Theists: Do You Fear Eternity in Heaven? (Seriously. Please read.)

Background for people new to my blog: I am an atheist and antitheist. But, I ask this question seriously and am hoping for a real discussion on the subject.

It occurred to me recently when thinking about eternity just how long we’re talking about and that even in heaven, were I to believe in heaven, I think I would end up so incredibly bored by the monotony of it that oblivion would be very welcome indeed.

Sure the first million years would be a blast!

Nearly all of us would like more time than we get on this planet. But, how long?

As I said, sure it would be great to live a million years, possibly even a billion. But, if eternity really is forever, as I assume it to be, the millions and billions and trillions of years would be a blink of an eye by comparison.

A googol is 10100. A googolplex is 10googol. There are about 1080 atoms in the observable universe. A googol is 1020 times that. A googolplex is a 1 followed by a googol of zeros. Even if you had all of eternity to write the number without scientific notation, and even if you used just a single atom to represent each zero, you’d run out of stuff in the observable universe before you wrote out a googolplex.

So, after a few googols of years in heaven, would you be bored? How about after a few googolplexes of years? And then, a few googolplexes of googolplexes of years?

I think I am not built for eternity. I think I would be bored out of my soul. I think I would welcome and even crave oblivion long before I reached my first googol of years. Even if your vision of heaven is 72 virgins in paradise, even if God tortures them by reinstating their virginity every time (I never really got the attraction to virgins, personally), how soon would even these beautiful virgins become boring?

Long after you look down from heaven and see humanity go extinct, long after you see our sun engulf the planet on which we used to live, long after the universe experiences a big rip and is no more, for all practical purposes, what will you do in heaven that will be so wonderful?

I think believing in heaven would literally scare me far more than nothingness and possibly only a tad less than hell. What’s your opinion? Had you thought about what eternity really means before?

15 Responses to Theists: Do You Fear Eternity in Heaven? (Seriously. Please read.)

  1. Cerberus says:

    Fine subject, Scott. Indeed., I don’t think that I would want to be in that situation as it would be in absolute toucher. To think that if I were in such a state, would no doubt be the cause of my insanity.

    And I’m glad to be amongst my friends again, btw. 😉

  2. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    Interesting thought(s), Scott!
    Before anyone can rationally deal with a so called post life state called heaven [or hell, for that matter, too!], it is mandatory that they come to grips with what is the reality of NOW, Consciousness, and what is the Time/Space Continuum, before any speculation or extrapolation into the unknown of post mortem! Some or much of which is yet to be adequately explained/defined! [We really don’t know where we are and where we are going in this bigger sense!]
    Thus such conjurments and brain warps are at best just pisssing in the wind!
    Yet your suppositions will make for lively debate, and entertainment for the masses!

    • Cerberus says:

      Interesting points, but I don’t think that we live after we die. It’s okay if you think so in your own definition of how you may think things work, but I do not see such a picture defined, and reject the claim outright until such a time that anyone can offer proof to such claims.

  3. Cerberus,

    Of course, as an atheist, I believe when we die, that’s it. Hence this life is very precious to me. It’s all I get.

    Many people fear the non-existence of death. This is one of the things on which religion is excellent at preying upon. My question therefore, is directed at theists, especially members of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion (deliberately singular as always for me).

    My point is that any afterlife, even heaven, when stretched out for eternity, can be even scarier than oblivion.

    My question is designed to both point this out and to find out how many religious folks have actually given this some serious thought. Perhaps they have an answer to it. I asked one person privately and he actually had as reasonable an answer as one could expect. It was quite well thought out.

    I won’t post it here, at least not yet, because I want to know if others have thought about this and how they deal with it. Besides, putting this in writing, so to speak, got me think of and coin the phrase “bored out of my soul”. I kinda like that one.

    I do hope some believers will read this and reply. I am interested in having a discussion about this with people who do believe in an eternal afterlife.

  4. Rob Nolan says:

    Well…if there IS a life after death, then terrific, but if it turns out there’s nothing, then we’d never know it.

    • Thanks Rob. Yes, certainly, if there is nothing after death, as I expect, then I will never know it.

      This question is intended for those who earnestly believe that there is something after death. And, the question is, would it really be terrific? If so, for how long? Any period chosen for how long it would be great will be short by comparison to eternity.

      So the question for believers is, do you think it will be great for googolplexes of googolplexes of googolplexes of years? If not, do you fear what it will be like when the wonder and awe wear off?

      I believe in oblivion. For me, this is not an issue. But, I also think that, if there were a heaven and somehow, I made it in, I would be bored out of my soul fairly quickly. I would fear the fate of being stuck in heaven for eternity.

      Heaven, hell, or Hoboken? I’ll take Hoboken.

      In fact, if I really believed those were the choices, I’d buy a lot of real estate in Hoboken. Demand would likely be very high.

  5. ECA says:

    interesting pryer..isnt it..
    If this is anything as it is in heaven, I would prefer HELL..
    My concept, is that I REALLY dont have much CHOICE, do I?
    Be I nothing, a random electrical force, Heaven, Hell, Worm food, or what…
    Even the Existential, concept of an integrated multiverse, condensing BACK from all its off shoots to its first form, leave little to be desired..
    DO you have a choice? not really.
    Can you tell others, AFTER, about what is there? I dont think its that easy..

    The only thing I SEE in life, is finding SOME reasoning to STAY HERE..

    • ECA says:

      If you could show me a path to a life with LESS pain and punishment…LEt me OFF and lead the way..
      I was born and doctors LOVED me to experiment on..(literally)
      Lets add Old age and TIME to the list..and things change perspective QUICKLY..
      2 major head traumas when I was younger(telephone poles dont break easy), Born with legs in strange positions, Doctors that DONT FIX things, Arthritis, gout, and Short term memory loss, REALLY tend to suck.

      But I have seen other worse off, including family, with Kidney loss..(part of my handicap and genetics)

      • I’m truly sorry to hear all of that ECA. I hope doctors can find you answers and solutions to as many of those as possible. You have my sympathy and best wishes for the best possible outcomes.

  6. ECA says:

    Life is life, we live what we have.
    I just wish that in the past, Some had seen me for my knowledge..
    I like learning, and have gather much in the past, and MORE in my older age. And debates help me clear my opinions..

    You and Others have listened to me for years. We have some interesting debates, and comments..

  7. ECA says:

    lets see..
    sending MORE people to war AND sending 200+ to fight Ebola..
    Ebola is funny, as A few of us looked up how it is transmitted..WHO is SPITTING ON EVERYONE??
    this brings back memories of the conspiracy about AIDS..
    or is it training on HOW to lock down a country?

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