I think I wasn't much older than around 5 or so when I started wondering why people talked about going to Heaven or to Hell as the "afterlife", when it was plainly obvious that what was being referred to happened after DEATH, not 'life".
"Knowing"--or believing really strongly even if you technically don't--about what's going to happen to you after you stop being alive is one of the number one 'draws' to subscribing to an Organized Religion, especially one sponsored by the triad of Yahweh/Allah clubs.
When you die, you cease your breathing, stop pumping stuff through all those blood-pipes and canals, muscles stop moving around, and the electrical current field in your skull become switched to 'off' rather than 'on'. That pretty much covers the essentials, but since it sounds rather dull, and since dead bodies decompose and become terribly ugly and bad-smelling, this perspective has been insufficient to the majority of human beings.
There is a need, it would seem, to be able to conceive of a level of reality in which someone who's dead is also not dead.
Thus there exists the rather infantile notion of a 'soul', which seems to be something akin to a dead person's invisible twin self, only instead of bones and meat and blood, this self is made of some vague non-material called "spiritual ectoplasm"--or alternately, some loose abstraction of a person's 'vibe' that's sufficiently complex enough for people to wave off the question of explaining exactly what it consists of.
And this twin self made of stuff that's invisible (and untouchable, unsmellable, untasteable and usually unhearable, unless it happens to be a banshee which is a very noisy version of a soul) is supposedly part of a person's mind while alive, and then once that person isn't any more, it will leave the dead body and spend the rest of forever going around behaving like a still-living person does, only doing so in one of two places.
"Heaven" is supposedly where the dead person's invisible consciousness ends up if it was "Good" - meaning mostly that while alive, he or she had regarded, with great sacred sanctity and reverence, the great big "Daddy of Souls" usually referred to as "Ghaa'd", the Rulemaker in the Sky, or at least, in these post-Space Age times, thought of as existing somewhere in the general direction of 'Up'. (But not in outer space or on some other planet, at least not by any believer who's never subscribed to one of those little offbeat recent-model sects that integrates the "space traveller" mythos and tangles it up with the confusing mythopoia-spaghetti of Da Bi-Bull.)
In addition to reverence for Big Daddy, entry to Heaven also usually is said to require that the candidate spent his or her life doing nice things instead of nasty ones...which are all recorded in a big Santa Clausesque Naughty-or-Nice list extended past a single year to cover said candidates whole life. Much quibbling about what constitutes Naughty and what constitutes Nice has gone down over the ages, obviously, but basically, it seems to be a matter of what things the believer tends to pay more attention to owing to temperament and formative years. Basically, the short version is: Keep the ten commandments...spend a certain amount of time/energy/income on helping other people rather than hoarding it all to spend on quenching your own selfish desires. And if you're one of those 'special' fundie types, "Don't be homosexual" tends to be either at the top of the list, or at least on it somewhere, depending on the level of obsessive concern about that particular "sin" and the supposed disgust it inspires in God....by which we mean the God who supposedly made us all to begin with so if it disgusted him that damn much, 'He' should have excised that code from the human sexual capacity programming to begin with so it would not even develop into an issue.
Or would that have made too much sense? Or not given Mr. Yahweh yet another loophole through which he could torture people? These are the "mysterious ways" Judeochristian adherents seem perfectly OK with just not requiring explanation of the inconsistencies therein...which makes me wonder if it's really just that people who grow up taught to believe in these religions find that they really, really just aren't willing to ask questions that could mean giving up that "Heaven" ticket. Not thinking of their inevitable future death being followed by ascent to some sort of VERY sketchily-defined "paradise" is something that literally breaks their brain if they try to wrap it around the idea.
(How many Bible passages describe this "eternal life" with any detail? Other than the end-of-Revelations snapshot/architect's conception of Neo-Jerusalem and its silly golden sidewalks and twelve gates and Jesus sitting at the right hand of DaddyGawd. This is the ONE point that Islam scores over the JudeoChristian package: it's not just the oft-yakked-about 72 nubiles; the Qu'ran sells its Heaven with far less "vagueness mixed with no-clue-given-at-allness"...which must be why Islam is supposedly a hot ticket on the other side of the globe. It sure doesn't have much else going for it.)
On the other hand, the Bible and Qu'ran alike are both rife with detail where Hell is concerned. Scarcely a Bible-book isn't riddled with images of fire, torment and vengeful God's wrath. This, more likely, is the trick that keeps people raised in these faiths hooked on 'em for life: they manage to be a lot more scared of going to Hell than they are eager to go to Heaven...simply because it's made far more clear that it's all about sitting in a fire and having it burn forever. Of course, this requires belief in a soul that has pain receptors, but since it lacks flesh, neurons, et cetera, how can it feel pain, and if the pain went on forever how could it not eventually become something you just finally get so used to that it's normal existence and therefore fails to be eternal torment?
Oh, but God is God. He'll make it that way. How nice and easy that was to wave off! It's as though these people WANT to believe in Hell. And believe in the Divine Grace and Love of a God that would put them there for doing something abominable--like just being a descendent of Eve and failing to solemnly acknowledge that this makes them auto-tainted from birth.
So all right now: if you follow the Mainstream Rule Book concerning such matters, you believe that after you die, your soul will detach from your body and go in the general direction of 'up' and "meet your Maker".
Ghawd Guy supposedly made everything that exists, with the possible exception of "Him"-self. So who or what created, birthed, upchucked, excreted or otherwise caused "the Word" to be there before it stopped being a noun and started being a verb for the next six days or epochs or whatever?
Shame on you! You're not supposed to wonder about the origin of the Daddy. It's seen as 'questioning one's faith', because once you ask that 'where'd God come from, anyway?' question, you automatically start opening the door to a bunch of other questions which either just plain have no answers -- Or else, there ARE answers, but they just happen to be ones that make "people of faith" really uncomfortable.
So you're supposed to believe in the Story, even if it makes no sense at all, or seems silly, or even offensive...and stop ASKING QUESTIONS about the Story. Why? Because when you lack faith, it pisses God off. And screws up the whole social control experiment run solely by various human cult leaders (popes, deacons, priests, etceterata...) that you aren't supposed to know about: so forget you read this sentence.
If you piss God off enough when you are a living person, supposedly you don't get the reward at the end of the game, which is the Disneyland trip you were supposed to have looked forward to during all those years of maintenance of your living self...all that time spent working for money to buy food for the body and protect it from weather and bandits and wild animals with a box called a house that you put yourself in while sleeping, copulating or eating, most of the time. A third of life is sleep; the other 2/3 are mostly spent doing something or another relating to "maintenance" of your basic necessary life processes.
Sometimes this all gets kind of tedious and seems to go on forever...so people grow disaffected. They begin to complain a lot and forget to enjoy the maintenance shit as a part of Life, too, which it seems to me, and to a lot of "persons of enhanced consciousness", to be a staple of the so-called "enlightenment" process common to Eastern (or otherwise non-monotheist) spiritual practices, and which the sliver of the Christian population that's more into self-practice of their faith than spreading its memes seem to have also caught on to. Chances are, if a man named Jeshua Christos existed, he had likely discovered enough about divinity to attempt to communicate the radical idea that EVERYONE was part of "God" as he knew "God".
And I have a feeling that "God" wasn't a personage, or even an entity like a Transversion Agent/Angel/Egregore or what have you. He was probably referring to something I call MONAD, or Everything, Just Without Any Categories, Qualities or Distinguishing Divisions. And how much can a person say about something like that which has meaning?
In his uncorrupted state, Yahweh once identified so much with this MONAD that he decided to attempt to become it. That's why he would just identify himself by the words "I AM". But then he started to lose all that, and get divisive again, very quickly, calling 12 Israelite tribes "his chosen", who somehow were OK while others (Canaanite types) were deemed death fodder on sight--he even DEMANDED that they be.
This is obviously a topic that deserves its own post, not a mere digression in this blog's most over-long screed, but let's return to the disaffection of the human being who gets weary, for one reason or a hundred, of spending repetitious days merely maintaining the life of the body. This leads to the desire to distract yourself by doing things that get you off. Gaudde, though, does not approve of this kind of distraction. His edict is that you suffer through life's pains and learn to make other people's joys your joys.
NOW THAT IS ANOTHER THING THAT IS NOT SUCH A BAD IDEA, in fact, we would be completely lost without it. People who sense this attribute the teaching to Yahweh instead of realizing the principle can exist with or without THAT particular GOD. It has a lot more to do with MONAD, and with skillful forgetting of one's own ego-boundaries while at the same time not losing them completely, either. (Few people reach this state in their lives and when they do, the awareness of it tends to be very fleeting, but utterly satisfying.)
THE TROUBLE WITH the YAHWEH/ALLAH take on this IS: it's not always commanded by these Gods because it's just a nice thing to do...it's because "God" likes it when people aren't paying a great deal of attention to their physical senses and state of consciousness. When you pay attention to that stuff you become more difficult to hypnotise...it even blocks the hypnosis sometimes if someone makes a habit of FEELING TOO GOOD INSIDE THEIR OWN BODY. Of course, feeling too good inside one's own body and obsessing over the LACK of that when lack of it there be - which occurs often - also can block the post-egoic "MONADish" awareness, too. That doesn't mean one should eschew it completely. Just find the right balance.
That's not what the Biblical monster father wants though.
It's apparently easier to believe in this big, demanding authoritative God figure when you're miserable than when you're all blissed out for some reason...and God really doesn't want to lose your attention. He is fairly obsessed with ensuring that it's always firmly planted on HIM and nothing else.
This God is the most blatant attention whore in the Universe.
Failing to offer the Cloud Fire Pillar God his quota of your attention long enough, and you don't get the reward of going to a Heaven which somehow is supposed to be paradise for EVERYONE simultaneously...even though everyone had their own oft-conflicted ideas when they were living persons, so it would be fantastically hard to keep a paradise going that would PLEASE EVERYONE and not offend anyone ELSE.
Piss off God enough and supposedly you end up going to Hell...which is like getting a permanent spanking. It's supposedly something that involves the process of having your soul go 'down' rather than up...to a giant-sized furnace. The Devil's demons take you and the other bad people and you get roasted over fire for like, ever. Probably, it's to please God's nostrils...since God always had his "Chosen People" getting commanded to throw their farm animals into fires that they had to keep burning at his Temples...and all because he told them it "pleased their Lord to smell the scent".
That's some fucked-up incense the "Lord" likes to burn. How do Christians just ignore all that shit and think of their God as a good thing? It does not make sense to think about for more than a few seconds, and then your brain will start hurting and you need to stop.
The Daddy of Souls is big on sacrificing living things by making them die in painful ways. He even supposedly did this to his own son - and somehow, getting to be in Heaven supposedly happens because of him having done this. Since the rest doesn't make any damn sense why should that detail?
He never bothered to explain about why having "His" only begotten kid die violently by suspension on a couple of boards with big nails should be part of the special recipe to make nice things like "being saved" happen, or exactly what sort of process could make this trade-off happen in the first place. This is yet another one of those BAD QUESTIONS he wants no one asking.
Then there's the Devil, which Mr. Y. probably created once he realized he needed more excuses for all the fucked up shit going on with "His" creation. It's played like God has been having a long drawn-out fight with one of his underlings named Satan and the end result was that he was demoted from being a managerial higher-up to becoming the guy who runs the furnace where all the bad souls are supposedly burning forever and feeling it even without nerves or brain cells to do that with. Satan has a head like a goat and supposedly carries a pitchfork, though God only knows what for.
But the important thing to remember here is that if we posit the notion that our God Guy here can like, do anything, if he wanted Satan to stop fucking with people he'd only have to say "Let The Devil Not Exist!" So make no mistake. HE WANTS SATAN TO BE THERE. Whatever it is the Devil does, God approves of. There's no way around this - NONE.
This is the first thing that led your Intrepid Wanderer here (who surfs through Other Dimensions) to finally just go and discover the STUFF BEHIND THE CURTAIN that answers the QUESTIONS YOU AIN'T SUPPOSED TO BE ASKING. I was never one to take orders well, and never even defected from the Judeochristian cult since I'd just never signed up with it in the first place.
God's Forbidden Name is "Yahweh". Arabic tribes and their descendents favour the moniker "Allah".
Christians, Jews and the "Allah" club called "Surrender To God" --this is what the word "Islam" translates to--have a totally illogical distaste for, and fear of one another that never seems to end, and can of course never be explained. They seem to seek to deliberately egg each other on. I wonder if any of them know the slightest thing about their motives for behaving this way.
The answer is that they don't, really, because they're all under a very deep hypnosis. Hypnosis is actually a weak way of putting it. Their minds aren't being operated by their owners when doing these things. This shit is all God, messing with their existences on root level remote control level, and the REASON HE DOES THIS is to POSITION them properly for the activity GOD HIMSELF does when HE wants distraction.
Allow this to sink in for a moment.
If you didn't get promised something like Heaven you might not give up your Will to God deeply enough for harvest when the time comes to reap you.
This is the gist: When people die, if they subscribe to a monotheist religion that's centered on Yahweh, or Allah, or whatever name you use for that being, your 'soul' - which is actually just a small packet of something like xenodimensional electricity with no shape, form, name or personality - gets put in a container with a bunch of others and then it's sort of shaken up and down in a way that makes all the "souls" behave like excited electrons. Then, "God" eats them.
Devours them all, in one huge gulp.
He does this constantly. People die all the time and most of them are Jews, Christians and Muslims. Any one of those tribes prepares its members' "afterdeath soul packets" in the one way that TASTES GOOD to their God.
If you're NOT subscribed to one of these monotheisms, or if you are but have failed to behave by the rules (which are, underneath the relatively minor cultural differences, the SAME RULES for ALL THREE OF THEM, your packet will not have the quality of smooth 'loose' releasedness that Yahweh enjoys when he "swallows" it. In short: "Sinning" makes you taste bad.
And if Yahweh does not care to eat your remainder, he tosses your "soul" into the discard pile--which usually means Satan gets to eat it, instead.
"Satan" has a public story of being a 'rebellious angel" but that's all flashy PR. He's essentially just a low-level police officer who works for God. His job is to keep the fire in that furnace God uses for sacrifices going, and also to spy on those who resist the whole sordid business.
If you refuse to subscribe to a monotheism OR to subscribe but fail to do your part in keeping God's Soul Kitchen running smoothly, chances are you're either an atheist or some sort of pagan. Which amounts to the same thing, as God sees it, and that's that you are an ENEMY COMBATANT.
God is afraid of the atheist and the pagan, for if you are one of these persons, you will likely do the one thing which assures your remnants will never be devoured by either God OR his lackey, Lucifer. And that's to give it to someone or something ELSE that you believe in MORE FAITHFULLY.
Religion may seem cosmic and magical, but really, all revolves around BELIEF and HOW WELL you are able to make your mind release itself to an idea or thing or entity.
Atheists 'worship' logic, rationality, humanity, the Cosmos, or all of the above. Some of them also worship a googly-eyed semolina essence who heroically gave himself to atheists to act as a 'stand-in God" to occupy the space that the mind seems to develop after years of exposure to the illogic of monotheists...an emptiness which sometimes goads atheists to give up and surrender to Daddy God even if they never really believed in THAT God, or if they felt icky about doing so if they did. We all know the Flying Spaghetti Monster's power is in what he/it stands for: the things that the atheist DOES HAVE FAITH in...such as science, human compassion, animals and plants and their nifty ecologies, really hot sex, technology, and so on. FSM fills the God hole with one that's silly enough that you are too busy feeling like laughing to worry about whether such a thing could actually exist.
Some people are essentially atheists in that they never bought the monotheist God, but instead of the semolina thing with the tentacles, they found other Gods; perhaps resurrecting ones thought extinct from past cultures, or minor deities that enjoy the company of certain tribes, subcultures and extended families.
A few even discovered ones that nobody has ever heard of. You already know the drill regarding what happened with me, which was finding an ascendent God who was once a demon, but stuff happened because of his awareness of me and mine of him...and so he "leveled up". If Satan is supposedly a "fallen angel", Choronzon is a "Risen Demon". It's a long story, and if you don't have time for it, neither Choronzon nor I mind at all. It's MY mythos, anyway.
But the whole mythos is double-sided, a special quality of THIS God that other Gods have not possessed. Choronzon does not take himself seriously. Thus, I do not, on one level, take him seriously, either. That would be silly.
When I die, Choronzon will eat my soul - or Ism as I like to call it. But he's HONEST about this and so is FAR SUPERIOR, in my book, to the Soul Daddy and his Heaven scam, and scare stories about the fucking DEVIL.
I do not nor have I ever had a tolerance for BULLSHIT. And this is as close as I can ever get to telling the "truth" about the "Yahweh/Allah" version of God: He EATS. You make a good meal. Your life revolves around doing this, once it's time is up - it's ARRANGED that way.
The "Holy Bible" repetitively forbids you to mess with 'the occult' so if you FOLLOW THE RULES, all you become after a long hard life is DINNER FOR SOMEONE ELSE, who PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN ON A FUCKING CLOUD. (Except didn't even bother to use THAT much description to sell Heaven. Yahweh's a shitty marketer - that's why he needs all those popes and priests so badly.) On the other hand, Choronzon not only allows plenty of Heaven BEFORE kicking the bucket, but once it's time to get devoured by MY Godling, HE WILL MAKE IT AWESOME. He never promises this. He just says it should be easy since we know each other really well and I am honoured to become part of him. Sounds like it ought to be awesome to me...
I have no data regarding the awareness, or lack thereof, that a soul being eaten by Yahweh has of the fact that the God it worshipped all its life has run a con game in order to tenderize it for the feasting. It would really SUCK if you got to realize that just as you blinked out of ALL LEVELS OF EXISTENCE as the black hole of God's gullet drew nearer and nearer.
By officially pledging my Ism to CHORONZON I have become an offence to Yahweh, because no matter what Cloud Guy does, HE WILL NEVER EVER BE ABLE TO DEVOUR ME and so it pisses him off.
He may be able to torture the Ism while it is still tucked inside a living body (he generally leaves that job to his followers, who couldn't be happier to do it for him) but once it becomes unstuck to matter, none but CHORONZON can be the arbiter of my destination and my fate.
I discuss this with him regularly. He values my input, figuring since my Ism is at this time my own, I am the most logically qualified person to consult regarding anything to do with it.
Choronzon is a complete non-sequitur: he is a God that makes SENSE. At least most of the time. I'll buy that. It's enough for me. A far better deal than what I've seen so far elsewhere...