whats so bad about believing people go to heaven?
One issues is that in general people tend to not tackle problems here on good old Earth. Whether its personal issues or desires, or global issues. If you gonna be flying in heaven with lord jesus and his dad, whats the point of fixing things today.
Nathan , you said that such a belief encourages people to tolerate evil , well yes that is what happens with JWs because the new system is coming next week , just after Armageddon on Tuesday ( no l don't have inside knowledge ) so no need to take time and money doing good stuff
However l can attest that most of nasty Christendom takes a different view How many Christians risked their lives helping Jews and speaking out against the Nazis? .. How mañy campaigned against slavery or apartheid . How many Christian run orphanages are there ? My own church supports a lady who works with prostitutes in the poor areas of Calcutta helping them to get educated and find other work .
As an advert for a Christian charity said " we believe in life before death "
So a belief in heaven is not the same as the WT idea of not having to bother cus it's all going to end soon anyway .
I know lots of charities are secular and lots of atheists do fantastic " good works " l just wanted to answer your idea that a belief in heaven is a get out clause for doing anything worthwhile .
I like the idea that we all go to heaven and wouldn't everyone be surprised if we did!
Maybe the only true hell is being here on Earth and believing your religion is the only true one.
My grandmother was the only religious influence I had until I was a teen.
She was reared as Catholic. She introduced me to the concept of heaven.
I never once understood it.
I still don't.
In Catholic theology "Heaven" is not a place one goes to after death. Transcending time and space, Catholicism teaches that God does not dwell in a place, per se. "Heaven," says Catholic eschatology, is the after death experience of being with God and enjoying this state of happiness, called the "Beatific Vision."
This experience transfers, apparently, to the Resurrection (the point in which present history stops). Souls "in Heaven" get united with their raised new physical bodies, and the just enjoy the "new heavens and new earth" which Catholicism teaches is the regeneration of the physical universe. At this point God will dwell with humanity much like, God did with Adam and Eve.
However Catholics are forbidden from living a life where the present world means nothing. Unlike JWs, Catholics do not believe that God's Kingdom is static. Their doctrine demands that they bring the kingdom into the world by working to heal it now. Failure to do so will keep a person from experiencing the Beatific Vision.
And Jews hold that this life may be all there is, that God has given them life now and that this is a good enough reason to put faith in and worship God. While not excluding a belief in "the world to come," their doctrine centers on bringing redemption to the world now. As one Jewish man put it: "We live in the world as if there is no God, being the only expression of God in the world and maybe the universe if need be."
Based on a number of studies, belief in heaven is evidently bad for society. Belief in hell, OTOH, seems to be a deterrent to bad behavior. From the world wide web:
In a 2012 study (Shariff and Rhemtulla) examined national rates of belief in heaven and hell for 67 countries, as measured by five waves of the World Values Surveys and the European Values Surveys between 1981 and 2007. Shariff and Rhemtulla then drew crime statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which provided data on a litany of nasty things people can do to each other: homicides, robbery, rape, kidnapping, assault, theft, drug crime, automobile theft, burglary, and human trafficking.
With other factors controlled for – including national GDP and Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality – countries where more people believed in hell showed significantly lower levels of crime. The effect sizes were big:
Controlling for the effect of belief in heaven, a 1-[standard deviation] increase in belief in hell resulted in an almost 2 SD decrease in national crime rate; conversely, controlling for the effect of hell, a 1 SD increase in belief in heaven resulted in an almost 2 SD increase in national crime rate.
Fearing the imminent wrath of a judging God, it seems, makes you a lot less likely to steal, cheat, or murder – whereas a friendly, forgiving God (apparently) may inspire you to go easy on yourself, and possibly do bad things with the expectation of being forgiven.
Shariff, together with Lara B. Aknin, explored this possibility in a second study, published in 2014 in PLOSOne, in which they looked at the effect of heaven and hell beliefs on personal happiness.
At the societal level, belief in hell seems to perform some important behavioral corralling – by infusing the culture with a sort of generalized ambience of supernatural punishment, it inspires (or frightens) people into shaping up, toeing the line, and playing by the rules. But this fear of God isn’t so great for people at the individual level. Plenty of other research, particularly in religion and mental health, has shown that a loving, forgiving God is psychologically better for you than belief in a punitive and angry one. But that same forgiving God may give people a subconscious license to do less-than-honorable things, because, hey – God forgives!
Much agreed, Jan. I strongly doubt God is pleased that people are spending all of their waking hours hawking magazines or babysitting a cart instead of addressing real need. No one can do everything but do something! Then add to that, what I've seen in other threads, able bodied pioneers collecting disability (and in the same breath deriding government) or selling a property and giving all the proceeds to the Watchtower (that's more than a tithe by the way)--it's just crazy. The Bible does teach wisdom, whole book on it called Proverbs.
I believe our thinking has become a little bit two-dimensional here. The OP was not asking what is wrong with the eschatological concept in general, but why do JWs criticize others who entertain it.
Life after death is not a universal relgious belief. Many Jews do not have it, even though the concept that God lives in Heaven is part of their theology. Jews don't expect life in Heaven at any point.
Buddhism strives to have no existence after death for its adherents, no afterlife at all.
The belief in Heaven as a paradise reward for the good is far from universal, as is the concept of punishment in some sort of underworld for the evil. One cannot therefore come to a universal conclusion regarding how such concepts effect people in general since there is no universal acceptance or understanding of them among relgious adherents.
In other words we can't positively verify our opinions that belief in Heaven is bad for people becuase not everyone who is relgious believes the same thing about Heaven. To arrive at a definitive conclusion one way or the other would demand a universal concept and acceptance, and that doesn't exist. Again Jews believe in Heaven, but they don't believe they are going there. How is their belief in Heaven a good or bad thing?
The question was why do JWs criticize others who share a similar belief? If the belief is similar, the conclusion is not that Witnesses criticize the theology. It is that the JWs don't like the people with the similar conviction.
The issue is more serious than whether eschatological concepts are good or bad for people. The issue is that blind hatred for people is making the JW criticize what amounts to "fellow believers" in similar theology. One would normally feel solidarity with someone who holds familiar convictions and views. The oddity here is that Witnesses will go out of their way not to entertain such solidarity.
I think the basic tenets of Christianity were devised to improve the social inter relationship within a given population.
Certainly better than what existed in the ancient Roman civilization era of when Christianity began.
This influencing of mankind caring for one another and being in acceptance that all of mankind are alike in many ways and are in need of each others support, was a ideological concept that inherently influenced much of are social awareness that exists within modern populations today.
Island Man, not only is it offensive, it's just strange to teach that the ones who want to be with God (whom you claim to love) are crazy and mentally unstable. They're quick to show you Psalm 37 that the righteous shall inherit the earth (land, in most translations) and dwell forever in it. Well does that mean there won't be righteous people in heaven? It makes no sense!