Statesboro, GA, USA
Value comes from the ephemeral, not the ineffable.
I'll try to remember that the next time I buy a car ... or anything else.
The irony is that most people look for coping with the mundane and trivial by wanting the same and wanting it eternally. From my point of view, you're just asking for more of the same disease. What most people are asking for is a moment in time that extends forever, but that's not us, that's a happy photograph.
Believe it or not ... I sympathize with your point about common conceptions of heaven, and see much truth in it. You must remember that Christ promised to be able (actually the only one who is able) to give us our real selves ... not just the repeat button played over and over.
C.S. Lewis in "Reflections on the Psalms" was at least bordering on some similiar concerns:
"It is surely, therefore, very possible that when God began to reveal himself to men, to show them that He and nothing else is their true goal and the satisfaction of their needs, and that He has a claim upon them simply by being what He is, quite apart from anything He can bestow or deny, it may have been absolutely necessary that this revelation should not begin with any hint of future Beatitude or Perdition. These are not the right point to begin at. An effective belief in them, coming too soon, may even render almost impossible the development of (so to call it) the appetite for God; personal hopes and fears, too obviously exciting, have got in first. Later, when, after centuries of spiritual training, men have learned to desire and adore God, to pant after Him "as pants the hart", it is another matter. For then those who love God will desire not only to enjoy Him, but "to enjoy Him forever", and will fear to lose Him. And it is by that door that a truly religious hope of Heaven and fear of Hell can enter; as corollaries to a faith already centered upon God, not as things of any independent or intrinsic weight. It is even arguable that the moment "Heaven" ceases to mean union with God and "Hell" to mean separation from Him, the belief in either is a mischievous superstition; for then we have, on the one hand, a merely "compensatory" belief (a "sequel" to life's sad story, in which everything will "come all right") and on the other, a nightmare which drives men into asylums or makes them persecutors.
Fortunately by God’s good providence, a strong and steady belief of that self-seeking and sub-religious kind is extremely difficult to maintain, and is perhaps possible only to those who are slightly neurotic. Most of us find that our belief in the future life is strong only when God is in the center of our thoughts; that if we try to use the hope of “Heaven” as a compensation (even for the most innocent and natural misery, that of bereavement) it crumbles away. It can, on those terms, be maintained only by ardous efforts of controlled imagination; and we know in our hearts that the imagination is our own. As for Hell, I have often been struck, in reading the “hell fire sermons” of our older divines, at the desperate efforts they make to render these horrors vivid to their hearers, at their astonishment that men, with such horrors hanging over them, can live as carelessly as they do. But perhaps it is not really astonishing. Perhaps the diviners are appealing, on the level of self-centered prudence and self-centered terror, to a belief which, on that level, cannot really exist as a permanent influence on conduct- though of course it may be worked up for a few excited minutes or even hours.
All of this is one man’s opinion ... Other views no doubt can be taken."
Think about it, you don't grow old, you don't judge, you no longer have to worry about being judged, you don't have to act, make decisions, be sad, remember or regret the mistakes you made, you don't have to be human anymore.
You can't enjoy that cup of coffee anymore.
Ah, but you smile, yes, you smile for eternity.
The dream of many spiritual folks is my nightmare.
But then why isn't your conception of atheistic destiny also a nightmare? No growing old, no judging, no being judged, no acting, no making decisions, no sadness, no memory, no humanity.
From a Biblical view of "Eternal Life", your description is caricatured beyond recognition. But it does sound more like what naturalists describe as the end of being. Maybe you're just describing bad descriptions, but it's certainly not an accurate description of what the Bible paints. Though if your description were close to being right, I just might be inclined to agree with your conclusion.
...don't send the rest of us to a fiery pit, let us be.
What of the possibility that these two options are one and the same? Many Theologians have considered the absence of God to be worse than any of the physical descriptions of torment. Dependent beings asking to be left alone, are asking for ultimate ruin.
Though it's unclear to me if they could still want
Curious, is there compassion in Heaven?
It would be nice to not need it, that is if there were no pain or affliction to warrant it's expression ... But since Compassion springs from love, It's root would remain nevertheless, and therefore all the tenderness that compassion entails would not be lost. Do you lose something with your wife on days when you aren't required to specifically have "compassion" on her? How about admiration and respect and the love of beauty? Love has many different hues.
Having said that, I am not sure that compassion will be absent, or that some form of it will not be fitting to circumstances. I just wanted to explain that the absence of the occasion for compassion (pain), is certainly different than the absence of the capacity to give it.
why do people WITH faith systems commit suicide?
I suppose it's because a faith system does not guarantee adherence to that faith. Just as a Math book does not guarantee a good Math student. Though the former can be without the latter, it's hard to conceive of the latter without the former.