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Christian RiveraProfessor Justin KaganPhilosophy March 10, 2019The Philosophy of Heaven and HellEveryone you talk to has different religious beliefs and viewpoints on life, in my paper I will be discussing the topic of Heaven and Hell while also addressing the one and only Judeo-Christian God almighty.God and Free WillWhen you hear the name God you may feel excited, angry, worried, or even indifferent but you cannot deny the fact that the name holds power and that there is something special about saying it or seeing it printed.
A lot of people may have mixed emotions about God because they think it is a topic that is way too confusing to comprehend and understand fully. I see where they are coming from because it can be an extremely difficult concept to wrap your head around at first. One of the questions I hear about frequently and that many people have trouble with is How can God give you free will if he is all knowing and all powerful? which is a great question, since the idea of it seems to contradict itself.
However, keep in mind that even professionals in their field struggle with this. In the Article To What Extent Is Free Will Actually Free? The Answer of Neurosciences’ Gabriela Marcu says, The concept of free will remains hard to define especially within the continuous paradigm changing on decision making (Marcu 107). Even people that study neuroscience, and free will for a living have trouble concluding the idea of free will. Just because God may know about a choice or decision we will make in the future that does not mean we are unable to make that choice because of his knowledge of it.
It simply means he knows the choice we will make. Imagine playing a game of chess with someone and there is somebody watching you (which would be God) and imagine that the person is able to call out the moves you make before you make them. Well that does not prevent you from making the move you want to make it simply just makes it known that the person watching (God) already knows the moves about to be made. God is not forcing us to make a certain move or yelling at us to, he just wants us to know we have the free will to make the move and he knows the move already. Some people will try to say that free will is an illusion but that is not that case either, Gabriela Marcu also states in her Article researchers of recent years have unexpectedly changed this perspective Marcu (104) when talking about how free will is not an illusion. You are totally in control on how you want your life to be lived. Why Heaven and Hell?Many people consume themselves with how life originated or even how God was created (which is reasonable) because who doesn’t want to know about how we all got here and how things ultimately began? I however like to put my attention on what happens after everything is said and done and when our time on this earth comes to an end. The topic on trying to figure out God and his origin is something I use to struggle with on the daily. A few weeks ago, I was so consumed with trying to figure out how God originally got here, and I was literally driving myself crazy because of that. It is great to be curious, but I feel like if we focus too much on how everything began then that actually takes away from enjoying life altogether. Some people believe in reincarnation, others believe that when we pass away our time is over and there is nothing else after that, and people like me know that there is an afterlife in which we are either sentenced to Heaven or Hell depending on if we choose to follow or reject God and his wishes. Previously I discussed the topic of free will with God and I feel like that is an important topic to grasp and understand the concept and reasoning behind Heaven and Hell.HeavenIn the King James Version of the bible it says, And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (King James Version, Revelation 21:4). When I am asked to explain what Heaven is like that is the verse I like to show them. HellDepending on the Christian you talk to, or church you go to will give you different responses of when you ask about Hell. In the article THOUGHTS ON HELL’ Joseph A. Munitiz describes it best saying, IN SHARP CONTRAST to earlier times, today, it is rare to hear sermons that refer to hell. (Munitiz 41) I feel like the reasoning behind churches not wanting to go into depth about talking about Hell has to do with trying to protect their audiences’ feelings, which ends up doing the opposite. Some believers do not want to go into discussion about Hell because in all honesty it frightens them to even think about it, or to think about the consequences of their sins (maybe if churches were more open to talk about it, then it wouldn’t be an issue). In contrast, some believers are very open to talking about Hell like myself because we know that it is necessary to talk about Hell. My mom raised me to know that God doesn’t want us to be afraid, but he does want us to be aware. So that is why I am not scared to go into discussion about hell. Joseph A. Munitiz also says The notion of hell that may speak most to the men and women of today is the realisation at the moment of death that one lacks authenticity (Munitiz 44) Which is a powerful statement since a lot of people nowadays even in the church may lack authenticity in their beliefs. But ignoring hell altogether does not make it any less real. Some people mix up the words Hell’ and Purgatory’ and that is not the same thing, and only one of those two terms exist (Hell). Wouter Biesbrouck says, Hell is best understood in the light of heaven. The same is true for purgatory (Biesbrouck 412). Which I don’t agree with because if God allowed there to be a purgatory then everyone would go there since everyone is a sinner. If everyone went to the purgatory everyone would end up going to heaven. Wouter Biesbrouck also says, Purgatory would then offer them an honest chance to enter into an ontological (and also epistemological) relation with Christ (Biesbrouck 413) which is incorrect. You do not get a second chance when you pass away to get your relationship with Christ, you have to earn and invest in that relationship when are you alive waking the earth. What if both Heaven & Hell seem unappealing? Some people shockingly think that Heaven and Hell both seem cruel and unethical. In Brian Ribeiro’s article The Problem of Heaven he says, any state of being that both lasts eternally and preserves me as the person I am would be hellish and therefore would be something it would not be rational for me to desire (Ribeiro 63) which could make sense for some but why would somebody feel comfort in life ending altogether? Wouldn’t you want to know that at the end of suffering and pain that you endure in this world there will be a reward if you simply follow God. The wager is too high for someone to go against it and to be too stubborn in their thinking to try and flip the idea of Heaven around altogether. Imagine living your whole life trying to disprove something that ends up being true. Then you ended up messing your eternity up for no reason. The best way I can interpret my way of thinking would be Pascals wager, which I originally learned from a Crash Course YouTube video. In the YouTube video Hank Green (The host of the video) introduces who Pascal is and what Pascal’s Wager is, he describes the Wager as If you choose to believe in God and he exists, you get an infinite reward-heaven. If you choose to believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you’re not really out much (CrashCourse, 2016) The wager works both ways if you choose to believe or not to believe, except if you choose not to believe in God or to be an atheist then you risk the chance of going to hell. Basically, if you are going to try and base your religious views on logic then put your chips on the option that is proven to win. Another point in the article that Brian Ribeiro makes is that If the only reason to desire to go to heaven were that it was better than hell’ that’s not saying much (Ribeiro 47) I would argue that ultimately that reasoning alone of Heaven being better than Hell is enough to convince even an atheist to put their belief in Heaven. I feel like Ribeiro is trying to make this whole discussion on Heaven and Hell seem like a joke when it is an extremely serious matter. What happens to someone unable to believe yet?Another argument that people may present to someone that is a believer in God is what happens to people that are underage that are unable to believe in God yet. Will an infant that passed away be sent to hell since he or she is unable to believe yet. In the Christian belief and how I was raised in church, we know that God is all-powerful and all-good, and God will not allow a baby to be sent to hell to eternity since it has not had the opportunity to fully form its brain capacity yet. The baby has not been presented the opportunity to either accept, and or deny God so that baby cannot be held accountable for sins. In the King James Version of the bible there is a verse that says “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (King James Version, John 14:6) which holds true, but if someone is totally unaware of the word of God and is unable to make that decision then they will not be held accountable. Then there comes the question on what the purpose of the baby’s life was, if God is just going to allow its life to be taken away. There can be many purposes of the life that was taken. For example, before I was born my mom had an abortion and we know that when the day comes for my mom to be sent to Heaven she will be reunited with her baby. The baby that passed away not only allowed my mom to learn from her mistake and grow from it, but now she is given the opportunity to guide younger girls that are going through the same situation she went through. To say that the baby had no purpose in this world would be a dishonor to the baby and Gods plan because his purpose was greater. This does not go to show that any woman can just go have an abortion and that will be acceptable in the eyes of God. Through repentance and asking for forgiveness from God my mom can see her baby again.
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