Think about heaven.

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.

Ignoramus

Anyone who believes the last book in The Bible, Revelation, predicts or portends or has any relationship to life today is…I don’t want to be too harsh; what is the proper word? Idiot; “someone lacking the mental capacity to develop beyond the level of a four year old?” No. No, that’s not the best word. Fool; “a silly or stupid person?” That’s too pejorative. Ah! I’ve got it! Ignoramus! Yes, that’s the right word, “an ignorant person”. To be ignorant is “lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.” Thus if you tell me “Staggering events will soon shock the whole world! Great prophecies in the book of Revelation show how and when these catastrophic events will occur”(http://rcg.org/books/real.html) I can call you an ignoramus. I don’t mean that pejoratively but rather as an invitation to gain knowledge or information on the book of Revelation.
The ignoramus I quoted is David C. Pack, Pastor General of The Restored Church of God. The likelihood he will seek knowledge or information beyond his silly interpretation might lead one to wonder about his mental capacity but we must keep in mind that religious leaders who promote fear and apocalyptic outcomes are doing so out of their own self-interest. “Don’t squishy doctrines of transformation through personal illumination always get marginalized in mass movements? …the open-minded, non-authoritarian side of Buddhism, too, quickly succumbed to its theocratic side, gasping under the weight of those heavy statues. The histories of faiths are all essentially the same: a vague and ambiguous millennial doctrine preached by a charismatic founder, Marx or Jesus; mystical variants held by the first generations of followers; and a militant consensus put firmly in place by the power-achieving generation.” (Adam Gopnik, “The Big Reveal” The New Yorker magazine March 5, 2012) Those who wish to gain knowledge and understanding of the Book of Revelation might want to read “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation” (Viking), by Elaine Pagels or they could start with the review of the book in the March 2012 New Yorker.