Here’s something I’ve never understood. Why is it most religious people spend their entire lives preaching/fighting against “sin,” a consistently amorphous set of rules depending completely on the believer setting them? In some religions activities as every day as playing cards, wearing the wrong clothes or drinking something with caffeine means hell=default.
If you’re gay you’re going to hell.
If you masturbate you’re going to hell.
If you’re an atheist you’re going to hell. Not that you care about some imaginary after-life, but they always tell you that.
If you cheat on your spouse, cause the death of another (intentional or otherwise) you’re going to hell.
If you eat the wrong food on the wrong day you’re going to hell.
You get the picture, right?
And yet, and yet, AND YET… have you EVER in your entire life been to a funeral or memorial service where those in charge (usually clergy) EVER say the deceased is going to hell? Ever? No f’ing way. No matter how bad the person was, they’re praised and mourned and EXPECTED to be seen in the future in heaven.
I’ve never in my life heard anyone ever say “____________ died and went to hell.”
Oh right, you can pray for their soul to be saved. So then, what’s the point? Why live by arbitrary religious rules if you can be “saved” in the end?
Here’s the thing. I don’t believe there is either a heaven or hell but I’m a generally decent person. Nice even, if I try. I don’t lie or cheat. I don’t drink to excess or hurt anyone else with my choices. I live by society’s laws (mostly) and pay my bills. I take care of my kids/grandkids and volunteer for organizations I think improve the world.
Why am I not a horrible bank-robbing killer woman from Cheaterville? Because I WANT to be a decent person. It’s to my benefit and the benefit of society for me to follow the rules and pay my taxes.* I don’t worry about my after-life, I worry about my life.
But I do drink and swear, I wear whatever I want and eat whatever I want whenever I want, I have sex though I’m not married, I masturbate on occasion – even on Sundays – and I have a life.
Do we really need heaven or hell? To live a life of fear of the unknown? Don’t we have enough to fear right here on earth? Things like clergy that abuse children and others that embezzle from their followers? Or the ones that promote female genital mutilation and unnecessary circumcisions, or guilt women into giving up control of their own childbearing decisions? What about the constant wars and killings all over the world over who’s deity is better? Imagine a world without religion…
Sounds like a heaven I could believe in.
* Caveat: My income is non-taxable so I really don’t pay my taxes, but I would if I had to.