Hey Merv! Sorry, super busy day at work… Exhausted.
Oh, best not get me started on Mother Teresa… Revelling in the suffering of others, withholding medical treatment to the sick, having the dying kept in squalor, not allowing visitation, taking money from dictators and spending it on missionaries and not on the sick in her care while living as a celebrity in luxury herself… There’s something about the mistreatment of the sick and dying that I find truly despicable but let’s not get sidetracked.
Back on topic, I think I get your analogy with scientific literacy. You’re basically saying that it isn’t a one dimensional spectrum from good to evil as I suggested but you feel it’s better characterised as a landscape. Sure, I can roll with that but you still, regardless of the criteria, have to draw a dividing line - you just have to do it with more dimensions but to the same result. A more complex version of the same riddle. And the problem is only worse if everyone is stuck at one end, be it good or bad, because we’re considered relative to each other, that just makes us closer together and harder to judge.
Or is the correct interpretation that the path into heaven isn’t kindness, compassion or humanity; it’s accepting Jesus into your heart as your lord and saviour. So, regardless of how I live my life, Christian tradition has me burning in hell. Likewise, people from other false religions, however sincerely believed, do they burn in hell for eternity? But the mass murderer who accepts Christianity goes to heaven. I fail to see the morality in that to be perfectly honest with you. Now I don’t want to strawman you here, some Christians believe that, I don’t know if it’s universally held or not or what your position is. I’m not sure about the bible passages regarding it.
Another issue. You can’t go to heaven without a soul. But how does the soul make sense?
If we have a soul that does our thinking, then what is the brain for? I know here I don’t have to convince anyone that the brain fulfils a role in thinking - even if we don’t understand yet how it works. How does this soul interact with the brain - how does something immaterial interact with something material? If its interactions are immaterial then it can’t interact with the brain or body, if it’s material then we can detect it. And yet we haven’t. Why does injury and drugs affect our thought if our true thought is immaterial?
Let me give an example, in very rare cases it is necessary to perform a procedure which separates the left and right side of the brain in epilepsy suffers. In one such case, a command to walk was flashed to the right hand side of the brain. The person then stood up and walked. Asked why she had done so she said she just felt like getting a drink (as the left hemisphere which forms language was unaware of the command). How is this possible if souls exist?
At what stage do we get souls? Is the moment of insoulment at conception? But it’s not as simple as that, sometimes conception happens several times, sometimes several sperm enter the egg. What then? What about identical twins, do they share a soul? Rarely, instead of getting twins, you get a individual with a chimeric mix of two genomes. Does this person have two souls?
What about during evolution? Was there a first person with a soul whose parents didn’t have one? Or did it start with a little bit of a soul and build up? When our ancestors were fish, did they have immaterial souls? Do all lifeforms have souls, even single cell? Even if so, they are immaterial, so natural selection can’t work on them - so did God change the souls just a little bit with each generation. Surely, the soul of a snail isn’t the same as Boltzmann’s?
Speaking of Boltzmann, physical work on neurons takes force over distance. Something immaterial doing work breaches the conservation of energy. This is my strongest objection so far.
Key to any afterlife is the concept of a soul, and yet I don’t see how it could make sense. Food for thought I hope!