Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life Vs. After Life

Do people who believe in an afterlife take this life for granted? Even within the Christian community there are arguments about whether Christians should focuss more on the every day problems than on seeing people get to heaven and I at one point wondered if even discussing hell even matters anymore. I know that since I became a Christian I was always told to not put my hope in worldly things because this is not my home. Then they'd tell me to look at God's wonderful creation. Hmmm, sounds a tad contradictory to me.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 4:44 PM


Blogger Art said...

Many focus way too much on the great beyond. I think that's bad. It's a pet peeve of mine... For one thing, I'd guess that about 99.9 % of people who believe in an afterlife think they're going to the good place anyway so why worry, right? Second, this becomes an excuse to either look down on "them" who aren't gonna make it to heaven (as if it were our decision!) or to excuse us from making the world a better place.

My understanding of "eternal life" is that it starts in the here-and-now and extends into the afterlife.

Likewise with the concept of hell - it can be here on Earth and extend into the afterlife...

Right, I'm rambling. I'll just add that I agree with your thoughts about the contradiction. I've seen and experienced that too.

12:15 AM  
Blogger jasdye said...


my old pastor (and i love him dearly and don't want to speak poor of him, or of so many in the Church who he's emblamatic of) had said - several times - that Jesus spoke more about hell than about anything else.

but then i'm reading the gospels and Jesus is talking completely in the frame of the kingdom of heaven, which is 'upon us'. if nothing else (and, again, i'd heavily suggest n.t. wright on this), i don't think jesus was about this fear-mongering 'hell is waiting if you don't think like we do' that i (and too many more to count) have subscribed to for far too long.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

SOMEtimes (though often not in real life, as it happens) having heaven as your focus is an excellent motivator for life right now. I agree with the idea that life right now is really just an extension of the life to come, and so with Heaven to look forward to, I'd rather increase the things to look forward to by living as well as I can now.

3:16 PM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

My pastor this weekend had the inenviable task of talking about Hell this weekend at church. I think it's one of those things that is a tough road. I mean, if i think about heaven too much I might be flighty and lost in the clouds, if I think about hell too much I can become a fire and brimstone type, if I think about the earth too much I can become worldly.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Darrell said...

I completely see where you're coming from.

My personal experience has been similar. I was raised in a fundamentalist church that believed in the relatively new theology of Millennialism and the Rapture, and I always felt that the focus on the idea that Jesus was "coming to take his church" was a distraction from the way that we're supposed to actually be living. I always thought that we should focus more on the immediate dire consequences of living badly. That was probably part of the reason that, as an adult, I pursued a faith that doesn't teache millennialism. The idea of a "rapture" that would rescue Christians from some sort of horrific trial beforehand always struck me as such a distraction. It might be ironic that hearing about it so much drove me away from the idea.

Art: My understanding of "eternal life" is that it starts in the here-and-now and extends into the afterlife.

I like that a lot and I don't think that we Christians hear it enough.

3:47 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Although I don't hold to the rapture thought (I just don't give it a lot of consideration), but I am often wondering how much of heaven and hell are we to consider.

5:40 AM  
Blogger jasdye said...

maybe we should do an online bible study of it. like, i'm sure that if the Bible does spend a lot of time and energy talking about heaven and/or hell (as i, like darrell and many of us heard growing up), then so should we.

but at this point, i'm not quite convinced that that is the case.

but then again, it's only been recently when i've started to wrestle with those questions. so, i'm not pretending to know a lot here. i'm seriously just questioning too.

3:12 PM  

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