• Captain Homicide
    Besides the matter of evidence for its existence and who goes there the two most common criticisms of the idea of an eternal afterlife that’s amazing and perfect in every conceivable way (Heaven) are the issues of eventual boredom and personal continuity (retaining your human personality and remaining “you” even after a very long time). In the next two paragraphs I’ll detail why I think these arguments are wrong.

    Assuming a basic deistic framework for the sake of making this discussion easier Heaven is a perfect supernatural realm of peace, happiness, fulfillment etc governed by an all powerful, all loving and all knowing deity that made all of existence (including the afterlife) from nothing and intangible souls that retain their living personalities and exist forever also from nothing. With all of this in mind it would be absolutely trivial for God to make it so people in Heaven (or whatever you want to call it) never got bored and retained their personalities and what makes them “them” even as their minds and bodies are improved and time went on. If people got bored (for long at least) and miserable or became different people completely divorced from who they were on Earth it wouldn’t be perfect and naturally wouldn’t be Heaven. Mental continuity and individual identity are essential parts of personhood so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be retained indefinitely. I believe it was C.S. Lewis that said in Heaven you become fully human and reach the self actualization you yearned for your entire mortal life and it’s perfectly designed for your habitation like a glove for a hand.

    Some may consider this a “cop out” but we shouldn’t expect a supernatural realm to be governed by the same rules that dictate our physical universe as long as it’s logically possible. It’s like saying a hypothetical wizard’s magic powers aren’t possible given our understanding of science. It’s magic so by definition it isn’t explainable using conventional means. Imagine an insect expressing incredulity at the idea of skyscrapers, algebra, quantum physics and supercomputers or someone asking if there would be enough room for everyone in Heaven. The answer to the usual questions is within the very premise itself even if we as mortal beings living in the real world can’t fully comprehend it.

    Does this counter argument sound reasonable or is there something I’m missing?
  • Angelo Cannata
    The problem with your reasoning is that you are using the same method used to solve the problem of theodicy. A common answer to the problem of theodicy is that a lot of things are beyond our understanding and we can trust God’s goodness all the same. Now you are using the same structure: if something works, then you accept to welcome it into the realm of things that we can understand. If something doesn’t work, then you solve it by referring to God being able to do things beyond our understanding. This method is equivalent to say that God must always come out right by definition. If anything doesn’t work, the problem, by definition, must be found in anything, but not God. God must be always untouchable. A lot of believers, unfortunately, make use of this logic as well: if something is wrong, somebody is to be blamed; God must never be blamed, by definition; as a consequence, the only remaining subject that can be blamed is humans. So, when things go well, it is God’s merit; when things go bad, it is humans’ fault.
    The problem with this is that reasoning has absolutely no value, no importance in all of this. This contradicts the very activity of

    - doing theology: if reasoning has absolutely no value, what’s the point of working on doing theology?

    - and human intelligence: isn’t reasoning a God’s gift? So, what’s the point of treating it as having absolutely no value? Even if we consider that God’s plan was to give us a limited intelligence, then the question is: why? Why did God decide to give us such a limited intelligence? Why didn’t he make us Gods as well, equal to him?

    In short, the ultimate flaw in the problem of theodicy, as well as in the reasoning you described, is that it doesn’t take seriously human intelligence. Why should we believe in a God who doesn’t take seriously our intelligence, either by escaping into his unreachable superiority or by creating us with such a limited intelligence, if compared to his supposed one?
  • Agent Smith
    Panta rhei — Heraclitus

    Boredom? Impossible! Unless...repetition is inevitable (eternal recurrence).

    Furthermore, we can drink from the Lethe. Haven't we all? :wink: The effect is neither complete nor permanent. :snicker:
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