I just had a thought as I was responding to a comment on my previous post. Bear with me on this while I try to make my point. You will need to have an open mind and imagination and think far outside the box in which we were taught about God, heaven and hell. I may most likely cause some angst in what I’m about to say, if so, then so be it, but in all I do, I believe we have choices, free will, and I find myself saddened and disappointed by what I see, when I know we have so much more within us.
What if, where we were right now was heaven. What if we were all God’s angels. What if we had a choice in the creation of heaven, by what we do, what we think, what we believe, is what creates heaven to be what it is right now.
What if, the opposite were also true? What if we were also Satan, or the Devil and our thoughts, what we believe, how we live also created hell?
Go one step further, what if our thoughts, actions, etc. made us Angels, or made us the Devil?
What if the very fabric of our existence was either heaven or hell by our own imagination, our own thoughts, our own actions, our own beliefs and our own perceptions?
Would the world you see be heaven or hell according to these precepts?
If I walked into a church today, as one of God’s angels wanting to commune with God, wanting to feel his presence. Would I find him there? Would those running the church be humble and serving and giving of whatever they had to ensure God’s angels had whatever they needed to commune with God? Or would they reject us as Angels and welcome the Devil instead?
If according to these precepts you lived in hell, would you still find God there? Could you change hell into heaven just by a simple shift in your beliefs, your actions, your thoughts?
What if our very existence, in how we live, in what we thought, in how we treat our fellow man, in how we love unconditionally or conditionally, if in all these things our very existence relies upon them?
What if God’s existence depended upon all of these and by living in hate, anger, and prejudice, we can destroy God?
What would happen to our world? What would our world become? Would heaven exist right along side of hell?
Even if where we were wasn’t heaven or hell, what if our daily thoughts, actions, beliefs is what creates heaven, or creates the place we will go to after we die? What would it be if that were so? If you knew when you died you would go on to another life but that life was built upon what you learned here in this world you lived in now, and its structure depended upon how you treated your fellow man? Would you want to go there? Would you be afraid? Or would you be excited and enthusiastic about finally being able to go there?
This is not what we are taught to believe, at least not in the Christian faith. I was taught to believe I will go to heaven if I give my life over to God and become saved. And yet, every day I have a choice. I have a choice in how I live, in what I think, and what I do. I can create my own living hell right here on earth or I can create my own heaven.
I also have a choice in living my life so I can learn all that I can learn and hope it has meaning and takes me to a better place after I die.
Some might consider what I say as sacrilege but we all have our own beliefs. In order for me to live peacefully alongside another human being I don’t have to believe what he/she believes. It is my choice whether to be offended by something they say or do. It is my choice whether to be hurt by anything they might say. I have a choice whether to become angry and take up violence against another human being or instead to listen calmly to their words and accept them as they are, show them love and compassion and understand what they have experienced in life is different from what I have experienced.
The hardest thing in life is to not harm another for the violence they may have committed. To not hate them for their choices in life. To be accepting that they maybe living in their own hell in which we cannot even begin to imagine. To find forgiveness no matter how heinous the crime. But this is what God, what Jesus taught and yet every day I hear hateful words, condemnation, and judgments. Sometimes the hateful and judgmental words are simply because someone has chosen to reveal their true self to the world, criticizing a person for their choices and what they said when all they have done is try to be honest and express how they feel. These people criticize another when they have no way of understanding just how this person feels inside and yet that person has done nothing to harm another.
In this way, I feel, we create our own purgatory because we have not entered hell and we have not entered heaven. Our minds have become encased in a hard unforgiving world in which we rile against and cry to God, asking ‘why?’ wanting him to save us from what we ourselves have created.
When you condemn others for being who they are. When you do not accept them, when you do not show them compassion, when you do not feel love for them, and do not find forgiveness, when you criticize them for not being who you feel they should be, when you try to make them into an image only you find acceptable, then blame no one but yourself for the world you find yourself living within.
I find these words hard to write because I know I have been as guilty as anyone else who feels they have done the same. I do not point fingers, except at my own self. This is my life after all, not yours. I have created my own world, my own heaven, my own hell, my own purgatory. I work every day to try and be a better person, sometimes I forget, sometimes I slip. Sometimes all I want to do is sit with another human being who understands this and yet still accepts me and loves me.
This I feel is what church is supposed to be about, a place to commune with others, to see God in each of us, and know we are not perfect. Instead, in all the churches I have ever entered, I have felt an outsider. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen the smiles. I have heard the welcoming words. I have sat in the pews singing the hymns. I sometimes have felt the love of God there but I have never felt accepted. The words have always sounded hollow. The sermons have always sounded judgmental. Maybe that is my fault, or maybe it isn’t. I look around and I see big business, I see numbers and dollars, not love and compassion. I feel God more completely when I hike along a path in the woods for an hour than I have felt in any sermon, or communion being given.
I make a choice every day. I’ll make it again tomorrow. I’ll talk to God no matter where I am. I take my church with me every where I go. I don’t need to enter a building or gather in a group or read a bible to commune with God in my church. No government, no institution, can tell me when I can pray, when I can talk to God, or when I can read my bible. I commune with him every moment I am alive. No one can take that away from me.
I find it hilarious when I hear people arguing over whether prayer should be taken out of schools or not. No one can take prayer away from anyone. And no one can dictate where or when I pray.
Now that everyone knows my thoroughly unorthodox view of church and God, heaven and hell and purgatory, comment if you like. Just realize, this was a random thought which came to mind when I was responding to another comment on my earlier post and thought it might be interesting to post it and explain it as best I can. It doesn’t mean I believe everything I wrote, only that the questions came to mind and my mind ran with it.