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JLeslie's avatar

Is it true dogs don't go to heaven?

Asked by JLeslie (54496points) April 21st, 2011

I was at a memorial service a couple of days ago and at one point a religious man, or clergy, not sure, of some sort stood before us and gave the oddest speech. Well, odd to me. Anyway, he mentioned that our pets do not go to heaven, because heaven is a place for humans, and animals are subhuman. I had never heard this before.

The person who had past away was Catholic, but this guy, the one who spoke, might have been some other sort of Christianity? He was not a priest for sure, no collar. In fact, I find it hard to wrap my brain around the idea that he might have been Catholic?

He spoke of heaven not being a place in the sky or on a planet. Was that a slight against Scienologists and Mormons? While trying to honor this wonderful woman who died after years of cancer?

And, gave an analogy about family visiting family members in prison, and that God’s love is eternal and unwavering, no matter what we do, like those who sill love and stand by the prisoners. Does this sound wierd to anyone else?

Anyway, is this word subhuman thrown around a lot in Christianity? Or, among Catholics? Is this part of the reason evolution is seemingly abhorrent to Christians?

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33 Answers

shego's avatar

Wow, I was raised catholic, and I never heard such bs in my life. But then again, I have never heard of an animal as being “subhuman.”
I may not be religious, but animals go where we go, wherever that is.
When I was growing up, I had a dog that died, and my dad told me that she’s in heaven. I have no reason to believe differently.

JLeslie's avatar

@shego The memorial service was at the private school her children went to. I have a feeling this guy was associated with the school somehow. It is not a Catholic school. Might be a Christian school not sure?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

My grandparents are/were Byzantine Catholic, and they taught us the same. Mind you, they are/were both animal lovers, but my grandmother will look you in the eye and tell you that there is absolutely no way your beloved pet is going to heaven.

AdamF's avatar

No heaven, so no heaven for pets.

But there is a consoling beauty to it. After death they become the basis for other life forms, including future pets and their owners.

AdamF's avatar

With respect to evolution, even the Catholic church which officially accepts the weight of evidence, still throws in some metaphysical hocus pocus with respect to humanity. As such, their version diverges from the bottom up blind process that scientific evidence indicates, and becomes a supernaturally guided selection process with humanity the inevitable end point and pinnacle. From this perspective all of nature is “sub” human, because the rest of nature was only put here as a backdrop for us to play the game of salvation on.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I’m not sure if any brands of Christianity teach that, but it was once a widely accepted fact. Philosophers such as Spinoza stated that animals do not possess reason, and since the inherent worth of humans was attributed to the ability to reason, animals were not considered to have any worth. Therefore it was okay to kill animals, because nothing was really lost. I don’t think this guy’s statements are necessarily promoted by any religion, but religious people tend to accept archaic ideas more easily than the non-religious, so it may be from figures such as Spinoza.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a lie. The truth is, dogs went to heaven before the first human ever did. Remember Laika.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve heard something similar, that animals don’t have souls and therefore don’t go to heaven. I’ve never heard anyone say it’s because they’re ‘sub-human’, though.

Buttonstc's avatar

Nowhere in the Bible does it state that pets or animals won’t be in heaven. And I have looked So, whoever states that pets won’t go to heaven (regardless of whatever reason they give) really has no foundation for making a statement like that.

And especially if someone is a Bible literalist, they have to acknowledge (no matter how reluctantly) that the Bible does mention animals as being present in heaven.

There are a few verses which spring to mind. I’ll mention a few but i’m sleepy and ready to call it a day, so not exact quotes but close enough for someone to find them if they care to.

In the book Isaiah, it speaks prophetically of the lion shall lay down with the lamb.

And in the NT in Luke it states that all flesh shall see the glory of God.

I certainly don’t think it unreasonable to imagine an afterlife with all types of animals since they are a part of God’s creation.

And since the Bible does not specify any prohibition against animals being there, I certainly don’t see why assuming that they most likely will be is that off base.

This guy sounds like a pretty narrow-minded type considering some of the other comments he made. I won’t get into those since this Q is about pets.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Since there is no absolute proof that heaven actually exists, and is existence is based on faith alone, heaven can indeed include pets if you so believe. I believe that, if there is a heaven, pets would be there, especially dogs, as they exhibit all the characteristics of a faithful servant – protection, devotion, forgiveness, companionship.

meiosis's avatar

Given that, according to the bible, in heaven all the believer’s companionship needs will be met so completely by angels and the multitudes of believers (Revelation 7:9) that they no longer need even their spouses (Matthew 22:30), the presence or absence of pets will be completely irrelevant.

Why does the prisoner analogy sound weird to you? It sounds like pretty orthodox Christian dogma to me. Also, why should a Christian care about upsetting the religious sensibilities of a Scientologist or Mormon? From their point of view, they’re completely wrong.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If it’s true, please don’t mention it to Mom. She believes that Dad is in heaven with all of his beloved hunting dogs. And she later regretted not including their last dog as as one of the surviving family members in his obituary.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That’s a blatant lie. All dogs go to heaven. There was even a movie about it. How could heaven be heaven without a good dog.That guy’s a wienie.

marinelife's avatar

There are animals in my heaven. His doesn’t sound very nice or like a place I would want to go.

thorninmud's avatar

Unconditional doggie love is heaven.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

I believe our pets will go to heaven, as a matter of fact, so do a lot of us Christians. Here is a link to a condolence given to my family after a particularly difficult loss of a beloved pet.

plethora's avatar

I have never heard the word “subhuman” applied to dogs or any other animal. It’s a most unfortunate word choice, especially in this setting. He was probably referring to the belief that dogs have no soul and therefore no life beyond this one. I think that’s a completely unnecessary topic to bring up at a funeral, especially if the woman loved her little doggie, not to mention people in the audience who have dogs they love.

As for the mention about Heaven not being in the sky or on a planet, a funeral, regardless of a person’s faith, includes a mention of their beliefs. I find it odd that you would interpret this as a “slight” against Mormons and Scientologists. It differs dramatically, but it’s not a “slight”. If I were at a Mormon funeral, I would expect to hear some pretty bizarre beliefs mentioned which I would know were totally opposed to my own beliefs as a Christian, but I would not consider it a “slight”. It’s their funeral, so they can say what they want to say. It’s not a PC event.

bkcunningham's avatar

I always thought the phrase “subhuman” was an evolutionary development term.

DrBill's avatar

Heaven is a place of our own making, after all, heaven for one may not be heaven for another, there are lots of dogs in my heaven and your also, if you want them.

Dog was given to man by God to love serve and protect him, that is why dog is God spelled backward. God is in front leading you, and dog has your back.

IMHO The man who was speaking may have been a man of the cloth, but he was not a man of God.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone. I found his words so unnecessary. I didn’t understand why he could not just speak about how wonderrful she was, that she will be missed by those wo knew and loved her, and that she is now with God in heaven, and leave the other stuff off.

@plethora The reason I asked if it is a slight, is because I don’t understand why it is necessary to say what heaven is not. He simply could have described what heaven is. But, at the same time it is not their responsibility to worry there are people of other faiths in the audience I guess. But, it is very typical for religious people to have no idea when they are offending others, I feel this a lot with Christians. I realize it is not done with malintent, but for them from a place of goodness. I think probably it happens at times in the reverse that the religious feel offended when the non religious, or someone from a different religion, had no intent to offend them. I kind of wish I had seen the face of the husband who lost his wife when that was all said. It doesn’t sound like anything I can imagine coming out of his mouth or in his thoughts. But, I am just guessing.

meiosis's avatar

@DrBill “Dog was given to man by God to love serve and protect him, that is why dog is God spelled backward”

Really? Do Germans have a ttog to love, serve and protect them? Or a ueid for the French?

OpryLeigh's avatar

If my dogs are not waiting for me in heaen when I get there then I’m not interested in going to heaven.

SpatzieLover's avatar

As far as I learned as a Judeo-Christian, Roman Catholic, animals most definitely do go to heaven. St. Francis of Assisi began preaching sermons to the animals.

I can’t imagine a God that would create the life of animals, then not love, care for and allow the salvation of said animals. It would make zero sense.

Like others have said, if my animals aren’t waiting for me in heaven, then I’m baffled as to why it would exist.

Sounds to me like whoever this guy was, he should not have been speaking at a memorial. He was not ready to speak to a grieving group.

everephebe's avatar

Well, it’s because humans are sub-animal.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’m no expert on religion, but a book called Heaven by Randy Alcorn purports to answer such questions, and his research is all based on the Christian Bible (of course, if you’re a Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist, then all bets are off)...

phaedryx's avatar

Hmm, depending on your interpretation, it looks like Revelations 7:11 mentions animals sitting at the feet of God. If so, why not dogs?

does some more research

Mormons believe that animals have souls, will go to heaven, and will even testify (in some way) in the final judgment against humans who mistreated them. Sounds like this guy held a counter-Mormon view, although that might not have been why he was saying those things.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie I agree entirely with your post just above. It sounds like a bit of a screwy funeral regardless of one’s faith. I really don’t have any idea whether dogs will be in Heaven.

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HungryGuy's avatar

Well, I don’t know about Jesus, but if you read the Old Testament, you know that Jehova loves a good barbeque :-p

plethora's avatar

I have changed my view on whether dogs go to Heaven. My SO is a hospice nurse and during her career has seen at least 800 people “cross over”. She says that there is quite often the patient’s dog in the room, which she calls “angel dogs” because they see angels before and during the moments of death. She says they always bark, look up and to the right, stand on their hind legs, turn around, and do other antics that indicate they are actually seeing or sensing another presence in the room. She says she has no doubt they go to Heaven based on these experiences. Since I see no definite reason to think they do not go to Heaven, I’m going with her experience on it…which is way way more than mine.

JLeslie's avatar

Just wanted to say thanks again. Loved everyones answers.

VenusFanelli's avatar

No, only humans go to Heaven.

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