Below are two thought experiments to probe possible clitches in your opinion about God, heaven and hell. Please only answer the appropriate polls. The first poll is for atheists, agnostics, non-theists or skeptics … — you get what I mean. The second poll is for theists (Christians, Jews, Muslims , theistic Hindus …). Don’t think too hard — my point in this thought experiment should be pretty obvious. Or, if you feel I am making horrendous assumptions, let me know.
Imagine that after you die, you surprisingly find out that there is indeed a heaven and a hell and a god. You are given a trial ride in heaven. But for you to stay forever if you willingly agree to honor this god during your eternal stay there. You must show respect and listen to his commands. If you won’t, you go to hell. You find out he is very different from the Old Testament god you have read of and that god shows you convincingly that he is really good and loving [He can even convincingly explain why suffering happens in the mortal realm in a way that he is still good]. So, would you stay? In the comments tell us what conditions you would add to the story to make your answer work. But for fun, I am keeping the poll questions simple.
Imagine that after you die, you were happy to see you were correct — there is indeed a heaven and a hell and you are in heaven. The atheists were wrong. But wait! You are disappointedly surprised to find out that God is not as you imagined. He is not all knowing, and is mean and egotistical. In fact, he will happily send Christians to hell who won’t worship him. But if you worship him he will keep you in heaven. If you aren’t willing to to worship this selfish, angry, mean, very powerful eternal being, you will be tortured forever in hell. Would you stay in Heaven or go to Hell? If you need to add caveats to your answer, tell us in the comments.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
--Walt Whitman (poet) "Song of Myself"
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
--Upton Sinclair (author, 1935)
"Gedanken sind die Schatten unserer Empfindungen -- immer dunkler, leerer, einfacherer als diese “
("Thoughts are the shadows of our emotions/sensations —always darker, emptier, simpler than the latter.”)
--Friedrich Nietzsche, Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
--Stephen Hawking (physicist) (source)
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."
--John F. Kennedy (US president)
"Η έναρξη της Σοφίας είναι ο καθορισμός των εκφράσεων "
(“The beginning of wisdom, is the definition of terms”)
"Notitia linguarum est prima porta sapientiae."
("Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.")
--Roger Bacon (scientist)
"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth."
--George Carlin (comedian)
"Ich fürchte, wir werden Gott nicht los, weil wir noch an die Grammatik glauben…"
("I am afraid we are not yet rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.")
--Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher) "Twilight of the Idols"
"Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
("That is not only not right, it is not even wrong.") Wolfgang Pauli (physicist)
"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” Humpty Dumpty (from Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass" 1872)