I’m Pagan, so I have done some thinking about Hell. Being that its not part of my belief system, my only theological opinion on the subject is that is annoying when someone tells you with utmost athourity (at least in their opinion) that you are going somewhere that isn’t on your map.
But, as a person that gets told they are going to Hell quite frequently…in either a politely dulcet and cultured tones, or angry hellfire-and-brimstone, spittle flying bellows, I have found contemplating the possibility of Hell to be unavoidable.
And I have come to a fairly simple conclusion on the matter.
If it turn out, in some quirk of the cosmos, that the Christians are right (other than hoping that Mormon was the right answer, as I do love my South Park), and their diety is the OTG (one true god), there are two possibilities.
The Fundie Christians are right, only the Saved go to heaven, everyone else burns.In whichcase, I would rather burn in hell with the likes of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson, Marie Curie, and billions of other interesting and intelligent people that have done good things for humanity than worship some abusive parent diety finds eternal torture an acceptable punishment for disbelief….or would reward a pedophile or serial killer just because they were “born again”.
The Other Christians are right, if you are a good person, God will forgive you/doesn’t really care that you aren’t a believer and you will not suffer his wrath.
I think I am mostly a good person, and for the times that I am not, it is usually justified. I think I can probably get a ticket to heaven. In which case, I think everyone I know (and like) can also, which means heaven shouldn’t be that boring.
Of course, there are other options according to other religions and points of view…and even according to some Christians (for example, my grandmother believed in reincarnation and that we live as many lives as necessary until we become Christ-like in nature and are ready to join God).
Reincarnation of some sort.
I like life. I like living. This is pretty much a cool option, unless the next life is a slug or something squishy and gross. I mean, one lifetime is not enough to do EVERYTHING, so a second (to infinity and beyond!) shot is pretty neat.
I’m not sure of how I’d throw karma in there…I’d like to think that there is some kind of point to it all, some lessons and progression of the soul, or at very least a reward/punishment system. Since I have no complaints for this life thouh, I’m not going to worry about it until that proves to be the case.
Summerlands/Elysian Fields/Parallel Universe/other afterlife
I am also down with this. I feel that the afterlife (should there be one) should be of your choice and choosing dependent upon your actions and deserving. Kind of like buying a pair of shoes. I choose the shoes I like, and if I have been a good girl, and saved my pennies, I might be able to afford them.
The real test of this afterlife possibility is that you can communicate with others in another afterlife via some sort of Afterlife Portal System or Afterlife Interwebs or something. I would hate to think that I can’t chill with my friend in Valhalla if I’m sipping margaritas with Persephone.
There is no afterlife. When you die, you die. Your body rots (unless it is enbalmed) and you become worm food. Full stop.
In the eventuality of this probability, I try to enjoy life to its full potential. My nana used to say that “a life well loved is a life well lived”. If that is the case, I can hope that I get to die at the end of a long life filled with love and laughter, and enough tears and hardships to appreciate it…and if not, I hopefully get a moment of euphoric bliss to appreciate that I have two beautiful children that have the potential to be wonderful people.
And then the hubby can take a road trip a la Elizabethtown to scatter my ashes across the country, ending at Circle Sanctuary (they have a cemetary there…I can have my free VA provided headstone, with pentacle placed there).
Either way…I try not to really think about it much. As a friend put it, Life is the business of the living, death is the business of the dead. If I really thought about the end of mylife, I’d probably be worried…what about the hubby–not getting to grow old with him, what about the kids–never seeing them graduate/get married/have kids… When you fear something, you give it power. I don’t plan to give Death any more power over me than it already has. When the time comes for my Dance with Death, it comes. Whatever happens, happens…I intend for my candle to burn bright and long, but should it not, I have lived and loved well. Except in the case of option one, none of the possibilities of what happens next are really that unpleasant.