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cat and dog heaven
Posted: 23 October 2007 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I’ve always wondered why Christians don’t believe in a ‘dog and cat’ heaven or a ‘pig and cow’ heaven, or for that matter ant, turnip or cactus heavens for that matter?  Why would there exist a specific heaven just for one particular animal (humans)?

I was able to logically refute the basis of the Christian teachings i received at Sunday school by about age 7 i think.  That was soon after i stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Buddhism makes a whole lot more sense to me… Its more of a philosophy than a religion, so maybe that’s why?  I’m new to these forums, so i’ll go UTFSE to check what’s been said on that topic…

Sam Harris is to be commended.  Fortunately in Australia we have fewer religious nutters than in the US.  Still, the whole world is obviously affected by American political elite, particularly Republicans, either belonging to or being captive to religious extremist dogmas…

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Posted: 31 October 2007 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I think part of the problem is that religious people fundamentally believe that humans are distinct from animals and that God or Gods created us separately from all other living things. This explains why there is apparently a “Heaven” for us, but not for other animals.

It again brings up the argument for evolution versus “intelligent design” or creationism, are we fundamentally different from our animal cousins, or are we in fact the result of fine tuning of genetics over millions of years?

If we were indeed made in a blessed separate act of creation as many religious would have us believe, then we are superior to all other animals and therefore we are the only ones destined to go to heaven. I take offense to that, because my little pot plant on my desk has been nothing but good to everyone and I want to take it to the eternal afterlife with me!

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Posted: 19 March 2008 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Slacker999,

I have to argue with this to some degree.  I think there are Christians who believe their dogs and cats go to heaven.  In fact, when my dog died a few years ago I had Christians I know (say from work) who told me such.  I have seen pet greeting cards—sympathy cards—-that indicate your pet has gone to heaven….when my cat died a few years ago the vet sent me a card that indicated this….There are all kinds of poems and quip-pets on the internet about pets going to heaven.

So yes, the belief is out there, it is just not found in the sermons and pulpits of the leaders.  And of course nowhere in the Bible.

Here is an example of a poem from the internet ( a very popular one from my experience.)

RAINBOW BRIDGE

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been ESPECIALLY CLOSE TO SOMEONE HERE, (my emphasis) that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.
Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster….......

I’ll spare you the rest.

If you think about it, the belief, or hope or whatever these Christians have about their pets is interesting and ironic in some rather comical and perplexing ways. (What else is new?)

First: What I fine interesting is that obviously this belief about animals’ souls is counter to what their religion actually teaches them—that humans are the only creatures with a soul and animals are not made in the image of god like we are.  So there is a certain blasphemy in their belief (I love it!)

Secondly:  I find it interesting that these Christians only adopt this belief to their beloved and cherished pets (cats and dogs) and not to other animals.  Why do only cats and dogs have souls that go to heaven?  And why only ones “especially close to someone here”? Why not cows, snakes, whales and wolves?  Why not elephants (one of my favorite animals?)  There is something very arrogant about this.  ONLY animals I covet and worship and love get to go to heaven. Other animals do not!  And there is another revealing thought here:  if we think too much about animals having souls then is it ethical to eat them and to kill them so wantonly as we are known to do?  The justification may be “we don’t eat dogs and cats in this culture so if they are the only ones with souls then it is OK to eat other soulless and heaven-less-bound animals.  Cow are not cute and cuddly and trainable. So they don’t have souls and yes it is OK to eat them.”


Third: Most of our beliefs about animals are very culturally and religiously defined.  Christians (and many others)  seem to ignore this fact.  The Hindus worship the cow and it is very sacred.  Killing a cow can be a form of blasphemy in India.  Eating dogs and cats in Asia is a delicacy.  While we (westerners)  see the raising, killing and eating of canines and felines as abhorrent we think nothing of the beef, poultry and lamb we gobble up like there is no tomorrow.  The French and Japanese eat horse meat which we also tend to find aberrant as well. ( Eat my Friend Flicker and Black Beauty?)

So my point is there are a lot of contradictions playing out in the minds of many people in regards to the animal world. I consider myself a die-hard atheist and the notions of heaven seem silly to me in all respects.  But the Buddhist belief that all sentient animals deserve compassion and harming them can be unethical certainly strikes a chord of reason in my mind. And there is nothing religious about that.

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Posted: 29 March 2008 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Good post, Linda. I just want to second your observations.  You have pointed out Logical Land Mine No. 1,343.

It speaks to Sam’s point about theological moderates being more illogical than the fundamentalists.  Those moderates that I am familiar with see no problem in accepting that their pets will ascend to Heaven.  But…they eat steak and Chicken Kiev with no qualm.

This doesn’t seem to be an issue for fundamentalists.  Pets, no matter how loved, aren’t allowed through the pearly gate.

Quite the quandary for animal lovers who pass on.  Maybe there is a heavenly apartment complex somewhere that allows dogs.

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Posted: 31 March 2008 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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It’s interesting how many religious people fret about certain animals or others having a soul or debating if Fido will go to heaven.  All the while few concern themselves with the cognition and remarkably sophisticated consciousness and recognition of surroundings that animals exhibit.  I would challenge anyone to watch this short video and not be moved on this point.

Regards,
Super J.

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Posted: 31 March 2008 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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SuperJesus - 31 March 2008 01:13 PM

It’s interesting how many religious people fret about certain animals or others having a soul or debating if Fido will go to heaven.  All the while few concern themselves with the cognition and remarkably sophisticated consciousness and recognition of surroundings that animals exhibit.  I would challenge anyone to watch this short video and not be moved on this point.

Regards,
Super J.

A remarkable video indeed.

I suppose there will be claims that it is just an elaborate trick, that the elephant has been trained to paint in this way but that, in fact, he/she has no idea what he is doing.  And maybe that is true.  But, at first glance, it is remarkable evidence that elephants have sophisticated representative abilities.

Do you have any information about when/where this video was taken?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
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Posted: 31 March 2008 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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waltercat - 31 March 2008 01:55 PM

Do you have any information about when/where this video was taken?

Perhaps it is a scam, I don’t know.  The elephant in the video is claimed to be named Bhab and was supposedly rescued from abusive treatment in Burma.  I found a site here that sells elephant art from Thailand but the “art” is the sort of scribbles and random lines one would typically expect from animals.  I don’t know, but if it is a trick it’s far more impressive than anything circus elephants have ever done.

Super J.

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Posted: 31 March 2008 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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nachtmusick - 29 March 2008 04:48 PM

Good post, Linda. I just want to second your observations.  You have pointed out Logical Land Mine No. 1,343.

It speaks to Sam’s point about theological moderates being more illogical than the fundamentalists.  Those moderates that I am familiar with see no problem in accepting that their pets will ascend to Heaven.  But…they eat steak and Chicken Kiev with no qualm.

This doesn’t seem to be an issue for fundamentalists.  Pets, no matter how loved, aren’t allowed through the pearly gate.

Quite the quandary for animal lovers who pass on.  Maybe there is a heavenly apartment complex somewhere that allows dogs.


Sam’s views on moderates are some of my favorite. Thanks for pointing that out.

That most people see no connection between the disparity of the treatment   of pets over other animals differs little between the disparity we have between our own children and those we have no direct love for. Thirty thousand children die everyday from curable diseases (mainly stemming from contaminated water) in third world countries.  My point being, with animals and children alike we hold a bevy of contradictions and cognitive dissonance. There must be something innate in the human mind that allows us to do so without even batting an eye.

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Posted: 03 April 2008 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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The first time I remember stepping towards atheism, probably around age ten or so, was when I asked the preacher at my Lutheran church if my dog was going to go to heaven.  His answer was “You’ll find out when you get there.”. As Dennett says, even the experts on religion don’t claim to understand it.

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Posted: 22 April 2008 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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This whole thing about animals and afterlife has come up before, ans I’ve shared thoughts. But a couple of ththings.

Is there a diffenrence between a “soul” and a “spirit”?

In Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materilas novels, all humans have “daemons” which are an external mifestation of the soul, and take an animal from. Other species have no daemons. At the same time time when a person dies, their “ghost”, a wispy shade of themselves with all thoughts and feelings intact goes to a land of the dead. Since Pullman is an atheist, all the the ghosts are eventually liberated form the spirit prison, and dissipate into the universe.

As a child, I asked my Sunday school teacher why Jesus never talked about animals. She said it was becasue animals didn’t have souls. I asked if animals had spirits, and she replied “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
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Posted: 09 September 2008 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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SuperJesus - 31 March 2008 02:54 PM
waltercat - 31 March 2008 01:55 PM

Do you have any information about when/where this video was taken?

Perhaps it is a scam, I don’t know.  The elephant in the video is claimed to be named Bhab and was supposedly rescued from abusive treatment in Burma.  I found a site here that sells elephant art from Thailand but the “art” is the sort of scribbles and random lines one would typically expect from animals.  I don’t know, but if it is a trick it’s far more impressive than anything circus elephants have ever done.

Super J.

I was in Thailand two years ago and witnessed painting by elephants.  I purchased one of a vase and flower done with skill.  The skill of the mahout that is.  The mahout stood beside the elephant and subtly tugged it’s ear, up down left right for direction, and used pressure and voice for changing paint colours and taking the brush off the paper.

I was told the very best of the trained elephants can remember a painting and replicate it without the mahouts urging.  The painting cost about $5 (200 baht at the time) and was painted on elephant dung paper.

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Posted: 09 September 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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The Powers That Be are parsimonious. Cat Heaven is Mouse Hell smile

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Posted: 10 September 2008 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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telner - 09 September 2008 03:36 PM

The Powers That Be are parsimonious. Cat Heaven is Mouse Hell smile

Still, I heard that if every oyster polyp (free-swimming juvenile stage) survived to be an adult oyster, the world would soon be covered with a layer of oysters 5 miles deep. 

Given the gestation period of mice, and the size of their litters, and the tender age at which they become sexually active, maybe cats are actually their benefactors - along with the host of other critters that ‘pray’ on them.  (Give us this day our daily mouse.) 

Remember ‘Never Cry Wolf’?  Author, Farley Mowat, found out that mice were a mainstay of arctic wolves’ diet.  Clearly, in the days when ‘the lion and the lamb lie shall down together’, mice are going to have to use condoms.

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Posted: 10 September 2008 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Mice and round-eared voles are land plankton

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Posted: 12 September 2008 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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little baby cheeses - 09 September 2008 06:33 AM

I was told the very best of the trained elephants can remember a painting and replicate it without the mahouts urging.  The painting cost about $5 (200 baht at the time) and was painted on elephant dung paper.

Elephants are known for good memories (this is not just folk lore).  And elephant dung paper—-?  Good recycling skills.

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Posted: 14 September 2008 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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When I was still trying to be Catholic, I was convinced that a place without animals would be no kind of heaven for me, and I wouldn’t want to go. Still, letting in pets, as has been mentioned above, lets in the camel’s nose (ie let in the nose and soon the whole camel follows, AKA slippery slope), where do you draw the line? Do those who admire butterflies get butterflies in? How about someone who found leeches beautiful in life, does this open up heaven for leeches? I suppose a zoophile Christian will just say something non sequitur like, “God can accomplish anything. those who love their pets get to have them in heaven.” If it were me, I’d want the whole schlemiel, all plants, all animals, fungi, algae, bacteria, etc; as well as rain, snow sunshine, breezes, thunder and lightening. In which case, I might as well stay put right here.

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