Imagine there’s no Purgatory…

from: miss andimarie
subject: purgatory
Does it or does it not exist?

The answer depends entirely upon how one imagines the metaphysical architecture of the universe and the nature of God. I do not think my soul is essentially a transparent shining version of me wearing my favorite outfit and that when it’s not in my body it’s either being eternally blissful or punished eternally. I certainly don’t believe in Purgatory (or Limbo, Hell, or Heaven) in the sense of them being places we go after we die. Hell has no door and Heaven no gate that exist somewhere outside of our minds.

Science doesn’t understand what our consciousness is or how it is generated by the brain. The sensory input of our bodies is processed by our brain, our memories are stored there, and the actions of the body are directed from there. These phenomena are somewhat understood by neuroscientists. However, It is also the place where choices are made, values are judged, and aesthetics are appreciated. Paintings, plays and poems emerge from it, as well as the science that allow it to understand it’s own function. It is the most complicated machine in the universe. Is the soul the ghost in the machine?

Here at the Port Awesome Institute for the Advancement of Consciousness Awareness research has determined that human intelligence is not the sole place the phenomena of sentience can be found. While we are always hopeful SETI tunes in an ET broadcast we believe that alien intelligences may be found here on our own planet. For example, invertabrates such as octopi and squid have demonstrated sophisticated behavior in captivity that can only be interpreted as a kind of self awareness that is comprable to that of primates in its cunning. If you go back far enough there is a point of common ancestry between our species. Most facets of what is considered a hallmark of sentience in humans can be found in species outside of our own; a gorilla whose kitten had died signed that it had gone to heaven. Does the gorilla who imagines Heaven possess a soul?

Our sense of identity is tied to the biological nature of our bodies. Our most sophisticated desires stem straight from the essential needs of our physical nature, or so it seems. Our memories are stored physically in our bodies; our experiences in this life shape our reflexes and perceptions of what reality is. But what of our souls? Our bodies are a result of and part of the physical universe we inhabit; but what of the Eternal?. Eternity is sometihng outside of time. The idea of time as we know it is limited to the confines of the spacetime which our universe occupies; there is a larger reality that our nutshell universe is nestled into but the goldfish has a better idea of what lies outside of their bowl than we do of what lies outside of time. Even though this is the obvious we persist in speculating.

When I deliver my benediction at weddings I deliver the good news that we are alive in paradise now. I say that heaven and hell are not a destination we will someday arrive at but rather our condition in life now depending on our circumstance and perspective. The orthodox idea of Heaven is to be united with God forever in joy and Hell is to be separated from God forever. Purgatory is where sins are burned off so that a soul might re-enter the presence of God. Medievalists worked out elaborate calculations as to the eons spent in suffering for the severity of their sinful transgressions in their Earthly lives. Purgatory as a literal concept is meaningless, but as a metaphor for our current state of existence it might be appropriate.

Molecules evaporate from the ground, condense in the clouds, and contained by surface tension they fall, temporarily a distinct individual. Can a raindrop remember that it is a raindrop when it hits the surface of the ocean? When our souls return to eternity our surface tension relaxes; it’s like taking off a pair of tight shoes, it’s like waking from a dream, it’s like moving to a new house; take your pick of metaphors, there’s no end to them. Buddha understood that our temporary existence in this life is  full of suffering, and that suffering is a result of desire. What Jesus spoke of as sins were acts of self-satisfaction. They both taught that compassion and forgiveness were the path to the peace of Heaven. When we live only seeking to satisfy desires we create our own private purgatories; satisfying hunger is not happiness. Living without faith as a mindless slave is a hell all too common; in the world around us purgatories abound. There is no worry to be had about what happens to our freed souls after death, but rather about what we do to them while they are confined in the cages of our bodies while we live.

I hope this made some sense as an answer to your question.

2 Responses to “Imagine there’s no Purgatory…”

  1. Yes, it is an excellent answer. From a totally different perspective than I received from another, but then again, that is why I asked you. Thank yoU!

  2. Cool. I aims to please and seek to satisfy.

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