One of the reasons I can't believe in heaven is that sounds excruciatingly boring. Peace, love, and happiness forever sounds like a good idea; but no problems... ever? Forever? For ever-ever? What could possibly be the point of existing at all?
Why get out
of bed on any given morning if not to continue the march toward that
unreachable horizon in the distance? How can we do anything good, unless
something bad will happen if we don't act? How can there be heroes when
all the villains have been vanquished?
The concept of
an ultimate "good" that must overcome "evil" is a construct of Western
theology, particularly Christianity and Islam. Most other theologies
view the natural and supernatural worlds as inhabited by forces of
creation and destruction, where the ideal state is one where these
forces balance one another, rather than one needing to overcome the
other. Creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin, so to
speak, and one cannot exist without the other.
point is that whether one is religious or not, Western ideas about good
and evil pervade our expectations about how the world should work. These
ideas can become counterproductive when the odds of changing society
for the better seem insurmountable because the belief that good must
vanquish evil sets the ground for an "all or nothing" attitude that is
not only unrealistic, but distorts the reality of the world in which we
In particular, I am addressing the good-natured
and relatively well-informed people who say things like, "everything is
so messed up that it's pointless to try to do anything about it." These educated but exasperated do-nothings are far worse than those
low-information, anti-intellectual rubes who consistently vote against
their own best interests, because at least the rubes are trying.
So please accept that no matter how hard you work, the world will never be perfect. For every good thing you do, someone else will do something bad. But as long as you do something, we will all move forward, imperfectly, together. And no matter how bad the world seems, it is
better than it has ever been. Information travels faster than it ever
has, more people are educated, more women and children have
protected legal rights, more gay people are accepted for who they are,
the list goes on and on.
There will always be more work to be done in our endeavor to repair the world.
Now stop whining and let's get busy!