RANGER AGAINST WAR: Is Heaven a One-Way Street? <

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is Heaven a One-Way Street?

If I listened long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true

Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried

Still I look to find a reason to believe

--A Reason to Believe,

Tim Harden


Human decency is not derived from religion,

It precedes it

--God is Not Great,

Christopher Hitchens


I've paid my dues

Time after time

I've done my sentence

But committed no crime

--We are the Champions,

Queen


Prepare yourself you know it's a must

Gotta have a friend in Jesus

So you know that when you die

He's gonna recommend you

To the spirit in the sky

--Spirit in the Sky,

Norman Greenbaum

_________________


Sunday Homily: What then?

There are things we believe to be true, even if facts get in the way.


The ancient Greeks believed that the universe had no beginning; it just always was. The Jewish God showed up and was revealed as the Unmoved Mover. This monolithic being created the whole shebang from his munificence and creativity (presumably without the need for hallucinogens).


Today, we are more like the ancient Greeks in that we believe the universe to be eternal, without end. We believe this based on our acceptance of biblical promises that we will be rewarded in an afterlife with eternal happiness, or at least, that we will live eternally.


But what if this presumption is as wrong as many of the other Greek beliefs? Physicists agree with the Bible when they hawk the Big Bang Theory -- some event created all that we know. However, predicating a beginning point does not demand a perpetual persistence; the universe is not a Wankel rotary engine, after all. In fact, a start date would seem to imply an end date.


Some of our presumptions about systems:


  • A beginning implies and end
  • A front implies a back
  • Good implies bad
  • An inverse implies an obverse
  • Up implies down

These thoughts popped into Ranger's head as he traveled Highway 90, and he wondered what St. Paul or Constantine felt at his epiphanies. If the universe is not eternal, where will God stash the faithful? Is there an alternate universe of Ft. Knox Storage Centers which could serve as eternal crypts? Will He contract out to a group like the Chinese who could provided massive shipping containers to hold the cargo of humanity?

Or, is heaven not subject to the rules of the universe? Could infinity fit on the head of a pin? Is heaven in this solar system, or somewhere else?


Directionality is also a question. We now know that subatomic particles can change their spin ... kind of like tiny Glenn Becks or minute hermaphrodites. Therefore, if a person can ascend to heaven, does it not follow that they could also travel in the opposite direction?


This would be like the template that religion allows people here on earth ... one could get a little taste of the strange on the weekend, say, then pop back up for some hearty Confessional and a good bowl of soup to get back on the good foot (until the next descent into the fiery place.) Watch how many transits you take, though -- do it one too many times, and you may end up looking like Kieth Richards.


Or is heaven a one-way street? Can a person leave heaven, or is it a kind of benevolent prison, like being consigned to live in Rolla, Missouri for life? Is this the mandatory sentence for living a fairly good life -- a kind of eternal Groundhog Day, albeit without snow shoveling?


Do they speak English or Aramaic in heaven, or do you cleave off into enclaves of only your own native-speakers -- mini gated communities in the Giant Gated Community in the sky? Was Babel just ruse?

What is your vision of hell? We envisioned old people who finally got their perfect recreational vehicle -- and could actually afford the gas -- but then being consigned to travel back and forth across Iowa, never being able to breakout of the vast Midwest into, say, Idaho.


Can you branch transfer from Hell to Heaven, or vice versa? Can you time share? Earn parole?

--Jim & Lisa

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36 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An end implies a beginning.....when you get to the bottom you get back to the top.....

When you start trying to write this stuff in stone for sale to the masses you come up with all sorts of silly and unappealing notions. Agreed, the christian heaven sounds really boring. And an eternity in hell for a few mistakes made in one chaotic often confusing short life time seems exceedingly draconian to say the least.

avedis

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 3:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

an ontological characteristic of existence is temporality. it's terminal. existence points toward the possibility of that which transcends. however the nature(s) of the transcendent state(s) remains product of our imagination and forever (as in permanently) beyond primary experience insofar as this existential condition persists.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 4:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

i do, by the way, like keith richards... but while we are speculating, what if god was one of us?

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 5:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

killing time~black label society

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 5:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

river sings~enya

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 5:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

a dream within a dream ~ alan parsons project

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

The New Paradigm after Relativity: Reflections on the Geometry of Time

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

that is so f*cking kewl Peter!

"Simultaneity is the key to the new applicable speed, or Measure. In the Point there is Simultaneous Time; and therefore all space. Any distance can be traversed in that Point which is not an external extension like in the current Relativity Paradigm. This holds the key to ‘space’ travel, which of course renders feasible travel across the universe. Those who visit us from beyond use this Paradigm. The discovery of the complete triad of outer planets signalled the reversal of Measure to the inner dimension, in accordance with the actual cosmic harmony."

Gamma Ray

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Lisa and Jim,

As to the end of things, Isaac Asimov used to call it Entropy, the winding down of all things and the end of the universe. While it sounds reasonable, there being no such thing as a perpetual motion machine, I always wondered where and how the energy started. Neither the Big Bang nor the Invisible Cloud Being appeal to me.

As for Hell, why not quote a guy who thought about it a lot:

"For we have reached the place of which I spoke, where you will see the miserable people, those who have lost the good of intellect.
Here sighs and lamentations and loud cries were echoing across the starless air, so that, as soon as I set out, I wept.
Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements, accents of anger, words of suffering, and voices shrill and faint, and beating hands, all went to make a tumult that will whirl forever through that turbid, timeless air, like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls."

Dante's Hell


Dave

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

well i'll tell u y we can't figure it all out UC. 'cuz we're a bunch of knuckle dragging space monkeys with barely enough cerebral explosivity to blow our own gnosis... moody blues

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 9:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

100 Years

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 9:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

this monkey's gone to heaven...

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 9:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

"When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself."
Peter O'Toole


What if we are all Gods/Goddesses, and because being a God means existing forever, and eternity being pretty boring after a while, we invented life, to escape the boredom of being a God. When we die we go back to being Gods, catch up with other Gods in Godland, and when we are fed up with godliness, we line up and parachute into a creature being born at that moment.

IMHO it's all about gathering different kind of experiences, see the world from many angles. I am a spiritual being who is having a human experience.

Any belief someone holds as to what happens when we croak it, as crazy as the idea might sound, has the same chance of being the truth as the christian, muslim, hindhu or any other faith has. It can be calculated with the following formula:

A person's belief / Never-ending possibilities = 0.000period01 %

Pretty slim I must admit, but not any less either. And now, just to introduce another possibility, what if whatever one believes would happen to one's soul at the time of death, will actually happen to this soul?

In other words, if you approach death and are worried that all your bad deeds will lead you straight to some kind of flamin hell, then that is where you'll go. Or if you believe you'll get reborn as a cow, you'll actually be reborn as a cow, and so on.

The options are endless, but just in case, on my deathbed I'll be thinking of a nice situation I want to spend eternity in, like living with a nymphomaniac who owns a bottle shop.

Regarding the conundrum of the universe having a beginning and an end - I have my doubts.

I perceive it to be more like a concertina, a pulse of sort. An explosion, matter being catapulted out into the great wide nothing, expanding for billions of years until the outward drift runs out of steam and the gravitational field starts to pull everything back together into a lump of energy, only to repeat the big bang and start it all over again. For ever.

I reckon Modest Mouse are onto something:

The universe is shaped exactly like the earth
if you go straight long enough
you'll end up where you were.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

juan,
so, is time linear or circular?
here in lies the rub.
what if your nympho is 78 years old and toothless.
scrub that thought- the toothless thing just might work out well.
jim

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 8:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

GD,
i'm amazed and proud that you gave us a verbal response.
i like KR also.what if heaven were having to listen to Eileen for all eternity??
jim

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 8:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

"so, is time linear or circular?

Can't it be both? ;-D

A circle is a curved line.

Time is the fourth dimension in which the first three exist. Just like the dot exists in the line, and the line exists in a cube, so does the cube exist in time.

Not unlike the ether, time is neither circular nor linear, it is all encompassing, the space in which events unfold. As Einstein said, "the only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

Time is a relative unit of measurement warped by gravity. A clock on the 40th floor of a building will run slower than a clock on the ground floor, digital or analog.

Travel at the speed of light and time could be almost standing still.

I imagine the universe and its dimensions like an inverse balloon, a tube turned inside out. If we'd be an ant running along its surface we wouldn't ever see an end, and yet there is one, we are walking on it.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 9:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Father Tyme said...

Another possibility is that time is only for those who choose to measure it.

It's distinctly possible that beings (maybe after we "pass on") don't exist in the time frame we're accustomed to. Maybe time doesn't really exist as such and allows those who "cross over" to exist every-when; future, present and past simultaneously or whenever they choose - and be able to choose to visit any relative time period.

It would be fascinating to be able to move to a time frame to see who really shot JFK, whether FDR really knew about the Japanese attack beforehand, but be darned frustrating to not be able to tell your old peers!

Likewise to know the scores of the all the coming SuperBowls, Stanley Cup Champs or World Series Winners but not be able to place your bet!

Gotta go. "Time" for my meds!

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 2:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi G.D.,

I am not in a position today to put on my best Existentialist cap, but suffice to say all your links are good, existence preceeds essence and simulteneity and futurity are givens, tho' beyond our sight (site?)

Or, this, too, shall pass.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 4:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Dave,

It sounds as though he was describing a Republican campaign stop.


G.D.,

"... our gnosis" -- :)


I'll be back tomorrow w/ more time to consider our thoughtful responses.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 4:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

OMG it's all been so satisfying. i'm a sucker for metaphysical stuff... being a ghost and all. cloud of unknowing

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 4:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

route 66...

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 9:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....my brain hurts..

Carl

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Personally, if I'm gonna have to do something for eternity I kinda like the Norse idea of Valhalla.

You get to party with your pals all night (or, hopefully, cuddle with your inamorata if that's what works for you two) and then get up in the morning without a hangover and go have a hell of a brawl (or, given the Viking penchant for roaming, go explore the hell out of someplace) and then come back and tell all your pals about it at the afterparty.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Beats the dickens out of hanging out in a robe all day gazing adoringly at the Big Guy, IMO.

And hell? I imagine Hell as this beige cubicle where you spend eternity editing something that gets red-penciled and kicked back to you every time you submit it.

Oh, and the coffeemaker is always broken.

As you can tell, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about this stuff. As my old man used to say, "If you wait long enough, you'll find out. Or you won't. Either way, what's it gonna get you to spend a bunch of time worrying about it? Seems to me you'd be better off making sure you got 24 hours of living out of the time you've got..."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 11:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

G.D.,

Per the BLS "Dead man breathing, just taking up space", I have thoughts on this; I have seen into this. It's really a given, no?

I've always liked that 5 for Fighting tune, the melody. Per the Pixies' tune, I like this 1st comment:

"Humans are the only creatures on Earth who claim to have a god, and the only ones that act like we don't."

... I would add, we're the only ones who NEED a god.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Thank you for giving it to Ranger w/ "can it be both" ;)

I find the whole god construct problematic; is He constructed in our image, or are we in His? Probably it's all the same. I believe in Emerson's Oversoul, or Jung's racial unconsciousness ... a pool of "soul material/energy", whatever that might be.

If we accept our physics -- that matter is neither created nor destroyed -- your idea of an involution of matter makes sense far as where we came from and where we're going. It would also lend credence to some idea of reincarnation. (I have further thoughts on the matter but they are not relevant here.)

Per time, now we've measured neutrinos outrunning it, so they can get there (wherever there is) before they begin! This is something with which to reckon, no?!?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Final:

G.D.,

In the end, we're all with The Cramps on Rte. 66, no? (Lux was a good OH boy, like Ranger, BTB.)

But given the time, I do like me some philosophy ...


Chief,

It is all pipe smoke, no? Live today, that's all, really.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Final cmt. to Juan,

You suggest that to live (correctly) is "to see the world from many angles", or maybe, "angels".

Not to hop on the saccharine angel bandwagon, but in the sense of Lincoln's "better angels of our nature". I think each of can (and some of us do) serve in many beneficial capacities in this life; as you suggest, this "mortal coil" may be a portal for other "energies" to enter the play.

Kind of like "Clarence" in It's a Wonderful Life (?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Hi Lisa,

you wrote "I find the whole god construct problematic; is He constructed in our image, or are we in His?"

“It seems to me, Usbek, that all our judgements are made with reference covertly to ourselves. I do not find it surprising that the negroes paint the devil sparkling white, and their gods black as coal, or that certain tribes have a Venus with her breasts hanging down to her thighs, or in brief that all the idolatrous peoples represent their gods with human faces, and endow them will all their own impulses. It has been well said that if triangles had a god, they would give him three sides.”

Montesquieu, Persian Letters, 1721


I think we have to remember that today's concept of god, is a product of ancient times. Like the belief that gold is not just a shiny lump of metal but something precious, so also has the notion of human like gods been carried through the ages, fed to every new generation with the mother's milk so to speak.

Back then when gods were thought up and images of those religious entities were born, humans were the smartest thing around, so god must have been something human like. Be that Thor and Wodan, Zeus and Apollo, Brama, Vishnu and Shiva, or our good ol Almighty on his heavenly throne, thats all they knew.

If they would have had computers back then they might have come up with the idea of God being a machine.

I also found Emerson's notion of there being an over-soul, a universal consciousness to which we are all connected, a plausible if not likely theory.

I heard of stories where people had bad accidents or died and their dogs, many miles away, started howling and getting agitated the very same minute. How else but through an astral connection of sort would that be possible?

A universal consciousness, an invisible and as yet immeasurable fabric, the bond between you and me, and whatever else is in existence at this moment.

Energy is all there is, albeit in countless shapes and states. And within this sphere of energy we exist, store knowledge and communicate.

And it is in that sense I believe our souls are immortal. The energy we are made up of has been in existence forever, and will be so in all eternity.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

"Per time, now we've measured neutrinos outrunning it [...] This is something with which to reckon, no?"

Absolutely :-) Even though it was only by 60 nanoseconds that the experiment had the neutrinos arrive before the light, for all I know you could be a time traveler.

Talking about time travel, how about this for a thought experiment. Imagine you find a time machine. It can take you to any place and point in the past, trips to the future are not possible.

Question 1, where and when would you travel to and what would you take?

Question 2, assuming you were in Answer 1 prepared to use the machine, what if it would be a one-way trip only, no return to the present possible, would you still go?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
i entered the time machine on a one way trip on 9 june 68.
jim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
weren't the 1st gods anamistic rather than anthromorphic?
god was not man like. that came later.
jim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:05:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Jim, you gave me the when, but you have me now wondering about the where to and if you would take anything with you back to '68.

And most of all I am curious as to why then and there. I am not sure if you feel like sharing that info, but I am all ears.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 9:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
that's the day i went on active duty with the Army.
i surely entered a time machine.
sometimes i feel like billy pilgrim, except with a little pecker.
jim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 9:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan says there is,

"A universal consciousness, an invisible and as yet immeasurable fabric ..."

This I can buy: Some diaphanous nexus of energy points. Energy is what we have and what we are. Some have less of it, and are therefore less dynamic. I can conceptualize the re-formation of that energy, and therefore the idea of "old souls" seems possible.

I have few metaphysical constructions, but the idea of an animating principle is one of them -- we'll call it "soul". Not everyone partakes of it in the same measure; after all, all that's necessary for life is sex gametes meeting and the proper amniotic fluid in the sac. Some are invested with a different "spark" than others. That is my only gut sense of things.

I love your thought experiment! I shall ponder this today, and post answer tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 11:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Per your thought experiment:

Climate matters to me, as do basic sanitary items. I am not a materialist. I am thinking somewhere strife-free in the Mediterranean zone or on a South Seas island, probably in the early-mid 20th century. I have nowhere or no time specific in mind.

I have no grand designs on becoming involved with any world historical movement; I'd simply like to enjoy life and to be creative and healthy and eat well. I would want to swim most days and wear gauzy, light clothing.

What would I take? Well, my beloved (if I had one!) Barring that, writing instruments, journals and some reading material, maybe Will Durant's series.

Would I come back? Why? I would want to make a life in a simpler time, pre-computer. There is nothing, aside from what I mention, that I would miss.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Where would you go, and would you go knowing it was permanent?

Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 8:19:00 PM GMT-5  

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