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Questioning Religious Beliefs

In my last blog I discussed reexamining our religious beliefs from our childhood. If you are at all like me, I had a number of religious beliefs that no longer rang true for me, but I hadn’t taken the time to replace them with new beliefs that were more in line with the person I had become. Our personal beliefs are the foundation upon which we perceive our individual reality. Therefore, maintaining a foundation that is based on who we are now is extremely beneficial. It just makes sense that our lives will be less stressful when all of our beliefs are in alignment and provide a sturdy foundation.

In this blog I want to discuss another fundamental concept of religion and that is the concept of heaven and hell. I can’t dive too deeply into these topics here, but let’s at least begin to scratch the surface.

Heaven and Hell. Reward or punishment. In either case, it is for all eternity. All eternity is a pretty long time, longer than I can even imagine. I wonder where this notion of one or the other started. The good go to heaven and the bad go to hell. The decision maker is of course God. Most of us are not saints and most of us do not follow the devil. There seems to me to be this really large gray area where you are not sure if you have been good enough. We have all made mistakes, but are they enough to send us the wrong way? I think most people who believe in heaven and hell are afraid of the judgment day.

Everyone knows that securing a place in heaven is better than the alternative. At the same time, does singing the eternal praises of God seem a little too monotonous? Isn’t there other stuff to do in heaven? While this may seem to be a very simplistic conceptualization of the afterlife, this is how I remember initially learning about it. From the very beginning of my understanding of heaven and hell, I had some questions about the details. I never received satisfying answers to those questions.

There is also a practical aspect to the question of heaven and hell. Where are they? I suspect that two thousand years ago it was easier to tell people that heaven was above the clouds and hell was in the earth somewhere. But these days? You most likely have personally been above the clouds in an airplane. I have and I didn’t see heaven up there. We have even seen pictures of the earth from the moon and there is no sign of heaven. Again, this may be simplistic but if they exist, where are they?

What are your thoughts?

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