Question for Abrahamic Followers: Is Heaven Really What we Want?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by HugoZyl, Jan 27, 2022.

  1. HugoZyl

    HugoZyl Established Member

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    May the merciful Lord grants us understanding so that we may serve Him better.

    In my ignorance I have trouble finding the appeal that Heaven/Paradise/Abraham's Bosom holds for many dear children of God. In brief, here are the 3 reasons (please forgive any presupposing):

    1. Citizens of Heaven do not give help to those who are suffering. This indicates no compassion. No compassion indicates low spiritual growth.
    2. Citizens of Heaven still differentiate between them and others. This indicates 'ego' (I mean a sense of identifying yourself with one thing/body/state to exclusion of all else). Ego will sooner or later breed discontentment. An everlasting life which contains discontentment could be a definition of hell.
    3. Citizens of Heaven all have the same level of joy or pleasure. This indicates unfairness. Unfairness is not a Godly characteristic.
    In humility I cannot but think then that there must be levels of 'Heavens'. With higher levels containing citizens who have lower ego, and greater joy and compassion (and an ability to manifest that compassion to suffering beings).

    Should we not then see a responsibility resting on us who have been touched by the grace of the merciful Lord to put shoulder to the wheel in growing spiritually day by day (rather that, say, sitting in front of computers reading internet forums)?

    Thank you for your time in reading and helping another learn. May all find peace in our Lord and Savior.

    P.S. Pity you cannot change the list numbers' color.
     
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  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Indeed

    As I have no knowledge of what heaven comprises, other than the speculations in my (Catholic) and other traditions, I rather think this kind of inquiry is limited, because we have no idea of what or how such states actually are ...

    From the viewpoint of Catholic contemplation of the question, I could offer this:

    Q: Citizens of Heaven do not give help to those who are suffering. This indicates no compassion. No compassion indicates low spiritual growth.
    A: Does God? If God does not, why should they?

    Q: Citizens of Heaven still differentiate between them and others. This indicates 'ego' ...
    A: Not really. Difference is difference. Ill-founded value judgements might well be ego ...

    Q: Citizens of Heaven all have the same level of joy or pleasure. This indicates unfairness. Unfairness is not a Godly characteristic.
    A: Are you sure you're not insisting on a human form of fairness? God's love is boundless ...

    But again, Scripture also says:
    "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." (Matthew 13:8 & 23, Mark 4:8 & 20)
    "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
     
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  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    How do you know what the citizens of heaven are doing? Do you get the daily journal? Citizens? What does that mean?

    Got some scripture that validates any of what you posit as fact?
     
  4. Leveller

    Leveller Well-Known Member

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    I do not have a problem with the above. I don't know what heaven is supposed to be like so the differentiation and the levels may refer to ongoing development - not some kind of eternal caste system of the afterlife.
     
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  5. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Beyond the natural dimension of space and time that limits our corporeal existence -- who is goimg to judge of differentiation levels and caste systems?
     
  6. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    It's like the argument: If God is One, God can't be Three -- there's no extending such logic. God doesn't care for human reason. God contains and surrounds and permeates our nature and isn't dependent upon what we say God needs to be.

    God would write a book, the one book of the only truth ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  7. Leveller

    Leveller Well-Known Member

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    I guess when you can answer that, you know who your god is.
    Alternatively, why have a "who"? Buddhist kharma and rebirth has no need of a who or judgement. But I remind myself this is the Abrahamic section.
     
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  8. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    @HugoZyl -

    Are you under the impression that the so-called Abrahamic religions are of one understanding/belief? Are you under the impression that within each of those religions there is but one understanding/belief?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
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  9. HugoZyl

    HugoZyl Established Member

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    Dearest Readers; I sincerely thank you for taking your time to read and respond. May we consider carefully, grow humbly, and thank God reverently.

    There are 3 sources of information: senses of the body, inference of the intellect, and instruction (books, people, revelations from God).
    Concerning Heaven: senses of the body do not help us and instruction is as variable as the wind - we can thus only infer using the intellect God in His mercy gave to us. Let us do so now...

    From the Bible: The thief hanging on a cross next to the Lord Jesus Christ asked the Lord to have mercy on him, and was rewarded with a ticket to Heaven. After getting his ticket the thief just kept his mouth shut. He did not, for example, ask the Lord to also have mercy on any other person like the guards standing around or anyone else. We can infer that compassion was not the thief's strong point. So Heaven has some heartless citizens.
    From the Ramayana: Ravan tried to kill the Lord Rama because Ravan had a great ego which could not bear thinking another being was stronger than him. When he tried to kill Lord Rama, the Lord killed him first. But because Ravan died with his eyes on the Lord and saying the Name of the Lord with his last breath, he also got his ticket to Heaven. We can infer that Heaven has some egotistical citizens.
    From our natural world: We see people starting a business, working hard at it, and, God willing, making a big company out of it. They give work to many people and give large amounts of charity but they themselves are not actually nice people at all. Lots of greed and lust fill their hearts. Similarly we see people starting to become religious, working hard at it, and, God willing, getting their ticket to Heaven out of it. They help many people by spreading the religious message and give generously in charity by they themselves are often not actually nice people at all. Lots of vanity and arrogance fill their hearts. We can infer that Heaven has a lot of citizens who we would not be happy to share a meal with. (Please forgive me if I sound judgmental. This is not the case. I am simply trying to share something I feel has important spiritual implications.)

    A test to see if we are in it for Heaven or in it for God: if the Supreme Lord appears to you and says, ''My dear child, I am so pleased with you that I want to ask you a special request. Please choose to go to Hell rather than go to Heaven. You can of course refuse and still go to Heaven. But I want to ask you to go to Hell for me.'' Would you choose Hell if God asked you to?

    May our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts be like as to the glorious perfection of the most Holy God.



    Dear wil

    Please share a better word I can use for previously human beings who now reside in Heaven. Also, there are Scriptures but they are from Indian religions so would not be suitable for posting in an Abrahamic discussion. Please excuse me.


    Dear RabbiO

    Please forgive me but I have very limited knowledge about such specifics, and it is not for me to go too far in supposing what another person believes, so I keep it general. Please excuse me.



    Dear Thomas

    As I wise man once said, 'Life is about preparing for death.' And if a person, by the grace of God, desires to be well prepared so as to intimately know God better, then he may well receive knowledge beyond what is commonly known. The Catholic Saints are excellent examples. (Thank you for a detailed reply to my post)
     
  10. Leveller

    Leveller Well-Known Member

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    I find this far from convincing. If the story is true, accurate and complete, we can conclude that the thief 'got lucky', in being executed alongside Jesus. Is that really an appropriate criterion, 'having a word' with the right man?
    If it is a true account, then it adds weight to my suggestion of "ongoing development" in heaven.
     
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Isn't that third category a mix of the first two?
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Actually, we don't know if there was any further dialogue between Christ and the robber. And, as the robber was not yet in heaven, and had yet to face the Judgement Seat, he cannot be used to assert what heaven is like ...

    I'd also point you to the teaching of the Pure Land sect and the recitation of the nembutsu, as the Amida Buddha refused to enter the supreme until every other creature was there also.

    And likewise, in the Catholic Tradition, we have Padre Pio, who likewise said he would remain un til every soul had entered heaven.

    I think the point here is that those in heaven perhaps know the best they they can do is petition God to bring about the Good of All, rather than interfere in human affairs which will only add to the chaos and confusion – so as I see it, those who live in heaven have access to Infinite Wisdom, beyond the capacity of our limited minds to comprehend ... and yes, you do sound quite judgemental to me.


    Yes, Cicero and Seneca, famous philosophers. But that's not all life is about ...

    Indeed we may well do, but that is the gratuitous gift of God.

    The saints sought first and foremost to live good lives. If they became martyrs, it's not because they sought death – suicide would be that – but rather stood by what they believed. And many saints never had any such inklings, but were content ...

    Death comes when death wills, and no man knows the day or the hour – but in the meantime, there's plenty of work to do.

    Abba John of the Desert said: "A monk is toil. The monk toils in all he does. That is what a monk is."
     
  13. Leveller

    Leveller Well-Known Member

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    Really? Does the Bible state when or why his admission to heaven was confirmed? Jesus only states that he will go there. I think your "ticket to heaven" expression, both cheapens the story and is potentially misleading
    You beat me to it Thomas.
     
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  14. HugoZyl

    HugoZyl Established Member

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    Dear Leveller

    Your post is an excellent example of the purpose for the thread: to grow in the divine understanding of our merciful Lord. You are certainly correct about ''ongoing development'', however the responsibility is on us to want ''ongoing development''. If a person while on the earth does not care for ''ongoing development'' then it is naive to think they will want it in Heaven. Being naive is a great obstacle in spiritual development.

    May the sweet Lord of grace look upon us all with compassion


    Dearest Cino

    I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to also interact with you. Thank you also for your appreciative 'welcome' message in the introduction thread.

    Traditional Eastern Spirituality uses three methods of investigation. They are:

    • Direct observation; that which is apprehended by one’s own senses and feelings.
    • Inference; reason working on given premises.
    • Authoritative instruction; the direct observation and inference from trustworthy human or divine sources which is given to us through any medium (like a lesson, a book or a video for example).
    May peace and love fill every heart to the brim


    Dear Brother Thomas

    I am honored to once again be able to share ideas about Truth and Love with you. God bless you.

    You are correct that we cannot ''assert what Heaven is like'' but we can infer. Like from a shadow of a hand we can infer what a hand looks like. And as this is a source of knowledge which only humans (i.e. not animals) possess, we are responsible to God to use it.

    I am greatly pleased to see Divine Beings like Amida Buddha and St. Padre Pio being referenced. How glorious is their love and compassion for humanity. The dimension or realm they are helping us to is not the Heaven we talk about in normal English. It is a different 'Heaven' which contains less ego, more compassion, and more bliss. There is a good reason we do not read that the thief on the cross said he would remain until every soul has entered Heaven. 'Heaven' in English is ambiguous which is unfortunate for Godly discourse.

    Your quote from Abba John is wonderful beyond measure. Yes!... let us spiritually toil as much as we can. May not one moment in the day be wasted on silly things. Let us enter into divine communion with the merciful Lord every second.

    Lastly, I sincerely apologize for sounding judgmental. It was definitely not my intention. I am sometimes at a loss to know how strong to make a statement. Too strong and it is judgmental. Not strong enough and it is not noticed.

    May joy fill your heart and every other sentient being's. Amen
     
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  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Thanks.

    From which tradition did your teacher come? What were your reasons and inferences to accept their teachings as authoritative?
     
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  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Seems he who praises everything, praises nothing.

    Hugo did your merciful G!d teach you to lay it on as.thick as a 3 year old putting catsup on chips?

    For me....just saying, the orange is offputting and the words seem disingenuous. I dont know if that is your goal or if I am of the minority or majority, but I am describing my view for your benefit.

    Now you may be a charismatic well liked individual in person with friends who hang on every word...and I may be the only one who thinks your online demeanor is a bit over the top, but I think you should be aware that you have this affect on some people (or maybe it is just me)
     
  17. Ella S.

    Ella S. Utilitarian Logician

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    Have you heard of bhakti yoga?
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I have now. Thx
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
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  19. HugoZyl

    HugoZyl Established Member

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    Dear wil

    May G!d in His great mercy bless you and keep you. Thank you for your heartfelt response.

    Please excuse me but I do not understand what you mean.

    I will in the future reply to you in darkest shade of black I can find. :-D ...If with 'disingenuous' you mean 'pretending that one knows less about something than one really does' then there is a misunderstanding. I started the thread asking if Heaven is really what we want because I feel real doubts about it; I started the thread about spiritual growth because I feel this is of great benefit, ...etc.

    Thank you so much. May we all live continuously day by day for the benefit of others. G!d bless you.

    I have no friends :'-( Hahaha... So I cannot share a view about that, but if I am over the top, again, please forgive me, and let us pray that the Graceful Lord will help me and all others to improve.

    May peace and love be with you ever and always
     
  20. Ella S.

    Ella S. Utilitarian Logician

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    It's very interesting, but I don't know too much about it

    I think, and I could be wrong, but from what I can gather it seems like the idea is that, by practicing optimistic gratitude and worshiping God, you are intentionally focusing away from your own ego onto something positive. I could see how this continuous practice, done properly, could lead to deeper spiritual experiences and reinforce self-transcendence.
     

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