Heaven–especially in the Abrahamic sense–is not real. It represents the false hopes of generations of humans who observed death and loss of consciousness and could not deal with their spot in the universe. When people are told they must live in a specific way, believe certain things, and commit certain acts in order to achieve a blissful afterlife (or to avoid a painful one), we can see a number of results:
- As with Pascal’s Wager, people openly accept these mandates on their only, provable existence and find comfort.
- After putting so much stock into their afterlife, people begin to hate or loathe others who challenge their afterlife.
- Some shorten their lives to prove their faith in the afterlife, warding off advances in science and medicine.
- People, in tragic instances, become less happy as a result of their choice to achieve Heaven. Some deny beauty and truth in the world. Some deny pleasures. Some reject their families. Some destroy their families. Others destroy many families in wars or terrorist attacks.
Since Heaven is not real and happiness can certainly be achieved by living life fully and intelligently, it seems that living for a lie would be much like a person living for a year in hopes that Santa would leave gifts on Christmas–but he will never get to see that Christmas.
If you have proof that Heaven is real, prove it.
Recently, there have been a number of particularly young individuals who have claimed to have a “near-death experience.” The most popular of these, lately, has been young Colton Burpo who shared his alleged visit to Heaven while he was dead. The religious seem able to suspend disbelief, even as his parents claim the full story of Burpo’s trip to Heaven and words with Jesus himself did not come until 4 months after the incident. They claim the evidence that this dream is reality lies in the alleged claims that Burpo shared knowledge the dead had given him.
For the person with an ounce of skepticism, this story, of course, does not ring true. In fact, even if everything the parents and boy say is true, it no more proves the afterlife than having a dream about floating teapots that happens to contain some bits of subconscious truths proves the existence of floating teapots. It also does not take into account all of the people who have died and have not visited Heaven or Hell–where did they “go” if they were supposed to be waiting “on the other side”?
The Challenge – Karlie Mason’s Box
Since becoming an atheist, I’ve had a number of religious people tell me that I cannot see “God’s love,” or that “God will reveal himself to me when it’s time–and hopefully in time.” If this alleged god truly loves and wants me to go to Heaven, he will send a distinct message with someone who has had a near-death experience, and the message will find itself to me.
How will someone know if they’ve been given the message?
In a box somewhere in my home, I have put a short series of names and places. They are not difficult to remember, but would be difficult to make up. If you know someone who has had a near-death experience, and they cannot make sense of some information they were given, they should be directed here, to prove the existence of Heaven….if Heaven really is for real. If you have proof, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the message never comes to me, we can assume a few things:
- Either your god does not exist or he really does not love everyone.
- The people who have near-death experience cannot actually carry messages from the afterlife, either because something prevents them from doing so or because there is no afterlife.
- There is either no afterlife or all afterlives are equal, regardless of belief, leaving your beliefs (and actions based on them) to be unnecessary.
Until the time comes when there is at least some actual proof of an afterlife, I truly hope more individuals begin living this life as if it is the only one–seeking justice for the hurt, giving love to those without, and spreading happiness to all.