I can’t help you grow if you won’t take on ideas that currently aren’t a part of your belief system. So if you read my stuff long enough you can fully expect to eventually disagree with me. In fact, those times are probably where your best lessons are. The area people are most sensitive about surrounds religion. When people ask me how I feel about it, I’m neutral. I don’t know how to answer the question. Because what does that word mean? For some it’s charity. For some it’s judgment. For some it’s fear, for others it is love. So I’m pro-love and indifferent to judgment but I have no opinion on religion.
When I look at why my very kind, open-minded friends are sometimes very vigorous in their attacks on religion, it is because they can see other people being oppressed by an idea—by a fear. It’s a natural tribal reaction. It is the defence of one of our own. I’m entirely okay with someone using the word God, but I don’t want them thinking that success in life comes from being judged worthy by any such God. That doesn’t even make sense. If God is all things, then God is also the offending thing. How can God offend God?
Pray, believe in cosmic forces, even use scripture to help you keep in touch with your overall understanding. But don’t be afraid of not getting into some sort of Heaven. It’s not a gated world. It’s a state of mind. Heaven exists for eternity, right? Well eternity is all time, which means it must include now. So if this is a part of eternity, then we should have access to Heaven—and we do.
We can have an enjoyable, loving existence filled with people that love us. Or with a little more effort we can create a miserable, angry existence where people avoid us because they don’t want to get caught up in the negativity that has consumed us. That choice is ours. “God” has given us the tools and resources to create a great life. We must now honour that opportunity and use what we discover to advance ourselves towards greater and greater levels of rewarding, loving, generous, fulfillment.
Believe in God if you like. But do not be afraid of Hell. Because living with that fear is Hell itself. The magical worlds that are created by the telling of parables from any ancient text are merely teaching tools that were designed to be studied and examined for personal growth. Yet in some cases they have become hardened into physical locations for no other reason than our own limited comprehension—because of course the human mind is nowhere near powerful enough to be able to comprehend the vastness of God’s (or the universe’s) scale and imagination.
You don’t need to be coaxed or motivated or forced into behaving in caring, cooperative, compassionate ways. That is entirely in your nature. So you don’t need to earn anything, achieve anything or accomplish anything. All you have to do is Be, and you are free to Be pretty much whatever you can imagine.
Hell is not a place to be afraid of. Hell is an idea. Hell is what life becomes when we get far away from Love. So if you ever want to know which way to go in life—and if you always want to go in a Holy way—then I would suggest you follow the feeling of love for as far as it will take you. Because that would most certainly constitute a heavenly journey.
peace, love and God Bless, s 😉
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.