Monday, December 26, 2016

Opinions #6 The Heaven/Hell Debate

Over the past couple of decades, I personally have moved from Pentecostal Christianity to agnosticism to...what would one call what I now embrace?  Personal divinity?  Inclusive connection to the Spirit of Creation?   Whatever label I slap on it, it's definitely "spirituality" rather than "religion."  Actually, I'm reluctant to name my connection to the Almighty.  Calling it something means attempting to distill it to an essence to which others can relate...and it's a short leap from there to recruitment.  I don't necessarily want or need to share my spirituality with anyone else.  In my mind, one's connection to the Divine is, or should be, unique and personal.   

When one is taught from infancy that God is in heaven, the devil is in hell, and Jesus came down to save us from sin and keep us out of that hell...well, that stuff sticks like superglue.  It took a good decade for me to finally shed the last vestiges of the religious traditions into which I was born.  For many years, as my spirituality changed and grew in different directions, I waited for that lightning bolt to shoot out of the sky and smite me for my unbelief.  Eventually, I figured out that--logically--the Creator of the Universe would not act in that manner.  Creation is so vast and varied that the Entity responsible for calling it into being would not possibly be so small and demanding and humanly petty that it would ordain and honor only one way for humankind to connect to and communicate with it.  That simply did not make any sense.

So I have no bone to pick with anyone who attempts sincere communion with the Almighty through "mainstream" religion.  I personally know and respect many Christians...and Jews,  Muslims and Hindus.  It is not for me to tell any person that their path to connection with the Almighty is wrong.  What IS wrong is that mainstream religion is often perverted by the violent and the greedy and the power hungry.  Religion can so easily be used as a tool to dominate and control large populations of people.  And so it is.

When I hear people talking about heaven and hell, I just...shrug.   Surely there are dark spiritual forces afoot in the universe, as there are forces of light. It's not that I disbelieve there is evil at work in the world.  It just seems to emanate mostly from the human race.  People.  People who think they can shirk personal responsibility for their evil acts by claiming "The devil made me do it."   Mankind, unfortunately, is too easily attracted to the darkness.  But, Hell?  A place where those who did evil in their human incarnation go to burn in eternal fire? Hm.  Nope.  Just don't buy it.

And when it comes to Heaven...I can't buy that, either.  We are all so caught up in being human, we think it's the apex.  The ultimate.  What we are and always want to be, for eternity.  So we've imagined this place we'll go when we die, and we'll be joyously reunited with everyone we loved who left their earthly bodies previous to our own exit. 
But I believe human spirits are slivers of the Spirit of Creation, and when they leave their broken shells of clay behind, they are reunited with that great creative be shaped and reshaped, over and over again.  We're sent out by the Creator to a new incarnation, possibly as another earthly animal or person or plant, possibly to another planet or galaxy...  The concept is too huge for us to wrap our heads around, so we invented Heaven--the eternal banquet where we sit and feast with all the nice people we ever knew in our lives.  Isn't that just too small  a finish to have been conceived by the Creator of the Universe?  (And just as an aside, this concept of the "Rainbow Bridge," where all the beloved companion animals with whom we shared our lives reunite with us, presumably to be our pets forever in heaven... Why would a spirit want to be forever bonded to another as a pet?  Why not hope that when your beloved companion leaves its used-up earthly body, it is free to return to the Spirit and be renewed as something beautiful and wonderful and most likely beyond your comprehension?

To see me walking down the street, it would probably never occur that I don't believe--and am perfectly comfortable not believing--in the everyday religious assumptions by which so many of my fellow citizens are held captive.  Two hundred years ago, I would have been labeled a witch and burned at the stake.   

1 comment:

  1. "I believe human spirits are slivers of the Spirit of Creation, and when they leave their broken shells of clay behind, they are reunited with that great creative be shaped and reshaped, over and over again."