Do you believe there's a heaven/hell?

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Onwem's picture
Do you believe there's a heaven/hell?

I used to believe there was. And I used to believe the latter was where I was headed when I died. You had to be really good to go to heaven. Really good. I wasn't bad, but I wasn't perfect either. I thought I was off heaven's guestlist for not being good all the time.

I now think the whole heaven/hell concept's really just a form of behavioural control. Scare someone into behaving. Offer an eternal cookie.

(I'm actually a bit angered by it. Not entirely sure why. Perhaps because it's dawning on me how much of a ploy/clever manipulative tool it might actually be. Fear. Reward. Fear (hell). Reward (heaven).)

*shrugs* Maybe I'm totally wrong. Maybe heaven/hell really exist. Not that I care as much as I used to, or more importantly, let it dictate my actions. If anything, heaven/hell's within me, not up there in the sky or way down there beneath my feet.

What do you think/believe? Do you believe in a heaven/hell?

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dtommy79's picture
I believe in God, but I don't

I believe in God, but I don't think there is such a thing as heaven and hell.

Onwem's picture
Hi dtommy79. Thanks for

Hi dtommy79. Thanks for chiming in. Can I ask a further question if you don't mind: What's your reasoning behind you thinking there's neither heaven nor hell? And have you always thought/felt that way?

dtommy79's picture
Hi Onwem,

Hi Onwem,

Well, heaven and hell are in the Bible and the Bible was written by men. I believe in afterlife, but I don't think it's hell or heaven. I think we'll just live on in a different form or way whatever. I belive in God because our whole world and universe is so perfect that it had to be created by a similarly perfect being.

Onwem's picture
Thanks for explaining further

Thanks for explaining further. I'm drawn to the idea that we live (love) on in a different form. In a way, we therefore never truly die.

I see. So the perfection you see in the world's/universe's design fuelled your belief in God.

dtommy79's picture
So the perfection you see in

So the perfection you see in the world's/universe's design fuelled your belief in God.

That's correct. I guess we'll know for sure after we expire :)

catandmouse's picture
I believe heaven and hell are

I believe heaven and hell are on Earth itself, It depends on how you turn your surrounding into heaven or hell by being in an good co operation with your subordinates and needy people.
It does not take much time for an hell in our mind to turn into heaven.

CyberLN's picture
Define heaven and hell,

Define heaven and hell, please. Assume a four year old is being starved, raped, beaten, etc. I think we might all agree that is a hellish life. This four year old has little ability to "cooperate with their subordinates or needy people."

Tidby's picture
Hell (and Heaven) is a notion

Hell (and Heaven) is a notion created by men to control the masses.
No, hell does not exist.

atheister's picture
Yes, to me, my home is a

Yes, to me, my home is a heaven and prison, hospital and courts are hell.

Onwem's picture
Hi catandmouse/Tidby,

Hi catandmouse, Tidby, atheister,

Thanks for responding/sharing your views.

catandmouse: I hear you. And I can see the reasoning behind your explanation. It's more plausible, more grounded to me.

Tidby: And what a notion it is. What a powerful tool it's become.

atheister: So your views are similar to catandmouse's - that both planes are here on earth and are what we make it.


(p.s.: I'm not gonna lie - there's a very small part of me that's still under the spell of the heaven/hell concept I was raised to believe, that wonders if it's more than concept, but truth --- that doesn't want to believe it isn't true. I guess it's all part of the journey.)

I'm A Believer 2's picture
Good question! I want to

Good question! I want to believe in Heaven, and hell. I want to believe that, when I die (not leading too bad of a life), I will go to Heaven and be reunited with my parents and family. But who really knows? Only those who have passed on before us really know.

paw42uk's picture
I believe both heaven and

I believe both heaven and hell are ways in which to control the masses.
Any religion can use heaven and hell to either reward or punish their flock. This allows the religious order to keep a tight control over its community as well as allowing it ways to raise funds, by ways of blessings, offerings, masses etc.

Onwem's picture
Thanks for your comments, I'm

Thanks for your comments, I'm A Believer 2/paw42uk.

I'm A Believer 2: Wanting to see your loved ones again is a completely understandable reason to want to believe in Heaven. But yes, who really knows? ||| I wonder why we don't definitely know though. Of what good is it not to know exactly what comes after? Why is that part of life's design?

paw42uk: Yes, it's definitely done a good job of that. Or bad job of it depending on how you want to look at it. I wonder if control was initially at the heart of it, if it's always been the motive from day one.

paw42uk's picture
It would be very hard to get

It would be very hard to get converts to a new religion if there was no reward in it for them.

Paul gave Christians the reward of Heaven without the constraints and restrictions of the Torah and the Jewish tradition. Basically he made heaven an easier goal and one that was open to one and all.

Unfortunately religion like everything else goes through bad times, people get bored or have more pressing interests or maybe the reward of another religion is greater, this is when people need to be brought back in line with threats of Hell, the Devil and damnation.

I do believe these are the cornerstones of today's modern monotheistic religions, and these concepts have propelled them to where they are today through the centuries.

Onwem's picture
Whilst I was reading your

Whilst I was reading your reply, I was thinking "product", "marketing", "sales". Buy my product - it's 15% more efficient than the top leading 'brands'. No, buy MY product because it's more flexible. No no, buy MINE, because I know exactly where the end of the rainbow is. | In some ways, it feels like a political party. In some ways, maybe it is. | To use fear to try and bring people back to their faith - love should be a more powerful tool for that. (I'm perhaps being naive/idealistic though.)

Rob's picture
There is definitely a heaven

There is definitely a heaven and a hell. But they are both right here on earth, and they are both a product of our actions and behaviours towards others. I strongly believe that if you do wrong, you will be punished eventually. Some call this karma, and Karma is actually real. But not for the reasons people believe. Karma is just the basic principle of consequences to actions.

SammyShazaam's picture
Agreed wholeheartedly. With

Agreed wholeheartedly. With work, this world can be just as good as heaven, to ourselves and future generations. Right now we're turning it into hell. We're here forever, and we have the choice to make this a good thing, or a bad thing.

Somewhere along the line I think religious people missed the point of their own doctrine - probably a translation error. Happens.

CyberLN's picture
Nope. There are plenty of

Nope. There are plenty of children experiencing what can only be described as hell who have done zero that, as "a product of their actions and behaviors towards others" could ever warrant their hell.

SammyShazaam's picture
I hear you, but I believe Rob

I hear you, but I believe Rob and I were speaking on a more global scale here.

Mirta's picture
i like the idea of a heaven,

i like the idea of a heaven, I hope that when I die I 'll see again all my beloved person and animals...But I don't believe in hell.

SammyShazaam's picture
I don't see how people can

I don't see how people can pick and choose from their beliefs, and take the good and just forget about all the bad news they don't want to hear. I suppose that's part of the reason why the whole construct seems rather manufactured to some atheists...

Onwem's picture
Rob, Mirta, thank you for

Rob, Mirta, thanks for chiming in.

Rob, yes, I've heard that expressed times before, that heaven and hell are here on earth. I believe that to be a possibility. Sometimes it feels like it. I believe in Karma - that what you put out comes back to you in some way - it's an energy boomerang. At times though, I do question its efficiency, but that's a whole 'nother story :-)

Mirta, I hear you. It's a comforting thought, especially when it offers a chance to see loved ones again. I can really see why people hold onto the thought of heaven for that. | Why don't you believe in hell?

Trevor's picture
I understand why you would

I understand why you would question the efficiency of Karma. There are definitely too many people doing bad things and getting away with it.

Zarathustra's picture
From a purely philosophical

From a purely philosophical perspective (As I have not nor ever will believe in a religious view), I find the concept of both laughable. Firstly because it degrades the value of doing the right thing. There should be no incentive to do or not do, because that weakens the notion of 'right and wrong' into 'what do I get out of this?' which is for children and sociopaths. May explain why the world is as it is, eh? Second, I find the idea that an 'all-loving' God as decreed by most major religions, completely conflicts with the juvenile idea of a permanent punishment for a finite crime. That said, theodicies like the Iranaen theodicy provide a much more reasonable view of the situation, stating (for those who don't know) that God will forgive us all when we die, as you know, 'all-loving' tends to be. You can't stick a bundle of mentally fragile apes on a s**t-hole of a world, susceptible to disease, heart-ache and abuse and then blame them when they snap and do horrible things. You just can't, particularly if you're an all-loving all-knowing deity! Just my two cents.

Onwem's picture
Hi Zarathustra. *nods* I hear

Hi Zarathustra. *nods* I hear you. If a person's behaviour's motivated by reward and punishment, then what extent is that person truly thinking for themselves, genuinely deciding how to act for themselves. How would they act if neither punishment nor reward were a factor.

And to your second point: It's given me further food for thought, so thanks. Why indeed would an all-loving God create a hell, an eternal form of punishment? Hmm.

SammyShazaam's picture
Interesting point - this

Interesting point - this touches upon another thread, questioning the actual existence of free will.

I personally feel that if someone is only acting good or bad based on a reward system, then they are not truly morally mature.

samking009's picture
Maybe because some believe in

Maybe because some believe in God and sees Him as too merciful to allow a Hell right? Well, the truth is that there is Hell and there must be Hell and Heaven so as to repay us all for the things we do here on earth. If not, then this world is doom to be evil very soon.

Tman127182's picture
How do you know there is a

How do you know there is a Heaven and Hell, is any way to verify this, or is this just what you believe, because saying "the truth is that there is hell..." tells me that you have evidence for a hell.

SammyShazaam's picture
You might want to see my

You might want to see my above comment about emotional maturity. Punishment and reward don't shape good and bad.

mysticrose's picture
Heaven and hell are biblical

Heaven and hell are biblical stories, biblical stories can be comparable to mythical legends; therefore making heaven and hell purely products of imaginative minds of men. That's how I view them now that I'm no longer Catholic. But, when I was a christian before, I always wanted to go to heaven.


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