Grandma's in Hell, but I'm in Heaven so I just don't give a damn!

I carry a feed from Jeff Swenson's "Freethunk" cartoon on the right of my blog. Freethunk has been a reliable source of amusement for me, while riffing on the common questions that Atheists ask religious people.

I noticed that the latest cartoon riffs on a question that I've written of before - the question of the problem with Heaven. How can can you enjoy an eternity in Heaven knowing that someone you love is condemned to an eternity in Hell?

From my original entry on this subject, Heaven Full of Sorrow:

As a parent you die and end up in Heaven. Your beloved child (or children) dies (eventually) and ends up in Hell. Your child wasn’t evil, just a non-believer. She or he was a loving, good person – but due to a lack of faith or belief, or just not making the grade, she or he is doomed to Hell for the rest of eternity.

The question is: How can you enjoy your eternity in Heaven knowing that your beloved child or children are being punished for the rest of eternity? Won’t it haunt you to know that they are in a “lake of fire” or in whatever punishment you believe they are being subjected?

How can it be Heaven if you feel sorrow, pain, regret, panic and despair over the punishment of your child?

Those without children can’t get out of this so easily – replace “Child” with “Parent” or “Loved one”.

Or spouse.

Even if you have no one, even if you've managed to gain no friends, and never knew your family before you died and ascended to Heaven, won’t the inherent good in you result in your eternal mourning over those lost souls?

Pardon my hyperbole, but how can anyone enjoy teatime in Heaven knowing that their tea is boiled over burning sinners in a lake of fire?
Maybe Christians are made of sterner stuff than am I. Maybe I'm just being a wimp when I say that knowing my loved ones are in Hell would make Heaven an eternal Hell for me. Maybe spending eternity in Heaven puking my guts out in horror would be a poor way to repay God for my salvation.

It is a good thing I don't believe in Hell. The thought of good people going to Hell at the whim of a jealous, vindictive God, merely because they lacked belief in God, is abhorrent. It would clearly demonstrate the moral bankruptcy of such a God.

The cartoon is funny - the concept behind it is morally repugnant.


Anonymous said...

Great point. Although I don't believe in heaven, I've spent some time trying to envision it, as I think everyone has at one time or another. I think most people's vision of heaven includes their loved ones, I guess it never occurred to me that some of my loved ones may actually be in hell (well technically my non-believing ass would be the one in hell, but hypothetically).

I think believers in general operate on the assumption (or faith) that heaven is filled with all of their loved ones, and hell is filled with rapists and murderers, never realizing the paradox that you bring up in this blog post. The reality is heaven (if it did exist) would end up being a very exclusive club where people spend their time mourning the damnation of everything they ever loved.

For the vast majority of people, regardless of beliefs, I think family tops their list of what is really important in life. It seems like heaven couldn't be heaven without all of your loved ones there, after all, isn't that the entire point of heaven, to be reunited with lost loved ones?

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, but I'm new to your blog!

Due to my apparent masochistic nature, I read posts on (rapture ready website). According to some of the posters there, your memories of your life on earth are erased and you don't have family up there, you're all married to Jesus (even the men) and you all love each other equally, well except jesus, I guess you love him a little more. That way they won't know they have loved ones in hell.

Another rationalization I've read over there was that they're ok with their loved ones being in hell because they know its what they deserve.. Yet they readily admit you can't "know gods will", I guess in that case they can, because they "know" god is loving and just, so the fact that their child might be in hell is of no concern to them.

It obviously makes no sense to those of us with working brains, but I figured I'd let you know what at least a few of them believe.

Great blog btw!

Calladus said...

Hi Muffin and welcome to my blog.
I deleted your duplicate post - I don't think you saw that my blog is moderated.

I have always wondered about the "erased memories" explanation of Heaven. Without our memories, are we still ourselves? In fact, isn't it true that the erasure of memory could nullify free will?

Wouldn't it be easier for an infinite God to just populate Heaven with human souls that believe they lived a full, rewarding life and were "saved" and rewarded in Heaven?

Why go through all of life's experiences if you're just gonna filter out some of them?

I think it is like cooking brownies with nuts, and then picking out all the nuts afterwards. Why bother?

Thanks for the compliment. Welcome back any time!