In my 25year life I have encountered numerous instances of Heaven and Hell being spoken of as either a direct punishment or reward for someone depending on how they lived their life. Let us ignore for a moment that to be considered for "heaven" many views would require that person in question adhere to one specific brand of Jewish carpenter worship or another and assume that is the case. If that person lives their life with selfish and greedy motives, does not care for their fellow man, covets thy neighbors wii, doesn't honor their founding fathers, rolls on Shabbat, adulterates a murderer, etc, than that person goes to HELL. On the other hand, perhaps this person avoided the punishment of his/her children for the iniquity of parents to the third and the fourth generation, made only rightful use of the name of god, and only bore TRUTHFUL witness against their friends, then its HEAVEN-time, baby!
In my case, leave the harp in its case and don’t take the tags off the halo, its going back to that big Wal-Mart in the sky. Until Google Heaven exists I shall remain spectacle of the existence of a fluffy ethereal realm in which I could one day look down on all those born of my loins and scowl when they sneak a bite of dinner before someone has said grace. I personally suspect that the concept of eternity experiencing either fire and brimstone or massages and caviar was drummed up as a way for the church to scare people into doing what they wanted, it certainly seem to work that way today. It’s Santa Clause for adults… don’t be bad and get on the naughty list or santa will bring you coal, but if you do what we tell you all year then you’ll get a &^$*&load of chocolate in your stocking, never mind that there may have been a good motive for treating your fellow man in a civil fashion BEYOND chocolate. In the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg, “A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.”
Ok if you’ve read this far you are probably wondering what Im getting at. Picture this, a crotchety old guy dying painfully and slowly in some shit-hole hospital bed. He has lived his life for himself striving to achieve the highest standards of Scrooge himself. He has alienated his family and friends by treating them horridly and essentially violated all the basic humanitarian social values set forth in the 10 commandments and the other general Judeo-Christian beliefs. I cannot fathom that degree of loneliness and frustration and consider that prospect far more worrisome than some bullshit lava-tube where Satan, Hitler, and most of my 7th grade teachers hang out. Ok now picture the same old man, surrounded by his family and friends while showing off the scar from a failed surgery to his grandson. He knows the people he loved will continue to thrive due in no small part to the support and love he gave to them with his whole heart. This man feels no pain, he has no regrets, and he certainly never needed to be scared of Hell to motivate him to be a good person, his mind is instead focused on a bright future he helped create. I want to be that man one day.