Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All _______ Go To Heaven

Proposition: All dogs, meaning good people, go to heaven.

Rationale: Every religion that believes in hell, and every subset of that religion, hypothesizes that only their beliefs will get you there. Fine.

BUT… believing that requires you to believe in a God that will save the undeserving and burn some of the virtuous.

There are two components to making it into heaven: being virtuous and following specific, sometimes arbitrary, rules laid down by the religion of the moment. The ROTM will tell you that these are one and the same. Suppose, however, that a person follows the generic principles of virtue laid down by the ROTM (doesn’t steal, holds malice towards none and is charitable to all, etc.) but doesn’t pray to the correct god, or at all. By the internal logic of the ROTM, he should and will go to hell (that’s seventeenth-century thinking).

I do not accept that a loving, caring God would doom a virtuous person because s/he didn’t worship correctly. The God I believe values deeds over adulation. So let’s try something else.

If your good deeds don’t get you into heaven, but God is a god that values deeds over correct worship, one must conclude that there is some limiting factor on God’s power.
If you believe in the omnipotence of God, this is incorrect, so it can’t be the reason.

Reasoning: Why would Mohammad predict that there would be 72 sects of the umma, and 71 of them would be wrong? Answer: If God says that you’re probably going to get it wrong, humans will keep searching for the right way. And if you’re searching, you’re keeping up interest in your religion, getting converts, having wars over who’s doing it best, making sure everybody notices you. It promotes religion as a whole, and if God is using religion as a vehicle to spread the basic virtues… well, now, that makes sense.

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