Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 27, 2014 4:29 am

Ithilwen wrote:Obviously I didn't mean that bullies would be in Heaven. I have a feeling there wouldn't be grudge-holding potion masters that dock points from your house for little to no reason either.


Ah yes. But would there be room in Heaven for a repentant "grudge-holding potion master that docks points from other houses for little to no reason"? Especially one driven by a deep, tragic, defeated love for the mother of the boy he picked on? Who dies bravely, completing his mission to impart vital information to that boy? Now that is the $64,000 question. :-\

Of course that is fiction, where everything is in the lap of the author of said fiction, for better or worse. JKR rather stressed the need for repentance and honest self-examination in her series, though an afterlife didn't really come into her creations. We know from Christian teachings in the real world, that repentance of sins and honest self-examination are definitely required for redemption and entrance to Heaven. Do you think, maybe, there would be a place in Heaven for reformed ex-bullies, after all?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 27, 2014 2:57 pm

I've read Randy Alcorn's eye-opening book titled simply Heaven, and now that my eyes are open I really look forward to going. I know W4J is also a fan of the book and will give it a thumbs up as well. Growing up I sincerely did not look forward to Heaven...we always had this image of it being boring, in a peaceful kind of way. No real physical bodies to be had but just spirits moving here and there. And it would end up being one never ending church service. I'd never had told anyone that back then but it was the unfortunate (and thoroughly untrue) mental image of Heaven that was the default teaching of my church and many others. When I read The Last Battle though I felt particularly guilty...here was an afterlife that I found enormously appealing, and I felt almost jealous of the characters for having been so fortunate to avoid sitting forever in a church pew with no down time.

I believe Heaven will be beyond wonderful, and we are completely unable to ponder its magnificence in our current bodies. When the New Earth becomes a reality though, when we have our physical bodies once again, that's when the real wonders will appear. My heart yearns...no aches...to explore. I cannot do that on this Earth, not the way I want, except to experience glimpses of it in books, but I want to have my own ship and explore the cosmos, spend years traveling across space, perhaps setting up colonies for fellow New Earthers to one day visit or even dwell on. I want to make planet fall on mysterious worlds with purple skies and crimson mountains and oceans of purest, translucent water that's so clear you'd swear it was made of crystal. And then of course I get into thinking of the particulars of things...what ship I'd have, how fast it could go, and then realize that if God grants me the opportunity I'd probably take a garbage can and a canoe paddle if I had to just as long as I got there. ;)) Of course since so much of the Earth's surface will likely be a bit different than it is now there'll be plenty of time, no doubt, to sail about the oceans and look for some adventures too. Who knows what will be out there. :D
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Ithilwen » Feb 27, 2014 9:01 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Ah yes. But would there be room in Heaven for a repentant "grudge-holding potion master that docks points from other houses for little to no reason"? Especially one driven by a deep, tragic, defeated love for the mother of the boy he picked on? Who dies bravely, completing his mission to impart vital information to that boy? Now that is the $64,000 question. :-\

and
We know from Christian teachings in the real world, that repentance of sins and honest self-examination are definitely required for redemption and entrance to Heaven. Do you think, maybe, there would be a place in Heaven for reformed ex-bullies, after all?

Sure, if they're saved. My earlier posts had nothing to do with redemption or who's going to heaven or hell. My only point was that I picture Heaven being like the good aspects of Hogwarts, without having any of the bad aspects of Hogwarts. Nothing more, nothing less. ;)


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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 27, 2014 11:15 pm

If I believed in heaven and hell. Heaven would be me and a few of my close friends and family watching tv series and occasionally going swimming. Very simply put.

Hell would be sitting on hard desk doing extreme maths(high uni type maths) with room being over 40C and no calculators being allowed.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby King_Erlian » Feb 28, 2014 2:27 am

As long as the room wasn't that hot, I wouldn't mind doing some uni level maths in Heaven - some of the work I should have done at uni instead of wasting time learning to play the bass guitar. :)

This is the trouble though - one person's Heaven is another person's Hell. And I agree with Shadowlander, some of the churches I used to go to painted a particularly undesirable picture of Heaven, with us all looking the same, dressed the same and chanting the same things at the same time to a God who must have been bored out of his mind.

I honestly can't imagine what I might do in Heaven that I would really enjoy and yet not be doing it to boost my ego, as most of my Earth-bound hobbies seem to be.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Feb 28, 2014 5:38 am

Randy Alcorn's book "Heaven" is a must read and from what I can tell, biblically-sound. Still, test everything you read against God's Word to see if it lines up with His Truth. "Heaven" is extremely comprehensive but very worthwhile.

Like Shadowlander, I didn't look forward to Heaven, thinking it would just be a never-ending church service, but the truth is that it will be much more real than the life we live now - and free of sin, death, the Enemy and all consequences. We will be in complete relationship with our Creator, Savior and Lord!

I first became excited about Heaven after reading "The Last Battle". It was sort of like "The Divine Comedy" for children. Hellish at the beginning but eventually leading to a New Heaven and a New Earth. After I read "Heaven", many of my questions were answered and I really wanted to go there.

In this fallen world, sin often seems attractive and Godly things seem dull but the truth is very different. A life lived with God is a life worth living.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 28, 2014 7:36 am

@KING E. I will stick with chem math. Engineering course would drive me insane.Though me and musical instruments do not go well together.

More to add to what an ideal heaven would be for me. Everything very peaceful. No one shouting, crying or screaming. I am rather a grumpy person at times. So not happy dancing round in circles.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 28, 2014 3:08 pm

IloveFauns wrote:Hell would be sitting on hard desk doing extreme maths(high uni type maths) with room being over 40C and no calculators being allowed.


=)) =)) Sounds like a normal school day before decimalization of coins, weights and measures, calculators and air-conditioning, in a hot Australian summer, particularly when we wore box pleated school tunics all year round.

Hell would be something like being in an enemy prison camp, where they don't abide by the Geneva conventions, such as in WW2.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 28, 2014 3:20 pm

Hell is unspeakably worse than WW2. Or all wars put together. At least in those you had a means of defending yourself, something I suspect will be denied human souls who end up there and find themselves facing prison guards who are likely thousands of times more physically powerful then prisoners are, and are probably impervious to the fire there, and with a sizable chip on their shoulders about human souls in the first place. And no God for backup. No God anywhere. It is a place I do not like to think on because it is pure horror in its truest form, combined with pure agonizing pain, but not enough to keep you from thinking about everything that has led one there. No water, no relief, no food, no sleep, no respite...just unrelenting pain and torture for all eternity, and surrounded by enemies with hearts of 100% pure evil, who intend to inflict infinite harm.

It is better to simply cease to exist, and I sincerely wish it for everyone trapped there though I don't think it will end up that way. Perhaps when final judgement comes there may be a select fortunate few who might get that as a reward. I truly hope for it. Who really knows but God?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Feb 28, 2014 4:36 pm

Aw, looks like I've missed out on quite a bit of interesting discussion these past few weeks thanks to being busy, and I don't really have the time to play catchup at the moment, either. The recent topic on individual perspectives of heaven/hell has me curious, though: does anyone have any titles handy of a comprehensive, Bible-based study of hell, perhaps in the same vein as Randy Alcorn's Heaven, which sounds like a promising read?

One other comment before I run along for the evening: I've often seen people say that hell is a state of separation from God, and to some degree I see where they are coming from, but then you have verses like Revelation 14:10 which speak of torment in the presence of the Lamb and the holy angels.

It seems to me that if hell is a state of separation from God, it is not because God has abandoned anyone, but rather is contingent on the refusal of the sinner to look to Him and let Him into their hearts. It is a withdrawing of the creation, not a withdrawing of the Creator. I believe that Lewis wrote that the doors to hell are locked from the inside, not the outside, and that sounds like a reasonable supposition to me. Now, whether or not there is a way for those that are lost to find the key that leads out of hell and into the heart of God... that is a possibility that I hopefully ponder.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 28, 2014 5:12 pm

The only one I've seen was one I glanced through called 23 Minutes in Hell. The author (his name is Weiss) is a Christian who says he spent that much time there and that Christ somehow made him blind to his own Christianity in some way so as to show him the reality of Hell. The parts I skimmed through are the stuff of nightmares, although to be fair I don't know if the account is true or if the man had a vision or a bad dream. The verses that he uses on the subject seem to agree with what he saw, so I cannot definitively say. Given how only an infinitely small percentage of our existences will be spent in this physical realm and the rest in the New Heavens and New Earth I'm a bit surprised at how few books have that as its subject. Fewer discuss Hell in any length, and given what we know about it I am timid about reading anymore about it. It's horrifying stuff.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Feb 28, 2014 6:09 pm

I wouldn't bother with "23 Minutes in Hell". I've read excerpts and it's not particularly well-written. Also, I don't know how true the author's vision was either (his visualization of Hell has more in common with "The Divine Comedy" than the Bible). It's certainly not a comprehensive study of Hell, not like the book "Heaven" is of Heaven. There's far more subjectivity than objectivity to be found within "23 Minutes in Hell".
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby MinotaurforAslan » Feb 28, 2014 8:17 pm

All right, here's my two cents on heaven.

I haven't read a lot of books about heaven or the nature of heaven, so I can't claim to be knowledgable at all on this subject.

But the most logical version of heaven, it seems to me, is something quite similar to Shadowlander's childhood vision of an 'eternal church service'. I know it sounds boring, and disappointingly absent of everything you cherish on this dear earth from your favorite pasttimes to your beloved dog Fido - but here's the issue I have with all other visions of heaven that talk about the activities we'll get to do there, the objects we love on earth that we'll get to have, etc.

First of all, there seem to be two major biases in the material/activity-related visions of heaven. Those are 1) a bias towards things the person likes and enjoys and 2) a bias towards things that were invented before or during the person's lifetime.

But beyond that, I have a very hard time seeing any everlasting joy in an eternal life full of material and activities and stuff. Reading books, gardening, music, photography, these are all nice...but doing them for literally forever would get boring eventually. They're also so contingent on the physical world to exist. Part of the satisfaction of all these activities is that they require time, effort, sacrifice, and a chance of failure (or an uncertain degree of success). This is dependent on being in a fallen world.

What I do think Heaven is like? Very simple. We get to be in the presence of God. That's it. What makes that appealing is that God is the apex of truth and goodness. To be in the presence of that would be infinite joy. Any activity that involves finite happiness just wouldn't compare. Time won't pass at all, or even if it does, we won't sense it passing, because we'll always be in the same state of being.

Also, I think visions of Hell as some fiery torture-chamber are equally misguided. They are either a cheap scare tactic to justify an iteration of Pascal's Wager, or some sort of disturbing justice fantasy someone might have, to feel better about the existance of all the terrible people in the world because they're going to BURN IN HELL SOMEDAY. I think Hell would be just some self-inflicted eternal state of shame. Also very straightforward. No torturors required.

A bottom line I would hypothesize is that the eternal nature of heaven and hell are misconstrued. People are tending to imagine we'd experience time in heaven and hell in the same fashion we would on earth. But passage of time requires two seperate states of being. And in heaven or hell, one of these would be better or worse than the other. That doesn't fit with the model of heaven and hell being perfect or perfectly awful. I'd think we'd just have one state of eternal being.

Thus the important property of an eternal object would be not that it exists for an infinite amount of time, but simply that it doesn't get destroyed.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Ithilwen » Feb 28, 2014 10:24 pm

MinotaurforAslan wrote:But beyond that, I have a very hard time seeing any everlasting joy in an eternal life full of material and activities and stuff. Reading books, gardening, music, photography, these are all nice...but doing them for literally forever would get boring eventually. They're also so contingent on the physical world to exist. Part of the satisfaction of all these activities is that they require time, effort, sacrifice, and a chance of failure (or an uncertain degree of success). This is dependent on being in a fallen world.

Not really. Most Christians I know who enjoy these things do so because they are creating something beautiful using a talent that God gave them, and therefore are glorifying and worshiping their creator by participating in these activities. It's the same principle one sees when imagining the angels singing praises to God in Heaven. God made the angels, he gave them the talent to sing, and so they make a beautiful and joyful sound to praise him and to use the talent they were given.

One also has to consider that the afterlife will be physical. Revelation talks of the afterlife taking place, not in the clouds or in some strictly spiritual plain, but on the "New Earth". The difference between the new earth and the old is that it won't have sin, sickness, or pain. In other words, we would be perfectly able to take part in physical activities. And because our goal in partaking of these activities would be to use our talents, create something beautiful, and glorify and worship God, the absence of failure and suffering would not detract from our enjoyment.


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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Mar 01, 2014 2:21 am

Ithilwen wrote:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:Ah yes. But would there be room in Heaven for a repentant "grudge-holding potion master that docks points from other houses for little to no reason"? Especially one driven by a deep, tragic, defeated love for the mother of the boy he picked on? Who dies bravely, completing his mission to impart vital information to that boy? Now that is the $64,000 question. :-\


Sure, if they're saved. My earlier posts had nothing to do with redemption or who's going to heaven or hell. My only point was that I picture Heaven being like the good aspects of Hogwarts, without having any of the bad aspects of Hogwarts. Nothing more, nothing less. ;)


Quite so. But Snape, as a fictitional character, was one of the most profound and complex ones I have read about in recent popular fiction. And much as I respect C.S.Lewis, I don't think even he would have realised the full ramifications of WW2 as it has transpired since 1963. Moreover, I suspect that the same was true of a lot of unthinking people, at that time, no matter where they came from in the world.

When posting my comment, and, now that you raised the subject of Hogwarts, I couldn't think of any character, fictitional or otherwise, who could turn Heaven into Hell more easily than Snape, if grudge-carrying became the norm, and if crocodile tears are to be avoided. No wonder we are all urged to repent and to forgive to enjoy God's forgiveness ourselves.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published in 2005, about the same time as the 7/7 London atrocities, which caused my own family some anguish, due to family members flying out to Australia at the time. Leaky Lounge, where I was to be a moderator for some time, and at this point in time is down, enduring maintenance, ran hot with theories about that newly published book. One of the debates we enjoyed was about Chapter 2, Spinner's End, in which Snape, Bellatrix L'Estrange and her sister, Narcissa, had a similarly hellish conversation to those in Jean-Paul Sartre's work, No Exit, where three people are not tortured at all, but find that Hell is facing themselves.

No wonder that Jean-Paul Sartre is credited with the quote, that Hell is other people.

If you visit Poland and want to see it fully, you have to take it, warts and all. And so, I've actually been to Auschwitz, the most frightening experience my daughter and myself saw as tourists. It was all documented there, to be sure, in the entrance facilities. Our presence there was almost a pilgrimage, especially as only a couple of hours beforehand, we had visited Jasny Gora, a monastery with the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, where Pope John-Paul II's parents are also celebrated. But it wasn't the facts of what my daughter and I already knew which made the place so hideous. It was what Hannah Arendt said about the utter banality of the place. What my grandmother called cheapjack buildings, where there were triple level bunk beds, with not even level bed boards to support the people who were to sleep there, without mattresses, or any sort of basic hospitality, which was so horrifying.

I can't think of any Hell worse than what Man inflicts on his own kind.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VI!

Postby Aslanisthebest » Mar 01, 2014 11:20 am

Not a lot of time to comment on everything, but I'm enjoying reading through this. :)

Ithilwen wrote:Just curious - where did you hear there would be no stars? Is that in the Bible? :-\

What I meant to say was the stars as we know them-- if I'm not mistaken, a lot of descriptions of the world's end involve the stars raining down. Who knows? The New Earth might have an entirely different set of constellations.

Most of my speculations were as I believe. I would like to finish reading [i]Heaven[/] as well as study the topic in more detail, regarding the Biblical exactness of it-- I don't understand a lot of the relevancy of the New Earth, and there's, of course, a few different credible opinions on Revelation (I know at least two.)

Wagga wrote:Apparently, this admittedly satirical portrayal of Heaven doesn't have libraries or librarians. :( So if Heaven is like Robert Heinlein's description, I'd definitely not be included anyway. [-(
Why do some media portray librarians so negatively? (the one you mentioned, It's a Wonderful Life) :P On a bit of a tangent, I've been speculating that my ideal job would be a librarian. How could eternal paradise not have libraries?

Mfa wrote:But the most logical version of heaven, it seems to me, is something quite similar to Shadowlander's childhood vision of an 'eternal church service'.
Just curious--how is that the most logical version?

I appreciate your thoughts regarding time. A lot of what I and others wrote is biased towards the things we like to do or doing things that fit very differently on the timeline of inventions on our world. (How will there be graphic designing in Heaven when some people, like the disciples, won't even know what a computer is?), but, like Ithilwen said, more than them providing finite joy, they are the acts of creating and creativity, which I believe will be an aspect of Heaven.

I think parts of heaven will be physical, so, therefore, material will exist.
Mfa wrote: Part of the satisfaction of all these activities is that they require time, effort, sacrifice, and a chance of failure (or an uncertain degree of success). This is dependent on being in a fallen world.
I don't think failure or an uncertain degree of success is the result of sin. I don't think hard work is, either. Entropy and death are, I believe, a result of sin. But failing at something? I don't see how failure is bad. I don't think Heaven will be a place where, say, you're creatively perfect (you'll automatically get the right shot, the right words, the right layout), athletically perfect (you don't have to work on technique), or anything like that. I think, rather, it's being in a world that is perfect that allows for good growth. Having capacity for growth is not the result of a fallen world; lack of growth and growth in the wrong direction are.

As for hard work, you're right that we are measuring and describing everything in terms of how we understand our world. Work is the product of distance and time, and both of those contain things that you speculated will not be present in Heaven. Distance--physical source, and Time--which we know won't necessarily be in Heaven.
However, it might be the world redefined, so we would have work. Time wouldn't pass, and that's a hard concept to dwell on. Time going on forever makes me antsy, because I like to know intervals of schedules. My take is that we can't understand what it will be like to live outside of time until we get there.

Mfa wrote:We get to be in the presence of God. That's it. What makes that appealing is that God is the apex of truth and goodness. To be in the presence of that would be infinite joy. Any activity that involves finite happiness just wouldn't compare. Time won't pass at all, or even if it does, we won't sense it passing, because we'll always be in the same state of being.
I think you put that well, though I have a different premise/conclusion. The things I described--acts of creativity, work, etc--are secondary pleasures to the ultimate pleasure--knowing and enjoying God forever and in the very presence of God. However, I don't think it will necessarily like an eternal meditation session (or, rather, the connotations of "eternal meditation session"). If this world is only a foretaste of things to come, then I believe heaven will be even more proactive, creative, and alive.

Hell is a foreboding thought. The very essence of it will be lack of God's presence, which is the lack of goodness, truth, clarity, peace, and salvation. There will be no joy, no courage, no good pleasure, and no salvation from sin.
Rose wrote:It is a withdrawing of the creation, not a withdrawing of the Creator. I believe that Lewis wrote that the doors to hell are locked from the inside, not the outside, and that sounds like a reasonable supposition to me.
That sounds reasonable. If Heaven's hard to think about, then Hell is ten times worse.
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