“What do you do in heaven?”
[QUOTE] Atheists like myself are often told that if we don’t believe we go to hell. Now, I don’t know if hell is universally a pit of fire across all denominations of Christianity but eternal torture seems to be.
Unfortunately, I’ve never told why I should want to go to heaven. What happens there? What do you do? [QUOTE]
That my young friend is a GREAT and a Profound question
The short answer is because heaven and hell are REAL and you DON”T wish to go to hell.
In order more fully respond your question; requires understanding a bit about God’s Nature; Human nature; Good & Evil and our personal life choices.
Because you identified yourself as an Atheist, allow me to briefly address each of these issues, without providing biblical evidence of them; as you seem not to find that as valid evidence. I’ll be brief and encourage you to ask further questions as they occur to you.
1. We Catholics [the original Christians] believe in:
Who has only One set of Faith beliefs
And Founded only One “Catholic/Christian” church
2. Without a willingness to seek the truth and be open to it when exposed; there is to reasonable way to answer your question.
3. So we start with two essential premises.
1. Everything that exist has a cause to exist. Meaning “something” or “someone” had a “cause, a reason for bringing it into existence.
2. “Something or someone had to be the First cause“ of everything that exist. Any other position is illogical to the point of being silly. We choose to identify this “Force” as our “God.” It is an impossibility for man to fully comprehend the ‘Who; the What and the Why of God; which is part is why we term this belief; based on what limited things we can know; can accept; as the “practice of our FAITH.”
[NOT SHOUTING: CAPS FOR EMPHASIS ONLY]
4. Because of the size of the Universe; [BILLIONS OF STARS, PLANETS AND GALAXIES], its complexity [TAKE FOR EXAMPLE THE “NATURAL LAWS”], and its right-Order WITH SO MANY THINGS BEING IS THEIR RIGHT “PLACE“ FOR EXAMPLE THE ROTATION OF THE SUN AND MOON AND THEIR ESSENTIAL EFFECTS ON LIFE FORMS; Then the most astounding evidence of all: man himself; we can know that this “First Cause” is: 1.intelligent beyond our comprehension 2. Good 3. Powerful without limits.
5. This is a brief summary of WHY we believe in the existence of “God” ; who Created humanity; and for whom God Created the entire Universe in order that man “COULD” ; if open to logical truth; know that “God” must as a reality; a fact; exist, and who’s existence and mans unique and essential role requires in an absolute sense the existence of a Heaven; a Hell and a Purgatory in order to remain a “Good and Perfect God.”
6. Having briefly addressed “God’s Nature”, we turn now to human nature.
Man alone of the BILLIONS of Created [to make out of nothing] things can do all of the following:
Rationalize; make something complex out of lesser things [sending a man to the moon and back for example]; and man alone can choose to love and or to hate.
In order to accomplish these things, man must possess [and alone does possess] the essential attributes. A Mind [not speaking here of the brain], an Intellect [not speaking here of our “IQ”] and a “Freewill” [so man alone can respond by choice, not simply instinct]; AND a human “Soul.” [defined here as the “source; the animator of ALL life forms… BUT noting that just as there are differing degrees of complexity in the hierarchy of the physical reality; so too a similar hierarchy exist for the Soul, which mans again at the top of the complexity order.]
These by far are the most powerful; signifient and important realities of man, and in existence within the entirety of the Universe itself. This is so evident upon reflection that only the most obstinate would even attempt to deny it. Such Powers must, absolutely have a precise reason to exist.
Here I will quote the bible, not as a source of proof; but a proof explaining logically why man alone exist and man alone has such powerful attributes. These attributes by the way; emulate our God in two ways: they are Spiritual realities and they are Eternal. Can neither die or be killed.
FROM the Prophet Isaiah who BTW prophesied Christ birth some 700 years before it took place, explains the reason for man’s existence this way:
Isaiah 43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”
God had no real reason; no actual need to Created either the Universe or man himself, except that God DESIRED and WILLED to be known; acknowledged and loved.
Therefore God Created humanity alone with the ability to freely choose to love Him or to hate Him. This response absolutely requires the Spiritual attributes that man alone has. The “freewill” is essential because God who is “Perfect” and Loves Perfectly; desire “perfect-love” in return. And this is only possible when love is FREELY given; freely bestowed.
IF you doubt what I’m sharing; DO THIS.
Look into a mirror and tell me what you see and what you chose to wear today. To both get dressed and to look into a mirror required you to use all three of your Spiritual attributes. Quantify for example your own “freewill.” What is its size; shape; color and weight? Can’t be done; but can you deny that you and all men have them? They are Spiritual Realities.
7. Because these attributes exist in all-men; both good and evil exist as personal choices of men. Greed; Pride, Lust and so on exist side by side with tolerance; charity; Faith, Hope and Love.
God can only CAUSE “good things” BUT permits evil as a mans option of where man chooses to spend Eternity in his “other /inner-self”; the Eternal package of Mind, Intellect, Freewill and Soul.
Actions have and cause consequences.
Good causes [normally] more good; and Evil [normally] causes more evil. BECAUSE it is man’s choice their MUST EXIST a “just and fair” payback by the CREATOR, who permits man to choose at some point in time. Either in this life or in ones Eternal Life.
That’s the reason for the reality of both hell and heaven. Both places of Eternal rest are literally “earned” by ones life choices.
So where one ends up is ones own choice. One cannot blame God or others.
9. Hell can be describes as you suggested as a place of incomprehensible and unending suffering and torment. Most notably will be the longing unfulfilled to see God and to be with God; which for Lost souls shall NEVER happen! Heaven is just the opposite. A place of eternal peace, happiness and joy. Complete contentment; no wants and no desires. What one does WILLFULLY; and JOYFULLY is to honor; to thank and to praise God for all of eternity.
So that friend is a brief explanation. I hope you will find a need for further questions.
May God the Creator guide you to His Truth; because TRUTH is singular. Amen.