Heaven - Criticism of The Belief in Heaven

Criticism of The Belief in Heaven

Marxists regard heaven, like religion generally, as a tool employed by authorities to bribe their subjects into a certain way of life by promising a reward after death.

The anarchist Emma Goldman expressed this view when she wrote, "Consciously or unconsciously, most atheists see in gods and devils, heaven and hell; reward and punishment, a whip to lash the people into obedience, meekness and contentment."

Many people consider George Orwell's use of Sugarcandy Mountain in his novel Animal Farm to be a literary expression of this view. In the book, the animals were told that after their miserable lives were over they would go to a place in which "it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges". Fantasy author Philip Pullman echoes this idea in the fantasy series His Dark Materials, in which the characters finally come to the conclusion that people should make life better on Earth rather than wait for heaven (this idea is known as the Republic of Heaven).

Some atheists have argued that a belief in a reward after death is poor motivation for moral behavior while alive. Sam Harris wrote, "It is rather more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because you think the Creator of the Universe wants you to do it, or will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it. problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available."

Read more about this topic:  Heaven

Famous quotes containing the words heaven, criticism and/or belief:

    One is not idle because one is absorbed. There is both visible and invisible labor. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.
    Victor Hugo (1802–1885)

    The visual is sorely undervalued in modern scholarship. Art history has attained only a fraction of the conceptual sophistication of literary criticism.... Drunk with self-love, criticism has hugely overestimated the centrality of language to western culture. It has failed to see the electrifying sign language of images.
    Camille Paglia (b. 1947)

    With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.
    —G.C. (Georg Christoph)