zar wrote:Why do you think you know not only that heaven exists, but that you know the entry requirements for it? Where does this knowledge you claim come from? (It can't be the Bible. It has very different ideas...) "Planning" for anything is impossible. There is just as much reason to believe that heaven is only for murders and rapists as there is to think that it is for people who behave themselves. This is the same reason why it makes no sense to believe in some deity in hopes of playing it safe -- there's just as much chance that a god would punish believers as it would punish disbelievers. You are in no place to claim that it will do either.
I never claimed to 'know' these things by your definition (which I can safely assume is: to know = to know that X is an unquestionable fact). This is what I believe, more because it's the conclusion I have come to over the course of my undeniably short life. I very much doubt it will be exactly the same by the time I die, but that I feel helps the point I'm about to make.
You ask me where this 'knowledge' comes from. Short answer: everywhere. Everything I see and do every day of my life in some way alters not only my current world view, but also my feelings on the nature of ascension as I see it. Due to a number of reasons, it is not uncommon for people such as yourself to assume that faith denies reasoning, that faith can only be arrived at suddenly in it's finished form, and that these beliefs must be maintained whole and as they are, or not at all. And that was the long answer: that while my current ideas on the afterlife are based on what I have been told, I have come to construct ideas that are more my own by thinking everything through using my experiences as scaffolding.
As to your statement that planning [for the afterlife] is impossible, how so? Granted, you can't plot out any specifics
, but to my mind, sitting on the fence is liable to do you less good than 'picking a side' (not that I believe there are 'sides' in the way many imagine, but still). Allow me to make an attempt at analogy. If your country is being invaded, many people are liable to take sides; some will band together and resist, others will defect. But what about the people who do neither, the 'conscientious objectors'? When it's all finally settled, it doesn't matter which side wins, they're sure as heck gonna be pretty pissed with the buggers that waited to see who would win before choosing a side. Sometimes 'oh, I'm neutral' doesn't cut it as an excuse.
But there again, it might. I don't know. And because I don't know exactly, I'll base my best guess on what I do know, and go with that.
And to the statement after that; think about it (briefly, I promise) from my angle. Assume
that there is indeed a heaven. Don't assume who it's run by, or how it works. Just think of it as a perfect place you go when you die. Okay?
Now populate it with human detritus. How many seconds
will it take for the whole thing to fall apart? The reason I don't believe in a heaven for serial murderers and rapists isn't because I've been told
there isn't one; an idiot could work out that such a place simply couldn't function long-term. On the other hand, I have plenty of evidence to suggest that when you put a lot of good people together, life can very easily be better for everyone.