most refuse what is the option of eternal life. Why? Beats me; pride I guess."

        Please consider that a position of non-belief could spring from humility rather than pride. I, and others like me, consciensciously refuse to place faith in matters like heaven and hell when the spectrum of alternative possibilities is so broad. Speaking on behalf of all those people who do not have a direct line of communication with God, we simply have no rational basis for certitude in these areas. To ask someone in this position to make a positive leap of faith in certain doctrines is tantamount to requesting they lie: asking them to claim to know something they do not in fact know. What this person stands to lose by making the leap of faith is their integrity.

        The promise of eternal life in heaven for making this leap only makes the proposal sound all the more suspicious.
        • thumb
          Jan 2 2012: Hi Tony
          To answer Mary's point. I do not advocate blind faith either. We will never in this life attain empirical certainty on everything in the bible. However as we endeavour to understand more, & the bible continues to be vindicated, our faith in the accuracy of the remainder is strengthened.
          Many people have a capacity for faith from the get-go. It seems akin to an instinct; my wife, a radiographer, is like that. I am more like you, I look for proof. I guess this really depends on your present worldview . I guess I had the basics of heaven & hell & such, but never paid it much heed. I had gone as far as I could with evolution & wasn't sold. My wife got saved in 1985 & I set out to prove her wrong. This was the first time I'd taken the bible seriously. I guess I cottoned on to the creation literature first as this was my 'thing'. Long story short, the bible made sense, it fitted the facts, as I saw them.
          I see no danger to your integrity from following what you believe to be right. If you are lost in a dark wood & you call for help to anyone who may be there; is that a lie? For me, I could see that the stakes were so high that what others may.think was irrelevant.
          :-)
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: Heaven & Hell are biblical concepts. So I guess it depends on whether the bible is accurate or not. That is something we need to decide for ourselves. I wasn't raised religious in any way. However after a long search, accepted the truth of the bible at 35. Many brought up with religion seem to get immunised & give it up. Glad I wasn't.

    :-)
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb

        E G

        • 0
        Dec 30 2011: why? they are biblical , maybe they aren't only biblical but .........
        • thumb
          Dec 31 2011: Hi Pierre
          Educate us then; where did the idea of Heaven & Hell originate then?

          Evolution used to be called the Great Chain of Being. Darwin just popularised the idea. What has that got to do with Heaven & Hell?

          :-)
        • thumb
          Dec 31 2011: That's not a very elegant, "I don't know."

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 1 2012: No one. But as you didn't give me a pre-biblical source for Heaven & Hell, then I am left to assume that you don't know of one. When you think about it; if the bible gives an account of creation, then you can't really have anything preceding it. So all we are left with is arguing about the date the books were put into print. Heaven is first mentioned in Genesis 1v1( around 1400BC ) & Hell in Deuteronomy 32v22. (1400BC) ; we think. Do you have an alternative source?

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 2 2012: The common notion of hell within Christianity isn't found in the Bible it is made up by people that converted the heathen peoples to their Christian belief.
          Where in the Bible you see the word "hell" it is translated from words that mean something like "realm of death" or Hades.
          "Hell" has a Germanic origin that could at the time have had the same meaning in that sense that it was the place for those that couldn't enter Walhalla. It was depicted by the converters as a place where sinners were torn and tortured and purified with fire for eternity.
          You need to think of something to convince people that had no need for a new faith.
        • thumb
          Jan 3 2012: Wonderful answe and one that I would say is evidence to support the actual premise of this discussion: since there is great historical evidence that all cultures believed in some sort of life beyond this one, would it be safe to assume that they instinctively knew this, beyond an organized religion imparting it to them? In other words, did the Germanic idea of Hell predate an organized religion that promoted the idea of hell? If so, that would be one argument that yes, humans on some level instinctively know about Heaven/hell without being taught.

          Yes, there has been some concept of Heaven and Hell long before the Bible. And yes, the image of the fire and brimstone preacher was a bit of a lopsided focus, but what still fascinates me is the idea that, outside of religion teacheing us anything, do we as humans have a sense of the divine?

          I believe we do. I also believe that's why this wonderful discussion has taken so many twists and turns, and every post to me is evidence that we each have some impression of a place after this, regardless of what religions truths to which we ascribe or not.
        • thumb
          Jan 3 2012: Hi Frans

          "The common notion of hell within Christianity isn't found in the bible.."

          Don't know what bible you're reading.

          Isaiah 14:15 (KJV)
          Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

          Matthew 5:22 (KJV)
          But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

          Matthew 10:28 (KJV)
          And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 3 2012: Hi Verble
          Invariably the spoken word precedes the written word, & often it is a fact of history that sets off the whole process. As there are many stories about God, Heaven, & Hell in the human psyche, surely it is at least possible they have a common root in fact.
          The ancient Jews were the most pernickety at keeping records; just possibly the bible is accurate ? ( I' m biased)

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 3 2012: Well guys, you reckon Hell originated with the Germanic, or the Egyptians. I reckon the bible. I believe it actually exists, you presumably don't, so none of us needs to be bothered about it; right ? Time will tell.

          :-)
      • thumb
        Dec 31 2011: Hi Pierre,

        QUOTE: "No, they are. Not Buddhist, but Hindu."

        No, you are mistaken.

        The Christian concepts of heaven and hell are NOT shared by the Hindu religion(s).

        In simple terms, heaven and hell are where Christians believe we spend eternity. In the Hindu religion, we (eventually) achieve liberation; we would not spend eternity in hell. And "liberation" and "heaven" are not synonyms.
        • thumb
          Jan 6 2012: and to that point, today christians are argueing amongst themselves the fundamental question of hell. See rob bell's Love wins. If the bible is absolute and concrete, then why the confusion some 2000 years later. Something might of been lost in translation....
      • thumb

        E G

        • 0
        Dec 31 2011: "Evolution existed even before Darwin" interesting , how? do you know a different history of science than the official one ? and what have this in common with the hell and the heaven ?
        • thumb
          Jan 8 2012: Hi Eduard
          Google 'The Long War Against God' by Henry Morris for a history of the evolution theory. Videos are available.
          ;-)
    • thumb

      E G

      • 0
      Dec 30 2011: You are true I was raised in a christian family.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: Heaven and hell are not Buddhist or Hindu concepts. There ARE concepts within both that for reasons of expediency many of us equate with the Christian and Islamic concepts of heaven and hell but the parallel is akin to terminal cancer and a mild cold both being illnesses.
    • thumb
      Jan 1 2012: QUOTE: "I have been studying it for 25yrs or so & find it fascinating how the 66 books Intertwine."

      You have been studying the Bible for 25 years and are fascinated by how the 66 books intertwine?

      They "intertwine" because they were written by successive "generations" of men to coincide with what had previously happened. And our ability to "see patterns" is a product of our evolutionary development not the brilliant foresight of the authors. People see prophetic patterns in ALL religious texts (and many non-religious texts.)

      Why 66 books?

      Why not 51 books? (The Torah)

      Or 73 books? (The Catholic Bible)

      How about 78 books? (The Eastern Orthodox Bible)

      What about the apocrypha?

      Do not all of these books "intertwine?"

      Your subjective, faith-based experience of the (protestant) Bible (66 books) does not in anyway validate the text. It is simply an assertion that you have found succor through your faith and choose to generalize from you own experience and imbue the text with infallibility.

      We have had this conversation. You refuse to accept any of the hundreds of instances where the Bible is wrong. You believe the earth is 6000 years old. Etcetera.

      Your opinion lacks credibility amongst those who accept reason is a tool we are expected to use, not suppress.

      I have no problem if you choose to believe the Bible is inerrant or that the world is 6000 years old. I do take exception when people assert their beliefs are "true."

      The Biblical concepts of heaven and hell are fabrications (and the history of their evolution is interesting if you care to look outside of "sanctioned" texts.)

      That you choose to accept them as "fact" is your prerogative.
    • thumb
      Jan 2 2012: QUOTE: "I do not advocate blind faith ...."

      Then what do you call believing in heaven and hell ... you have never seen either.

      What do you call believing the earth is 6000 years old. The ONLY way you could believe this to be true is if you choose to be blind to the evidence that it clearly is NOT 6000 years old.

      Peter, the earth is NOT 6000 years old.

      QUOTE: "We will never in this life attain empirical certainty on everything in the bible."

      Of course not, there can be no empirical proof for fantasy. And what can be proven or disproven - history and prophesy, for example - have been demonstrated "empirically" to be, in some cases, true; and, in many cases, false.

      That you are unwilling to accept this requires nothing more than "blind faith."


      QUOTE: "I am more like you, I look for proof. I guess this really depends on your present worldview ."

      Peter, please. You look for confirmation of your belief and nothing more. Any proof that does not coincide with your belief, you reject out of hand. There is more proof of the errors in the BIble (for example) than there is Biblical content. You simply choose to ignore the proof.

      QUOTE: "Long story short, the bible made sense, it fitted the facts, as I saw them."

      Again you would have to employ "blind faith" to have the Bible "fit the facts." The Bible does not "fit the facts."

      That there are historical accuracies and inspirational truths in the Bible does not make it's account of creation "factual" nor does it compensate for it's many other factual and historical errors.

      And if the Bible gets something as mundane as "the creation of the earth" wrong, how do we expect it to get something as esoteric (and imaginary) as heaven and hell right?

      QUOTE: "For me, I could see that the stakes were so high that what others may.think was irrelevant.

      You have "nailed it." If you think you MUST believe in the inerrancy of the Bible to be saved from "eternal damnation," you WILL believe.

      You believe because you fear hell.
      • Jan 4 2012: Thomas,
        Could you please answer this question:
        Did you get to read the very last response I sent you yesterday, where I told you that I like to have conversation with people who believe their own truths verses the truths that their parents passed on to them?
        Mary
        • thumb
          Jan 4 2012: Hi Mary,

          I haven't read it. So if it was one of the many comments that seem to have been deleted, I guess I won't get the chance.
      • thumb
        Jan 6 2012: Hi Thomas

        I'm sorry I missed this one. It didn't come up on my e`mail & I've been busy. Got deleted again for answering 'bible' questions in the wrong place.

        Anyway !

        QUOTE :-"I have no problem if you choose to believe the Bible is inerrant or that the world is 6000 years old. I do take exception when people assert their beliefs are "true.""

        Good then we have no problem. I believe my views to be true. I have no way to 'know' they are true. We could bat evidence & rebuttal back and forth until we get deleted, but I doubt it would change our positions. I do my best to keep an open mind, & absorb information from all sides. I just finished watching a documentary on SETI in an effort to keep up to date. Nothing could be farther from my worldview, but I am keen to learn. Did you ever watch a creation/evolution debate?

        This thread is about heaven & hell, & I'm fed up getting deleted for answering off-topic questions. We really must try & be good boys.

        Would I have come up with Heaven & Hell without the rest of the bible ? I doubt it; however I think we all have a sense of guilt when we do something wrong.

        :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 6 2012: Hi Peter,

          QUOTE: "... I missed this one .... Got deleted again for answering 'bible' questions in the wrong place."

          Yes, I still find the whole deletion thing here on TED mildly irritating.

          QUOTE: "Good then we have no problem. I believe my views to be true. I have no way to 'know' they are true."

          This, my good sir, is as honest as it gets: You believe your views are true and you have no way of knowing they are true.

          My retort MIGHT be that you may have a way of knowing and have not discovered it yet (and, by the way, I assert this is VERY LIKELY true.)

          However, if you do not know you have a hammer (or a substitute) then, operationally, you would have no way of hammering in nails. So the statement is functionally true.

          QUOTE: "Did you ever watch a creation/evolution debate?"

          No. I have read enough on both sides of the argument to know creationism is simply a belief with no scientific validity. Not one iota.

          QUOTE: "This thread is about heaven & hell, & I'm fed up getting deleted for answering off-topic questions. We really must try & be good boys."

          Yes, I agree. I find it interesting that in conversations about, say, God, or heaven and hell, discussions about the Bible get deleted.

          Your position, which is based on the Bible, is, "I believe [hell] actually exists, you presumably don't, so none of us needs to be bothered about it; right ? Time will tell."

          This brings the Bible into the conversation as a valid topic. Something the TEDsters in charge of vetting comments seem to have a difficult time accepting.

          Are heaven and hell "Biblical concepts?"

          Yes, of course they are.

          Did they originate with the Bible?

          No, they did not.

          In fact, one of the "inspirations" for our graphic images of hell is a garbage dump outside ancient Jerusalem. It was in the "Valley of the Son of Hinnom" (Gehenna.)

          It is where people sacrificed their children by fire.

          Would anyone "believe" in a hell of fire if the image had not been ensconced in a religion.

          Probably not.
      • thumb
        Jan 7 2012: Hi Thomas

        QUOTE:- Did they originate with the Bible? No, they did not.
        In fact, one of the "inspirations" for our graphic images of hell is a garbage dump outside ancient Jerusalem. It was in the "Valley of the Son of Hinnom" (Gehenna.)

        That's funny, I learned about Gehenna (Hebrew; translated Hell in the NT) from the bible.

        eg:- (Loads of others)
        2Ki 23:10 And he defiled Topheth, which [is] in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.

        Tales of Hell may have been written down elsewhere before folks got round to writing the bible; I don't know & I doubt anyone does. It's a bit academic; fact is, the bible's full of it.

        QUOTE :- "No. I have read enough on both sides of the argument to know creationism is simply a belief with no scientific validity. Not one iota."

        What then do you make of the Polonium Halos argument ? (It's Peer reviewed)

        http://www.blinkx.com/watch-video/polonium-halos-unrefuted-evidence-for-earth-creation/hEfXqmwYc_umXc38ZWOGOg


        :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 7 2012: Hi Peter,

          Yes, you would learn about Gehenna (which is not translated as "hell" by the way*) through the Bible because the concept has been included in the Bible.

          The point is, that Gehenna predates the Bible; as do almost every "Christian" concept in it.

          As it relates to this discussion: The Christian concept of hell was developed and transmitted via organized religion; and the imagery used to illustrate the concept was drawn from cultural practices of the time.

          The concept of "hell" predates Gehenna.

          Gehenna predates the Bible.

          The image of Gehenna (endless fire where children are burned alive) was co-opted by the Bible's authors as a means to convey an idea.


          I do not know what the "polonium-halos" argument is. But if it supports young earth creationism, it is not "unrefuted." (As I said, your science is not that good.)

          Do you know what the half-life of rubidium-87 is?

          49,000,000,000 years.

          ----
          * The English word "hell" is derived from the proto-Germanic word "halja." It means:"one who covers up or hides something." The word "hell" has nothing to do with the word "Gehenna" ... other than a poetic association.

          ----
          EDIT: The "polonium-halos" argument was developed by Robert Gentry in the 1950s, before technology provided data that support other more "scientific" explanations.

          "Polonium is being created all the time as it is a decay product of the radioactive gas radon (itself a decay product of uranium). ... As radon is chemically inert, it can easily move through microscopic cracks in minerals and, at some point, it will decay into polonium. Thus there is no issue with pleochroic haloes being found throughout a body of granitic rock."

          - From Wiki.
      • thumb
        Jan 8 2012: Hi Thomas

        You keep stating that the concept of Hell predates the bible. Could you please be specific about why you think that ?

        For someone who never heard of polonium halos, you sure are confident it's non-valid. This type of polonium has a half life of 3.5 minutes; indicating very rapid solidification of the granite.
        On the same theme we have the awkward fact that if we melt granite to magma & then solidify it again, we get Rhyolite; not granite. All three have the same chemistry, but different structure. No one has ever managed to get granite from a melt, despite a couple of hundred years of trying. I don't think this is disputed, but feel free.
        Here's how it works.
        Scientist makes discovery detrimental to evolution/long age belief.
        Said scientist is demoted to non-scientist status by the rest.
        His discovery is rubbished due to his inept scientist status.
        Where possible his discovery is rebutted by real scientists.
        You only have to read Wiki above to see this in action "more 'scientific' explanations." Even your own dismissive comments betrays this attitude.

        I use websites like TalkOrigins ( Athiest) to get rebuttals in order to get both sides. They are really good at cataloging these things; it's real easy to weigh things up. How can one debate without the facts. I have seen many debate where one side had no idea of the other's position; not a pretty sight.

        :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 8 2012: Hi Peter,

          I'm sure you can locate information about hell that predates the Bible, it is not that hard to find. The concept and others related to it have been a part of virtually every organized religion - see Osiris, the Greeks, etc.

          Peter, ANYTHING that supports young earth creationism has been refuted by the fact that the earth is not 6,000 -10,000 years old.

          The concepts of heaven and hell are perpetuated by religion. The notion that the earth is 6000 years old is perpetuated by religion as well.

          Peter, please stop trying to use science to support you religious beliefs. It makes you look foolish.

          If you believe the world is 6000 years old, fine. That you can find some anomalies that apparently support your beliefs does not negate the mountains of proof that make your assertions sound exactly like what they are: nonsense.

          The earth in not 6000 years old. Period.

          You are simply wrong.

          ----
          If history-deniers who doubt the fact of evolution are ignorant of biology, those who think the world began less than ten thousand years ago are worse than ignorant, they are deluded to the point of perversity. They are denying not only the facts of biology but those of physics, geology, cosmology, archaeology, history and chemistry as well. – Richard Dawkins

          It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man's own pointless existence. – Thomas Merton
      • thumb
        Jan 8 2012: Hi Thomas

        I rest my case. :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 8 2012: Hi Peter,

          What case are you resting?

          If you are referring to science, or theology, you have "no case." Literally and figuratively.

          The earth is not 6000 years old. It isn't Peter.

          That you believe the Bible is true and inerrant does not make it so. It is not.

          Yes, the Bible perpetuates the notions of heaven and hell, and without it, many would never envision hell or heaven (to keep us on topic!)

          So if your case is that humans do not NEED to be rational, I agree, you may rest your case.

          ---
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2012: Hi Thomas

        I think others will see my point. You just make statements as if your opinion is superior to mine. Where are the facts, where are the arguments?

        Quote :- "The earth is not 6000 years old. It isn't Peter."

        OK, I take your point, that is your opinion. Normally one would follow with some scientific reason as to why I should consider your point of view. eg. The fossils could not have been laid down in such a short timeframe. Radiometric dating proves it. The light could not have come from the stars in such a a short time. The choice is endless.

        Normally if one holds to a worldview it is because of some tangible facts. Something with a bit more meat than ' All creationists are stupid'. You have taken the latter route, which is as outlined in my previous post, & is very typical. This topic is about finished; hopefully we can meet elsewhere & you can demolish me with some facts. lol

        :-)
        • thumb
          Jan 9 2012: Quote :- "The earth is not 6000 years old. It isn't Peter." .... OK, I take your point, that is your opinion."

          No Peter, this is not my opinion. The earth is not 6000 years old. This is a fact.


          QUOTE: "Normally one would follow with some scientific reason as to why I should consider your point of view."

          One would only do this if there was a reasonable expectation that the person with whom one is conversing has demonstrated the capacity to accept it.

          You have not.

          Demonstrably.

          You claim the world is 6000 years old.

          Your "scientific proof?"

          The Bible.

          Erroneous assertions regarding Carbon-14, and polonium.

          The Bible.

          Debating science with you is like debating Young Earth Creationism with a religious fanatic.

          Oh, wait!

          QUOTE:" Normally if one holds to a worldview it is because of some tangible facts."

          Normally this is true. But apparently, as you so aptly demonstrate, not universally.

          ---

          Peter, your assertions are so absurd that, at times, I seriously think you must be joking just to have a bit of fun.

          I'm not sure what concerns me more: that this might be true or that it might not.

          ---

          Yes, the Bible refers to heaven and hell (we have to get that in there) and, yes, it says the creation was, well, created in six days.

          It also says we should kill our children if they get a bit testy. I hope none of your kids ever saw you naked ... we'd have to kill them, you know?

          See you on "the other side." ... in the Bible conversation that is.
        • thumb
          Jan 9 2012: QUOTE: "I think others will see my point."

          That the earth is 6000 years old?

          I don't think so, Peter.
    • thumb
      Jan 5 2012: Hi Peter,

      The only reason why Christianity has any notion of heaven and hell is due to the Zoroastrians.

      Early Christianity was actually a minor sect of Judaism and didn't become a major religion until the establishment of the church (I guess you can add Paul's travels as well).

      Early Judaism never once mentioned anything about judgement day, heaven and hell, good and evil because it was a religion based mainly on injunctions....it was not until the Essences(a sub-culture that Jesus was a part of), who were influenced by the tenets of the Zoroastrianism, that presented these notions.

      All and All what I'm saying is that Heaven and Hell is not an original christian or jewish concept.
      • thumb
        Jan 6 2012: Hi Orlando

        Just for interest I searched my bible; "Heaven"got 617 hits, "Hell" got 54, although there are quite a few words for Hell. In the Old testament Hell got 31 & heaven 414.

        The Old & New Testaments give lots of instruction on Heaven, Hell, & Judgement day. I was not around in the early days, so I don't know what was taught, but the Holy Books of Judaism & Christianity (& Islam for that matter) are full of it. If it was the Zoroastrians that brought it to their attention, then I'm sure they were grateful.

        :-)
    • thumb
      Jan 8 2012: Hi Peter,

      I've opened a new conversation on "The Bible" just so we can discuss it and "stay on topic."

      Cheers.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2012: Hi Thomas

        Cool idea; see you there.

        :-)
  • Dec 28 2011: Thinking more on the question, it seems if a person never had a religion, the what basis exists to believe in either heaven or hell?

    Perhaps thinking about and assessing for value the details of Jesus' personal religion would be helpful for anyone who is wondering if any religion is useful. How easy would it be to believe in God if a person had more detail of Jesus and what he taught? Perhaps, probably, the world really does need a good, thorough knowledge of Jesus developing his personal religion! You would find details of this development in Part IV, The Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book from Urantia Foundation, www.urantia.org. I recommend this source for an honest appraisal of value of Jesus.

    Considering the many religions developed long before Jesus and the many "brands" of Christianity since, plus the many independent religion variations since, then perhaps this new source is dependable and beneficial for all of mankind.

    I can't think of one person who never had a religion. There are and have been evil people, but who can say they never had any religion, albeit perhaps badly distorted?

    If we understand the manner of Jesus' teaching and relating to people, it is clear he did not coerce, use any force, or intellectually overpower anyone to accept his teachings. He did not threaten hell on anyone, as Christians and others have done. His was a masterful attraction to divine realities and relationships. He saw no need to control masses or to control the will of any individual. Carefully reading details of Jesus' manner and style, we see he attracted people to his truths. No one finds "hell" to be attractive once listening to him and honestly assessing him for goodness and truth. Beauty of divine realities, truths of divine realities, and goodness in desiring good relations with God and man's peers are attractive.

    The dilemma posed in the above question disappears upon examining Jesus personal religion.
    • thumb
      Dec 28 2011: Hi Mark,

      QUOTE: "The dilemma posed in the above question disappears upon examining Jesus personal religion."

      Not really. (Unless, perhaps, you are Jesus. And, if you are, then only you can say.)

      For 2012 years, give or take five or six, some of us have been examining Jesus's personal religion and at each juncture, someone thinks they have it all figured out.

      We do not actually know what his religion was. He may not have been religious at all.

      But the point (of this conversation) is, you would not even know about Jesus or heaven and hell if you had not been born in a culture where these concepts are taught. And if you did not know about them, you could not believe in them.
  • thumb

    E G

    • 0
    Dec 28 2011: Oups, but they are control devices to make us be 'good' boys and girls , of course for the ones who fears the hell and wishes the heaven .
    ''But THE FEARFUL, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.'' (Revelation 21:8).
    So for a christian who don't fears hell it's not a control device , the same thing for the heaven . It's interesting that many 'christians' (the most) are so happy to go in heaven and not in hell : they don't understand anything , what so nice sound the word 'crowd' in my ear when I meet such people !!!!!!
    Are you one of them , Mr. Caputo ? because Mr. if you don't fear the hell and don't care about the heaven , is it a matter to know if they exist ?
  • thumb
    Dec 28 2011: Dear Christy,
    There is constant war going in each mind of what is right and what is wrong ? By religion I am Hindu and we like you would have the Bible we have 'Mahabharata'. In this epic there is a chapter which is known popularly as the 'Gita' which is the advice given by the God to the human kind.

    The principles of the teachngs hold good irrespective of person belonging to any religion. Life is full of such dilemas of right and wrong and answer to all such dilemas are mentioned in here. Working with detachment, maintaining mental equilibrium irrespective of pleasure and pain, etc and similar such things related to instances of our day to day lives are explained.
  • thumb
    Dec 27 2011: For me it is logical that heaven and hell are inventions for us to be good guys.

    For me, to exist is to be perceived, then, they do not exist.

    The true reality of allegorical images of religions is the impossibility of proving the no existence of something. For example, if I say that I saw a unicorn, no one can prove that it is not real, and if the idea of the existence of the unicorn extends throughout society as true, in a few generations nobody will know if it was real or imagined, this is the basis for urban legends.
  • thumb
    Dec 27 2011: Hi Christy,
    You have brought in a good topic and the entire human kind might at a conscious or sub-conscious level thought about these things. Every religion would have their narration and going through all religious scriptures would lead to more confusion.

    Though this topic is interesting I would resisit my temptation of detailed explanation in just few words.

    Yes there is life after death. Which life form would one get depends on his actions of the present birth. This is called 'Law of Karma (action)

    Concept of heaven or hell are motivational concepts or detterents in doing any deeds. But again God has his own reward or punishment system which would put in a cozy place called heaven or a less cozier place called hell.

    Finally if someone would challenge the very concept of existence of God the answer would be in simple two words..'Trust and Faith'
    • Dec 27 2011: Thank you for your reply. I believe in Karma, which in another form is "what comes around, goes around", "reap what you sow"...etc.

      I too believe there is life after death but leaning more to the Egyptian belief of a version of reincarnation versus eternal spiritualistic life in a heaven or hell scenario. I personally do not believe I am a bad person...I swear now and again, I drink wine on occasion, I tell my son that Santa Claus brings him presents (which is a non-truth)...so in the religion I was raised to believe as the truth I would be doomed to hell.

      It is all so confusing at times. I struggle in my way of thinking since it really isn't as simple as some would have us believe.
  • thumb
    Dec 27 2011: Christy, I count three questions you have asked:
    1) How easy to believe in heaven/hell?
    2) How do we know heaven/hell exists?
    3) What if heaven/hell are control devices?
    For debate purposes can you cosolidate those into one? Thanks for your contribution.
    • Dec 27 2011: Thank you for your reply.

      I cannot consolidate to one question. If you wish, you are welcome to pick one and comment.

      If not..that is okay too.
  • Dec 27 2011: Hello Christy,
    Wonderful, these opportunities to think! Good questions here. And doubting is not bad mind activity on a temporary basis. I prefer to consider heaven actually as continuing life, as there is only one life, but many stages. Its reasonable to think one will wake up in the next stage just exactly where we leave off here---spiritual growth, attitudes, divine concepts, character flaws, but minus a human body. It seems reasonable to assume continuing possibilities for growth in spirit qualities. Grow as much as we can NOW!

    If a person decides with finality to reject relationship with God, that is after multiple opportunities to accept and there is no remaining interest in Heaven, then at death the Judges of heaven may certainly determine there is no spiritual value remaining and the person is not resurrected. This is soul death and there is no resurrection from such a fate. There is no address anywhere of hell, which only is a concept between man's ears!

    There is enough evidence in the teachings of the many religions there truly is life and relationship with the Mystery One and this Jesus revealed a marvelous Father Personality God and also taught we are all his sons. (No gender is implied in Father or Son, as man is the name of our species.) Jesus modeled a loving Father who truly cares for each soul; we are truly valued.

    Each religion has provision for the afterlife. You are welcome to examine each religion; not one of them contains all truth. It is nice, really nice, confidently nice to contemplate the teaching that the Father God of all life sends a personal fragment of His spirit self to live within each of us. Imagine that!!!!! What comes from Paradise must eventually return to Paradise. Note this as a tremendous gift! If we accept, we will go to Paradise with this spirit fragment, sometime fused for eternity with this fragment! These fragments come without regard to sex.

    Nice topic you selected!
    • Dec 27 2011: Thank you for your reply!

      I find your writing very interesting. The way you express your thoughts is just lovely!

      Hell to me is something some people live on a daily basis...child abuse, rape, torture, false imprisonment, adult abuse, etc. So for me it is hard to believe that someone that was abuse to a point they cannot fathom a heaven or hell can not be held to the same rules of religion as someone that had a life free of abuse.

      I am happy that I stopped my very narrow view on religion and opened my eyes to other religions and learned more that I had every thought I would.

      Thank you again for your reply!
      • Dec 27 2011: To those persons who choose to open their minds and hearts will come great new insights and greater joy from new spiritual achievements. Therefore, help each other open our minds! A new insight for me one day came as a "bingo" moment: "Oh! We are help each other make it to Paradise." (the center of heaven, the Ultimate Heaven and the dwelling place of the Father of all life.)

        Progress is a major theme in Jesus' teachings. Otherwise, why would he bother to come and teach us advanced concepts? We are to help each other update and therefore the world shall someday become updated, rather profoundly! We don't need to wait on others for progress; we are able now to open ourselves to spiritual growth---now! Why wait for heaven at some future time or place?

        So glad for you! Pass on the best you have discovered! Have a religion or never had a religion---the point of Jesus' updates is to help each other with living love of his marvelous modeling! Embrace that and we help each other experience a living religion. His religion is not dogma, but living experience.

        Have a great life!
        • thumb
          Jan 7 2012: Mark, agree in part with "'To those persons who choose to open their minds and hearts will come great new insights and greater joy from new spiritual achievements"

          If we open our minds and hearts we'll all end up in different places depending on what resonates with use and depending on the society we live in and experiences we've had. Perhaps, even our IQ, thirst for knowledge or education levels are factors in where we'll end up Where we live and when we live are the biggest factors.

          Go back a 3000 years and your God was limited to say a million Jews. Even today with Christianity a global religion, easy access to the bible etc, most people chose other religions or no religion. Even people who grow up in nations with a strong Christian heritage, who believe in a god shaped by this environment have completely different beliefs in regards to god, heaven hell, the literal truth of the bible etc.

          Its wonderful we are exposed to so many different religious/spiritual beliefs, science etc today and have the freedom and options to explore these and come to our own conclusions in some countries at least. I'm grateful for that. To be alive now, in a relatively secular democracy where people are free to follow any path within limits. Free from the fear of damnation to chose to live as I feel is right.