This post is the continuation of a series of posts that respond to a video posted on YouTube by TheThinkingAtheist. It is basically a verbal and visual collage of quotes from athiest you-tubers who have large audiences. This particular section of the video seems to cover varying atheistic views of eternity and heaven. The quotes are from the videos, and my response is just below it. If you watch the video, this section begins 3:31 mark.
1. “The descriptions of heaven are as diverse as those who believe in heaven. There does appear to be one constant. It will last for eternity. Imagine that. Imagine eternity.”
On the surface, this line is neutral. Just reading it, you can’t really tell how the reader is asking you to feel. A preacher, on any given Sunday, may say these exact words with the intention to cause you to think happily about an eternal existence. Indeed, for most people, living forever does sound like a great thing. But the mood of this video would indicate we should feel the opposite about eternity. Here, eternity is a bad thing. Eternity is presented as an evil. How odd.
2. “Given eternity, everything that can be accomplished will be accomplished. Beyond all achievements there will be only limitless, pointless existence.”
This statement assumes that life is about accomplishment. It portends that life, existence, only has a point if it achieves or works toward something. The Christian worldview does not hold life to such a standard. Accomplishment is not the reason for existence, as is suggested here. Instead, life is meant for community. God, as He did in the Garden, intends our existence to find it’s purpose and fulfillment in loving relationships… both with him and each other. Achievements are a byproduct of our ingenuity. And who’s to say that everything that can be accomplished will be… and even if it did, who knows how long that would take. It’s a weak statement that plays on the “eternity is boring” factor that has no more basis than I have to say “eternity is fulfilling.” It’s much better to simply admit we don’t know much about what eternity will be like, or how we will feel about it ultimately.
The Christian hope is simple. Heaven is a place where a relationship with God can be proximal and even more realized, and it is a place of harmony, fulfillment and love. And I personally think that “fulfillment” opens up the options pretty wide.
3. “The first hundred maybe be possible. The first thousand, more painful. The first ten thousand, insufferable. But this is just the start. An eternity in heaven, would be hell. For me.”
I’m curious what basis he has for the statement. This must based on some opinion about what heaven will be like that misses the mark. A way to describe heaven is to think of a newlywed army man whose been sent away from his wife after only being married 3 months. He writes letters, emails, and video chats with her, and all of that. In that sense, he and her have a relationship that somewhat fulfills him. But he longs for the day when he can go home to be with her. To start a family, and begin the unknown journey of their marriage. Heaven is similar to that longing for the Christian. There is so much unknown about it, but there is certainty that the relationship, and spending time with your loved one (God) will be worth whatever is coming, as long as you’re together.
It’s a girly, romantic example (you can interchange husband and wife, with father and son if it makes you feel more masculine), and it’s a broken analogy — but it gets near the point.
4. “When we look at what a human being is, what their identity is. That I am this collection of my memories, my hopes, my dreams, my desires… My consciousness exists as a product of the brain that is in this body. That ends at death.”
This all assumes there is nothing spiritual about us. Here, it is too much to type to try an convince the materialist that there is more to us than we can see. I’ll simply note that the Christian worldview clearly accounts for more than our physical makeup when it speaks about who we are. From a materialist point of view, this is an accurate statement. But I am not materialist, and so, something must account for my spirituality as well, who is just as much “me” as my body is.
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