No one, it seems, has ever been able to come up with a plausible description of what a heaven must be like, and ever since I was a kid I've had tons of questions about it. In conversations, sometimes I will hear people invoke the idea of heaven, but I don't think many of them have really thought about what it is they are talking about.
If a god exists and there is a heaven, you don't necessarily get to decide what heaven is going to be like. The popular notion of heaven is a place where you get to do all the things you want with no consequence. So those who are, say, addicted to sex, think that in heaven they'll be able to get to have sex as much as they want with no worry of STDs or pregnancy. And those who are addicted to eating think that in heaven they'll be able to eat anything they want and never get fat. These are the kinds of wild fantasies you'd expect many people to have. But in the traditional Christian notion of heaven there is no sex. There wouldn't be any reason for it. Sex in Christianity only has one purpose: to reproduce. And since no one is born in heaven, there is no reason anyone should be having sex. The same is true with eating. The only purpose eating has is to keep one alive. But since in heaven no one dies, there is no need to eat. The traditional Christian notion of heaven is a place with out sin. So that means no sex, no gambling, no drinking, no eating, and certainly no money or materialism.
So I came up with a few questions for the traditional Christian theist who thinks they're going to be happy forever in heaven.
1. In heaven if there is no free will (like to sin) are souls all just robots?
2. If we cannot sin in heaven, does that mean it might be best to get away with some milder sins (like fornication) just to be able to have the experience before we go to heaven?
3. If heaven is eternal and there is no free will, what could possibly keep our consciousnesses occupied for all of eternity?
4. If we are returned to a bodily state in heaven, do we get all of parts back? Including foreskin? Original nose if one had a nosejob? What age would the body be? When we were young? When we died at 90? What about an aborted fetus who never formed a body? What body do they get?
5. Do people wear clothes in heaven or are they naked? If they wear clothes, what kind of clothes? Does everyone wear a uniform or can people have personal style? Who makes the clothes? Is there a sweatshop in heaven? Are there fashion designers? Do clothes just appear out of nowhere from your imagination?
6. What about games or sports? Can people play them? If so, then there's always the possibility that someone will lose and they will feel bad. Is it possible to have a bad day in heaven? The competition and possibility of losing required by games and sports seem to allow that.
7. If we are all different in heaven, does anyone ever get jealous?
8. What if you hated your family? Would it be fair to make someone spend an eternity with a family that they hated?
9. How could someone enjoy heaven if they will know that billions are in hell?
10. What are the laws of physics like in heaven? Do you ever feel pain for anything? Is there gravity, or electromagnetism? If there is, you can fall and get hurt.
11. Is there technology in heaven? The Bible speaks of chariots, so will heaven have Iron age technology? Can someone invent something in heaven?
Welcome to Atheism and the City. This blog is about exploring atheism through contemporary urban living. I live in New York City, the secular metropolis, and I have an avid interest in all things religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economics. I am an atheist, a humanist, a philosopher and a thinker, and the purpose of Atheism and the City is to write about my thoughts and experiences on the subjects and topics that I have a passion for. Feel free to respond to any post whether or not you agree.