I've been thinking a lot about afterlives lately, not in the least because I wandered around a cemetery today. Now, before people start saying "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THINK THAT," keep in mind there is a world of difference between what I WANT to believe and what I actually DO believe.
I want to believe that there really is a Heaven like the Western Monotheists believe, and a Hell like the Muslims and Christians believe, because I want to imagine the looks on the faces of the very hypocritical, judgmental fundie types when they get to the pearly gates and realize that they've been denied access to that exclusive club.
Personally, I don't know what happens when we die. When I feel sciency, I think maybe nothing happens, and we just... die. When I feel more spiritual, and think there's a soul that needs to be dealt with, I think maybe reincarnation.
But I want to believe that since my god is generally good, and evil is a result of mistakes (I don't believe in an infallible god, I think we're all an experiment, of sorts, trial-and-error until my god gets the right results) like harmful genetic mutations, or else because of free will, like a parent abusing their son so the son grows up to hit his wife, etc; thus, there is no one who really belongs in a Hell. My god understands that humans are ultimately destined to make mistakes, and can find a bit of good even in the worst of humans.
So if there is a heaven-- and though I don't think there is, I sort of want there to be, like how I want to find a genie or gain telekinesis-- and we are all admitted there, what would happen? The Christian idea of Heaven as devoid of "sin" and fluffy clouds and angel choirs and no sex seems boring and unpleasant. I think heaven would have to be unique for each person, so that if you want the fluffy angel-clouds you see them, and if you want a 24-hour eternal rave with lots of alcohol, no hangovers, and lots of skimpily-clad loose women, you see that, too. And if you'd really rather just cease existing, that's certainly okay as well.
Of course, the problem with this is that Person A (Jane Average) might want a heaven where Person B (George Clooney) is their personal servant, masseuse, and lover, but perhaps Mr. Clooney would rather lounge on a beach with nymphets or whatever, and really doesn't know who Jane Average is, anyway. So I figure this heaven wouldn't be a tangible place, regardless, so Jane can have Georgie massage her and whisper sweet nothings, but that doesn't mean he's seeing the same thing. The George Clooney with Jane is not the real thing, but rather the ideal Jane wants. We see what we want, we interact with who we want, etc.
And sometimes the heavens would overlap, so two people could share the same one, but they'd never know for sure if they were sharing or the other person saw something different, and it wouldn't really matter, regardless. Such matters aren't really important, long-term. Eternity counts as long-term, right?
Even though I don't think this will happen, it's fun to think about. What would your personal heaven be like? I think mine would be a little beach house that was always miraculously clean, with a big wraparound porch that I could sit on and look at the ocean, and a beach where no one walked to disturb the view from my floor-to-ceiling windows. And if I wanted I could walk down a sandy path through the dunes lined with roses, and come out on a little downtown street, where the shops were constantly changing based on what I wanted to look for, and everything was free and fit me perfectly and I looked fabulous in it all.
And at the end of the street there would be a library, an enormous, massive, incredible library, with every book ever written and some that were just repeated aloud, all accessible and in a language I can understand. I would never get a headache, reading, and if I finished, say, Shakespeare's Taming of the Shew, and wondered, Is this actually a feminist doctrine or can I take it at face value? I would simply look up, and Shakespeare himself would be there, ready to talk, and I could get every question I had answered. He would, of course, speak modern English, but in a British accent, because it's my heaven and Shakespeare can talk in modern British English if I want him too. You know who else will talk in modern English? Hesiod. So there.
Anyway, presumably I would not ALWAYS want to read, and I could go back to my little beach-house in the dunes (maybe taking a book with me), and it would get JUST cool enough for a nice fire and some candles, and if I felt like it, a certain someone would wander out of the kitchen with some mugs of hot cocoa with little marshmallows that didn't melt in the heat like REAL ones, and we would debate the nature of the universe while curled up together on a sofa with cocoa.
My heaven has no cherubs or saints, just a little house, a warm fire, all the knowledge in the world and all the love that I need.
Incidentally, my hell would be if they just left me in my body, fully aware and feeling everything but unable to do anything, react in any way... and then my wishes to be cremated were ignored, and I would feel, be aware of, my own decomposition.
Anyone else know what their heaven would be like, if there was a heaven and they could actually get in?