Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Heaven

Mika: Happy Ending 2012 @Heaven

I have of course been to Heaven.  In London in fact.   But despite Belinda Carlisle's protestations it not normally regarded as a place on earth

Many people in my family are quite religious.  Yet nobody seems able to explain some of the practicalities of their heaven.

Heaven is normally a place where after death your non physical body (often called soul) is magically transported.   And you then live out an eternity of further existence with an infinity of pleasure, with all your loved ones who also made it there  (as opposed to Hell which is a place where bad people would go for an eternity of punishment).  

Some of the obvious questions I ask are

  • Heaven must be getting more and more crowded then, over time
  • What about different religions: Is heaven separated out with a different Heaven per religion?
  • Let's assume 2 people who hate each other  (say divorced man and wife) goto heaven.   Won't this be a torture for them or are they kept apart?
  • What about cases like unrequited love.  Man A, loved woman B all his life.  But B married man C.  In heaven can man A be with women B  (let us also postulate that man C whilst a good person in many respects ended up hating woman B, and vice versa)
  • Do we have a physical presence in Heaven? Surely yes, otherwise physical acts promised or implied like Sex would not be very meaningful.  
  • And so if a physical presence at what age are we represented? Correspondingly if we were born with some physical defect or suffered this at an early age, in Heaven has this problem been corrected?
  • The criteria for entry into Heaven varies substantially.   One particular issue is than Christianity (for example) says that only Christians goto Heaven, and sincere believers of any other faiths not.  Whereas Muslims via Quaran Al-Baqarah 2.62 let in Muslims and Christians and Jews, but not other religions.   So who is there sort of depends, and is inconsistent right?
  • No only which humans go, but what species go?   Do Animals go or not?  Some religions seem to hate particular animals  (e.g. Dogs, Snakes).  Do they get to go?  What if the animal is a treasured pet of an owner who goes, and without them the owner would not be happy?  Can they go on a sort of by exception basis?
  • Not only what species but in a Galaxy with over 2 trillion (estimated) planets  what about other Intelligent life forms.  Will they be there also?
Agata did sagely comment that perhaps everybody has their own personal heaven, such that when they die they experience their own reality with only the people that they wish for.  Example  A likes B but A hates C.  So in A's Heaven   B is present and C is missing.  But then suppose B likes C, so in this case their presence and actions in A's heaven will be constrained and not genuine.  So this is close but equally flawed.

When it comes down to it most religions opt for the 

Ours is not to reason why
Ours is just to do and die

In other words: Dear religious people, You cannot begin to understand God's intentions so don't worry your little heads about it.

Let us leave you with a musical perspective

Talking Heads:Heaven

John Lenon:Imagine

Bob Dylan:Knocking on Heavens Door

Eric Clapton:Tears in Heaven

Led Zepplin:Stairway to Heaven

Rolling Stones:Heaven

And for our finale ...

Imagine Again

Heaven in London
Stairway to Hip-Hop Heaven
Heaven is for Real  (film 2014)
Transcendence (film 2014)