Sunday, June 8, 2014

An Article Review on One's View of Heaven (and Hell)

An Article Review on One's View of Heaven (and Hell)
I read an article this morning about a Christian philosopher's view on the movie "Heaven is for Real". The man's name is Dr. William Lane Craig. The article was entitled "Philosopher Warns of Danger in Believing Stories About People Nearly Dying and Going to Heaven".

Either read the article first and return here, or read this and then read the article. Regardless of the order, DO read the article I'm referring to, this way you can have an accurate view of your own and not just mine. And honestly, I would love to have some feedback on this one.

Dr. Craig "is concerned that stories of supposed heavenly encounters during near-death experiences could lead Christians to stray from biblical teachings about the afterlife." While he "believes that some accounts of children and adults experiencing the divine during life-threatening health scares could be true, he has some reservations."

I'll reiterate that last part, "he has some reservations". "HE"?? I'm sorry, but who the fuck is "HE" to determine what someone else has or has not experienced??

He then goes on to say, "...there are elements of some of them that make me think that they often involve a kind of filtering through a person’s own frame of thought." Uh, duh. And isn't his own view of heaven based on the same personal reference, i.e. "frame of thought"?

He apparently has a "fear" that some Christians "might begin basing their views on the afterlife more on popular books and movies, like Heave Is Real, than on the Bible." Wow, worried much that the sheeple might find their own pasture to graze in that isn't so overflowing with manure that they feel it's time to spread out a bit, see what else there is over the hill? Can't have anyone in the fold wandering too far, we might have a mass exodus on our hands. And those leaving just might actually find their own cleaner, greener pastures elsewhere. When the shit gets thick it's time to get out of the muck or you'll be mired in it forever.

His next statement kills me, "For the Christian believer, he has in the Bible an authoritative guide to the afterlife that should determine his thinking about this,” OMFG! Are you serious?? Those two words, "authoritative" and "determine", tell me everything I need to know about this man and his method of teaching and preaching. And I want no part of it! The Bible is a guide from which to base your morals, ethics, and style of living. Its words have power and beauty. But it is not a "dictator" on how to live or believe. Each person must, for themselves, find God, the Divine, the Creator, or whatever name you and It have agreed upon. Knowing God is extremely personal, and no one may dictate how you must believe in It.

Then he states, "He didn’t dismiss the story behind “Heaven Is for Real,” a book and film based on Colton Burpo’s claim that he met dead relatives and Jesus during an emergency appendectomy in 2003. That said, Craig cautioned Christians not to shut off their critical thinking faculties simply because a story feels good and seems plausible." (my emphasis) 

"Shut off their critical thinking faculties"...LMAO Wow, the pot calling the kettle black. That is exactly what he is doing. Thankfully, I do have those skills and that is the reason I am writing this. Because his arrogance pissed me off so much.

This next sentence kills me, "Craig said that in his interpretation of the Bible’s teachings about death, a person’s soul is separated from their body when they die, leaving them as a spiritual, not physical, being." BINGO! We have a winner! Quote, "IN HIS INTERPRETATION..." I now refer you back to the previous paragraph about "critical thinking". If you were to follow statement number 2 ("his interpretation"), then statement number 1 ("critical thinking faculties") becomes an oxymoron. Wow. He's not the brightest bulb in the box is he? At the least, he's an unwitting hypocrite.

"Craig said that in his view, heaven and hell haven’t necessarily occurred yet, and won’t until the “end times” conclude..." Ok, from his and other Christian's viewpoints, I concur (to a point) on this one. The problem with the statement though is it being "in his view". Exactly! HIS view.

The article goes on, "He posited that Burpo and others might have experienced a God-given mental projection, but that they are not actually experiencing heaven as a literal place, nor are they seeing embodied spirits." And who exactly is he to determine who or what these people are seeing?? Was he there, inside their experience? Did he see and experience what they did, as they did? No. He's "positing" from his view, which is full of personal prejudices honed over years of his experiences that are only based upon having never experienced a "near-death experience". Which means his views are null and void.

"Instead, he believes that (they) are seeing disembodied spirits who are in a waiting place called “paradise.” There it is again, "he believes". Ugh. Really? Wow, you know what I believe? I believe this is a blowhard who wants his 15 minutes in the limelight, but like most others like him, he can't hold up his end of the argument.

"Paradise and its oppositional locality — hades — precede heaven and hell and are the spiritual realms where believers reside until they are reunited with their bodies at the end of times, he said." Ooookaaaaay! Wow. Whatever. I really can't find words to express my awe of the stupidity of that statement.

" the end of the world, on judgement day, God would raise the bodies of the dead and the souls would be reunited with …supernatural bodies.

From there it goes on to say, "That in mind, the philosopher said that Burpo and others might have actually seen projections of the spirits — images that God was allowing. What we cannot say as Christians is that [Burpo] was literally seeing his grandfather in a physical sense, because his [deceased] grandfather doesn’t have his body,” he continued. “You don’t go to heaven when you die. That sounds jarring … you don’t go to heaven or hell until after the resurrection.”

Ok, let me get this straight. God is only "allowing" people to see their dead relatives as "projections", but they're not really there because God hasn't given them their "spiritual body" yet. OMG WTF does he think that "projection" is, if not their "spiritual body"? What a bunch of convoluted twisted nonsense. He needs to take a course in critical thinking, because he has none.

This next statement is really good! "...he’s hoping to advance a positive and sympathetic look at stories like Burpos to help people realize that some digging and clarifying needs to be done to bring the stories in compliance with Christian teaching." Wow, there's that dictatorial bullshit again, "in compliance"? Seriously?? Holy shit. I mean, really? Un-fucking-believable.

"The title of the book, for instance — “Heaven Is for Real” — Craig called a “contradiction,” as he clearly believes heaven hasn’t yet come to fruition." Again, he believes. HIS beliefs on the subject.

Here is another article, by Dr. Craig himself, on the subject. Much of what is in the article I read and am referencing here, comes from this article by Dr. Craig. I won't bother breaking it down. This one was more than enough to piss me off for one day, thank you.

I really have a hard time with those who are supposed to be spiritual leaders in their faith. But rather than guiding, they take the term "leader" to heart and begin to dictate that which others are supposed to believe.

Why can't they just teach the words, in context, and let those who read them learn from them as they interpret them? What you may take from a verse or phrase is different from what I or someone else will get from it.

You can't tell me how to see God. I have to see God in my own way. I have to come to meet with the Creator in my time and in my own manner. It may be through the wind in the trees as they talk to me. It may be that tingly feeling you get when you feel the Divine is near and thus you know God is listening.

I don't know about you, but I do not need someone else telling (yes, dictating to) me how to experience anything spiritual. My beliefs will determine what I see on the Otherside. Yours will determine what you see and experience.

Years ago, I saw a show on cable (long before there were all these hundreds of cable channels), a show about death, dying, and experiences of those who had come back to tell their stories. There was a Christian man who had experienced dreams his whole life of being a Jewish concentration camp victim who was killed in the gas chamber. He even dreamt of his dying and just-after-death moments. Upon his death he saw a blue light which transported him toward it. But even in his dream state he wondered by he saw a blue light. Wasn't it supposed to be a white light?

He decided to do some research regarding the man he saw himself to be in his dreams, and the Jewish faith's beliefs on the subject of dying and passing over. He spoke with a Rabbi, telling him of his experiences in these dreams, and the blue light. As a Christian he couldn't understand why the light was blue and not white. The Rabbi told him that in the Jewish faith, the light is indeed blue!

This then becomes apropos regarding Dr. Craig's statement "....they often involve a kind of filtering through a person’s own frame of thought." Exactly. Each person's "own frame of thought". As a Christian he would've seen a white light. But as the Jewish believer he was experiencing in his dream state, he saw a blue light. If he'd dreamt of a Viking, it's then fair to say that he would've seen the Valkyries and the Halls of Valhalla. Or if he'd dreamt of a Pagan he would've seen the Summerland.

Isn't it time to stop dictating how we should believe in the Divine, and only be glad that we do?

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