Enter the bear cage.  Jethro Flench takes on all comers.  The topic is: God Almighty. J.Flench
My religion also offers eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Which of your secular alternatives offers that?
 
F.F.L.
 
 
 
    Although both religious and secular groups offer rituals, one should not expect them to offer the same rituals:  If one is seeking holy communion, one must go to a Christian church service, not to a fraternity meeting.  Similarly, the idea of "eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven" is a religious, not a secular, way of offering comfort concerning the prospect of death.
 
    I suspect that the real issue is that you look upon going to Heaven, not as a comforting, albeit unproven, possibility, but as an undeniable fact.  I further suspect that your belief is based entirely on faith, rather than on dispassionate consideration of the available evidence.  That is, your belief is the result of the uncritical thinking encouraged by your religion [see (8) in my August 18 article].  If my suspicions are unfounded, then please describe your evidence, so that I can consider it.
 
    Meanwhile I, like many others, prefer secular offers of comfort.  Although they generally promise less than religious offers, they have the distinct advantage of proving to be much more credible when subjected to critical thinking.  This means that their promises are much more likely to be kept.
 
    Jethro
Religion IN PROGRESS THROWDOWN THROWDOWN
Since you didn't answer my question I assume there are no secular alternatives to a life ever after. Your philosophy offers no hope. You say that my belief is false hope but I suspect you have no idea what awaits in death but you have no problem dismissing Heaven because you see no sign of it here on earth. You are making a judgment based on no evidence. How is that critical thinking? If my suspicions are wrong please describe your evidence so I can consider it.
 
F.F.L.
Since you didn't answer my question I assume there are no secular alternatives to a life ever after. Your philosophy offers no hope. You say that my belief is false hope but I suspect you have no idea what awaits in death but you have no problem dismissing Heaven because you see no sign of it here on earth. You are making a judgment based on no evidence. How is that critical thinking? If my suspicions are wrong please describe your evidence so I can consider it.
 
F.F.L.
Hello again,
 
    I did indeed answer your original question, which was, "Which of [my] secular alternatives [to religion] offers" "eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven"?  My answer was that eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven is a religious, not a secular, offering. So obviously no secular alternative offers it.
 
    Since you do not cite any evidence in support of your belief in the Kingdom of Heaven, I take that as meaning that you have none, and I agree that there is none. This, I assume, is the "no evidence" to which you refer.  The same judgment of "no evidence" applies to every other religious notion about "what awaits in death"; it applies to each of the varied concepts of Heaven endorsed by the many religions and sects on this planet, to alternative destinations for the dead (such as a dreary Underworld beyond the River Styx), to reincarnation, and to a potentially unlimited number of other speculations that have been and could be proposed.
 
    So let us apply critical thinking.  What should one decide when choosing among a large number of opinions about an afterlife, none of which is supported by evidence?  Clearly there is no basis for believing any one of them, instead of any other, since the evidence for each is equally absent.  So the only reasonable course seems to be to continue (or start) looking for evidence but meanwhile to be agnostic, that is, to admit that one does not know what awaits in death.  This is precisely the circumstance that makes hope possible.  If one knows what awaits, then the issue is settled, and there is no need to hope, but if one does not know, then one is free to hope for the best.  Remember the famous line from James M. Barrie's Peter Pan: "To die would be an awfully big adventure."
 
    I intend to say more on this subject in future installments on the website, but only after I have covered some subjects that are logically prior.
 
    Jethro
The Latest
Hello again,
 
    I did indeed answer your original question, which was, "Which of [my] secular alternatives [to religion] offers" "eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven"?  My answer was that eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven is a religious, not a secular, offering. So obviously no secular alternative offers it.
 
    Since you do not cite any evidence in support of your belief in the Kingdom of Heaven, I take that as meaning that you have none, and I agree that there is none. This, I assume, is the "no evidence" to which you refer.  The same judgment of "no evidence" applies to every other religious notion about "what awaits in death"; it applies to each of the varied concepts of Heaven endorsed by the many religions and sects on this planet, to alternative destinations for the dead (such as a dreary Underworld beyond the River Styx), to reincarnation, and to a potentially unlimited number of other speculations that have been and could be proposed.
 
    So let us apply critical thinking.  What should one decide when choosing among a large number of opinions about an afterlife, none of which is supported by evidence?  Clearly there is no basis for believing any one of them, instead of any other, since the evidence for each is equally absent.  So the only reasonable course seems to be to continue (or start) looking for evidence but meanwhile to be agnostic, that is, to admit that one does not know what awaits in death.  This is precisely the circumstance that makes hope possible.  If one knows what awaits, then the issue is settled, and there is no need to hope, but if one does not know, then one is free to hope for the best.  Remember the famous line from James M. Barrie's Peter Pan: "To die would be an awfully big adventure."
 
    I intend to say more on this subject in future installments on the website, but only after I have covered some subjects that are logically prior.
 
    Jethro