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  1. #41
    Oberon
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    I have dreamed of heaven. In my dreams, heaven bears no relationship to harp-playing angels walking around on clouds, or pearly gates with St. Peter sitting at the admin desk.

    The heaven I dreamed of is much more like that envisioned by C.S. Lewis, and especially by Tolkien:

    "…the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."

  2. #42
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I have dreamed of heaven. In my dreams, heaven bears no relationship to harp-playing angels walking around on clouds, or pearly gates with St. Peter sitting at the admin desk.

    The heaven I dreamed of is much more like that envisioned by C.S. Lewis, and especially by Tolkien:

    "…the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."
    Holy crap a friend literally just quoted that passage to me in an email this morning...
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  3. #43
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Holy crap a friend literally just quoted that passage to me in an email this morning...
    Uh oh... Coincidence... or "Godgram"? You be the judge.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #44
    Oberon
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    Here's the full description, from p. 2 of my blog:

    In my dream, I am hiking up a mountain. I am very high up; the wind is cold and dry. The path is hard stone, not gravel but the solid rock of the mountain itself. There are no trees at this height, no weeds, not even soil; just steep, rough, bare rock. The path winds among boulders and outcrops, and often I have to use my hands to climb. The view behind me is probably spectacular, but I don’t look up. The path requires my full attention.

    I come to a place where the path levels off, and I meet a man there. He is grizzled and old, but lean and strong. His eyes, his face, the muscles on his arms, and his gnarled legs and feet all recall to me the rugged gray stone of the mountain; it is as though this man had been made for this place, out of the materials at hand. He stands waiting, wearing a tunic, a simple staff in his hand. He does not smile, nor does he frown, but he stands and waits with quiet regard as the wind tugs at his grizzled beard. I am not afraid of him, but I treat him with deference.

    “Can you help me find my way?” I ask him.

    “Yes. Where do you mean to go?” he replies.

    “To the promised land,” I tell him. I do not know at the time why I chose those words, but I know as I hear them leave my lips that they are true.

    “You are on your way,” he says, and gestures behind him. Then I realize that the flat place is the mountaintop, and I can see into the valley below.

    I am so high that as I look down I can see puffy white clouds hovering over the valley floor. But for the shadows of the few clouds the valley is bathed in the brightest sunshine, and the air is brilliantly clear. A river winds over the valley, bordered on both sides by emerald-green fields. The fields turn to woods further from the river, and the woods cover the foothills and come partway up the mountains on each side. I see a hawk circling above the river; sheep dot the pastureland.

    It is all very distant, but also very sharp and distinct. I do not see, but know somehow, that further down the valley there are homes. Among them is my home.

    This is my dream, and unlike most of my dreams I have not forgotten it, though it has been years since I dreamed it. I can still recall the mountain, the man, and the valley in my mind.

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  6. #46
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sLiPpY View Post
    Ja, being stuck in some tacky place with St. Peter at the door?

    Singing praises and all that shit 24/7?

    Now that would be hell.
    i'd like to think st. peter cusses like a sailor, looks like jerry garcia, and upgraded to a gibson les paul (no harps). heaven couldn't be that bad. better than hell, where there's nothing but black metal and hitler.

  7. #47
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post

    Why? Limiting of possibilities but being forced to exist forever?

    Basicly .... yes.

  8. #48
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm going to clarify that this applies to the most popularized forms of Christianity, however I know numbers of individuals who approach their Christian faith legitimately in a very different way and are quite "free" and do things for positive reasons, without judgment of others, versus the easier form of legalistic Christianity that is easy to practice, that seeks to dominate and control through bondage to Law. It's one of those interesting faiths that can be approached on different layers.
    Nicely said. This is what I meant but failed to explain.
    The most helpful metaphor for me within Christianity within recent years has been "God as parent" -- especially as expressed in the parable of the Prodigal Son Loving Father, where we see an example of parenthood that bears with and believes in all things and instead of approaching things through the "sin" facet approaches things through the "love" facet.

    (I also think it validates your point that this story for decades/centuries has been referred to as "The Prodigal Son" -- emphasizing the child's straying from the "right path" -- versus it being better embodied in the idea of the "Loving Father," where we would see the parent's sacrifice, long-suffering, and desire to overcome the relational gulf instead of merely punishing a child who disappointed him.)

    It's not that people don't stray, but that the viewpoint people have approached it on is much more concerned with judging other peope's behavior, determining how good they are, and then punishing them for wrongdoing, rather than seeing relational violations as painful breaks between people and seeking to restore them positively. A purely punitive hell in this sense seems to run counter to the Christian God's expressed desire to restore people to himself.

    Anyway, overall, I don't see a punitive Hell as helpful psychologically, so even if the culture is straying from that concept, it's not necessarily all a bad thing as supposed by the OP.
    Agreed. I suppose its simply easier to teach morals as one would to a small child. Children often do response more effectively when the connection between action and consquence is emphasised rather than when using a complex ethical approach. But this is not a long term solution - the moral capacity of an adult deserves greater respect. The Church certainly has an obligation to do more than merely provide moral instruction for its congregation.

    Things are slowly changing for the better and there is more emphasis on suport and guidance within many Christian denominations. And as you say, moving away from negative approaches to ethics is surely a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I don't mean to be critical... no disrespect intended, in other words... but I'm pretty sure your understanding of Christianity isn't as good as you think it is.
    I certainly don't think that Christianity is inherently negative and judgemental. No one who has read the teachings of Christ could deny its positive messages. However, there is often a vast gap between the teachings of Christ and the approaches of Christian institutions.

    I do believe that the concepts of heaven and hell are intended to serve as an incentive/deterrance dichotomy. What is hell other than the threat of eternal damnation? Its purely for the incitement of fear with the intention of bringing people into line. Emphasis on heaven as a reward is just as bad. It encourages people to do what is right purely so they might benefit from it. And surely this approach to ethics undermines the fundamental teachings of Christ.

    Of course, I recognize that are Christian faiths that have moved away from this focus and I applaud them for it. I appologise if I appeared to paint all Christiainity with the same brush. This was unintended.

  9. #49
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    that's pretty much the case for why people might choose "hell". (Because "heaven," to them, would be "hell.")
    .
    now wait a minute, that's ridiculous. If you are a loving parent who parents their child...the child goes off the path a few times...you parent him some more......eventually, dont you kind of want your kid to do his own thing (rather than praising 24/7)?

    This is a serious question regarding the whole "praise him" thing. The jesus praise I can understand...and saying thanks to god now n then, yes...but why would heaven just be about praise 24/7?

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    now wait a minute, that's ridiculous. If you are a loving parent who parents their child...the child goes off the path a few times...you parent him some more......eventually, dont you kind of want your kid to do his own thing (rather than praising 24/7)?

    This is a serious question regarding the whole "praise him" thing. The jesus praise I can understand...and saying thanks to god now n then, yes...but why would heaven just be about praise 24/7?
    Hmm, I tend to see questions and issues like this as a bit too much like mankind projecting on the cosmos, I mean objects to that sort of thing are generally based upon visualising heaven like an earthly kingly court or presidency or something like that. A more apt example would be to consider a romance, especially at the opening stages, in which people praise the loved one unconditionally.

    That said its still a too human explanation for me, if there is a God and afterlife it'll be like nothing we can imagine.

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