Don’t Believe in Heaven

Pearly-Gates-CloseBefore Daniel professed, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” in Daniel 12:2, this brand of resurrection did not exist in Judaism. In fact the term everlasting life does not appear anywhere else in the Old Testament.

This means that…

Prior to the teachings of the New Testament, the idea of an afterlife or heaven was essentially a nonexistent concept in biblical terms.

So, what was it like, living day-to-day without the notion of an afterlife in heaven? My counterintuitive advice is that in order to gain a better appreciation of our existence and a true self-exploration of our own beliefs regarding the afterlife we must first…

Stop believing in heaven.

Try it. Erase all notions of what you imagine heaven to be. Wipe out everything you’ve read. Clear your mind’s eye of every movie scene, skit and painting. Hit CONTROL ALT DELETE and live a whole day this way. Live as the Hebrews lived, knowing that death is the eternal end. Feel the sun’s warmth, breathe the fresh morning air, stare at the expansive blue sky, fully comprehending that this is the only time you will be able to have these experiences. Be with a friend or loved one with full understanding that this is a finite condition. Know that…

Relatively soon, this will all end, never to happen again. Ever.

How does that change your experience? How does it change your perspective, your wants and goals? Furthermore, how does it change your attitude towards injustice and pain? If Daniel is wrong, and we are not destined to ‘awake’ to everlasting life, should you put up for one more precious second with that insolent boss, or that abusive relationship? If this life is all we have, should we spend another moment in front of the television? Shouldn’t we spend more time being with each other, helping each other? And when you’ve fully absorbed and appreciated this afterlife-less existence, then and only then…

Rebuild your concept of heaven from the ground up.

What do you really believe? What is actually written? Do we really rise again after death or is death the end? Resurrection comes in many flavors. Do we immediately go to heaven or do we wait for a day of judgement? Are we actually judged and sorted or do we all go? Who decides? Is it fair that good people who don’t believe what you believe are eternally damned? Is heaven really a members-only club with angels and saints roaming gold lined streets? Are we reborn in body, or just in spirit? Is heaven a place or condition? Do we rejoin loved ones? Do we miss those we leave behind? Do we actually remember who we were? Do we remember our lives? Do we work? Do we play? Is it joyous or boring?

It is important to fully examine for yourself, the concept of heaven. It matters what you believe because it changes the way you live. What exactly do you believe about Daniel’s notion of an afterlife? What does your religion really say about it? What is put into our heads by movies and books? The specifics matter. You may make different life decisions if you do or don’t believe there is a conscious afterlife where you are able to know yourself and hang out with your friends, your loved ones, your god.

In order to live life fully, and know what you truly believe, you have to first…

Stop believing in heaven.

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10 thoughts on “Don’t Believe in Heaven

  1. dpcinh2013 May 12, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Heaven and hell are on earth. One suffers for one’s bad deeds in the form of illness or misfortune and is rewarded for good karma in this life itself. Some ill effects and benefits carry over to the next birth. This is Hindu philosophy…

    • Sal's Blog May 12, 2016 / 8:40 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this philosophy with us.

  2. learninginthehome September 20, 2016 / 8:06 am

    You are right “this brand of resurrection did not exist in Judaism”. David, when his son died, did say that he would go to his son. So they did believe that there was an afterlife.

    All of one’s philosophy regarding life eventually has to go back to their core beliefs. I have chosen the Bible as truth as my core belief. Therefore, I do believe in afterlife, specifically Heaven and Hell, John 14:2-4 Jesus says that He is preparing a place for me.Revelation 20:14 is one of the references to hell from the Bible. For me it is settled.

    My first question for anyone – From what unchangeable belief do your other beliefs grow?

    Thank you for the challenging thoughts.

    • Sal's Blog September 20, 2016 / 8:51 am

      Great input – that’s exactly my point. What do you believe and why…

  3. Opher October 14, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    I’ve never believed in it. I’m an antitheist who, while tolerant of anybody’s beliefs, believes that all religions were invented out of mankind’s imaginations and all of them do more harm than good. When you accept that you have a short limited life you have to make the most of every second. When you give to others your reward is immediate in the love and friendship you get back. We are social animals. Works for me.

  4. rocshell71 January 23, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I have to say, the title had me wondering where you were going with it all. As a widow and knowing what death brings to the table. Seeing the way other married couples behave, drives me crazy. If only others could see the love inside and bring it forefront to fix the damage each other has caused in their relationship. But we can only truly love one another when we allow Jesus to show us the way. Thank you for a great read.

    • Sal's Blog January 23, 2017 / 9:25 am

      So sorry about your loss and very wise words Rocshell. Yes, the titles reflect the counterintuitive nature of these posts so they are provocative. But in the end hopefully they remind us to step back and think for ourselves.

  5. -Eugenia February 6, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    Great read and thought-provoking. Thank you for the follow and it is good to meet you.

    • Sal's Blog February 6, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Thanks Eugenia! Keep on Blogging

      • -Eugenia February 7, 2017 / 9:09 am

        😀

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