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Featured Would you still be a Christian without the incentive of Heaven?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by bettercallpaul, Aug 26, 2017.

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  1. bettercallpaul

    bettercallpaul Full- time Catholic

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    Meaning that you could only enjoy limited life with the Lord on this Earth. No eternal life, just this one.
    For some people, some Christians, it seems Heaven has already started for them here. They walk so close to God everyday. They are in love. And I respect that a lot. I think these people aren't so much focussed on the reward of heaven. They love the Lord so much now, they are just happy to serve Him now in this earthly life. Their reward is now.
    I'm thinking that is a healthy approach. Because if our motivation to follow the Commandments and serve the Lord, is an extrinsic reward like Heaven, we are not really motivated by love. We are motivated by what is in it for us.
     
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  2. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    Would I? You bet. I have always thought Heaven was a reward for a Christian life well-lived, not the goal of the Christian life. I think the goal of the Christian life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. The goal is to walk as Jesus walked and to worship, praise, and adore our Creator. If Heaven was disproved, I would change nothing. I think those that are preoccupied with being saved have their emphasis on the wrong syllable.
     
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  3. bettercallpaul

    bettercallpaul Full- time Catholic

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    I think we can make the mistake of being too Heaven focussed and miss "the now." Its when "the now" gets painful and problematic, that we start dreaming of a better place. Maybe the Heaven idea was created for those having a real tough time of it here. That their suffering wont be forever.
     
  4. Paul of Eugene OR

    Paul of Eugene OR Finally Old Enough Supporter

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    The view of participating in the resurrection of Christ and going to be with Him in heaven seems, to me, to be rather important as a defining characteristic as to what it means to be a Christian. So those who deny that are not, in my mind, Christian.

    They might be swell folks, moral, etc. Just some other kind of religion.
     
  5. AarontheStudent

    AarontheStudent שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם

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    Yes, I would.

    Our faith isn't just a guide for "how to get to Heaven when you die." I think we'd be missing a significant chunk of the point behind our faith if Heaven and eschatology are our only reasons for keeping it.
     
  6. Handmaid for Jesus

    Handmaid for Jesus You can't steal my joy Supporter

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    Where would I go? To whom would I turn?
     
  7. CrystalDragon

    CrystalDragon Well-Known Member

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    As far as I am a Christian now, yes. In fact to be honest, Heaven as it's portrayed seems kind of boring. Your mind is overwhelmed and changed to only want to worship God for all eternity. You don't have your own mind anymore. You stop being yourself.

    If I could, I'd live on this Earth forever if it meant I could keep my personality and it was the only way I'd continue as a conscious entity.
     
  8. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think that the reward of heaven/threat of hell may be what gets us to the table initially. Or maybe it is family tradition, or getting knocked off of our horse, or maybe the loss of a loved one or a near-death experience.

    Once we get to the table, however, we have the opportunity to learn of God and His love for us ... and to learn to love (how and why) ... God and our fellowman. To the extent that we are willing to learn of God (i.e. seek Him), ... we become more like Him, which is His desire for us.

    As we become more like Him, ... we operate more and more out of LOVE, and become less dependent upon the motivations of sticks and carrots.

    OTOH, there are others who are so subsumed in themselves ... that they are not willing to be drawn into the knowledge/experience of God (regardless of motivations) ... because they are, ultimately, not willing to forsake themselves ... for Him.
     
  9. W2L

    W2L Well-Known Member

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    John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
     
  10. Left

    Left Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well like you said Paul, my future does look bleak :). Actually I'm not expecting to get to the top level of heaven as a schizophrenic and with my HARSH views on what society means. In fact, I'm not going to start expecting heaven right and left.

    Bottom line, without heaven, I would still be that struggling Christian.
     
  11. Eryk

    Eryk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The hope of eternal life is an incentive to holiness. Our hope frees us from the love of the world and greed and competition for worldly things.

    All who have this hope purify themselves (1 John 3:3) and since we have these promises we purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1).

    But this future is not an ephemeral realm. It is a new Earth, without injustice or sadness, and a holy city where God dwells with people, and sin no longer separates us from God. Everyone who loves what is good will yearn for this.

    That is why this life is not enough. We want a new life without sin, because we abhor what offends God. Death is the penalty for sin. So the goodness we want comes with everlasting life.
     
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  12. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    So does this mean that if there was no heaven, you would cease to follow Christ? That is the question of the thread.
     
  13. Paul of Eugene OR

    Paul of Eugene OR Finally Old Enough Supporter

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    Relax, heaven won't be as boring as portrayed by some. Remember, the gates are always open, you can come and go as you please and do anything anywhere as you please, but heaven is your home. And you will probably have some assignments to take care of.
     
  14. Paul of Eugene OR

    Paul of Eugene OR Finally Old Enough Supporter

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    I'd like to think I would be a moral individual along the lines of what Christ shared with us as to what morality actually is. But - in what sense would I be following Christ in such a case?
     
  15. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    I did, yes. That stalled my faith for decades.
    (From my point of view)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  16. bettercallpaul

    bettercallpaul Full- time Catholic

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    I heard recently from a Cathlic theologian that "happiness is boring". I guess that is based on getting everything we desire. He said Heaven should be full of surprises.
     
  17. Sarah G

    Sarah G Human bean. Supporter

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    Somebody wiser than me said recently on CF ''In discomfort we seek comfort, in comfort we seek discomfort'' (I have forgotten their name, forgive me anonymous wise man).

    Maybe after a time in heaven we feel compelled to return to earth and help the fallen, struggling sinners. I read that a female incarnation of the Buddha did that (Green Tara). She achieved liberation from the material realm but vowed to stay helping the suffering humans until every soul is liberated. That is compassion. Well, that is Buddhism of course but I often think of it. Maybe angels are kept busy helping out idiots like me down here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  18. bettercallpaul

    bettercallpaul Full- time Catholic

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    It s a famous saying about the ancient prophets in the OT.
    "I have come to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted."
     
  19. bettercallpaul

    bettercallpaul Full- time Catholic

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    glad I'm not the only one who refers to Buddhism sometimes here.
     
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  20. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    It's more like the perfect marriage. And it does take place on a new earth
    and you get a re-newed body. The only thing you lose is some tears.
    8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.
     
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