You Can Trick Yourself into Believing Anything

We spend most of our time being distracted by video games, television, cell phones, internet, our children, our spouses, our family, our neighbors, meals, work… the list is a long one.  And these distractions keep us from thinking about death and what may come after death.  Even if we think about death, we can trick ourselves into believing that death ends everything for us.

Of course, death could be the end to us, but that is not likely because our universe is a huge recycling machine where matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed.  Since we do not want to think about potential consequences for things that we did during our lives, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we will just die and there will be no consequences for bad choices.  You can trick yourself into believing anything.

However, it is more likely than not that we will pay for the decisions we made during life.  Why?  Well, let’s start with the law of conservation of mass and energy, which sparks two other significant questions:  (1) how can there be a God if matter and energy is not created?  And (2) how can we die if matter and energy cannot be destroyed?

Well, logically the three answers are:  (1) God created the universe outside our universe, so that the law of conservation does not apply outside our closed universe, (2) our bodies and mind can transform into different matter and energy without being destroyed, so it is very likely that our thoughts will continue functioning in some manner after death, and (3)  life would be quite absurd if there were no consequences for choices (existentialism).

We spend the majority of our time on earth thinking about everyday matters like how to squeeze in a lunch between two meetings or how to get the milk on the way home from work or what television shows to watch tonight.  And only rarely do we think about our inevitable death or what may occur in the afterlife, so we are like a boxer who doesn’t train and prepare for a fight and runs out of gas in the first round.

Why is preparation so important?  The mind can be exercised just like muscles in our body, and it must be in tip-top shape in order to deal with the dangerous unknown and chaos that may be waiting on the other side of our living world.  A weak mind will have no chance to make it through a difficult maze.

For example if you are asked to join forces with something or somebody on the other side who promises you immortality and anything else that you wish, this may be the wrong alliance to form.  There are so many possibilities of what may be on the other side that it could even be unique to each person, depending on their individual frailties and faults.  You could even be your own worst enemy as your mind may fashion its own trap to ensnare your soul.

You will have to be prepared for anything and everything.  If you train your mind to think like Jesus, you will have your best chance in the afterlife.  Now, you could trick yourself into believing that there is no Jesus or God or punishment for your sins; but why would you because there is no consequence for believing in these things and being wrong?  However, there is a disastrous consequence for not believing in these things and being wrong.

If you examine these consequences logically, you will bet on Jesus and God without hesitation because you have nothing to lose by placing that bet.  But many get so distracted by everyday events that they do not think about death enough to make the smart bet.  It is much easier to live life without worrying about consequences from God or anything else.  Just do what you want, enjoy the distractions, and put consequences out of your mind.

The Blame Game

It appears to be human nature to blame somebody or something else for our transgressions.  It is rare when somebody steps up to the plate and admits that they made a bad decision and then accept the blame for what happened as a result of that choice.  More likely than not, individuals will refuse to accept any fault for what they have done.

And these people who do not have the intestinal fortitude to admit their guilt or fault will lie, cheat, steal, or do whatever it takes to ensure that somebody or something else is blamed for their mistakes.  We all make mistakes, but only those with moral courage will admit that mistakes were made and then accept consequences for those poor choices.

I used to wonder why younger generations were so stubborn in refusing to accept guilt, while the WWII and Korean generations were just the opposite.  The older generations would not only admit they made mistakes, but would work hard to ensure that it did not happen again.  If you watch these younger generations, they will rarely admit that they made a mistake.  I believe it is because they make so many mistakes that they cannot afford to admit to the truckload of errors they have made.  As I said, the older generations made mistakes too, but there were fewer of them and they learned from their mistakes so they were less likely to make them again.  The younger generations make mistakes, do not admit them, and then continue to make mistakes, never learning from these errors.

As an example, I have noticed that younger generations working in businesses make mistakes on a daily basis, but for the most part, these errors go unnoticed.  Modern society is much more accepting of mistakes.  The supervisors are also younger, and they don’t want to admit they are managing somebody who is making mistakes.  So if there are no consequences, then there is no reason for these younger generations to stop making these mistakes.  But if you confront them about the error, they will never ever admit that a mistake was made.  They will lie, rather than face the truth.

Thus, individuals in the modern world blame somebody else, their background, society, or any number of things that might have influenced them, but never themselves.  A drug user should not be blamed for being addicted to drugs.  Blame it on his dysfunctional family or blame it on his disease.  It is not his fault.  He cannot help it because he is addicted.  However, I wonder who made the decision to start taking drugs?  Isn’t that the same person who doesn’t want to accept the blame?

So, what is the big deal?  Why should we even care?  Well, it’s a simple matter of our world being overrun by individuals who can do anything they want without any blame.  Is this the type of world you want to live in?  Well, it is what the world will be like by 2030.  By that time, there will be nothing left of morality, decency, and even civilization.  There will be no order or consequences, so everybody can do anything they want to anybody they want.  It will be a free-for-all with those with the least moral values surviving in a dog-eat-dog world.  A totalitarian government will step in to take over at this point.  Freedom will be dead!

Absurdity of Life

Scientists draw conclusions from evidence and facts, a posteriori, while religious teachers rely on faith and imagination, a priori.  Both believe they know the truth about life, but it is more likely than not that neither of them know the truth.  The truth is only known by the Creator, and He is not talking.  Thus, life is absurd because we cannot make sense of it.

Why do we live?  Why do we have free will?  Why do we have a conscience?  Why do we make choices if there are no consequences?  What happens after we die?

After admitting that life is absurd and still puzzling over it, we must logically conclude that life is quite absurd without something after life.  In other words if life were our only appearance in this play, then the play would have no denouement or ending.  This is because if life is to have any meaning at all, then all the choices made during our lives must be analyzed for a full accounting at the end.  Life, which is a test, is nonsensical without death and a grading of our work.  Of course, consequences complete the course.  This completes a design for life in our universe.

And life is absurd for all of us, whether atheists or Christians or agnostics.  We all are tested daily and we all fall short of making good grades.  Christians believe that they are making A’s and B’s, while atheists and agnostics are failing.  The truth is that all of us are failing.  However, the significant advantage for the Christians is that they may lead a better life by following the teachings of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for anybody.  The consequences for our poor choices during life may be dreadful, disastrous for all of us.

I have seen Christians acting as bad or worse than atheists.  There will be no religious shield to protect those who have made bad choices during life.  We must accept our failings and step up to take our punishment, whatever that might be.  By accepting Jesus as our savior, we are in a better position to make good decisions.  But if you read the Bible closely, you will find that there will be consequences for our sins.

I have seen Christians repent of their sins on Sunday and then return to the den of iniquity for the next six days.  Then they return to church on the Sabbath to repent again.  This type of activity shows no true remorse.  It is merely a hope that God will overlook all the misdeeds and erase them because of one hour on Sunday.  This doesn’t even make sense.  It is another absurd myth of Christianity.

So, if there are going to be severe consequences for all of us, what can we do?  Even as a Christian existentialist, I honestly don’t know.  I suppose we can start by doing our best every day that we have left to do the right thing.  Each of us should try to be a better person.  I don’t believe that our judgment day will have a scale with good deeds on one side and bad choices on the other.  I think it will be much more sophisticated and complex than that.

My imagination tells me that we will probably enter a darkness that eliminates our senses.  Our own minds will probably punish us for all the bad decisions we made during life.  The denial of entry into God’s third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) may be the worst penalty of all.  My guess is that those of us who have made a half-way decent attempt to make good decision will enter the first heaven.  But the subsequent heavens will be exponentially more difficult to reach.

And even though my musings may seem quite absurd, believe me it is much more absurd that we could live in a world of choices without any consequences.



Edge of our Solar System

Voyager I has traveled 11 billion miles toward the edge of our solar system and has not reached the boundary yet.  Maybe it will be difficult to define where this point is located.  Scientists have been looking for a clear break between our solar system and interstellar space, but there may not be something that obviously separates the two.

Certainly, Voyager has detected a substantial increase in the level of galactic cosmic rays, which could be evidence that the spacecraft has crossed through a small zone called the heliopause, into a new zone where plasma bubbles have been blown outward by the solar wind.  Think of the tear-drop bubbles blown by children which are captured and then transported by the wind.  This might be a good analogy as to what our solar system looks like, but it does not explain the mystery of its edge.

A year ago, Voyager passed the termination shock, where the solar wind of charged particles abruptly slowed down, indicating Voyager’s entry into an outer region called the heliosheath.  Then last August, the Voyager entered an unknown “magnetic highway” where magnetic fields inside and outside the heliosphere connect.

However, even though Voyager has penetrated into the Kuiper Belt, it has not reached the Oort Cloud, which might require another 11 billion miles.  And who knows what lies ahead for our steadfast traveler.  Quite frankly, Homo sapiens may not be around by the time Voyager reaches what could have been considered by our species as the end of our solar system.

One may speculate that the matrix of the universe is such that dark energy and dark matter form the skeletal structure with our solar system connecting to other solar systems like cells in our body, forming galaxies.  Then the galaxies will merge into other galaxies so that the entire universe is interconnected.  If that is the case, the edge of our solar system and galaxy will have no more meaning than the boundary where one cell in a biological organism touches the next.

Then is there an edge to our universe?  There should be if there are no other universes.  The edge of the entity that surrounds us, which we call the universe, began with the Big Bang.  The universe, which had boundaries early in its existence, still must have these borders.  Scientists claim that this universe is expanding, but there can be no increase in diameter unless there is an edge for the diameter.  In other words, how can the universe expand unless it has a boundary creating that entity which is increasing in size?  If our universe had no edges, then it would be headed toward infinity, not expanding in a finite system.

But it seems quite useless to argue that our universe has no edge since we are aware of something we call the “universe” that contains all the galaxies.  And we can mathematically show the amount of mass within this closed universe.  And we can show the percentages of dark energy, dark matter, and visible matter within our universe.

We may not know much about our solar system, much less our galaxy, even to a lesser extent our universe, but we do know we are part of its contents and we have edges.  At least we appear to be confined within one skin and not floating about.  Do you believe that gives us an edge when we speculate that the universe has a boundary?

Christian Existentialism

Existentialism generally is a philosophy associated with atheism.  The majority of existentialists are atheists because the basic tenets of their belief do not comport with a God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and in charge of everything.

How can a stellar existentialist, who is steadfast in his independence, tolerate a controlling God?  How can an existentialist believe that he is making choices if everything is predestined by God?  How can a good existentialist believe that life is absurd and without meaning if there is a God?

Well, these are excellent questions, but there are logical answers for Christian existentialists like Soren Kierkegaard: (1) God gives us free choice and does not interfere with our decisions; (2) God created our universe outside our universe, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our closed universe;  in other words, God created, but does not control our universe; (3) nothing is predetermined in our lives since we make choices and suffer the consequences;  (4) and life is absurd without God.

So, it is possible to be a Christian existentialist.  You will not have many friends or associates who agree with you, but you can always unite and communicate with the most important entity, God.  Becoming one with God should be your primary goal in life.

The first step in being a true Christian existentialist is to reject other Christians who are not authentic.  Unfortunately, this is a high percentage of modern Christians.  Most Christians go to church for social approval and cannot discuss theology or even basic concepts supporting what they really believe.  In fact, most of them don’t believe in anything other than making appearances and looking good in the community.  Their beliefs and faith in God are only skin deep.

How do you become an authentic Christian existentialist?  Well, it will be a bit controversial, but you need to reject family, peer, and social pressures to think and act a certain way.  Then you can start meditating or focusing on what you really believe.  Let God into your heart and make Him a part of this process.  Become one with God.  Seek harmony with your freedom to make choices and be prepared to accept the consequences from poor decisions.  If God is within you, you will find peace in this process.

God will remove the anxiety and existential angst in your decision making because He will lead you.  Even though you cannot see God and even though He is not inside our visible universe, He can enter your soul as the Holy Spirit and become unified with you.  Your conscience and awareness is heightened with Him inside you.  Your choices may not be perfect, but your attempts to improve your decisions with humility will be all that matters if you fully accept responsibility as one who is imperfect.

And remember: life truly is absurd and makes no sense without God.

American Business Has Become New Federal Government

I can remember a time, not too long ago, when my peers were very upset with federal employees and a large bureaucratic, inept federal government.  Today, businesses in America have become the new federal government.  Of course, the federal government is still as incompetent as it ever was, but now businesses have become just like the government.

How can that be?  Well, I suppose those pods we saw the government leave on the doorsteps of businesses could be the answer.  But my better judgment tells me that American society and business is on the decline… and a rather steep one at that… perhaps like falling off a cliff.

If you contact a business today by telephone or email or on line, you will find a bureaucratic process in front of you.  Typically, the process is so inept and filled with “glitches” in the system that were never ironed out before presenting it for public consumption, that you will give up after the first hour.  And some say that this is by design.  The companies know that if they set up a difficult communication system, then a majority of their customers will not take the time to break through the barriers.

In effect, customer service of today’s businesses is exactly like the service still offered by the federal government – non-existent.  Let me give you an example.  I attempted to contact a business the other day and after several minutes of letting the system know I wanted to communicate in English and finally getting a “representative,” somebody answered the phone with a foreign accent, who was obviously struggling to speak English.  Neither of us could understand each other, so I asked for a supervisor.  The supervisor had the same accent and same difficulty in talking to me.  I think I am going to study Spanish so that I can actually communicate with somebody.

I am retired, so I am fortunate to have so many hours to waste on waiting for somebody to get back with me.  When I go online, they indicate that they will get back with me in two to three business days.  After the fourth business day, I go online again and send them another message, and they tell me that they will get back with me about “not getting back with me” in two to three business days.  And this goes on and on without end.

If you are lucky enough to get to a “representative” who speaks clear English, they will not know how to help you.  The businesses either don’t train these employees or the employees cannot be trained.  Actually, it is probably a little of both.

I was talking to one young lady about signing up for a business program and she told me that I first had to register and then I could apply.  I was fine with that.  She spent about fifteen minutes registering me and then told me that I had to call back to apply for the program.  Since I already had spent thirty minutes waiting to get to a “representative,” I asked her why I had to call back.  She said that was what she had always done.  I asked her why she couldn’t just enter all the information she had for my registration into the application?  There was a long pause.  Finally, she said, “Well, I guess that would be easier for both of us.”  She did it within less than a minute and all I could say was, “Omigod!  What has happened to American business?”

American business has become the new federal government.  It is just as incompetent and bureaucratic as our government.

Doing the Right Thing the Right Way

I watched the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl tonight, which had the four top ranked college teams in the country, and there are some very talented players at this level, many of whom will be drafted by the NFL in 2015.  Oregon and Florida State provided an excellent game, even though many of the players from Florida State didn’t shake hands with the Oregon team members.  Alabama and Ohio State provided another great game.  All four teams had very talented players, yet something was missing.  What was it?

It was heart.  Others call it intestinal fortitude.  Without this quality, players will do the wrong thing or do the right thing the wrong way.  I watched talented players make arm tackles and touch and push offensive players to the ground.  It was almost like they had a big NFL contract waiting in the wings and they couldn’t afford losing millions of dollars with an injury that might come from making a hard tackle.

They know how to make textbook tackles, but the runners broke tackle after tackle without much of a problem.  That is not to say that the runners were not huge and gifted, but it does say that nobody wants to tackle low anymore.  Most defensive players tackled high and tried to wrestle runners down with their arms.  Nobody… I mean nobody drove through the runner and wrapped them up with their arms and pounded them into the ground.

Bear Bryant was rolling over in his grave as his Crimson Tide allowed Ohio State to run through a vaunted Alabama defense.  My high school coach played football under Bear, and he had drilled the technique of making fundamental tackles into all of us.  I weighed 120 pounds, but was able to crash my body into 250 pound fullbacks and wrap my arms around their legs and pull them into me, driving them into the ground.  The rest of our team followed suit.  We all were willing to sacrifice our bodies for the sake of the team.

In the 1960’s, I remember my football coach being approached by two guys on our team before wind sprints at the end of practice.  One told my coach that he had a broken nose and couldn’t run the wind sprints.  Coach asked him why he thought he had a broken nose.  He said that his friend told him it was broken.  Coach asked him if his friend was a doctor.  He admitted that he wasn’t, but he was sure that he couldn’t run with his nose being in the condition it was in.  Coach asked him if he ran on his nose.  He gave up and ran the wind sprints.

I know this was a different time back in this decade and none of us had any hopes of receiving multi-million-dollar offers to play in the NFL, but I just don’t know how much intestinal fortitude is out there today.  I know that there is a lot of independent talent, but do players still have what it takes to win as a team fueled on something more than individual effort.  As I watched these defensive players use just their arms to attempt to bring down quarterbacks, I wondered how inspiring this had to be to the other team members.

Even though intestinal fortitude comes from individuals, it is contagious and infects the entire team, so that the team will follow the little guy who gives everything he’s got to give.  Before you know it the entire team has guts.  Everybody on the team is willing to do the right thing or at least attempt to do it the right way.

As I watched many Florida State players walk off the field without shaking hands with the winning Oregon players, I couldn’t help but think:  that team has no guts… it just wants glory.

Talent is important, but guts bring glory.

Fear of the Unknown

What do you fear more than anything else?  When are we scared the most in a horror movie?  Is it when we actually see the hairy, one-eyed monster or is it before we see it?  Our imaginations tend to fill in the blanks with a much more horrific monster than would ever be produced for the screen.  Movies that scared me the most were the ones that kept the monsters in the shadows, so that they remained unknown.

The unknown is very troubling to us because we worry about it too much, causing us to emphasize the worst case scenario.  Have you noticed that our dealing with the unknown is rarely a positive experience?  People associate the unknown with the dark side, where bad things happen to us.  One of the rare times when the unknown is considered a good thing is when we receive a wrapped present for Christmas or our birthday.  We expect to tear off the paper and ribbons and find a nice gift.  But, in this case, the event is known with only the specific present being unknown.

None of us know what will happen after we die.  This is a significant unknown.  Even if you don’t fear death, you fear the unknown… what happens after death.  If nothing happens after you die, then there is nothing to worry about.  However, if there is something waiting for you after death, it is unknown to you.  You will not know what it is until after you die, and you may not know the full impact of what happens until a long time after you die.  It may be a process, rather than an event, which may extend into eternity.  But whatever awaits us is and should be feared.

Winston Churchill once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  He probably was telling the English not to fear the unknown effects of the next bombing run by the Germans, since their imaginations would create something worse than what would actually happen.  Was he also saying that since we are afraid only of an emotion called fear, we should dismiss it since it really cannot harm us?  It’s only in our minds; it does not exist in the real world.  But isn’t the emotion that is in our minds what is most dangerous to us if we are still thinking at death?  The fear that grips our thoughts, creating nightmares and ghouls feasting on our souls, is what I think could follow us into our afterlife.  The reality of that new experience might be based entirely on what you are thinking.  We can be very afraid of that.

So, how do we deal with this fear of the unknown at death?  Perhaps, we can employ religion to give us faith that we will be saved from eternal damnation.  But that may not be sufficient.  If you are religious only for purely selfish reasons, you will have no protection.  You must believe in something other than yourself.  You must be genuinely humble, recognizing that you cannot possibly navigate through the chaotic storms of the underworld, and petition for assistance.  You must allow God to come inside you and be a part of you.  This unification probably will not come easily.  You may have to spend the rest of your life preparing to leave your body behind and becoming one with God.  Nobody knows exactly how this happens, so you will need to be prepared for whatever might occur.

You will need somebody inside you to calm you and guide you.  We know we are temporal and are nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Just think of all the things that are unknown to us in our visible universe, which is only about 4% of the entire universe.  We literally know nothing.  We are nothing.  We truly are not worthy to be accepted in God’s kingdom, but we should be as prepared as we can be to follow God’s lead.  God said, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

21 Grams

Dr. Duncan MacDougall, an early 20th-century physician in Haverhill, Massachusetts, set out to measure the mass lost by a human after death.  In 1901, MacDougall attempted to measure the change in mass of six patients, who were dying of tuberculosis, at the moment of their death.  His first subject, the results from which MacDougall felt were most accurate, lost “three-fourths of an ounce,” which has been translated to a solid of “21 grams.”  He had four successful measurements, obtaining an average weight loss of 15 grams at the moment of death.

The entire beds of the six patients were placed on an industrial-sized scale which, said to be sensitive to “two-tenths of an ounce.”  MacDougall believed the results supported his hypothesis that the soul had mass.  When the soul departed the body, so did this mass.  There were different amounts lost by each subject, but the first patient was given preference since it was thought to be most accurate.  This is the basis for the soul weighing 21 grams.

MacDougall also measured fifteen dogs in similar circumstances and found no change in mass.  He thought this proved that dogs did not have souls.

On March 10, 1907, the New York Times published “Soul has Weight, Physician Thinks.” MacDougall’s experiments were also published in April of 1907 in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research and American Medicine.  

Researchers in later years claimed that MacDougall’s experimental results were flawed.  They argued that there were problems from inadequate equipment at the time and a lack of sufficient control over the experimental conditions.  The psychologist Bruce Hood wrote that “Because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific.”

However, nobody has actually duplicated this experiment with more accurate instruments and more control.  Perhaps, it is easier to say that a doctor using the tools that he had at the time had a flawed experiment, rather than actually performing the experiment again.

But it really does not matter what the soul weighs.  It only matters that is has mass and exists.  After you die, your body will decompose, but your soul goes somewhere else and does not decompose.  If thoughts and consciousness go with your soul, separate from your brain which decomposes, you must have a great deal of concern about what you will be thinking.

Yes, that is indeed the problem.  After you die, if you are still thinking inside a soul, what will your thoughts be?  Will you have your senses to guide you?  Will you hallucinate?  Will you have nightmares?  Will you be lost in the darkness of hell forever without any control?  Will self-control alone save you?  That is not likely in this new hellish environment.  What will you hold onto?

If you do not have any faith, then you will most certainly be lost.  And all your friends who told you otherwise will not be there to guide you through the chaos of hell.  Only God, inside you, can do that.

Existentialism in Book of James

James, the half-brother of Jesus, is considered by some to be the author of the Book of James in the Bible.  This is perhaps the most important book in the Bible since it makes it clear that faith without action is useless.  James 2:20.   

Believers are taught from an early age that God’s grace is free with the only cost being the sacrifice made by Jesus to pay for our sins.  Thus, believers are granted a free ticket to heaven.  We were told that we do not secure our place in heaven through deeds, but only through God’s grace.  In other words if we talk a good story, then we don’t need to take any action.  We only have to talk the talk.

But James said that we have to do more than just believing in God.  In today’s vernacular, we might say, “you must walk the talk.”  In other words, we must take action based on our faith.  James wrote:  “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?”  James stated that just wishing others well is not the same as actually taking action to help others.  He concluded, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:14-17.

Ministers spend most of their time working with parishioners on believing in God and rarely discuss the works that are required of a Christian.  The closest many pastors get is when they seek donations for the church. 

The 21st century has all the trappings of being a very selfish millennium. A society that spends so much time in front of a mirror, making adjustments to clothing and patting down fly-away hair, is interested in a liberal religion with entitlements to benefits in heaven without having to work for those benefits.  It sounds a lot like socialistic government programs. 

Perhaps our free will is free, but even our free will can lead to actions which have consequences.  So is anything really free?  It is true that God is very forgiving and does give us His blessing and grace.  However, God can only do so much for us since we have free will. 

James may have been the only existentialist in the Bible.  James believed that there were consequences for our actions.  He even believed that teachers would be held to a stricter standard.  James 3:1.  But his Christian existential beliefs went even further. 

He said that we should speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.  James 2:12.  In James 1:25, he refers to this law as “the perfect law that gives freedom.”  In effect, he was telling us that there will be consequences for our actions or inactions. 

The “perfect law that gives freedom” is ambiguous, but I believe that James was talking about God’s law that granted us free will.  Man’s law is not perfect, so James must have been referring to God’s perfect law.  The King James Version references this as “the law of liberty.”  The law of freedom or liberty leads to the same conclusion that God gave us all free will. 

What makes man free?  Is it physical freedom?  No, even a servant or prisoner can be free in their minds.  God’s law or truth gives us freedom to choose based on God’s imprint of the right thing to do that follows us from the cradle to the grave.  And we have this freedom to make choices throughout our lives.  It is our only true freedom. 

The morals and ethics of God’s perfect law are not known a posteriori, but are known a priori.  In other words, the Holy Spirit dispenses this law through our conscience.  We inherently know this perfect law.  Jesus in the Beatitudes talked about how we could even commit sins by our thoughts.  So, our thoughts are even actions that we must control through the Holy Spirit.         

If you believe in God, then that is a good start.  But faith is made complete by our actions.  James 2:22.  It is possible that a believer can go to a heaven after death just based on the grace of God.  But the actions of that believer, who made choices in life, will be judged for righteousness.  This Judgment Day is mentioned in the Bible, examining your actions.  If you enter one heaven just based on God’s grace, then a judgment based on examining your deeds must be a separate heaven.  This may be a second heaven of the three heavens that Paul referenced in 2 Corinthians 12:2.

The bottom line is that if you truly believe in God, you will follow a righteous path and you should not worry about being judged since the Holy Spirit will remain your compass for that journey.  Remember: God hears your thoughts, so if you are seeking His kingdom as a reward for your actions, you may be disappointed.  Your actions, including your thoughts, must be peaceful, merciful, moderate, pure, considerate, impartial, and sincere.  James 3:17.  Once you are unified with God’s perfect law, you are one with God.  He will be with you for the trials that are ahead.

James emphasized perseverance during these trials testing your faith.  James 1:2.  If religion were as simple as believing in God, then there would be no need for tests of your actions.  Even Peter who had faith in Jesus denied Him three times. 

The true tests of our faith occur in very stressful, dangerous environments.  And it will be our actions that will be examined during these times.  Paul may have considered this last test the final test for the third heaven.  We do not know anything about the tests, other than they will be extremely difficult, perhaps involving torture and agony.  We also do not know about the third heaven, but we must be ready for it.  We know that we can be prepared with the Holy Spirit and God’s perfect law. 

In the end, will you walk the talk or just talk the talk?