Re: Anthropology and Religion

Jason Leary (
Tue, 17 Oct 1995 18:42:11 -0400

Why should a person want to go to heaven anyway? What is the benefit of
going to heaven? If doing something virtuous for someone meant that one would
burn in hell forever and doing something of vice such as raping someone
caused one to be rewarded with a gold crown in paradise would it not be
better and braver to choose to go to hell?. Don't respond with something
typical such as "but that's not the way it is; God wouldn't do that"-we
are talking hypothetical. And don't respond in the typical response of
saying since it is hypothetical we needent bother with awnsering it.

Isn't all this talk of heaven and hell an appeal to self-interest-
a carrot-and-stick approach? Is the merit of a given thought or action
to be judged on the basis of whether one is eternally rewarded or eternally
punished? Is good that which gets one eternally rewarded
and bad as that which gets one eternally punished, or are good and bad
what they are regardless of whether one is rewarded or punished?

Also what comfort could a God take from knowing that his followers follow
him (even if this was not the only motivation) because they wanted to
gain crowns in heaven and avoid frying in hell?. I would like to ask
the author of that "poem" would he still pray and engage in his religion
if there were no heaven and hell?, and I'm not discussing whether or not
there is a heaven or hell, and so don't go off on some typical tangent
of trying to prove to me the existence of heaven and hell.Write me back
and give me an original response.

--jay leary