Someone got me thinking yesterday about Heaven and Hell, and which I may be steering a long, slow course towards.
I have never been a believer in the popular underlying concept of heaven and hell. The notion that there is a magical land/existence where we all go if we have been good, and a dark flaming pit if we’ve been bad has never seemed very realistic to me.
I have always believed that we create our own heaven and hell, in this one life we live. By that, I mean if we are good and lead a good life then our virtuous path becomes our heaven later on in life… and if we lead bad lives then we find our own hell in regret and pain when we are older. To die with guilt, regret and a heart full of misery is the greatest hell I can imagine. To die with a happy heart, thankful for our lives and proud of our achievements, is the heaven that I seek, to die knowing that I have tried my hardest and done my best would be to find true Nirvana. I guess this is a similar belief as found in aspects Hinduism and Buddhism – to find true enlightenment here on Earth before we die rather than expecting judgement in an after life.
I believe, in the end we are the judges, and we judge ourselves. Not a perfect notion of course. For example, don’t ask me what happens if our senility removes all memory and judgement or we become completely insane or psychopathic, or just have no concept of good or bad. That’s where my belief falls down. I just like the poetry of it to be honest.
So despite my beliefs, if I discover one day if am completely wrong, and there is a heaven, a fantastical land with magnificent pearly gates before which I must stand red faced, I have been wondering whether I would pass through. Or would I be kicked down the fiery chute and into the bowels of eternal despair.
I’m not a bad man. I’m essentially quite a good man, really. At least my intentions are honourable, even if the goodness doesn’t always quite get all the way out. The fact I don’t believe in God, however probably means I miss out on quite a few entry points. But, I don’t need to follow a religious path to be good. I know good and bad in my own heart and mind. I’m not perfect either. I’ve done bad things. I think bad things occasionally. They are not evil things, they just are not the sort of things that score entry points into an eternal paradise.
If I was a Catholic, sure it would be easy. I just go to a confession, ask for forgiveness, pay any penance that is due and all is well. If the Father forgives me, then I can get on without regret. But, I’m not a Catholic, even though it seems quite a good system if you are worried about entering everlasting wonder. I won’t even comment on the way that some fundamentalists believe they can secure entry to paradise. You know. I don’t think I belong in either Heaven or Hell. I call for a third way. I don’t deserve to burn in flames. But I don’t deserve to share a table with Mother Theresa either. And I’m not prepared to stay in purgatory as the Catholic alternative for self improvement allows.
So I call for a new place with no floating around on clouds and no close encounters with red hot pokers. I would like a sort of boring place… a bit like a cheap hotel. Not particularly comfortable, and not miserable either. No sauna, but maybe a small swimming pool. The pool doesn’t need to be heated either, save the heating expenses for the virtuous. The food, if indeed I would require food, need not be high cuisine, just basic.. no frills. I’m happy with sandwiches, I don’t need splendour.
I will call this place, Heavell. If at the end of my days, I am put before my creator. I will plead for this place to be created. I will help design it, and be on the founding committee. I don’t believe we should be forced through either one or the other. So, I will argue relentlessly and use flip charts and everything, backed up with statistics to get Heavell created. I will take it to appeal, go to the Inter-fantastical High Court of Lifeform’s Rights, and write endless letters.
If all else fails I may even offer to make the sandwiches.