4/10/2011 | Share this article:By Mriana ~
I want to run this by our readers- not just atheists, non-theists, Ex-Christians, humanists, Pagans, Wiccans, and whoever else our readership is that are not Christian, but also the Christians too- both who believe pets go heaven and those who do not. I do not think it matters if you believe pets do or do not go to heaven or even if you believe in an afterlife to follow my questions after I tell you this incident, which left me in a very sickened, disturbed, and shocked state of mind for several days. However, it is just one more example as to how heaven and hell are merely human concepts. I could not imagine how any sane and reasonable human would come up with such a concept.
This scenario came up while my mother was telling me that my definition of hell was not hell because it is not eternal. A few days ago, I gave my definition of hell being on earth and created by humans, as well as made mention of that statement from her, in another essay.
At the time, this part of my conversation with my mother was so disturbing, sickening, and, dare I say, demented, that I could not even bare to talk about it. It put me in a frightened state of silence, because the woman could not hear what she was saying. I was not frightened about what she was saying, but of her. Any attempt to translate it in the manner I was hearing it, would have only encouraged her to continue with her disturbingly insane line of reasoning and placing blame on her god. I could not image any Christian, be they one who believes in eternal life for pets or not, saying such a thing. Using such a ploy on a person who loves animals and yet does not believe in the Christian hell is just plain upsetting and disturbing. If a person could come up with such an idea, what else could they do? However, I am willing to hear what others, both Christians and non-Christians, have to say about the situation that caused me to go into total shock and completely mute. Yes, I just invited Christians to comment on this one, but only after they have read and given some thought to what I have to say on the matter.
Here is the scenario:
Christian mother scared to death and is angry because she “won’t see her daughter in heaven” because she is a humanist. Knowing how her daughter feels about other animals, has said many times over, “It would not be heaven without our pets.” In response her daughter says, “We have that here, so why not enjoy them in the here and now?”
Well, as it turns out, in my mother’s view, it would seem our pets ride on the coattails of our faith [in God/Jesus]. If you believe, then you will see your pets in heaven with you. If you do not, you sentence them to eternal torture and burning with you.
Um… One of my cats, who died two years ago, was a black Persian. Humans are notorious for torturing black cats to death and sometimes cats who are not black. This line of reasoning was supposed to make me recant my statement that humans create hell here on earth? The only thing it did was cause me silent fear of her and wondered if she really had lost her mind.
Somehow I felt she was projecting her anger with me and fear of hell onto her god, an external source, which meant, her tactic to control me, was her way of saying she would harm my cats, both living and dead. Of course, she would not really do such a thing, so she places such a thought onto her god, but it was difficult for me to imagine that a Christian would sink to that line of reasoning. I understand she is scared, but to threaten her daughter with harm to her cats, if she did not recant and believe, was a bit much.
Honestly, can any Christian, despite what they may believe about other animals going to an afterlife, say that this was a sane conclusion to pets being in an afterlife? What sort of deity tortures and burns cats? Can other Christians honestly say that is not sick and demented reasoning? Can they honestly say that this was not an attempt to control another person? Not only that, since when did others go heaven on the basis of someone else’s faith? Where is that in the Christian doctrine? Somehow, I think this is a case of “making it up as you go along”, in order to mentally torture and control others. I am sorry, but the idea of burning cat flesh is just plain stomach turning, not to mention the idea of torturing a cat. Now that is a sick and demented person… um deity… um person… Whatever. What sort of person would worship a deity that would torture and burn innocent cats or even some other pet? Can I get a witness from any Episcopalians, Catholics, or Lutherans (apostate, lapse, or devote) that even St. Francis would object to such a conclusion?
My mother is not Catholic, Episcopalian, or Lutheran nor does she celebrate the Day of St. Francis, with the blessing of pets, but even then, when I was an Episcopalian, I did not hear such a thing ever stated. Pets never once got to heaven (or hell) on the basis of their caregiver’s faith (or lack there of). However, my mother is an Evangelical Fundamentalist, with a belief that heaven would not be heaven without our pets and somehow has managed to twist that belief into something insanely and frighteningly bizarre.
I know what other humanist/atheists/agnostics/non-theists would say, or at least I have a good idea, and I can just imagine what pagans and Wiccans would say such a statement. I think such a demented statement would appall all those various groups.
Now, for any Christian, who was sickened by such a statement, let us replace “cats” with a human child. For some reason, you all cannot carry that feeling of disgust over to that thought nor can you carry it over to another human in general. That is OK, but even so, such a statement is still disturbing to others. I have no clue as to how humans can come up with such things and not find them insanely disturbing, even disgustingly sickening. Regardless, place another animal in the statement and that line of reasoning probably disturbs some of you.
For those Christians who were disturbed by my mother’s line of reasoning, you have just gotten a taste of how many atheists feel about such a statement concerning humans. For me, that statement surpasses the idea that people kill kittens every time they masturbate. My mother’s statement and line of reasoning just went to number one and that one has just taken second place. In some respects, her statement might be funny, but in other respects, it is insanely disturbing.
For a brief moment, I will fall back to my Episcopalian days, just for the sake of appeasing those in the Anglican Communion, Catholics, and Lutherans… What would St. Francis, the Patron Saint of animals, say about such statement? If he were alive today, I wonder if he would have been in such a state of disturbed shock that he became mute or would he have managed a sane come back for the woman? Such a statement does not even fit any Christian doctrine that I know. Either Christians believe “All Dogs Go to Heaven” or they do not, but if they do believe our pets go to heaven, I have yet to hear any Christian make such a statement as my mother did.
One final note concerning this idea of hell from a retired priest, Bishop John Shelby Spong, who I highly respect, even though I do not believe in life after death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?vSF6I5VSZVqc