My Problem with Heaven

It’s childish.

“I love God so I can go to heaven!” That’s like my four year old telling me that he’ll love me if I’ll just buy him that shiny new toy.

“I do the right thing so I can go to heaven.” Yeah, and I’ll return your lost dog if you give me a reward. Shouldn’t you do the right thing because it’s the right thing, reward or not?

“I won’t hurt people so I can go to heaven.” Some kind of babyish extortion, that you won’t hurt God’s beloved children if God will let you through the pearly gates.

“I’ll put up with all the crap dished out to me because my reward is on the other side.” That’s a good way to waste a life. Don’t fight injustice, don’t face your problems, don’t tackle challenges or stand up to oppressors or otherwise put yourself in an inconvenient position. Just wait around like a passive tot for Mommy and Daddy to make it all better “later.”

And what if after you die God meets you on the other side and says, “Hey, I’ve got another somewhat challenging adventure I need you to go on…” Are you going to stomp your feet and wail, “But you PROMISED!!!”

Can we grow up, engage in the task at hand and quit jonesing for an eternal reward? Adults shouldn’t need such juvenile motivation.

3 responses to “My Problem with Heaven

  1. I see your perspective, but the true meaning of Heaven isn’t only about an eternal reward at the end of life. The full meaning of Heaven, as I’ve come to realize through prayer and instruction is actually the “Kingdom of Heaven”, aka The Kingdom of God, which exists from the beginning of time all the way through eternity – which means Heaven (and Hell, but that’s another discussion) exists for us now, too. It’s not just a dangling reward enticing us to be kind and not to be blasphemous. Yes, the image of heaven as puffy clouds and angels playing harps is pretty “childish” as is the basic understanding of Heaven as only an eternal reward and nothing more. But when you fully investigate the meaning of Heaven, you can see that it’s much more than that. I do like your “But you promised!!!!” scenario. That makes me giggle šŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Amy! I completely agree that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” and the more I study Buddhism, the more I am convinced that we can claim our “reward” right this minute if we will just be mindful and appreciate the love and presence of God in every moment. I suppose I am just reacting to some of the more childish perspectives I hear from acquaintances (e.g. some interesting Facebook statuses!) and I wanted to contribute my two cents. Glad you got a giggle out of it! šŸ˜‰

  2. Gotcha. I agree with you about people who hold the belief that certain people will “go to Heaven” and certain people will not, based on actions in this life (or going to church, or tithing, etc etc). They drive me nuts – mostly because it gives believers a bad wrap as a whole šŸ™‚

    “. . . the mre I am convinced that we can claim our “reward” right this minute if we will just me mindful and appreciate the love and presence of God in every moment” – BEAUTIFUL! Amen ā¤

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