r m p






Imagine There's No Heaven


John 11:23-26--what is the basis for the confidence shown in this verse, this promise, which comforts so many at funerals?

Mark 12:18-27-- Here we must side with the Sadducees. Behold on how delicate a strand the ponderous doctrine of the resurrection depends!


Jesus argues (ineffectively, to my mind) from the Pentateuch because of the Sadducee canon. The Old Time religion, and if you go back to that, here is what you will find: Genesis 3. Cf. Psalm 90. A bittersweet vision.

But it enhances the value of life by showing how precious it is, which it would not be if there were an endless supply of it. If all he tin in the world were to turn to gold, gold would become as worthless as tin.

The question of Psalm 90 is the crucial one: what can we do that will last? Can we leave behind us a monument? We hope to. But must our name be on it? How is that relevant beyond human vanity? So what if  "My name will mean nothing 10 minutes after I'm dead." Fame and infamy alike mean nothing. The challenge, the goal, is to enrich the world after you, whether or not your name is known.

(We praise the names of the great we know, but it is interesting to speculate how much difference has been made by those whose names we will never know...)

There are two ways: through your genes and through your memes.

But this may sound disappointing! You will not know the difference! There will be no heaven for you! But there are 2 mitigating factors:

1) Epicurus: "When death comes, we are not." Death is nothing to be feared! It is nothing at all!

2) And what is it you are being cheated of, as you imagine, by giving up the fantasy of a postmortem heaven? Think of the attendant, inevitable absurdities!

You must learn the lesson of Heidegger: the only way to assess your life and to decide what it is to mean, is to face the inevitability of death. You cannot define a thing until you find the finish of it.






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