As a non-profit relies heavily on the good will of donors to continue bringing individuals and churches – FREE OF COST – the resources and tools needed to further the vision of progressive Christians. If you are in a position to contribute we would be grateful for your donation.   Please Donate Now.

A Special Place

I was reading a book this morning entitled, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by John Paul II, the copyright was 1994. I went to bed early and woke at 5am, so decided to read before getting up. This was a “sort of” question and answer book. The book dealt with specific questions asked of John Paul by the compiler, Vittorio Messori. Evidently Mr. Messori gave the questions to the Pope, the Pope agreed to answer them, and it was some time later that Pope John actually gave him a manuscript back with the answers.

Most all of the questions were answered by referring to scripture. The thought that came to my mind in reading was: Can’t the Pope answer any questions without interjecting scripture. In other words, can’t the Pope think for himself? I don’t want to come across harshly on him, but this train of thought got me really thinking about where I am coming from in my way of thinking of Christianity and what it imposes on the world.

I don’t know if I would be able to think along this line if I hadn’t been involved in the Christian church for so long, so I cannot dismiss that the church has a lot to do with the “I think or don’t think”. I don’t pretend to be a theologian or a scholar in religious matters, but I do think I have a pretty common sense approach to some things.

For just one example the Chapter on “Does Eternal Life Exist?” got me to thinking: Christians believe that when they die they will got to a better place. I don’t happen to believe that. We’ve had this discussion many times on a religious website and in many religious classes I’ve taken, about the hereafter and what happens to the soul.

Here’s my take on just one phase of the book: If I was to believe I would go to a better place where all my children, relatives, friends, and those I know of that were in the world in past years would be; the thought occurred to me about my children. Here I am, living by myself in the South, my oldest son and family lives less than a mile away, my other children live in Michigan. I haven’t seen my youngest daughter in two years, my middle son I saw this summer for a week, and my oldest daughter I have seen for ½ hour in 1-½ years. They do call on occasion, but not very often, so I must admit, “out of sight – out of mind” is the way it seems to be with me. Now I know I could fly up to Michigan and spend some time with them, but without going into any particular details – it isn’t feasible. I do call them when I don’t hear from them. My point in thinking about a better place where I would see and be with them doesn’t really sound that good to me. If I can’t see them here and now in the world, why would I think it would be any different then. So therefore, a “special” place that some call Heaven isn’t for me and that’s just one aspect of Heaven of how people think.

Why do we think that when we die it will be better? We have all we need here and now. Granted many lives do not have it good at all – they can’t enjoy their surroundings and they suffer a lot because of needs. I haven’t gone without pain in my lifetime, but I got through it, I haven’t been without loss, but I got over it, and I certainly am trying to cope with loneliness, and I’m sure I will survive that. So what I am saying, in my opinion is what we have now is all we are going to have. Some folks will say, “Well, what do we have to look forward to?” Why do we always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? – When the grass is pretty green where we are. Why do we think “heaven” will be better? Is it because we’ve been brainwashed from religious thinkers of the past?

When John Paul talks about Jesus’ life and what he went through I started to think about the stories and myths told about Jesus, yes, he suffered a horrible death, but that was a common practice in those days for criminals; he suffered loneliness, but that was his choice; and I’m sure he had needs and those around him didn’t seem to be able to fill those needs because they thought he was someone he wasn’t.

I could go on and on, but all in all, even thought Pope John was in some mind a “great” person, he couldn’t convince me with his answers. They were the standard answers that most ministers/theologians give. Whey my piano tuner came two weeks ago, he had to be picked up at the Salvation Army Rescue Mission and conveyed to my home. While he was tuning the piano I was sitting within four feet of him tuning the piano. He seemed to want to talk, so we did. I asked him how he liked living at the Rescue Mission. He said the folks were nice, but he didn’t like the religious stuff. Of course it is a foregone conclusion if you seek help there, you will have to bite and swallow the religious stuff. Why is that? Can’t the actions speak louder than words? And why does any one person (the Pope included) think that they have all the answers for everybody and that is what is wrong with the world, in my opinion and I’m leaving it at that.

Review & Commentary