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Archive for the ‘Heaven’ Category

Grief

Q: My husband died several months ago (of cancer), and they have been the hardest months of my life. People try to cheer me up by saying he’s in heaven now, and I believe it, but it doesn’t take away the hurt. How can I get over this? — E.W.

A: I am sorry for you loss. I have never suffered a loss of this magnitude, so I don’t think I can give you any good advice beyond suggesting that you seek out a grief counselor (hopefully, a secular one).

I am also sorry that you were tricked into believing that the teachings of the Christian church are true. While no one can definitively say whether there is some sort of afterlife or not, we can with utmost confidence say that the Christian god and heaven are not real. The rational arguments in favor of this position are overwhelming. The same can be said of all afterlives (heavens, paradises, hells) described by other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. I think that belief in the afterlife is an immature reaction to the reality of death. Death of a loved one is very difficult to deal with. Believing that you will be reunited with that loved one in an afterlife may provide some comfort, but it is a false comfort. We should realize that our departed loved ones will live on in the memories of others and in the legacies they generated during their lives. This is something real that we can take comfort in.

Billy Graham’s answer.

Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.

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Q: Did people in Old Testament times go to heaven when they died? Or is heaven reserved only for people who lived after Jesus came? I haven’t found anything about heaven in the Old Testament. — L.D.

A: Since the Christian heaven does not exist, no one has ever gone there when they died, and this question has no answer. Here’s a question I’d like a Christian to answer:

    Since it is well documented that modern humans gradually evolved from earlier phylogenic ancestors, at which point in our evolution did we become eligible to go to heaven?

I don’t think there is a good answer to this question. I can’t imagine there are any Christians that believe that other hominids (chimps, gorillas, and orangutans) go to heaven when they die. Evolutionary evidence tells us we are animals (primates, mammals, chordates) and that we very slowly evolved to the species we are today from animals that resembled chimps or gorillas more so than modern humans. Since this change was so gradual, how can anyone point to a time when we suddenly were worthy of salvation?

It is much more rational to realize that we are part of the continuum that is the eukaryotic tree of life and not a special animal made in the image of some god.

Billy Graham’s answer.

Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.

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