What are you creating? Heaven or Hell
9 December 2011 (updated 14 September 2014)
Each morning as I merge on to the freeway to commute to work, I pass a billboard that asks me, “Where are you going? Heaven or Hell.” That’s so completely the wrong question, and the religious fundamentalism that provokes funding of these billboards is so completely evil. Yes. You read that right.
The religious fundamentalism that provokes funding of these billboards is evil, if “evil” has any meaning at all. Such has inspired and justified the worst atrocities humanity has perpetrated throughout history. It seems less serious until you consider the psychosocial consequences of such ideologies, and follow the chain of effects from arrogant will-to-oppression beginnings, through nihilism-inducing provocation to fear and lust, and on to shunning, witch hunts, inquisitions and crusades. It’s no wonder that Jesus, as presented in the Bible, reserves his most hostile words and actions for the religious fundamentalism of his day. Nothing has worse long term consequences than abuse of the power of religion. Nothing is worse than exciting the strenuous mood toward oppression.
In contrast, here is the right question, and the proper use of the power of religion: what are you creating? Are you making heaven or hell? Are your thoughts, words and actions affecting the world for better or worse? Is your faith in God an active trust in the kind of persons we should be, benevolent and creative? Do you seek to raise others with you? Can you feel the sublime esthetic when you confess your deep motivations, and when you struggle to expiate those natural inclinations toward oppression? Can you with integrity join the ancient prophets in forthtelling heaven, worthy of creation to whatever extent we do not discover it? We need new billboards.