The idea of infinite torture for any trespass on earth just does not seem very wise, benevolent and god like to me (if one were to, in fact, imagine god to be an inherently good god as there is the possibility that there may be a god or gods who are not inherently benevolent. It is interesting to note that most people if not all, start from the assumption that this god or whatever it is that is the higher power allegedly is automatically a benevolent god. But that is another discussion).
The idea of heaven – as imagined and depicted in Christianity, for example, does not seem very appealing. Flying around without a corporeal body sitting on fluffy clouds with milk and honey flowing around for eternity is just not appealing. Any version of it, including all the dead waking up, is not appealing. Not to me.
Existing in absolute bliss with everyone for eternity is also not enticing In fact, anything that involves eternal anything without parole or a way out seems more like hell – metaphorically speaking – than a blissful paradise.
In that case, being in heaven seems like some kind of an endpoint from which there is no escape because once you land in heaven, you’ll be there forever.
Taking away someone’s choice and with it autonomy is just about the worst thing that can happen to anyone as it is just another form of control, in which case, then, heaven becomes nothing but a gilded cage.
Most importantly, however, the concept of a paradise – as pertaining to human existence - seems unreal. The good cannot exist without the bad. In fact, goodness or heaven or bliss do not make much sense without their counterparts. In paradise, there is no passion, no drive, no ambition, no hope, no imagination, no creativity…because those things are born not out of paradise but out of the growing pains of existence. There is no passion, hope or imagination in paradise because there doesn’t have to be. All is good – there is no reason to invoke anything else or strive for anything else. It is like having everything in life and nothing left to hope for or strive for. That seems like a pretty boring, if not torturous, existence to me.
Not that i wish for evil to happen but human existence or existence itself is tragic. Death and the end of all things conditioned (at least by what we understand as existence to mean) play a powerful role in that. Imagine how fundamentally different our existence would be if there was no death.
Furthermore, the concept of heaven and earth – much like good and evil, light and dark seems too simplistic. Like Star Wars, where everyone – with the exception of Han Solo. was an archetype: a guru, a princess, a chosen one, an evil emperor, or a woolly mammoth.
Real people have a story arc, a motivation which grows and shifts over time, realistic interests and ambitions, a satisfying or dissatisfying growth and so on. Real people have Real flaws, hopes, dreams, setbacks, and strengths. People in a perfect heaven don’t. And that is boring, bordering at mythical. To be clear, I love Star Wars, but it is fantasy. Life is not fantasy.
The concept of heaven and earth, therefore, is very childlike and simplistic where things are – through and through - expressed in very simple, child-like terms: good guy versus bad guy, light versus dark…heaven and cotton candy and bliss versus the dark underground, fire and burning in hell. It is just too easy.
Real life doesn’t work that way because real life and real people are more complex. I would hate to spend eternity where things did, in fact, worked that way. Again, imagine if life was as paradise is depicted: we wouldn’t have great literature and paintings, sonatas and monuments born out of discontent, tragic and the yearning for all things passed.
Eternal bliss is one of things people always dream of or think they want, but if you really think about it, it is just boring. It doesn’t feed the soul or imagination.
Finally, when it comes to the question of a rewarding heaven and a torturous hell, one has to ask what sadistic being creates humans one way, sets the rules at the exact opposite and then waits for them to break it so that they then can be punished for fucking eternity? Who is this excellent decision maker and why should anyone sign up? I don’t want to honor someone like that, no one should. That is just fucked up.
If god is beyond all petty earthly human things, then why does he have an ego the size of cathedrals? Why be petty? Why punish someone for the sole reason of inflicting pain as opposed to punishment in order to teach a lesson? Why does he want to be worshiped, honored, loved in the first place?
Allegiance under blackmail and fear is not love. And that is what heaven and hell really tell you: do this or that or else…it’s like kissing your boss’s ass because you are afraid of him or obeying your parents because disobedience would land you in the basement forever.
Bottom Line: the existence of heaven and hell, other than the heaven and hell we create for ourselves, is logically flawed and for an atheist just as plausible as the existence of the Easter bunny, Santi Clause, the Loch Ness monster or pink flying saucers orbiting Earth,