Why do we hold a polarized view of heaven and hell? When we are young the world is simplified. But this is for the sake of learning. There comes a time for everyone when life becomes more complicated than that. No one person is good or bad. There comes a time when the good people do bad things; when your best friend lets you down for someone else; when someone you know and love changes for better, for worse or simple for change. You no longer love or hate anyone. The school bully is not just a bully just as you are not just anything.
Perhaps these people change or perhaps we grow wiser in our understanding of why they are as they are and through this understanding change again. The bully is not just the bully. We do not simply hate the bully. We feel sorry for the bully. We want to help the bully. We understand why the bully is the way he is. We no longer simply love and hate: we like and dislike to varying and altering degrees.
And with this new understanding that the world is not black and white the idea of good and bad itself becomes meaningless. I am not good such that this means I am not also bad. I am grey. I am flawed. I am human. But if I am rational I am saved. If my emotions run free and unopposed I am lost. But if I am rational I am saved. The world is saved. Existence is saved to continue, and develop, and evolve…for the better.
So why do we still hold a polarized view of heaven and hell? If good men can do bad things where is the cut off point for entrance to heaven and hell? The most good and the least good heaven worthy men will be far removed. If in the afterlife we are the same selves that we are in this life then the afterlife will be little better than this life for we will be the same people; or else it becomes a very exclusive club from which many good(ish) men must be excluded.
This world, this life is not black and white so why would another world or another life not be grey as well. At least why assume that it isn’t. Why would we want it to be for if it is it is an exclusive club to which so many loved ones will not enter?
Let us not ruin this life by always dreaming of a paradisiacal afterlife. Let us live life when it is supposed to be lived, on earth, today and in the present. Let us strive to make this world better not to save souls eternally and make them ripe for an exclusive heaven but to make this earth and the fleeting lives lived on it as paradisiacal as possible. Let us not think that there is no hope or that there must be another realm of existence because this one often falls short. Let us assume that if we think this realm falls short and that if we want to change it then it can be changed.
There is hope and meaning to life even if there is no promise of afterlife; it’s just shorter so why not make it all the richer for it.