I live deep in the Bible Belt. Which generally doesn’t affect my day-to-day life. But every now and then, something crops up. Like Pat Robertson running out of foreign countries and dignitaries to attack, and choosing my denomination instead. Or when the little girls in the neighborhood start to proselytize.
My daughter came home a while ago and told me that one of her playmates told her she was going to h-e-double-hockey-sticks. All because my daughter doesn’t go to this playmate’s church.
I figured we’d get to this point sometime. After all, I saw it all over the place when I was growing up. Several religions claimed that if you didn’t believe what they did, that you were destined somewhere warm.
(As a side note, logically, if you have two or more churches that believe that if others don’t subscribe to their beliefs they are going to heck, then everyone is going there…)
I’m a Unitarian-Universalist, which I will abbreviate as UU for short. This is a merging of two denominations. The Universalist part of our heritage stems from the belief that God doesn’t play favorites. Everyone will be saved. Yep, we don’t believe that there is a place of eternal damnation.
I’ve talked this over with friends belonging to churches not as far removed from the tree as we are about why the Inferno is needed. The responses, without exception, have been that it provides a definite punishment for failing to live a good life.
Hmm. This makes me wonder why living a good life for the sake of living a good life isn’t enough? Isn’t it enough to be kind and loving simply because the other person is human? Isn’t it enough to play by societal rules because it makes live harmonious, not because some dead dude years ago decided it was how it must be done?
To me, intrinsic rewards are better than external threats. But then that philosophical difference might be at the root of why I’m a UU rather than a member of another religion.
Photo by Hryck.