Whats Behind Curtain Number 3?

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Behind curtain number 1 is Heaven. Behind curtain number 2 is Hell.
Is there a curtain number 3?

As a layman, it is my understanding one day I will die and end up at the pearly gates of Heaven.

Here I will be asked to accept Jesus as my savoir. Answer yes, I go to Heaven. Answer no, I go to Hell?

I mean if I say politely, "Thank you, but no thank you". I'll be banished to burn in hell for all eternity?

Is there a third option?
 

A Cup Of Tea

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It should perhaps be noted that this is about popular interpretations of Christianity, and not religion in general.
 

Gordian Knot

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As Tea suggested, option number 3 would be pick another religion where you like their choices of an afterlife better than you like the Christian choices.
 

Nick the Pilot

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GK, You said,

"...option number 3 would be pick another religion..."

It has been said that, after we die, if we expect to see Jesus we will Jesus, if we expect to see Buddha we will see Buddha, etc. It has also been said these 'sightings' are mostly illusions, so I don't see any problem here.
 

LincolnSpector

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I can't possibly believe that God sends you to heaven or hell based on your guessing the right religion. To my mind, that implies that God is a psychopath.

But then, I really don't believe in an individual life after death. Maybe your soul becomes one with God, like a raindrop landing in the ocean. But when that happens, it ceases to be an individual raindrop.

Or more likely, when you're dead your dead. A friend of mine put it very well: "Of course there's life after death. It's just not your life."

In other words, it's not about you.

FWIW, Judaism has no standard dogma about life after death, and many religious Jews don't believe in it.

Better to put the emphasis on the life you're living.
 

Nick the Pilot

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LS, you said,

"I can't possibly believe that God sends you to heaven or hell based on your guessing the right religion."

--> I am quite sure he does not. I really think we have nothing to worry on this one.

"Maybe your soul becomes one with God, like a raindrop landing in the ocean. But when that happens, it ceases to be an individual raindrop."

--> I believe this happens to some people after death (to a certain extent). I believe that (for those who are ready for it), after death, all illusions of being separate are removed. Our present, earthbound sense of being separate is temporary and artificial. Once there is no more need for it, it will be removed. The vast majority of people on earth still need to maintain their artificial sense of separateness.

By the way, the eventual removal of this artificial sense of separateness is exactly what is meant in Genesis 3:24 when it says, [God] "placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." It is these 'Cherubims' and 'sword' which will be 'removed' (removing our artificial sense of separateness) when it is no longer needed.
 

Thomas

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Behind curtain number 1...
Behind curtain number 2...
Is there a curtain number 3?
Hmmm ... put it this way:
Behind curtain number 1 is Truth.
Behind curtain number 2 is Illusion.

You are free to choose, but there are consequences.

Behind curtain 1 is substance of everything good.
Behind curtain 2 is an addiction that can never be satiated, because that which is sought has no actual substance to sustain the soul and, in the end, the soul exhausts its own substance, much like the man drops in his tracks as he pursues a mirage across the desert.
 

Thomas

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I can't possibly believe that God sends you to heaven or hell based on your guessing the right religion.
God never sends anyone to hell. We consign ourselves, we just like to hold God responsible for our faults. It's part of our nature.

Better to put the emphasis on the life you're living.
That's the core message of all authentic religions.
 

Namaste Jesus

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Hello DW, great question.

When your time comes, you're not going to be asked to make a choice. We all return to God regardless of what religion we may or may not follow in life. From my perspective, the concept of Hell being an actual place is largely manmade. It's derived from mistranslation of the scripture as well as literal interpretation of symbolic passages.

I'm Christian, but draw much inspiration from Hindu scripture, which depicts hell as a temporal environment where souls are cleansed of sin before moving on. Opinions vary on the actual process and the length of time involved, but eventually we all get there.

So basically, don't worry about it. Just do the best you can with this life and try to do what's right.
 
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Thanks for all the interesting replies. What I was getting at was not picking another religion if I didn't like the Christian choice. But it made no sense to me, if in my life I earned a place in heaven I would have to "accept" Jesus as my savor before I was granted access. That seems like an ultimatum which I would have a problem with.

Regardless how one gets to hell, (does anybody really?) that doesn't seem like a place I would want to set up residence. So as long as the ultimatum is not meant in the literal sense or doesn't actually take place, all is good.

Regarding the different religions, if an afterlife exists I have to believe regardless of ones faith it's immaterial once one ascends.
 

Thomas

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Hi DW —
But it made no sense to me, if in my life I earned a place in heaven I would have to "accept" Jesus as my savor before I was granted access. That seems like an ultimatum which I would have a problem with.
I don't see why. If Jesus Christ is who the Christian faith believes Him to be, then you're being asked to accept is truth over illusion. If he's not, then the question won't arise.

Regardless how one gets to hell, (does anybody really?)
Well that remains an open question.

Would anyone do that? Personally, I can't conceive of anyone, faced with the option of 'truth or 'illusion', of 'being' or 'nothingness', choosing the latter.

But if 'self-determination', or 'autonomy' or 'freedom' is to have any reality and truth, then the option to refuse the truth must be open to us.

If it's not, if we all get to heaven regardless of what we've done with our lives, then our lives are void of all meaning.
 

LincolnSpector

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Thanks for all the interesting replies. What I was getting at was not picking another religion if I didn't like the Christian choice. But it made no sense to me, if in my life I earned a place in heaven I would have to "accept" Jesus as my savor before I was granted access. That seems like an ultimatum which I would have a problem with.

Regardless how one gets to hell, (does anybody really?) that doesn't seem like a place I would want to set up residence. So as long as the ultimatum is not meant in the literal sense or doesn't actually take place, all is good.

Regarding the different religions, if an afterlife exists I have to believe regardless of ones faith it's immaterial once one ascends.
No one is suggesting you change religion. But it's good to read other people's views.

We're all imperfect mortals, and if there's a God, and if that God is good, it understands that and forgives us.

I can accept the idea of a purgatory, but the very idea of a permanent hell conflicts with the idea of a loving God.
 

Thomas

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...but the very idea of a permanent hell conflicts with the idea of a loving God.
That's precisely what it is. But the conflict is ours, willed on Him, not the other way round. Hell is that conflict and its inevitable outcome if its pursued to its bitter end. If we remain obdurate in the face of that embrace.

Suppose this: Suppose the suffering we inflict on others, and by so doing upon God, comes home to roost? Suppose we are obliged, in the eschatological light, to see it for what it is, something rooted in nothing but our desire? Suppose, even in that light, we refuse to surrender our desires. Suppose we are incapable of doing so?

Then it's not God who condemns us, but we who condemn ourselves, even in the face of love.

The moment we choose ill over good, its ill end is realised. The was the dreadful warning given to man in the garden: "And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat (every freedom thou shalt enjoy): But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the freedom to pervert the creation I have given to you for your own base ends), thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death (because thou shalt have cut thyself off from He that sustains thee)" (Genesis 2:16-17 (my paraphrase)).
 

Nick the Pilot

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D&W, you said,

"...it made no sense to me, if in my life I earned a place in heaven I would have to "accept" Jesus as my savor before I was granted access."

--> You're right, it doesn't make sense. But it doesn't happen, so you have nothing to worry about.

"Regardless how one gets to hell, (does anybody really?) that doesn't seem like a place I would want to set up residence. So as long as the ultimatum is not meant in the literal sense or doesn't actually take place, all is good."

--> Have you done anything really bad, that would send you to hell? If not, I don't think you need to worry about it. But what about people who do really bad things? Do you think they should not be sent to hell?
 

Nick the Pilot

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LS,

I do not think hell is permanent, I think it's temporary. The Bible originally taught the idea of a temporary, not eternal hell.
 
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--> Have you done anything really bad, that would send you to hell? If not, I don't think you need to worry about it. But what about people who do really bad things? Do you think they should not be sent to hell?

Well no one is perfect right? :D But as far as I know I've done nothing to merit a trip to hell!

Should people go to hell for doing really bad things? That's one loaded question! I do believe in justice. And I do believe some things are beyond redemption. If it was up to me punishment would depend on the crime. But in a religious sense it's not my decision to make.
 

Nick the Pilot

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"...as far as I know I've done nothing to merit a trip to hell!"

--> I believe the vast majority of people now on earth haven't either.

"...no one is perfect right?"

--> That's why I believe the vast majority of people go to purgatory, not hell (and not heaven) after they die. (By the way, the Catholic church recently started teaching that purgatory doesn't happen.)

"Should people go to hell for doing really bad things? That's one loaded question!"

--> I'll be curious to hear your eventual answer. But remember, I'm talking about a temporary hell, not an eternal hell, just like the Bible originally taught.

"I do believe in justice. And I do believe some things are beyond redemption."

--> I do too. This is why I do not believe in the forgiveness of sins.

"If it was up to me punishment would depend on the crime."

--> It does. There are different levels of purgatory and hell.

"But in a religious sense it's not my decision to make."

--> Oh, don't worry, I think these decisions have already been made.
 

Thomas

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(By the way, the Catholic church recently started teaching that purgatory doesn't happen.)
Oh dear ... Nick, I do wish you's stop pushing your propaganda, it's tedious and it's false.

The doctrine of purgatory — that is a state of purification — by the Jews in pre-Christian times; it's believed by Orthodox Judaism, Catholics and Orthodox. Denial of the doctrine came in with the Protestant Reformation.

But remember, I'm talking about a temporary hell, not an eternal hell, just like the Bible originally taught.
Which 'bible' is that? Any evidence for that claim, at all?
 

Namaste Jesus

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I don't know if this will help or hinder, but there is a book availible online for free called, "God's Plan for All", I can't say that I agree with everything in this book, but there is a chapter that explains the mistranslations in the Bible regarding hell. This explanation is very similar to the one given to me years ago by one of my Jewish friends.

16. Hebrew and Greek words mistranslated to mean Hell
 
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