Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heaven, Hell & Happiness

People who know me would know that I don't believe in religions. I'm unsure about God since I have no scientific evidence of his existence, but I'm willing to keep an open mind. However, I'm not saying that I insist on scientific evidence for everything. It's just that I tell myself if God really does exist, then he is very different from that described in many religions. The God of the religions claims that He loves us all. But His love is conditional—that we must love Him first; that we must accept Him in order to be loved by Him. That, to me, is not true love. But that's my own definition of love, and I acknowledge that it may be different from the definition of others.

True love, to me, is like how I love my daughter. Even if she disobeys me, I will still love her, although admittedly I may be angry. My love for my daughter shall not be shaken just because she goes against my wishes. That is the true meaning of free will. Or at least that's how I perceive "free will".

Beyond that, I don't believe in heaven and hell. If indeed there is heaven or hell in the afterlife, then I will leave it entirely up to God where He thinks I belong. But for the moment, while there is still life in me, I'm seeing heaven and hell around me now.

I've seen way too many people with a lot of  money and properties, but they're very unhappy. In fact, they're miserable, and life is hell for them! They're constantly struggling and living a life filled with stress.

On the other hand, I've also seen people with very little money and properties, yet they're very happy. They're unable to live a life of luxury, and in many cases they're unable to get many of the things they'd like to have. They're happy all the same.

Of course there're also many rich people who're happy; and poor people who're unhappy. So actually, there seems to be no clear cut pattern that would equate richness to unhappiness; or poverty to happiness; both rich and poor people may be happy or unhappy.

In the end, I'm forced to the conclusion that happiness and unhappiness, and heaven and hell, all depends on what we make of life. If we choose to be happy, then we shall get happiness; if we choose to make the world around us a heaven, then we shall see the world as a heaven!

This reminds me of a question a friend asked me once. He observed that I've been married for over 20 years, and he was wondering how did I keep it going for that long? I told him that my marriage hasn't always been like what it is today. As a matter of fact, about 4 years into my marriage, things were going through some rough patches. So rough to the extent that they're hanging by a thread, and divorce was a real possibility.

Over the years, I've gone through a gradual change. You see, sometimes it's not a matter of being in heaven or hell; rather, it's what you make of your surrounding, of your life. In the past, I used to fight with my wife because I was convinced that I was in the right. But after a long time, I realised that what's more important to me was to be happy. I therefore chose to be happy. But to be happy doesn't necessarily mean to be proven right. For in the end, there is little point to be victorious in proving myself right, but in the process of achieving that, I lose my happiness. Sometimes in life, you can't get it both ways.

I try my best to live life to the fullest. I'd like to use my mind to achieve whatever the mind can do; I'd like to use my body to achieve its full potential. I may not be rich when compared to so many people, but I'm still happy. I count my blessings for whatever little possessions that I have; and for what I don't have, I keep trying to get them. The challenge of trying to get them is in itself an exciting journey and a rewarding experience. 

I choose to be in heaven, even though it's not the heaven of the religions.


Eric said...

God's love is not conditional according to Christian belief. The disciple John wrote, "We love because He first loved us."

However, just because He loves everyone, that does not mean everyone will enter heaven. I am currently a teacher, and two of my children are in my class. Do I love them? Of course. Do I want them both to pass? Naturally. But if they fail to do any of the assignments I gave them, they will both fail, and I will be sad.

God is loving, but He also wants us to respond to Him.

Cornelius said...

Exactly my point, Eric, there is that requirement that we must pass the assignments.