I grew/am growing up in a Swedenborgian family. I live with my grandparents; my grandfather being a minister of a small New Church group in Charlotte NC. The religion is a branch of Christianity that accepts science and the writings of a man named Emmanuel Swedenborg, a scientist of the 1700's. The religion interests me a great deal and is SO MUCH more tolerable than any other form of Christianity I have come across.
Last night, my 66 year old grandmother and I were chatting on the back patio, catching up on life as she had just been away for a week. I have no clue whatsoever about what brought us to talking religion, but we were, and the subject of Heaven is what I wish to discuss.
I don't know exactly what other/all Christians think of Heaven and Hell, but my grandmother explained her opinion (which is much nicer than that of a fundy)
She said that you can go to Heaven without believing in god as long as you are a good person, because "What your true loves are are what determine where you go." So, for instance, if one were to love murder and theft, they would go to Hell. When I asked what Hell was to her (and those of her faith) she said that hell was a place where people with wrong loves would go, and they would never be allowed to act upon their wants, and so therefore would live a life of disappointment. Also, that the thoughts of a person in Hell can manipulate their surroundings, so if one were to think nasty thoughts, nasty smells would surround them. My grandmother went on to say the god still loves you if you're in hell, but you are never allowed to feel love. Also, that a person with wrong loves would be equally as miserable in Heaven as they would be in Hell.
Then I ask why then shouldn't the people in Hell just go to Heaven and there not be such a thing as Hell. She didn't quite understand me, but here's what I mean...
The only reason god would want to separate the good and the bad in the afterlife is so that the bad can never feel joy and the good can never feel sorrow. Well, if a hell-bound spirit could not feel joy in Heaven not matter what because it is impossible for them, then, problem solved. What about the heaven-bound? Well, they will always be able to find joy and are surrounded by it, and therefore are not negatively influenced by the hell-bound.
She said that if the hell-bound were present in Heaven, then those there would see them and feel sorrow for them, and so that would be interfering with the happiness of Heaven.
Then I said, well experiencing both joy and sorrow is a good thing. You cannot fully appreciate joy without having felt sorrow, and vica versa. I said that I would not want to be happy all of the time.
She asked why not, how would that be a problem.
Because I want to be able to feel all that I can feel. Doesn't everybody? If Heaven takes away my ability to feel sadness, then count me out.
I also brought up the point that if Hell-bound spirits were loved by god and were not allowed to act upon their bad motives, then isn't there room for improvement in those spirits? Wouldn't they figure out why they cannot accomplish their wrongs? Then couldn't someone in Hell end up Heaven?
Anyway, that's all for now.. just some thoughts..