Now my wife of almost 5 years can be called religious, granted not massively so, but in principle she buys into the idea of God and heaven and hell etc.
So this morning over breakfast something occurred to me. I said: “Sweetheart, you know I just had a thought.”
“Congratulations”, she said. Christianity, it would seem, does not require abstinence from sarcasm. But marriage soon teaches one to keep smart-ass comments to oneself, so I soldiered on: “You know this heaven you’re ending up in, right? I’m told its quite a perfect and a supremely happy, feel good place.”
“Well, since, after we die, you will be going there, and I will be judged a filthy fence-sitting agnostic and sent to hell, won’t you miss me?”
“Of course I’ll miss you, angel.”
“Won’t you agonize over the thought of me burning alive for all eternity?”
“Well, maybe for a few days, certainly.”
“So you will be pining and in agony in heaven?”
“Oh no, God will fix it so there is no pain in heaven.”
Sometimes you just can’t win.
So, will she not know you are in hell, or just don’t care
So, will she not know you are in hell, or just don't care
Well lets assume for the moment that she would care (we are in LOVE remember :D).
The point I was awkwardly trying to make is that if the theistic assumptions play out as predicted, a large amount of people that end up in heaven, will have loved ones in hell. That knowledge should be unbearable for the folks in heaven, and the joys of heaven is thus spoilt.
The only way out of this paradox that I can think of is for God to erase all memories of those about to enter heaven.
:o! Did you just come up with a brand-spanking new argument? One that is so simple to understand that everyone will get it?
You flatter me, but I am making a somewhat slippery assumption, and one I’d better point out myself before the big guns like 'Luthon log on . The assumption is that heaven is indeed perfect. Not sure if that is explicitly promised in scripture.
Besides, its a very big world and someone must have argued along similar lines long before me.
Shouldn’t be a problem for someone with super powers*. Or he can just go back in time, make you see the error of your ways and you both can go to heaven. What if you have kids - should they spend eternity without their father? Maybe fathers in hell can get weekends off…
Anyway, I’m rambling, I’ll stop now.
* If I had super powers, I would time travel in a DeLorean.
Not at all – it’s a good argument. The slipperiness is, I expect, rather more with the inventive ways in which apologists and theologians will attempt to slip past it. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the response will be something along the lines of their god arranging things so that having a loved one in hell somehow won’t matter in light of the excellence of heaven, suggesting some kind of hallucinogenic substance abuse may play a role.
Still, it is worth bearing in mind that “perfection” is in any case rather vague for being subjective. There will be as many conceptions of it as there are minds contemplating it. Thomas Aquinas himself opined that heaven’s reward for its inhabitants was to watch the eternal suffering of sinners in hell. I don’t know about you, but if that is any kind of perfection, it must be perfection in sordidness and I’ll pass up an offer to partake of it.
ETA: Somehow, somehow I missed it at first. You flatter me. Undeservedly, but thanks nonetheless. :-*
Maybe it is like “Total Recall”. Your old memory get erased and a brand, spanking feel good memory is implanted in your brain. ;D