Packing the churches on Easter Sunday during a pandemic is a great idea! I wish I’d thought of it.
Thinking is a good thing. If held hostage I’d try to exercise: push ups, walking and running in place, yoga stretches and mind stretches—thinking about questions that haven’t been answered (probably can’t) like is there a life after death? was there a life before life? Philosophers call this dualism, the theory that the mental and the physical—or mind and body or mind and brain—are, in some sense, radically different. It’s fun to let your mind run free in thoughts like this (unless you’re trying to get back to sleep).
-If you believe in a heaven, you believe in dualism, that something that is you will transcend life. I’ve asked a lot of people who believe in heaven to describe it for me. I am amazed at how little thought has been given to a place in which they aspire to spending eternity, which is a very long time (or maybe no time). Bible quoters say something like this: A river, clear as crystal, will flow from the throne of God down the middle of the city. On each side of the river there will be a tree of life, yielding twelve kinds of fruit every month. The streets will be pure gold, like transparent glass. The walls of the city will be adorned with every kind of jewel, emerald, onyx, amethyst, topaz, etc.(a total of 12) There will be no need for a sun or moon; the Lord will be its light.
When I think about life everlasting, a place I’d like to be for eternity, I’d much prefer green to shining, hard surfaces. Give me grass to walk through and trees to shade me and give me an infinite variety of colors, and I’m just talking about green. And then add in all the other colors, flowers, birds, animals. I like the idea of twelve fruit trees. In the Revelation model there are also twelve gates all garnished with precious stones (If you are interested chapters, 21 and 22).
If there is a me that will transcend life I envision a heaven having an environment very much like earth with one exception, everybody loves everybody. I have read the Bible to the end and find the last book to be lacking. It works well for preachers who want to enslave as many to garner as many followers as possible largely to line their pockets as it sucks in those who are not thinking, just following. Please, just think about it. Heaven according to Revelation, walled in 12,000 furlongs length, breadth and height; except for a silver river and 12 fruit trees everything appears to be jewel encrusted gold. No sun or moon, just the light of the Lord. Really? Do you find that appealing? No sunsets, no flowers, no grass or trees and only people who are just like you, have no interesting thoughts. Oh, I’m not saying your thoughts aren’t interesting just that you already have them so what’s to talk about. “Hi, how you doing?” “Same as you.” Have any new thoughts?” “You?” “Want to go pick some fruit?”
My thoughts have led me to the notion that there are twelve entities (gods, if you will) living in a place very much like the environment we live in because they created our world. Many old religions including Genesis, have God or Gods creating our world so this is nothing new. I just figure they created a world using their own as a model, you know, like the games we create, Monopoly, Clue and so many video games.
I have been anticipating a pandemic for over ten years for reasons that would drive a climate change denier up the wall. My prediction is based on my experience with climate change. In the 1940s in New Jersey I remember my father giving me the job of knocking Japanese beetles off the grape vines into a can of kerosene (I’ve found that water works as well). I also remember picking ticks off my dog and talk of people getting sick with rocky mountain fever caused by tick bites.
In 1972 I started living on the farm I still live on in Maine. We had dogs who ran free in our field and picked up no ticks. There were no Japanese beetles. Ticks arrived about 20 years later, first in atrocious numbers not just on the dogs but climbing up peoples legs and the legs of chairs. Predators like turkeys and other birds have learned to eat them and the numbers are now reasonable with someone like me who spends a lot of time in field and garden picking off less than half a dozen a year. Japanese beetles arrived a few years later. I am dealing with insects and diseases in the garden that weren’t here 40 years ago. Proof that climate change is the cause? No, but pretty good evidence.