Home > atheism, christianity, death, Personal, Perspective, Philosophy, religion > 06.09.2011 – The Irresolvable Problem

06.09.2011 – The Irresolvable Problem

I’ve recently asked a few members of my family a religious/philosophical question that they have not been able to give me an answer to. I feel that it’s a legitimate question, and I really would love to know how they are able to reconcile this. Though, ultimately, I believe it to be irreconcilable under their current belief system. I will post the question below (as was presented to them) and then their initial responses and some of my replies.

Here’s the question:

“You and I are riding in a car and have a horrific accident. We both die instantly. We come to find out that it WAS, in fact, true that there is a god and it’s YOUR god. So, you get to spend eternity in heaven and I, obviously get to spend it tortured in hell. Now, you’re my mother/brother/sister/etc, so please explain to me how heaven is going to be a wonderful place for you to be knowing that I (and probably many MANY other people that you’ve known and loved in life) am being burned and tortured in hell?”

I realize this is a rather harsh concept, but I feel it addresses a rather important issue for believers. They claim that their goal is to get to heaven and spend eternity in God’s presence, but I don’t think any of them have contemplated what it would mean to have their loved ones not there, and according to the doctrine they believe, they are in hell.

This is the response my mother gave:

“One thing i know, God is the only one that can judge your heart and mine. I know his word well enough to know he loves us both. I know you want an answer about how I could enjoy heaven at that thought. I couldn’t. Not the way I am now. How could I. But all of his promises and assurances from the time I gave him my heart to him, tells me I can trust him with all that I have all now, and what I will experieced in the future. He hasn’t failed me. He’s my father. My papa. He brought me through so much pain and gave me peace. He is a loving God and knows the heart.

I love you.
This is an overwhelming thought and I’m praying for a clearer answer.”

I replied to her that I was looking forward to a further response on the question, but one never came. We did talk about it over the phone briefly once, and her thoughts came down to the idea that those memories would be gone. So, she figures she’d have no memories of her lost family members. How is that concept of heaven something desirable? My family, wife, and daughter are the most important things to me. If there was a heaven, I would want nothing to do with it if those things weren’t part of it. Not to meantion that it certainly seems like you would have to be fundamentally changed from who you were in life in order to be that way in heaven.

I posed the same question to my brother (who actively serves in the ‘ministry’). Got the following response…

“I will respond in time, i appreciate your patience…”

That was two months ago. Nothing else has been forthcoming.

The lack of valid responses to the question leaves me to believe that there is no good response. I think it leaves them feeling very uncomfortable because it truly does cause problems with their beliefs. I know I couldn’t resolve this in my own head. I’m open to honest responses from believers. I really am. I’d love to hear from people who can try to explain how they would resolve this. I’ve considered this for quite some time, and for now, I find it to be the ‘irresolvable problem’.

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  1. peddiebill
    June 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I think it is a very fair question, but I am not sure that the assumptions on which it is based are as objective as they might be. In my own articles on the topic I like to stress that all comments about heaven, life after death, hell etc have to be speculative because noone has ever found out any way of checking all the assertions despite what some kooky mediums might assert to the contrary.
    Even the Bible cant be taken as a particularly helpful authority since it makes contradictory assertions. Jesus: “in my house there are many mansions” type statements hardly match the pictures of heaven in Revelation, and sheol doesnt quite match the lake of burning fire or the Greek type layer hell, with the lowest levels being reverved for the very worst to be chained.(all of which and many more are Bible based concepts) The safest sensible statement is that there is no way of knowing, but even if we did know, to have our knowledge about life after death affect our behaviour would at the very least compromise our chances of being judged as being good for the right reasons. Why not simply attempt to pick up the best advice of the New Testament and love our neighbours as ourselves, forgive
    our enemies and seek for justice (ie a fair go)for all. Even if we are only doing it because it is more likely to lead to good relationships with those we encounter, we are not risking anything. Whatever we may like about the alternatives for after death – eg total oblivion, judgement, sheer joy,etc our feelings are unlikely to have any effect of changing what preumably must happen.

    • adoubtersramblings
      June 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks for the response! I actually think that you and I probably have a lot more commonalities of thought than I do with most of the folks I was referring to, and to most of the people I grew up with and know. My comments were towards the biblical literalists, fundamentalists, those who seem to ‘know the mind of God’ (though they deny that), and have a ‘personal relationship with God’. They are a completely separate class from Moderate Christians (where, if I may presume, it seems that you fall). My family, the church I grew up in, and most of the religious people I seem to find myself are NOT what I would consider Moderate. They believe in a litteral judgement, heaven, hell, Satan, demons, and all the ‘woo’ that goes along with that.

      There are lots of good things to be found in scripture that can be used to live a good life. It’s just unfortunate that those good things are surrounded with so much crap! 😉 LOL!

  2. Space
    June 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    yea, let me know when you get that answer 😉

    • adoubtersramblings
      June 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      LOL! You’ll be the first to know, man!

  3. peddiebill
    June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I think it is a very fair question, but I am not sure that the assumptions on which it is based are as objective as they might be. In my own articles on the topic I like to stress that all comments about heaven, life after death, hell etc have to be speculative because noone has ever found out any way of checking all the assertions despite what some kooky mediums might assert to the contrary.
    Even the Bible cant be taken as a particularly helpful authority since it makes contradictory assertions. Jesus: “in my house there are many mansions” type statements hardly match the pictures of heaven in Revelation, and sheol doesnt quite match the lake of burning fire or the Greek type layer hell, with the lowest levels being reverved for the very worst to be chained.(all of which and many more are Bible based concepts) The safest sensible statement is that there is no way of knowing, but even if we did know, to have our knowledge about life after death affect our behaviour would at the very least compromise our chances of being judged as being good for the right reasons. Why not simply attempt to pick up the best advice of the New Testament and love our neighbours as ourselves, forgive
    our enemies and seek for justice (ie a fair go)for all. Even if we are only doing it because it is more likely to lead to good relationships with those we encounter, we are not risking anything. Whatever we may like about the alternatives for after death – eg total oblivion, judgement, sheer joy,etc our feelings are unlikely to have any effect of changing what presumably must happen.

  4. Space
    June 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    actually being raised hardcore baptist I could probably quote you the accepted doctrine answers. But for me that would raise more questions, and entertain me writing a book. So I really will not do that on my tablet.
    But a thought of my own idea to play Devil’s advocate…errr god’s advocate (OMG)… If its suppose to be etenal, wouldnt you get over in maybe 5000 yrs if not sooner? I mean, have you ever talked with an elderly one who say lost a kid in the early years, & they smile when they talk of it, because they only remember the good? The smile, the laugh… If time heals all wounds, then that Jesus guy intends to wipe you clean with that eternity drug.lol

    I could do this all day, but I have sins to attend.Lmao

    I’ll include you in the credits if I get a book for this 😉

    • adoubtersramblings
      June 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      I’m looking forward to the royalties! 😉 The only problem I have with that position is that the torture is supposedly eternal as well. I know if I found myself in heaven (LOL) and knew for sure that my kid was in hell…there’s no WAY I could find even a moments happiness there unless my thought processes were radically changed. And in that case, I wouldn’t be me would I?

  5. Space
    June 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Indeed you would not be you. That is the whole concept of that movement. aye? Confirmity and non tolerance for individuality. So perhaps followers have no resistance to the climax? If they can deny self here, then the climax of heaven should surely reward them with what they intentionally desire and seek? They believe that what they have practice for so long, must become. Or, that there is relief from the battle of self.
    That seems true to the fact that we create our own reality (although that would be a self doctrine). Irony.
    And against what is a supposed belief. Love thy neighbor (family,kids,etc)? But forget the hell they are in.
    I think the only establishments that were ever close to good, were hippie communes. Lol. Live, Love,Laugh.

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