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Heaven and Hell

Heaven, Hell and Everything In Between (Part 1 of 2)

Heaven, Hell and Everything In Between (Part 1 of 2) 768 536 Jason Stadtlander

When I die, where will I go? 

I have asked myself this at least a million times. Not because I question the quality of my soul or the actions within this life, but because I question the very existence of constructs such as Heaven or Hell. Do I believe in a higher power? Yes. Do I believe that this higher power has a part in every nuance of our daily life? No. The greatest (and worst) gift we have been given is “free will”.

I just don’t think it’s practical… to give a creation free will and still have a part in controlling how that free will plays out. There is another part of me that questions the validity in judging the actions of that free will when no further actions can be taken.

For example; pretend that through our masterful DNA manipulation that we create creature called a Jathdizone. It’s a soft, furry creature with four long legs, long ears that are nearly as long as its legs, and it has a portly belly that hangs below it. We have given it intellect and have made it sentient (aware of its own existence). We place it upon the earth and tell the jathdizone to go forth and be fruitful and make lots of little jathdizones and create communities, etc. Now, each time a jathdizone dies, this consciousness, this awareness that we have given these beautiful creatures comes back to us. There is nothing more that the jathdizone can do to right any wrongs in its life. Perhaps it changed the world for its fellow jathdizonians… perhaps it murdered other jathdizones in a war. At this point – at the end of the journey, is it right for us to judge the actions of this creature and cast its consciousness into an abyss to exist for all eternity in darkness, aware of itself and existing in misery forever? Or does it make more sense to send that consciousness to the group existence of all the other jathdizones for them to teach it how to be good and true?

Is this a second chance? No. It is merely a step in our consciousness, a learning phase. Now, don’t get me wrong, pure evil does exist. We have seen it in our past and we will see it in our future. But, pure evil does not exist on its own without a catalyst or series of events leading up to it.

Let’s look at Hitler, just because I enjoy using him as an example. Here is someone who has not only devalued entire groups of people as ‘less than human’ and was responsible for the murder of countless people, he also is regarded as one of the most evil people in our past. However, I do not believe that he came to this ‘evil’ on his own. He came from a turbulent childhood, a very unhealthy relationship with his mother and was taught by others the nationalist perspectives. Did he from the day he was born contain the ultimate future of being capable of the atrocities he committed? No, I don’t believe so. I think that if he had a nurturing home, loving family and had been taught the TRUE right from wrong and taught to value people of all creeds, he may not have walked down the path he did.

In this statement, it is not the individual that should be punished but rather our species as a whole for allowing someone to slip through the cracks and not have the nurture they needed.

So, if Heaven and Hell exist in the literal sense, is it right for someone who has been raised poorly and influenced toward evil to be cast into the fire of Hell to spend eternity burning with no reprieve? In addition to this, what if someone has simply made several bad decisions in their life (God knows I have) but at their heart wants to do good for others and themselves? Further, what if someone wants to do good only for themselves but does good for others because they know it will benefit themselves – upholding their own selfishness through the good they are doing for others (we all know there are plenty of people out there like this). Will they go to Hell because it was their own interest that was paramount?

And, what if Heaven and Hell do not actually exist at all. Scientifically speaking, energy does not go away, it simply changes or transfers. So if the body dies and Heaven and Hell do not exist, where does the energy of our soul, our consciousness go when electrical activity ceases? Do we go to a group consciousness on a plane that we cannot perceive in this corporeal life?

I’ll let you know my own beliefs and thoughts on this in part 2.

The Covenant of Joseph

The Covenant of Joseph 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

The woman I love has been with child from another. Uncertain how to feel, uncertain what to do.

That is until I see your face. A father’s love, the father’s gaze. As I hold you in my arms, I know the truth. For looking into your eyes, the purity in the beauty. The fact that you are not my son, but the son of my father.

The enormous responsibility weighs on my mind. Looking into this beautiful baby’s face, not that of my blood but that of the face of God. Why did you choose us? What can we possibly give for the son of God? I vow to you my son, that I will teach you and guide you and love you. I promise to you oh Lord that I will show you what a loving father is. Holding my wife’s hand, we will help you grow and nurture you. So that you may one day lead us to a salvation that we hope exists. Jesus my son, Jesus my King, Jesus my Lord from Heaven.

Frankly Friday: Chasing Faith

Frankly Friday: Chasing Faith 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Questioning FaithI have always considered myself a Christian. I was born into a Methodist home, raised in a Methodist church and I attended Sunday school as a child. I can remember the pride that I had on becoming an acolyte as a young boy and getting a children’s bible.

Although we changed churches quite a bit throughout my childhood due to moving, I still felt a connection to the community of church whenever we would return. All that changed when my grandmother died.

I was fourteen years old and I remember being furious at God. Angry that the one woman who I felt always was my rock and guiding light would be swept out of my life. It was during her battle with breast cancer that that my mother and father divorced and any remaining faith I had went down the proverbial toilet. Now, I’m not saying that I became agnostic (those who question the belief in a higher deity) or atheist (those who don’t believe in God at all)… What I am saying is that I failed to care whether there was a God, whether God was real or whether anything else was. I was angry, I was numb to everything and I felt alone.

Fast forward almost twenty years to the birth of my first child.

My beliefs again were put through the wringer. For the first time since my grandmother had died, I was certain without a doubt that there was a God. I could not see anyway that such a precious life could be created. So complex, so incredibly and so beautiful without some higher power orchestrating things on a level that we still can’t perceive. I’m not saying I came full circle, my doubts are still very strong in many areas. However, believing that there is in fact a God (in whatever form he/she or it may be) for me is most definitely there.

This whole realization pushed me to analyze my faith and the very concept of faith, God and in some cases religion. The more I wrote, the more I discovered that there were underlying tones of faith within my stories / books (like The Lantern). People ask me all the time if I intentionally write those into the stories. The reality is, I don’t intentionally write anything. I don’t write an outline, I don’t know how a story is going to end. I simply sit down and start writing. Yes, I have a concept at times or an idea that I want to move with, but it’s never as rigid as a planned out piece. It’s my heart flowing out of my fingers and onto paper. Most of the time, I’m as surprised as everyone else where things go within the stories.

Now I face another life changing situation. One that I am uncertain of whether it’s questioning my faith, encouraging it or negating it. Only time will tell.

That being said, my whole of experiences with having children, dealing with life issues and now with writing has caused me to analyze time and again my morals, my beliefs and the blurred lines between right and wrong. What is true, and what is not? At the moment, I believe strongly that there is a higher power. The Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an and every other written text out there (as far as I’m concerned) was written by man. Do I believe that there might have been some divine influence in such writings, or that they may have been written by those strong in faith? Yes, absolutely. However, they are humanity’s interpretation of something that they do not understand; what lies before our existence and what lies after it.

What do you believe or feel? There is no right or wrong, there is only opinions and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion.

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