Paradise or Paradox?

by Linda Jenkinson |

Heaven on Earth
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

The idea of heaven is much more of a paradox than it is a paradise. The world would be a whole lot better if people would come to terms with the idea that life on Earth is what we have and it makes our world a very special place in the universe— one of the very few that supports life as we know it.

Long before I quit believing in a deity, I realized that heaven was the stuff of myths. A place with no needs to fulfill and no problems to solve is no paradise at all. After all, it is the rain that makes us grateful for the sun and the drought that welcomes the rain. I also realized that my chance of meeting the people I admire, in the "next" life, was minute. After all, they wouldn’t even know I existed, so if forced to meet me, it wouldn’t be their paradise, would it? If you take an honest look, you see that the only true paradise— the only world full of unimaginable miracles is this one. There is no other place that our poor brains can comprehend to be better.

Churches (organized religions) keep their parishoners in line using the "carrot and stick" technique via the promise of an afterlife that is a paradise for the virtuous and the threat of damnation for the wayward. Organized religions are a way to brainwash the public to make them conform to standards of which a particular faction of society approves. They offer the hope of a better life after death while giving no hope of a better life for the living.

Religion is an unnecessary evil in this world, responsible for more grief, pain, and terror than any other facet of humanity. Religious persecutions and wars have infiltrated every culture since the beginnings of civilization. Religious teachings threaten the non-conformist, free-thinker with an eternity of pain and terror. Instead of enriching life, they suck the beauty out of it, creating longing and yearning instead of satisfaction and action.

You don't have to worship a prophet to accept his teachings as valid and helpful. You can respect and even follow the wisdom of Buddha, Mohammed, Native cultures, the patriarchs of Judaism and even Jesus of Nazareth without adoration. Whether Ghandi, Martin Luther King. or the Dali Lama, Mohammed or Jesus, although the philosophies of religious leaders may seem that they have sprung from religion, like all cultural mores, they come from the wisdom of its teachers and what was accepted as wholesome in their society.

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