Why Is There A Heaven?

I remember when I simply accepted that heaven existed. There is precious little in the holy book to describe what heaven will be like. It seems that the god of Abraham did not want followers thinking about that too much. (they might just figure out it’s a scam?)


The persecutor of God. — Paul thought up the idea and Calvin rethought it, that for innumerable people damnation has been decreed from eternity, and that this beautiful world plan was instituted to reveal the glory of God: heaven and hell and humanity are thus supposed to exist – to satisfy the vanity of God! What cruel and insatiable vanity must have flared in the soul of the man who thought this up first, or second. Paul has remained Saul after all – the persecutor of God.

from Nietzsche’s The Wanderer and his Shadow, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

The god of Abraham is equally ready to torment you forever or give you a place in paradise (whatever paradise is). The entirety of this existence is then said to be nothing except to filter out which humans get to heaven and which do not at the whim of and for the whims of a god.

That sounds a lot like a farmer who is raising pigs and the lifetime of the pigs is so the farmer can decide which ones to send to slaughter and which ones to invited to breakfast.

Neither Paul nor Calvin managed to clear any of that up. It remains a problem to this day despite the apologetics’ attempts to convince us they have compelling evidence. To them I ask, what does paradise look like? Why would I want to go there? Why would I want to go there after being threatened with eternal torment if I did not sign up?

Why is there a heaven? The god YHWH was apparently completely happy with Adam and Eve in the garden till he let that snake in to mess it up. The god YHWH did not create humanity to be in heaven, rather he specifically created them to be in the garden here on Earth. Why is there a heaven?


  1. We normally are explicit about the horrors of hell…
    I think we humans like to torture each other

    • oh, if there is any way we can gain status or power, perceived to help us delay or mitigate our fears, we humans will take it. The complexity of our thinking means that we are capable of being much more cruel than other animals.

  2. why is there heaven? so pastors can preach about hell

    • This hits it right on the nose. If there is an eternal punishment for the “losers”, then there has to be a heaven for the “winners”. Disturbingly, many Christians (at least in the US) believe that those who commit heinous crimes throughout their life can still be a “winner” if they simply accept Jesus in a deathbed conversion. Meanwhile, someone who devotes their life to helping others and being selfless may end up being tortured *forever* if they are any faith other than Christian. Heaven sounds like a kinda crappy place when you think about it this way…We’d be more likely to meet people like Paul Jennings Hill, Jim Jones, and Charles Coughlin than a Pagan doctor-without-borders or Jewish soup kitchen founder. Seems like a shitty place if one’s actions in life mean squat so long as you “have Jesus in your heart” 5 minutes before you die.

      Personally, I don’t believe in heaven or hell at all, but rather reincarnation. I also have no physical proof of this that could be used to convince anyone of my belief, and only individual experience that cannot be shared. Hence, it would be foolhardy and arrogant for me to attempt to sway others to my beliefs…so I don’t. Being a decent human being is far more important than talking about one’s religion.

      • The belief that all can be made right at the last moment by saying I believe is evidence to the statement with god all is permitted.
        And I like it that you acknowledge that personal experience, in the case of reincarnation, can not be used to sway others to such a belief and I honestly have and can’t have any beef with you

        • Of course. I don’t think it’s possible to share any experiences, really…just do our best to empathize and sympathize based on similar activities and thoughts. Which is why organized spirituality is such an odd concept. It necessarily tries to tell it’s followers what to think and how to feel based on texts that are from a different era, culture, and (usually) geographic location. Very few of our experiences are the same, so how can we be expected to just nod our heads and agree?

          If one has spiritual beliefs, they should be able to evolve and adapt to the current world with it’s advancements in technology, philosophy, and biology. Having a “dead” faith that relies on observations and ideals from literally thousands of years ago is nonsensical.

          • We are in agreement

      • Well, it may not be reincarnation in the way you hope, but we certainly are reincarnated. Our ideas and actions are passed on and given new life through other people, our bodies cells in death and even as we are alive become food for other organisms. Food we consume is reincarnating other life forms to be part of us. Reincarnation is always happening on many levels!

        • Yes, absolutely!
          And while you’re correct that it’s a different kind than what I believe in, there is a certain comfort in that. Because even if I’m incorrect and death truly is the End (which is entirely possible), it is good to know my actions will live on in the help I’ve given others and my body will go towards the creation of new, smaller types of life.

          Life is a cycle, however you dice it. 😀

      • Thanks for commenting. That is a profoundly frustrating aspect of religions.

  3. The “hell” issue seems to crop up on many an atheist’s posts. Though one atheist gentleman about screamed at me for having noticed this anxiety amongst people who disbelieve / just plain hate the Lord. By the way, Bible believing Christians have been known to experience serious assurance issues. For both Christian and non-christian, it’s hard oftentimes to square with the fact that none of us are sovereign.

    • Susan,

      How does one have anxiety about something they don’t believe in? I’m not being argumentative or snarky when asking this…It’s just outside my own realm of experience. I don’t believe in Hell, so I don’t feel anxious when thinking about it or discussing it, much like I don’t feel anxious when discussing a zombie apocalypse or the Earth suddenly falling into the Sun. They are interesting thought experiments or stories, but nothing worth actually getting troubled over.

    • preacherontheweb
    • May 12th, 2015

    Heaven and Hell are right here on earth, you know it as do I. It is what we make of it which determines whether you live in either one or the other.
    So to answer your question…. I don’t know why there is a heaven, or for that matter if it is where we are told it is

    • The binary options of heaven and hell seem out of sync with how we find life. There is a lot of contortions made to fit all of life into just two categories.

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