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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Is Heaven Real or a Tool to Control the Masses?

There are many different versions of heaven, and they all have their promises. In a post called How to Manipulate the Public so You Can Rule the World I wrote, “tell them they will receive their rewards after they die. (Another reason why inventing an afterlife will come in handy) You can promise them things they wish they had such as a mansion made of gold, beautiful women, a new attractive body with six pack abs, or even the ruler of their own planet, feel free to get as creative as you’d like on this one just make sure it is something they cannot refuse.” There are many different claims made about heaven, and many religious leaders claim they know the correct way to get there and are eager to let us in on the truth that everyone else has wrong.

The most common way taught to get to heaven is basically by believing in the god which a religion teaches and accepting him into one's life. But if the only way into heaven is to believe and by just believing even a child molester or murderer can get in - then is it really a place one would want to spend all eternity? What does that say about the morality of that God? If being a nice and caring person your whole life isn't a quality heaven is looking for - then it’s not a heaven one should want to go to.

Why would a god demand that the only way into heaven is by allowing other people to control our mind? If Satan were a real figure, this is exactly the same tactic he would use. In general, we are all against the idea of mind control, but when heaven is on the line - it seems most of us prefer it.

If heaven is real, then why does it need an ancient security system such as gates to protect it? Does God have a problem with people breaking in and trying to steal things or is this evidence that ancient men who at the time used big walls and gates to protect their cities came up with the idea of heaven?

It should be obvious to any rational person that heaven is a mythical place used to control people. If religion can promise a better place after death by obeying them today, then they have the ability to control the lives of others. Just as someone can control a mule by dangling a carrot on a stick just beyond its reach, religion dangles heaven in front of wishful thinkers in an attempt to control lives - then scares them with thoughts of hell so they are too fearful to question it.

Not all religious figures are out to deliberately manipulate the masses; many of them have just been manipulated by men themselves who were also manipulated. However, there are many figures that know that what they are teaching is false but it is either too profitable for them to stop or they can’t find a way out (see The Clergy Project).

Let’s find the courage to think for ourselves and challenge our beliefs by asking the tough questions about god/religion. Because if God exists, then there is nothing to fear by asking these questions, and if we find no evidence to support the claims of god, then we'll have a better understanding of the world and our place in it.

If we only get one life, we should strive to live it wanting to know as many true things and as little false things as possible. Because when we believe things which are false, it allows others to easily manipulate us into doing harm.

Religion is often defended by saying it gives people hope, but often it is the harm of religion that causes people to seek hope. And because religion can be used to justify harmful acts, it is important to fight the harmful ideas of religion not with violence but with the power of our arguments, because those with poor arguments are not afraid to use violence.

6 comments:

  1. I really don't like your rhetorical question around heaven having a gate. I think the whole "gate and wall" concept is just a reflection of the times of the writers. The Bible never gives any details about where/what is heaven; in order to make it more relatable to people, the authors adopted some common city features of the time. Using a cultural idiosyncrasy as an argument detracts from your other valid points.

    Also, what do you make of all the Near-Death-Experiences various people claim to have where they glimpse an afterlife? For many people, these NDEs are as real or stronger than their experience of everyday life, and oftentimes they leave the person completely changed forever.

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  2. That’s the exact reason why I asked those questions, to get people to understand that men created those concepts of heaven. They weren't getting this information from a god, it came from their own imagination.

    About near death experiences, they weren't dead – they were almost dead. Since when do almost dead people get into heaven? Do you believe in people who claim to be abducted by aliens? We hear these stories all the time too. These stories are anecdotal evidence which is not evidence at all. If it changes their life - fine, but it shouldn't change anyone else’s. I think people should be skeptical when the majority of people who claim to have seen heaven are also making money off of their stories. The world is full of gullible people and there is a big audience who wants to believe in heaven and will read their book to reconfirm their own doubts.

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    1. Hume, who was an atheist said that anecdotal evidence was the most important form of evidence in his essay called "on Miracles". If heaven is not real, it is the ONLY universal human desire that does not have the possibility of being fulfilled. Consider: we all desire sex, and it is possible to have that desire filled. We desire significance, safety, food and beauty. Every culture has a desire for eternal life. However, it is a gross oversimplification to say that all religions require belief as a prerequisite for entrance to heaven. That is a misunderstanding of eastern religions and their entire conception of salvation and the afterlife. You have even misunderstood the Christian concept of salvation, even though it seems like that's who you were going after in this post. Belief in Christianity isn't mere mental assent, it is a faith that affects the entire direction of your life. In Judaism, there was little conception of an afterlife, in Islam there is no formula except for good deeds, with animistic cultures the Spirits must be appeased with propitiatory sacrifice. Maybe you would consider taking a comparative religion class?

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    2. I don't know if Hume said that, but if he did he was very wrong. People claim many different things based solely on anecdotal evidence which contradicts claims made by others using anecdotal evidence. Eye witness testimony is one of the lowest forms of evidence is science (unfortunately not in courts) and anecdotal evidence basically is eye witness testimony and many times not even that good.

      Whether heaven is the only universal human desire has nothing to do with whether it exists or not, so I don't understand the point you are trying to make. Plus, I'm not even sure that's true, I haven't given it much thought, but I have heard many people say the thought of living forever and never dying sounds awful. (and these are not suicidal individuals, they are people who love life)

      Not sure if you have read the post about how I became an atheist, but I was brought up Christian so many of the posts do target the Christian religion because it is the one I'm familiar with the most. But you say I have misunderstood the concept of Christian salvation, please realize there are thousands of different sects of Christianity, so while you think I have misunderstood it, many Christians would agree with my understanding. It is hard to speak for all 40,000 or so different sects of Christianity at once.

      Also, are you the same anonymous that has commented on other posts tonight? If so, I appreciate you reading the post and commenting. But if you wouldn't mind give yourself a number or letter such as "Anonymous5" or even a fake name if you want to be anonymous so I know it is you. I will try and respond to all your comments as soon as I can, I just don't have the time tonight.

      Thanks Ted

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    3. Yes, the same anonymous. Sure, we can go with anonymous5

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    4. I was speaking about the Biblical conception of salvation, on which there is a general concensus in the wider Christian community. Sure, there is divergence on a number of peripheral issues, but most Christians would agree with the description of saving faith which translates into life change, rather than a clinical mental assent as the essence of salvation. Anonymous5

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