Jump to content

You've Got To Go Through Hell Before You Get To Heaven


Jagged Zen Monkey
 Share

Recommended Posts

When my atheist cousin wrote to me with questions about hell, I wrote the following in reply. He's about as well versed in scripture as the average Christian.

 

 

"I believe we currently reside in the hell Jesus spoke of in his parables. Likewise, I believe this is where we will return if we fail to make the grade. Like the rich man in Jesus' parable, we too may very well face a potential life of torment once again if we neglect our duties in this life. I believe being reborn in this imperfect world is the second death spoken of in the book of Revelation. I believe that life on this earth as it relates to our karmic debt is the hell Jesus alluded to in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The earth as it exists today is a place of many trials. It is a place of suffering and torment. It's not necessarily a terrible thing for us all, but it is something that is necessary. Life is where we get our education. We learn from the many hardships we experience in life, some of which we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. The earth, in effect, is a school where we learn how to live effectively, compassionately, and productively. The more we live, the more we learn and the easier life becomes. I believe we live our lives on this earth until we have learned how to live effectively in God's kingdom. No matter how many lifetimes it takes, I personally believe we are all destined for a perfect world.

 

 

Life is about growth, development, learning how to love, and about service. Until we put into practice what we learn and become faithful, living in harmony with those we share this world with, we will continue to experience unnecessary hardships. I believe we need this education in order to become productive members of a perfect society. You can't hardly expect a new creature (Adam/Eve) or a new born babe to know how to live effectively from the get go. For example: You can read about fire and heat and be told about fire and heat, but until you experience getting burned all you have is second hand knowledge. I simply think we are required to experience life first hand in order to understand how to live effectively. It can be no other way as far as I'm concerned. We need our education, and we gain our education by living and by learning our life lessons first hand.

 

 

I think the whole point of life and suffering is to teach us how to live appropriately in the kingdom Jesus declared to us. Without knowledge, without understanding, and without our education we cannot possibly hope to maintain a perfect kingdom as a people. We are here to learn how to conduct our lives in God's kingdom, and to learn how to live according to the statutes of our Creator. This school sux sometimes, but if we expect to get ahead in life, we need to be educated. We need to be wise and faithful. I myself want a better life than the one I have today. I am certainly learning how to lead a better life the older I get and the more educated I become, however. One day I will be fully ready to live my life in the kingdom as a well educated adult, tried and tested by life, and refined by the spirit. Until then, I fully expect to go back to school at the end of each life cycle, so that this "school" might prepare me for a future in God's kingdom.

 

 

Each of us are like children I think, and it is life that helps us mature and grow into productive members of society. We most assuredly need this education in order to maintain a perfect society in the future. We need to know and understand how to live in harmony with all things. I believe that we will one day have this knowledge, that we will come to learn how to love w/o condition, and that we will one day live together as one united people. Hell (this earth) is not so much a place of punishment as it is a place of many chances. It doesn't always seem to be fair, but it's all we've got for now. It is written that it is appointed for a man to die once, then comes the judgement. As a man I will die a "natural death", at which point I believe I will face the potential judgment of being sent back to earth to die again, which is the second death (rebirth). If I make the grade in this life, I believe I will peacefully rest and find comfort in Abraham's bosom until the kingdom is established, at which point I will be raised, or rather reborn into a world w/o suffering. This is my hope anyway. I fully believe that there is more to come after we die. This life is surely not the end of it all. I myself am looking to make the grade. I want to ace life as if it were a final exam or an interview for a perfect career. So yeah, we go through hell in order to get to heaven, just as we go through college in order to secure a future career.

 

 

This isn't so much about wanting to believe a thing as much as it's about wanting more and hoping for something better. I'm happy you have found peace as an atheist, cuz. If there is nothing more, then I'll never know. There's no harm in having hope is there? My hope actually helps me appreciate life for what it's worth. The hope I have leads me to care more about the "education" this life offers. I simply pay more attention to the lessons at hand. A hope in the after life certainly isn't required to lead a good life today, but it does give me something more to look forward to. Sure, I have some beliefs that require a good amount of faith, but they help me live a more abundant life today. Some would call me delusional and unrealistic. So what? If it helps me live a beneficial life, then I don't see how it can be a bad thing. What say you?"

 

 

I certainly didn't change his mind with our conversation, but he did tell me that he started praying again. Although I'm not certain who he's praying to. I'm pretty sure he still labels himself as an atheist, which I don't quite get. He's certainly a very unique individual, hehe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi JZM,

 

I certainly don't share your belief that "I believe being reborn in this imperfect world is the second death spoken of in the book of Revelation" . I would suggest that i am already resurrected from the first death (spiritual) and ltherefore the second death (physical) has no power over me but that disagreement is not really that important to me. I think you have found something that works for you and gives you motivation and peace in life to learn from it and do better. That is part of your journey and is important to you and that seems to me is important.

 

Reality to me seems not to be based on personal beliefs as much as what is in the current moment. To align oneself with the essence of ones life seems to me to be sufficient to experience that kingdom now in spite of physical circumstances rather than hope in a future life. However, whatever seems to work for one is fine with me.

 

I do think there is much truth in your topic title in the sense that we do in a sense experience hell here on earth that drives us to seek heaven.

 

Best of wishes on your path,

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It certainly works for and makes sense to me. For some hell is a literal place of punishment. For others it is simply the grave. Still for others it is something else entirely. No matter how we view hell or the second death, Jesus most certainly taught that such a place exists. I'm not sure how Progressives view Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus or how progressives view reincarnation, but the view I presented above does resonate with me. Not only is it hopeful, but I believe it is biblical also. I'd love to hear the board members views of what hell is and perhaps even an explanation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

 

Anyone up to it? What is hell?

 

@ Joseph - I think that there are a few among us who when they die will in fact be raised (reborn) into a world without suffering. Eternal life? Who knows with any certainty but this is my hope. For some, the many life lessons are perhaps coming at a close and they have been prepared for the coming new world. They have perhaps finished their education and are ready for God's kingdom. I'd love to be counted among them, but I have a feeling that there are many lessons still left for me to learn in life. Maybe I will complete the course in this lifetime, maybe I won't. No matter. I think God gives us ample time to learn and that God allows us to learn at our own pace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has a first shall be last and the last shall be first theme which is consistent with other teachings by Jesus.

 

The passage is not literal.

 

It sees the world as a duality. I don't think the world is best represented as a battle between good and evil, heaven and hell. I think of Hell as a Zoasterian souvenir brought back from captivity, an interesting trinket.

 

It only appears in Luke. Luke is the gospel writer who sees the Cross as substitionary sacrifice. Usually this requires heaven and hell. Something to be saved from and for in the afterlife. I am agnostic about the afterlife and think it has little importance for this life.

 

I believe the writer may have had a rich context in mind that is invisible to us, which, from what I see in Wikipedia, does not involve an actual hell.

 

This is quite interesting

http://en.wikipedia....man_and_Lazarus

 

I think it was John Calvin who said sin is self idolatry, a excellent definition. In thinking about a road to wholeness I don't see hell anywhere. Hurt, harm, broken relationships - but to label any of them as HELL is not helpful except in literature and personal accounts, perhaps.

 

In agreement with your Topic Title is Sam Keen who has said that you can only rise in correspondence to how far you have been down.

 

http://fora.tv/2010/03/11/Sam_Keen_In_The_Absence_of_God

 

http://samkeen.com/

 

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hell is who knows what, if anything. Certainly some people believed in a physical Hell either during Jesus' life or shortly thereafter, just as there were people at the same time convinced the universe revolved around the earth. Do we have to take everything for gospel that is talked about in the bible - not literal, but that somehow it means something when quite possibly it could simply be an ignorant cultural understanding?

 

Even if Jesus did firmly believe in a heaven and hell and a sepration of the saved and unsaved - so? Could it be that even Jesus didn't get his theology 100% right?

 

I certainly don't believe in a hell as an eternal place of punishment, and I'm highly skeptical that it exists out of this dimension somehow whatesoever.

 

So then I'm left with considering is this life hell. Well, is it? I mean many of us have great lives dotted with bits of pure bliss and bits of pain and unhappiness. Some people have more or less of one or the other. But I don't think calling this life Hell and viewing it as some sort of training ground or something to 'get through' so as to move on, makes any sense. It is what it is and we deal with the good and the bad - sometimes the really bad and sometimes the really good.

 

As far as the Lazurus story goes I think it is simply a folk tale using appropriate resources available at the time to get the message across. The message being to look after your brother - whoever wrote it might have believed in a real Hell of may have simply thought such a reference would help get the message across.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Even if Jesus did firmly believe in a heaven and hell and a sepration of the saved and unsaved - so? Could it be that even Jesus didn't get his theology 100% right?

 

 

Hard to say. I mean, the dude was homeschooled by a pro, so ... :P haha I joke, I joke. I've been up too longand have had too much wine.

 

The separation of the saved and unsaved is something that's always bothered me. My fundy relatives tell us that we "won't see each other in Heaven" because (in their eyes) we're a bunch of heathens. My feeling is usually, "Thank goodness - who'd want to spend eternity with you lot?!" but I do find it quite rude.

 

I don't know what happens in the afterlife. I will say, quite truthfully, that I hope there is a hell, because there are some people I feel very strongly belong there - and if there isn't a hell, I'll feel kind of ripped off about the whole thing. However, I have no idea what it would or would not look like. Pitchforks and bbqs seems a little cliche.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My view is that God is everything or everything is in God, Jung the collective consciousness. Therefore, heaven and hell, good and bad, happiness and misery, peace and panic appear to be opposites, but they are only the result of opposing forces inside God. These forces in my mind are not at war as mentioned but work together to lead us to the one power or God. These forces teach us how to live and how to think so we can be happy in unity. I know with my hard head I have always learned the hard way, which is hell. Man already has this ability to be at peace, but first I know I had to realize my relation to the Whole, a relationship with God in complete unity. I don't feel God would leave a seeker of the truth without truth because it is God that impels the seeking and cares for our every need. God impels seeking through love, not fear and when one sees everything as God, one falls in love with everything, everyone and God Himself. God is not separate from anything; He is the Life of our life, the Reality within our own reality and the Soul within our being. Our union with God can be witnessed in our minds starting with the replication of the union between opposites. When I see the Christian extremist talk about their heaven and hell, I feel more attracted to their hell than heaven. I see people alive growing progressing towards God in hell and at the other extreme it seems their heaven is sterile with people who know it all and look down on others. The symbol for the Holy Ghost is a bird flying upward with two wings, heaven and hell. Once wing in the extremist view doesn't cut it, we need both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd love to hear the board members views of what hell is and perhaps even an explanation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

 

According to the fellows of the Jesus Seminar (in the The Five Gospels), "The speeches of Jesus in this narrative are all the creative work of the evangelist [John]." They do not think that any portion of this passage is authentic to Jesus.

 

So, what was John trying to convey? The Five Gospels says, ". . . the raising of Lazarus from the dead is the decisive action prompting the arrest of Jesus. This contrasts with the synoptic gospels where the catalytic action is the temple incident." They say that John moved the temple incident to the beginning of Jesus' ministry to make room for the Lazarus story.

 

Okay, did John believe in a literal Hell? I think so. Did Jesus? Probaby.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd love to hear the board members views of what hell is and perhaps even an explanation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus

In short, it seems to me hell is living with the ego.ruling ones life creating a state of internal suffering and that the personification of the ego is nothing more than satan revealed in us. Both of them being illusory in nature. Heaven on the other hand is an ever present elevated state in alignment with the whole in which internal suffering has ceased in spite of circumstances. Experienced Reality is individualistically highly subjective and lies.somewhere in between.

 

I don't know what Jesus or John really believed or what John really wrote nor what was the intended meaning of what we read as the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hell is who knows what, if anything. Certainly some people believed in a physical Hell either during Jesus' life or shortly thereafter, just as there were people at the same time convinced the universe revolved around the earth. Do we have to take everything for gospel that is talked about in the bible - not literal, but that somehow it means something when quite possibly it could simply be an ignorant cultural understanding?

 

Even if Jesus did firmly believe in a heaven and hell and a sepration of the saved and unsaved - so? Could it be that even Jesus didn't get his theology 100% right?

 

I certainly don't believe in a hell as an eternal place of punishment, and I'm highly skeptical that it exists out of this dimension somehow whatesoever.

 

So then I'm left with considering is this life hell. Well, is it? I mean many of us have great lives dotted with bits of pure bliss and bits of pain and unhappiness. Some people have more or less of one or the other. But I don't think calling this life Hell and viewing it as some sort of training ground or something to 'get through' so as to move on, makes any sense. It is what it is and we deal with the good and the bad - sometimes the really bad and sometimes the really good.

 

As far as the Lazurus story goes I think it is simply a folk tale using appropriate resources available at the time to get the message across. The message being to look after your brother - whoever wrote it might have believed in a real Hell of may have simply thought such a reference would help get the message across.

 

Could be, but this life teaches us many things about living and how life works. If there is more after, then it likewise makes sense that this life is meant to prepare us for what's to come. If a person cannot see value in the life lessons learned here, or how life leads us to lead better lives through our experiences, then I'm not sure what to say. You, in effect, suggest that it makes no sense to think that life prepares us for the kingdom. Surely you don't think we are ready for the kingdom as we are. How would that work exactly?

 

If the kingdom will be free of evil and wickedness, then how exactly will anyone ever get there w/o first going through life and learning how to live in love, peace, and in unity with our fellow man? Likewise, without the knowledge of evil and its effects on our lives, I don't think we would be able to prevent ourselves from 'falling' again. In my view we can work the program and graduate knowing and understanding how to live effectively, or we can resist and not make the grade. It's the hereafter part that we don't know with any certainty.

Edited by Jagged Zen Monkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My view is that God is everything or everything is in God, Jung the collective consciousness. Therefore, heaven and hell, good and bad, happiness and misery, peace and panic appear to be opposites, but they are only the result of opposing forces inside God. These forces in my mind are not at war as mentioned but work together to lead us to the one power or God. These forces teach us how to live and how to think so we can be happy in unity. I know with my hard head I have always learned the hard way, which is hell. Man already has this ability to be at peace, but first I know I had to realize my relation to the Whole, a relationship with God in complete unity. I don't feel God would leave a seeker of the truth without truth because it is God that impels the seeking and cares for our every need. God impels seeking through love, not fear and when one sees everything as God, one falls in love with everything, everyone and God Himself. God is not separate from anything; He is the Life of our life, the Reality within our own reality and the Soul within our being. Our union with God can be witnessed in our minds starting with the replication of the union between opposites. When I see the Christian extremist talk about their heaven and hell, I feel more attracted to their hell than heaven. I see people alive growing progressing towards God in hell and at the other extreme it seems their heaven is sterile with people who know it all and look down on others. The symbol for the Holy Ghost is a bird flying upward with two wings, heaven and hell. Once wing in the extremist view doesn't cut it, we need both.

 

I agree with the majority of your post. We need both pleasure and pain to ascend. To me hell is not a bad thing. Hell is merely a means to ascend and a place of learning that prepares us for greater things. If it's not heaven then it's hell is the thought here. I don't think anyone will ever know it all or be in a position to look down on others. I think those who first learn how to live effectively in love, peace, and unity will be preserved after death and sleep until the kingdom is established by the living. At which time I believe the dead will be raised (reborn) into God's kingdom. Those who have died, but who were among the first to understand how to live in the kingdom, will be the last to enter the kingdom. Many names come to mind actually. I believe they will enter the kingdom by natural means. By natural I mean by birth as a new born.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Could be, but this life teaches us many things about living and how life works. If there is more after, then it likewise makes sense that this life is meant to prepare us for what's to come. If a person cannot see value in the life lessons learned here, or how life leads us to lead better lives through our experiences, then I'm not sure what to say. You, in effect, suggest that it makes no sense to think that life prepares us for the kingdom. Surely you don't think we are ready for the kingdom as we are. How would that work exactly?

 

If the kingdom will be free of evil and wickedness, then how exactly will anyone ever get there w/o first going through life and learning how to live in love, peace, and in unity with our fellow man? Likewise, without the knowledge of evil and its effects on our lives, I don't think we would be able to prevent ourselves from 'falling' again. In my view we can work the program and graduate knowing and understanding how to live effectively, or we can resist and not make the grade. It's the hereafter part that we don't know with any certainty.

 

Certainly there is a possibility that this life has something to do with a next, I just don't see any reason to believe in a 'next'. If I don't think there is a kingdom hereafter then I don't concern myself with the argument that we are currently not fit for it. I do agree that we can and do learn life lessons along the way, but that's simply the nature of the beast IMO.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in heaven now, but get lost in a good or bad hair day. That is hell to get lost in the hair style that is never perfect. Heaven is right here, but we are somewhere else. That is hell to be in heaven, but not realize it. The Eternal moment in the here and now, no one has a monopoly on it, Heaven is everywhere. Every step of the way is the way to insight, the Divinity within, the Eternal moment, which is non-dual in the present moment. Heaven is not separate from ourselves, but is obscured with distractions. Beyond our attachments, aversions and judgements there is no-thing, nothing that is good or bad, they are just being. Getting closer to God we can enjoy every step of the way, getting closer to the Divinity within, attending to the present, we know it and be it by just being. We get glimpses of the Eternal Heaven because we are in Eternity now. Turning the search light inward we get in-sight of the Divinity within friends, spouses, children and work mates, but first we must find Divinity within ourselves. Heaven is the wake up call that frees us from bitterness and resentment. It doesn't make us perfect, but makes us aware that everything is perfect in God, the Whole, the collective unconsciousness. Just some late night thoughts..............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your late night thoughts are very similar to to how I view things as well. Not exact, but close! I've not made it past my distractions, thus I'm still learning here in "hell", which could very well turn at any moment. Ahhh to be free! Maybe one day, eh?

Edited by Jagged Zen Monkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Earth was truly Hell, and failing to "make the grade" resulted in only reincarnation, I would gladly fail every time. I like Earth, and given the chance between living another life here or an uncertain existence in Heaven, I would pick reincarnation every time. Of course, I may be biased by my mostly good life as a white straight semi-Christian male.

 

Still, the world is a pretty nice place, and God is present in it. If this is Hell, I'll take it.

 

 

All that said, I do not believe in Hell at all. I hope there is an afterlife of some sort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Earth was truly Hell, and failing to "make the grade" resulted in only reincarnation, I would gladly fail every time. I like Earth, and given the chance between living another life here or an uncertain existence in Heaven, I would pick reincarnation every time. Of course, I may be biased by my mostly good life as a white straight semi-Christian male.

 

Still, the world is a pretty nice place, and God is present in it. If this is Hell, I'll take it.

 

 

All that said, I do not believe in Hell at all. I hope there is an afterlife of some sort.

 

I quite agree with your sentiments about life not being bad. However, for many life is a nightmare. I think the goal is to lessen the woes many experience in life by being good stewards, which is something the rich man was not. I think we all have our karmic debts to pay, so life next time round may or not be as pleasant as the life you lead today. This is why I view life to a place of learning. We may very well learn to become good stewards over many lifetimes. Once we have learned to be good stewards, and embrace our call as good stewards, we are then able to move forward in God's kingdom, which is said to be a place w/o suffering. I for one strive to enter the gates of heaven, but I realize that I'm likely not yet ready to do so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I quite agree with your sentiments about life not being bad. However, for many life is a nightmare.

 

Given we have such different experiences in this life, it seems to me that would be hard to generalize about the meaning of Hell in this life. Some really do experience awful lives where others (like me) have been very blessed.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being that we do experience such contrasting lives, I might suggest that karma plays a major role in the quality of life we each experience. Like the rich man who lived a great life, yet failed to be a good steward, we too face certain karmic debts when we ourselves neglect the needs of those we come in contact with. I've been very blessed as well, George. However, I do my best to be a good steward by sharing my blessings with those who are in need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

George. However, I do my best to be a good steward by sharing my blessings with those who are in need.

 

I absolutely did not intend to imply that this would be, in any way, questionable - that is exactly what we who are blessed with comfortable lives should do. My point was simply about generalizing Hell in this life with such varying life experiences.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the comments about earth being comfortable. I feel it is comfortable because you are in heaven. Heaven or Hell to me are mental states of mind. I also feel fortunate and enjoy life when in the present, but everyonce in awhile I get a glimse of a higher state of the mind. I experienced hell on earth and heaven on earth so the glimpse of eternity propels me to another step in awareness and bam...bam...another moment in heaven. It might be the same step, but I seemed I change for the better so I enjoy another glimpse and step to nowhere. Heaven helps us and I feel the gimpses of it help me. I change, get a glimpse become better so it seems logical for me to continue onwards. Some have steeper steps some are on an excalador, but we all are on a path to heaven because we are already in heaven on earth.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I absolutely did not intend to imply that this would be, in any way, questionable - that is exactly what we who are blessed with comfortable lives should do. My point was simply about generalizing Hell in this life with such varying life experiences.

 

George

 

I think the term hell has a predominately negative stigma attached without cause. Once upon a time the term "Christian" was a term with a negative stigma attached also. Modern Christians use the term hell to connote something brutally negative, when in reality I think hell is simply a place of learning. This place of learning is riddled with both pleasure and pain. Both pleasure and pain are needed if we wish to further ascend. Beyond this, the pains others experience often move us to compassion, whereby we come to view humanity as being one, as opposed to being something separate from ourselves. Hell isn't a bad thing, but rather it is something necessary when it comes to us developing and growing as a people.

Edited by Jagged Zen Monkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service