Social Question

MooCows's avatar

If you do not believe in Jesus Christ and heaven then where do you think you go when you die?

Asked by MooCows (3190points) October 24th, 2016

I am a Christian and I know without a shadow of a doubt
that when I die I will go to heaven. Where do people think
they go when they die if they are not believers?

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74 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Oblivion. Sweet oblivion.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Hopefully my ashes will be spread in the Great Smoky Mountains somewhere.

I don’t give a flying fart in space where my ‘soul’ goes, if there even is one.

Heaven is a completely made-up construct by the religious community and it is supposed to act as a behaviour modification device.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Up the chimney. Then I cease to exist beyond the memories of those who care to remember me.

Berserker's avatar

Up in smoke. Or worm chow.

Zaku's avatar

I think I don’t know, but the most interesting information I’ve seen comes from the many accounts of people who nearly died (including skeptics and people I know personally) and who have had past-life regressions and memories. Also talking to various intelligent/serious Buddhists and spiritual and Shamanic types (also including skeptics and people I know personally) and looking at where they agree.

So it looks like what roughly tends to happen is one experiences a perspective floating near the dying body. Then there tends to be an opportunity to leave (generally symbolically a tunnel), which if taken tends to be followed by a disembodied state where one may hang out and commune and reflect for a bit, and then may choose to reincarnate or work in other ways.

As far as the one-way trip to heaven, that seems to be a later idea in Christianity, which history shows was an alteration by Emperor Constantine and later Christian policy-makers who thought that it would be helpful to increase influence over people in the real world if they thought their actions would have eternal consequences rather than getting to reincarnate. So as someone open to the actual original messages of Jesus having spiritual value/validity, I tend to think that the idea of no reincarnation and a final Heaven/Hell destination is a mistake or socio-political deception.

Kropotkin's avatar

The consciousness and sentience of what is “me”, most likely emerges from the structure and the biochemical activity of the brain.

A dead brain means no consciousness and no sentience.

Why do I make this inference? There are many case studies of people with different types of brain damage that affect parts of their conscious experience—it could be an inability to recognise faces, an inability to store short-term or long-term memories.

Split brain operations literally result in two apparent consciousnesses within the same person, with the two brain-halves disagreeing over any number of things.

With “Blindsight”—the person literally does not consciously perceive what he sees.

The ability to think, feel, and to have emotions—all associated with different parts of the brain, and all can be lost with brain damage. And there’s no greater brain damage than a completely dead brain.

There are other issues I take with the Christian theology. At what point in our evolutionary past did humans become human enough to merit an immortal consciousness that can survive brain death? Presumably you don’t think all life on the planet has the same privilege—your potted plant isn’t going to meet you in heaven, for example, yet all life on Earth is related and shares ancestry.

It seems to me that an individual human life is but a short blip of consciousness, when some atoms created by the universe are rearranged in such a manner that they can look back at the universe—and then entropy disorders those atoms again.

I think it sucks. Personally, I’d like to live forever—but I won’t. To deal with this existential terror, we make up comforting illusions and delusions. We pretend to find “meaning” in various things. Some invent or cling to religion. There’s a theory that pretty much the whole of human culture is motivated by a fear of death, and is a way of immortalising ourselves beyond physical death.

If you have no shadow of a doubt that your consciousness will survive physical death, and then somehow reside in a heaven for all eternity—I genuinely envy you. It must be very reassuring to be so comfortable with death. I’m not sure it’s a good attitude or belief when taken collectively—if our physical lives are going to be superceded by immortality in heavenly paradise, then what’s the point of life on Earth? It cheapens life and makes it relatively meaningless by comparison.

But, good luck to you anyway.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How do you know that you will go to heaven when you die? Isn’t that a belief?

Mariah's avatar

Same place where I was before I was born.

janbb's avatar

I’m content to think that I’ll only exist as a memory.

ucme's avatar

I keep hearing about this better place
Well let me tell you, if it hasn’t got hot & cold running sexy girls & housestaff, then that is a far flung fart away from being better young fella me lad.

ragingloli's avatar

my consciousness will be uploaded to another clone body, as usual.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I almost always go to August 25 , 2000 after I die.

ucme's avatar

Pete Burns: Dead or Alive?
Well, sadly the former…RIP Pete

MrGrimm888's avatar

No clue. Hopefully I won’t just blink out of existence, but that’s probably what happens.

All our energy is borrowed. Our biological matter will be redistributed over time. Eventually our Sun and Earth itself will be destroyed. And in turn the ‘ingredients ’ of those as well will be redistributed. Forming gases , minerals etc that will one day form more stars, planets, and maybe even life.

Seek's avatar

I will go nowhere. I will no longer be a thing. Everything that makes me who and what I am will be gone the moment I enter brain-death.

The electrical impulses that travel through my nerves will cease. My wetware system will cease to function, the tissues will decompose either naturally or accelerated by creamtion, and my component atoms will be converted into something different.

syz's avatar

No one “goes” anywhere. You die, you decompose.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

eh, mathematically speaking every decision, thought, electron state and molecular position at time of death is a finite set of information that will exist as long as this universe is here.
Maybe we’ll just re-spawn in any number of ways. The universe is a strange place and the possibilities are quite interesting.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I am so grateful for the majority of these answers! Thank goodness many don’t buy into that paradisal/Edenic abode!
@Kropotkin, what an answer!

dappled_leaves's avatar

One’s consciousness ceases to exist, because that is tied to brain function; one’s body decomposes and is ingested by other organisms. It’s the same thing that happens to every other living thing when it dies, whether it’s a human, giraffe, lobster, pine tree, or microbe.

We see it happen all around us, over and over and over; we know we’re related to all other organisms on Earth. Why would we not share exactly the same fate?

Rarebear's avatar

I’ll go to some medical school anatomy lab and then the trash can.

ucme's avatar

Jesus Christ Superstar
Wears frilly knickers & he wears a bra

<runs away laughing>

anniereborn's avatar

I have no idea. Does that scare me? Yes, it does. But I am not going to believe in a “god” just because of that.

zenvelo's avatar

We are stardust, we are golden. We are all part of the cosmic consciousness, we always have been, we always will be.

ragingloli's avatar

If earth is a piece of bread, you are the mould.

LornaLove's avatar

I think God speaks of heaven, a heaven which we do not understand because most concepts, ideas, and beliefs, are structured on that which we know. So we can only describe that which we know.

I suspect though that heaven is actually reincarnation. Any life better than the one we have experienced would be heaven.

flutherother's avatar

At the moment of death time comes to an end and there is no need to go anywhere.

MooCows's avatar

Great answers! I am proud of everyone’s thoughts on this.
If I didn’t know I was going to heaven I would dwell on
death every day of my life here on earth. That would not
be much fun. It comes to mind enough as more and more
people I know are dying because I am getting older.
Think I will just stick with my heaven with the streets of gold.

Rarebear's avatar

I do not dwell on death. I enjoy my life.

But I envy your certainty.

CWOTUS's avatar


Rarebear's avatar

By the way, it’s possible to believe in Heaven but not Jesus. In your worldview, is the only way to Heaven through Jesus?

JLeslie's avatar

I believe Jesus existed, I just don’t believe he was the son of God. It’s odd to me to word it, “if you don’t believe in Jesus,” but I guess that is the Christian way of saying, “if you don’t believe in God.” I don’t believe in God anyway, but when I think of God, I don’t think of Jesus and God as the same, I still don’t really understand that.

Anyway, I think when you die you cease to exist. It’s just over.

I also think if it isn’t over, and there is an afterlife, there isn’t some grand judgment day. I absolutely do not think God cares if someone is a Christian, even if there is a judging God. I think God would care if someone was good. But, I’m Jewish, so that’s kind of in line with my religion, even though I wasn’t raised religiously, and I’m not religious now.

I hope my grandma saw her father again when she died. I hope I’m wrong and we get to be with those we love. If not it’s ok though. Ceasing to exist isn’t scary to me. I won’t know it happened. I dwell on leaving life, not where I’m going. Maybe when I’m closer to death I will feel differently.

Sneki95's avatar

My body rots and decomposes, becoming another part of the nature. If I decide to donate my organs after death, some parts of me will live on and be a part of another life. All will end in the ground, sooner or later.
My soul and mind will go into another world, another body, and become another life.
Only the traces I’ve left behind will be kept after me. Only the memories of me will remain, in the minds of others. It may last only in the minds of the ones who knew me, or it may last for centuries, no one knows. The gates of death will lead me into another life, not into the end. What matters is the footsteps I made when walking to the gates.
The real death is not the heart not beating, but your name forgotten. That is the only death I’m afraid of.

And how are you so sure you will end up in Heaven? What if you go to Hell?

Jeruba's avatar

My body takes some other physical form, either ashes or dust. Probably ashes. As for what I think of as “I,” that won’t go anywhere, any more than the flame of a candle goes somewhere when you blow it out. It’s a process, and it stops.

I don’t envy anyone who subscribes to delusions and fairy tales, no matter how much more comfortable they might sound. I’ll take uncertainty over falsehood any day.

olivier5's avatar

According to the great sage Polnareff, we all get to go to paradise , whether we like it or not.

ucme's avatar

Everyone’s? Liar, liar, your pants are on fire

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@MooCows Correct me if this is wrong (or anyone else can chime in), but doesn’t the Bible state that a Christian does not ascend into heaven until the second coming of Christ? A few years ago, I asked a minister friend about this. His response was, yes, it was true, but most people prefer to think it happens immediately after death, so it is rarely corrected.

olivier5's avatar

@ucme He’s very specific about it: “the nuns and the thieves, the sheep and the bandits, whether blessed or cursed we shall go, the saints and the assassins, the ladies and the whores, we will all go to paradise.”

ucme's avatar

@olivier5 Forgive me, I should have stated to whom I was referencing, it was directed at @MooCows

Pachy's avatar

I believe that we are nowhere after we die except in the memories of those we leave behind.

Which is why I prefer to concern myself with how I use my time on earth rather than to wonder and worry about some oue-in-the-sky place after I die.

If such a place exists, I’ll cross the bridge to it when the time comes.

Stinley's avatar

I have said this before here but I do believe that, no matter what you think will happen to you after you die, you only ever get one chance to live this life. Make the most of it.

marinelife's avatar

Back to the makings (raw material) of the planet.

kritiper's avatar

We don’t go anywhere except a hole in the ground (if we’re lucky). Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From whence we came we shall return. And that’s plenty good enough for me.

Jeruba's avatar

To My Old Brown Earth. Pete Seeger, one of my heroes.

janbb's avatar

^^ One of mine too.

Coloma's avatar

We don’t “go” anywhere. I am 99.9% certain there is no magic “God” or heaven or hell. We die, we decompose, we become dust, eventually. It really is our “eternal rest.” lol

filmfann's avatar

As a Christian, I think Heaven means to be with God. It isn’t harps and clouds.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Any kind of “certainty” relating to this is not an enviable trait. It’s poor critical thinking.

Brian1946's avatar

I died when I was in the US Navy. My body was then stored in an overturned locker, from which I eventually arose.

If you don’t believe me, then gaze upon my avatar, foolishly skeptical mortals, and see the proof with thine own eyes!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Good question, had to give up a Atta boy for that, some of the answers would be worthy of a good chuckle if it were not so sad.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@filmfann As a Christian, I think Heaven means to be with God. It isn’t harps and clouds.
Wait, wait, missed that one, you don’t actually believe that, do you? Sorry, but I had to chuckle over that….then pray it was a joke.

janbb's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central What – now you’re bashing other Believers? Might drive them off the site.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ What – now you’re bashing other Believers?
I do not know if he is or not, i can’t remember, some say they are but hardly confess it. I was merely asking if he was being facetious, having some fun, or if he actually believed that. A true Believer would never believe that, even the milk Christians shouldn’t. If I said You believe that you will roast in hell for all eternity it might rise to the level of bashing.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I’m confused – you believe in the harps and clouds? There’s no biblical basis for that, is there?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ there are no clouds, there are musical instruments but I doubt all people will do is sitting around strumming them.—

MrGrimm888's avatar

Forget harps and clouds. What about cold beer and lesbians?

‘Heaven’ is subjective.

kritiper's avatar

If there was a heaven, there would be different sections for different likes/dislikes/personalities. Mine would be bachelor heaven where all the beautiful girls are.

Seek's avatar

Mine would be in the woods in early Autumn, where it’s a bit cool and the trees are all different colours, and I would have a nice canvas tent by a stream and plenty of sheep to keep me in wool to sew and weave with.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Ok, that’s what I thought. You and @filmfann are actually in agreement, then, no?

Rarebear's avatar

I wouldn’t be strumming a harp. I’d be picking a banjo.

ibstubro's avatar

I will be recycled by the cosmos. Body, mind, and spirit. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. My ingredients will be used to give new life.
It’s the cycle of nature. I’m special, but no more awesome than the lowliest parasite.

Kardamom's avatar

Have not yet read the other answers, will do so after posting.

No where. I’ll be dead. I’m donating any and all of my body parts that might be useful to someone else who needs them. After that, I won’t know or care what they do with me.

I read something about a new thing where they mix your remains with tree seeds and “plant” you in a garden. That sounds good to me.

snowberry's avatar

I am Christian, and I’ll be in heaven, but for those who don’t think that way, perhaps this appeals! Now you’re talkin’!

olivier5's avatar

@snowberry Agood Christian cannot be certain to go to heavens. That’s for God to decide.

filmfann's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central. I am a Christian, and my answer was not meant to be humorous.

Ya know, I often worry that I go on a bit too much about my faith, so it’s odd to hear someone say they are unaware of it. This genuinely surprised me.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Very odd to me too. Any jelly who has been around for a while I think knows you are a Christian. I never feel like you go on about it too much. I look to you and Judi, and a few others for a Christian perspective, and I really appreciate your participation. I liked your answer regarding life after death. I think it speaks tp your pure faith in God without assuming to be sure what the afterlife will be like.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ Ya know, I often worry that I go on a bit too much about my faith, so it’s odd to hear someone say they are unaware of it. This genuinely surprised me
I guess it never resonated with me that much because that fact was overshot by those with all the snide, slanderous comments I seemed to have to focus on with just about any thread I post to. As far as thinking you go too far, I don’t see that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I find that disappointing. You don’t even recognize when Jellies are Christians and take their faith in God very seriously, and that seems so important to you. Maybe be more open to the idea of not everyone is working against you here, and not everything needs to be an argument.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Maybe be more open to the idea of not everyone is working against you here,…]
Never thought everyone was, but let’s not get it twisted there is a posse of Flutheronians that have no qualms in opposing any position I take, if I took the position cheeseburgers were better with grilled onions, some would make the point to attack grilled onions; the kicker would be *they love grilled onions.

You don’t even recognize when Jellies are Christians and take their faith in God very seriously, and that seems so important to you
Maybe threads they are more vocal about their faith are not the threads I was on. I applaud any saint who is diligent and serious about their faith, in the end it is a personal relationship between them and God, so it is not unimportant, however I view their faith is insignificant to their relationship with God. I can no more usher tem into Heaven or bar them from it on how I view their personal walk.

[…and not everything needs to be an argument.
That seems to be the stance of some….I try to have a civil discussion.

Seek's avatar

I just spit out my coffee, laughing.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Hope you have plenty of Bounty on hand ~~

MrGrimm888's avatar

In Heaven, all paper towels are equally absorbent…..

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