A comradely hug for you, Outroar!
Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
So is heaven a metaphor?
Full weirdness disclosure: I used to stay with nuns in the school holidays. Voluntarily. I loved listening to them talking, often arguing, about morality and theology. And cross-stitching. But the really inspiring ones were basically visionaries: they had such tremendous imaginations that they could paint pictures of a metaphysical concept like heaven, so that it would seem both real and unreal; a place and a sensation; a thing and an idea.
Christians have to believe that heaven exists. But in what form? The possibilities are endless. I've always been far, far more interested in listening to how other christians perceive heaven than in pinning down a definitive theological framework for what it is and isn't. Quite simply, nobody can know. We have a few oblique allusions in the bible — a book written by men with no personal experience of heaven — and that's all.
Sorry to get all mystical on yo asses, but there it is. As humans, christians can only have expectations of heaven that are related to their ways of perceiving things on earth. Maybe it's a big house party in the sky. Maybe it's the sensation of the soul enjoying absolute tranquillity. Maybe it's just annihilation. One day we may find out.
I'm sorry, Ezinra, but the whole "God moves in mysterious ways" notion has never impressed me. Why? Because it's a frightful cop-out, like saying "well, that isn't MY christianity". You can never ever pin that sort of subjective shape-shifting nonsense down, so to my mind it's just not at the game. I make no apology for reaching for my favourite quote from (of all people) HP Lovecraft yet again :
“All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.”