Heaven does not require “god” or “Jesus” or “salvation”. However, heaven is real.
WHAT? An atheist believes in heaven?
Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening here. However, it’s neither god, nor Jesus nor salvation that will actually get you there- heaven is what you create for yourself during the time that you’re alive. I think the best philosophy to back-up this claim is that of the Toltecs, as described in Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements.
You see, we as humans are capable of creating our very own heaven, right here on earth—this is the heaven we need to strive for, and I believe, this is the actual heaven that the bible talks about. It’s only due to our misinterpretations that make us credit god. (But that’s an entirely different blog) Additionally, we are equally capable of creating our own hell by not following the guidelines to achieving heaven on earth.
First off, heaven is an achievement. It’s where we (or at least people who are believers) hope to go when they die. In the biblical sense it’s an eternal life of peace, free from worry and pain and suffering, living forever with “god”. The alternative is hell, where the sinner or unsaved, will live for eternity without that peace and will suffer forever knowing that they messed up. At least that’s the gist of it, no?
Even when I was a Christian (and I really thought I was for a brief period of time) I never fully grasped the concept of the afterlife- it’s just too farfetched for me.
It wasn’t until I read Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements that the concept of the REAL heaven and hell made sense. If you haven’t read The Four Agreements, I urge you to read it NOW! No matter your religious beliefs, it is life changing and never once does he try to convert you to atheism- he himself is not atheist, it’s actually a very spiritual book.
Although I feel you really need to read the entire (very short) book to fully understand the concept, the four agreements (principles) that he shares are:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
While I completely agree with these four principles, there are a few others that I would add:
- Be kind and respectful of other’s self and property
- Live in the moment- make the right decision for you right now and know that if it doesn’t work, you can always change your mind
- Acknowledge your faults but don’t dwell on them and always recognize your strengths use them to your advantage
- Be forgiving of others
I’m not telling you anything that you haven’t heard before. We all know that we need to do these things no matter our religious beliefs, but the most important principle that I would add- the one that matters most is:
- Accept that this is your only life, that you will die- appreciate that knowledge. Don’t waste your life- embrace it, make it what you want it to be. The thought of dying shouldn’t make you sad or scared; knowing that you’re living should make you feel empowered.
I actually believe that this is the basis behind the bible’s teachings.
I believe that the whole point of salvation is to surrender to life. It has nothing to do with a deity or going to some magical place when we die; it has only to do with life. The only true heaven is “heaven on earth” and that can only be achieved by surrendering to life and the principles listed above- only then will you truly live a life free from worry, pain and suffering.