what if “hell” and “heaven” do not exist?, Can we still follow Christ without the assurance of a better life?. What if hell and heaven are here on earth? What if what we do, or the way we become with others leads us to hell or heaven? I have been thinking this lately, specially with the realization as a new person. Sometimes it seems that religion has divided us more than united us. I was talking with my brother Jose Maria about the evolution of humanity, and for my own opinion, it does not seem we are evolving but devolving. Instead of becoming more open minded and accepting to others, racism—in their many ways—is still devolving.
Religion in general is making people more close to be open. I hope than when you read this you do not think that I am denigrating religion because I am not; I am just asking questions to myself, doubting and giving me an opportunity to think beyond of what I have learned for the last 39 years. “Nothing is static and permanent. And that includes you and me. We have very solid view of ourselves, and also very fixes views about others. Yet if we look closely, we can see that we aren’t even slightly fixed. In fact, we are as unfixed and changing as a river” (Taking the Leap, Pema Chodron).
How come we are changing, but our religions are not? Is it possible to live in the year 2010 with ideologies who were formed 3000 years ago? Division and intolerance have been passing from generations to generations through out the many religions we have, so how come we are not more united then? The simple notion of “hell” and “heaven” has placed a big wall between the supposed save and lost ones. The saved are trying to go and get the lost, and the lost are running away from the saved ones. The saved ones’ full agenda is to be able to rescue people from the wrath of hell, and the lost ones are helping in a better way the needs of this world. I have seen more people from the “lost” side worrying about the state of our planet earth, than what the “saved” ones are. Most of the “saved” ones create programs and activities with an agenda; but the world outside it is creating for the sake of helping others.
So while Jose Maria and me were talking about all these issues, he handed me this article from the Los Angeles Time with the title “Free of the biblical God”, its author William Edelen a former minister at the First Congregational Church in Tacoma, Wash., and lecturer for the Department of Religion at the University of Puget Sound, gave a very interesting view of his own beatitudes. Before criticizing it, read over it and become a critical thinker for your own sake so you can be able to strength your own faith. It is very interesting to realized that in the ancient Greek civilization the people who were ignorant and uneducated, it was people who were not active participants in the public life, and for the Athenian democracy these people were called idiots. They were “people so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning”(Wikipedia). So in a way I do not want to be called an idiot because I was not capable of getting educated to face the the problems of my times. Edelen said:
“Blessed are the atheist, agnostics, deist, mystics, humanist, free thinkers, Taoist, Buddhists and all others who do not have anarchic, primitive god in their mind/brains.
Blessed are they for they do not participate in holy wars, jihads or crusades.
Blessed are they for they would never be martyrs for the glory of God.
Blessed are they for they do not condemn others as heretics or infidels.
Blessed are they for they do not conduct inquisitions nor slaughter million of women as witches.
Blessed are they who not participate in sectarian violence.
Blessed are they who do not twist biblical words to condemn homosexuality as a sin, nor to condemn a woman’s right to choose.
Blessed are they who would never say that a terrorist act is God’s punishment against those who do not believe or think as they do. Or even to think that a natural disaster is God’s wrath against the unbelievers.”(Italics are mine)
My last question will be, why we as Christians are not in this list of the blessed ones? In Christianity’s history we have participated in most of the things, this minister has mentioned, so this makes me think again and I come back to my original dissertation, are we becoming more united with this era, or are we moving further away from the reality of today’s world?. Think about it.