In Christianity there is a certain tenet across most sects that is prevalent: the idea of heaven and hell. I suppose it makes me a bad or at least unusual Christian, but I don't think I can believe in Heaven or even an afterlife. Being blessed and cursed with a highly logically mind had led me to this conclusion.
My faith only goes as far as believing in God and the basic principles of Christianity. Hell is not one of those. Not believing in Hell is easy for me, because I believe that a God of Love of would not subject his people to torment that way. I also think that every person has some amount of good in them; it may be just a speck, but it's there. And for a God of Love to send these folk to Hell is cruel. I mean think of the mentally ill who commit violent crimes not because of their free will, but because of their illness. Where do they end up? They can't end up in Hell, not for just being who God made them to be! So I logiciked that it makes more sense that there isn't a Hell. Hell is easy to discount. But Heaven?
I want to believe there is a Heaven or some sort of afterlife, but right now I can't/don't/won't. My view of the soul is more of a person's conscience and personality than something that is going to float up into the sky to rest at God's side after I die. However though I struggle with the idea of Heaven, I don't struggle with my belief in God. Call it what you will: a universal force, coincidence, God, Allah, Yaweh, Vishnu, Jehovah, or Eloheim. I believe in some form God exists in the world and in all of us. I will always doubt God's existence, but my belief in Him will never be uprooted from my mind.
Anyways that being said, Religion is a man construct. Humankind loves stories. I am more led to believe that that is what Heaven is, a fairy tale told to adults so that they move away from their animalistic impulses and become good men of character. Because positive reinforcement works. I also believe Heaven exists because death and the unknown that follow are terrifying prospects. Better to believe life goes on, albeit in a different manner, one where you get rewarded for making through the tough shit that is life.
Heaven is a crutch. There are a whole lot of Christians who have stopped living to live, and instead live to die. That is insanity in my head. Then there are those Christians who have moved away from Jesus teachings and towards hate, denouncing others. They have created a system of have and have nots, but in this system it's Heaven they have and Hell for the rest of us. Well if there is a Heaven, I'm afraid they are in for a rude awakening when Jesus walks up to them with the Bible, and says, "Did you not read this thing!?!"
Okay, I discussed my thoughts on Heaven, and my thoughts are a bit cynical. I can't leave you guys here. So I'll tell what I do believe in, History. History is easy to believe in, just pick up any textbook to read the stories of long since dead men and women. They may has passed, but they live on in our books, and through the actions they have had on people in their lifetime, for good or bad. I mean your grandparents raised your parents a certain way and that was reflected on how they raised you. History is there; it's palpable in a way Heaven is not.
Since I believe in History, I feel like I have to be the best person I can be. Because how I act and what I do in my life has an effect on others, who in turn influence others and on and on, in varying degrees of importance. This is also easy to believe because others have affected me positively and negatively and that affects how I interact with others. I am a Christian, but really I feel more like a Jesus Follower. I use Jesus's teachings as a template for the person I would aspire to be. And I use Church as a support group for these views.
My name may never get into the History books, and I may never end up with my name on the cover of a book, but it doesn't matter. If a single action has changed someone's life in one small way I will live on forever in the collective conscious of this world. I may change my mind on Heaven some day, but for now, this is my life and afterlife.