Does the HTML Analogy Work?
Dare to think anew.
(Emerson called for a new theology 150 years ago. The time has come in this new millenium for us to stop using 13th century theological terms endlessly re-threaded through first century sacred documents to try to cobble together Sunday after Sunday a theology for the post-Einsteinian age:
Instead, dare to think anew.)
So, a poster(below) has suggested I reflect on "heaven" (see Yale Daily News opinion piece by Hendrickson, et. al., December 4, on the sandwich-board evangelist at Yale):
The problem with heaven AKA paradise is that it's ETERNAL: Who would want that? What a colossal bore.
The other problem with heaven is called Survival of the Personality. This one concept presents many, many more problems.
What about hormones? For so many of us large parts of our personality are governed by or at least shaped by hormones: those things that make us want to mate---or at least unite in a fleshly way.
So in this Eternal life, if SEX is excluded, what are hormoneless personalties going to be like? And why would we want to associate with them (an estrogen-less mother, for instance, who didn't want to "mother" us)?
With no disrespect intended, let us take a real example, the infant son of Jacqueline and President Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, who, sadly, died a few days after birth.
When he is re-united with his dead parents and uncles and grandparents, is he going to know THEIR SCARS, of assassinations, adulteries (Grandpa and Gloria Swanson), tragic deaths (Chappaquiddick; JFK Jr. over Martha's Vineyard), especially Grandma who lived to be 106 or Uncle Ted who saw it all and contributed to some of it?
If you tell me that in a perfected Eternal life we will ourselves be perfected and our scars removed, HOW VERY DULL that life must be.
Why would a Kennedy clan without its tragedies be at all interesting to each other or even infant Patrick? They wouldn't be the same people at all if Survival of Personality --- or painful biographical parts of the personality --- were erased. Repeat:They wouldn't be the SAME people.
And if you tell me that the infant will be raised to a perfected 30-year-old so he can converse with and understand his relatives, I say HOW SO?
There is no TIME in ETERNITY. Thirty years cannot exist. And even if they could exist, WHAT thirty years would it be? From 1962-92? Thirty years as an AMERICAN , white, male? Or thirty years as a hormoneless, angelic, entity?
The whole thing is way too messy. I think a perfect creator would have done much better than to create such a bland, eventless, timeless, celestial corral.
Doesn't interest me.
Doesn't lure me; and, it's opposite (hell) doesn't generate my respect, except as a deterrent for those who are prone to excessive behavior of the Ten Commandment type.
Both heaven and hell probably came from human inferences made from glorious sunsets and sunsrises in the heavens and volcanic turbulances--bubbling magma-- in the earth: hence the pre-copernican triple-decker universe of Dante.
My own belief is that we are all 99.9% invisible atomic particles and will return to such a state--unanimated--for eternity: Much more like a moonbeam than an angel.
In fact, we might be a kind of atomic HTML while alive which gets written and uploaded on a celestial screen minute by minute for our three score years and ten, and then is released by death to the timeless "cloud" which retains it when the keyboarding is terminated.
Does the analogy work?
#33 By Saving Saved AGAIN on December 11, 2009
Dear Saved Again,
The same could be said of Heaven. Is a false carrot not more insidious than a false stick? How much more evil would be the use of love to get people to do your will than just scaring them with hell. I come not from the perspective of who made what and when, but from a philosophical one. If, as most christians believe, there is a Heaven, then philosophically and theologically speaking, it is highly problematic that there is not a hell. Perhaps as several saints thought there are few people there, but free will demands we be able to choose heaven and god over hell, even if we are unworthy to make it there on our own effort. On the matter of fact or belief, one has only to read the skeptics of ancient times to know that evolution is a belief, the big bang is a belief, quantum mechanics is a belief. None are facts. I believe in all of them and I would eat my hat if the first two are proved wrong (I suspect a more complex theory may render quantum mechanics obsolete at least in part). We can know very little for sure (perhaps Descartes demon is fooling us or even Krampas). Even considering the electromagnetic spectrum, we can see and feel so very little of existence, I would be rather hesitant to claim my eyes are more valuable than my brain or my heart or my soul. Fact, as Stephen Colbert says, may be a thing of the gut.
#34 By Sentio Ergo Fio ( I feel,therefore I Become) on
December 12, 2009
Luring people with a hypothetical paradise is cruel too, no matter what the religion.
Sort of like Bernie Madoff of the spiritual world; If it's too good to be true, it ain't true.
The best one can do is try to get through the day without hurting others or the self.
Descartes tore us apart. [Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am.) ]
Process theology puts us back together: Sentio ergo fio (I feel, therefore I become.)