Hey guys, I added a "Topic of the Month" section on my OP, as well as Refi-chan's inquiry. Please check it out!
There is also nothing stopping us from discovering and learning of our world if we were to have a clear, flawless holy-book directed by God itself. There is nothing stopping God from magically implanting the knowledge/guiding those who wrote the book.
As for what I find to be fairy tales, I am referring to your particular interpretation of your holy-book. Every interpretation is interesting in its' own right, but there isn't one ounce of demonstrable truth that flows from it so it naturally appears to me to be but simple fiction. Truth is objective, measurable reality, and religion has demonstrated to be a poseur of truth. It's a fairy tale to me simply because none of it seems real. What I'm asking for is how and why you believe these stories are not fictional.
This is the pool I was originally going to dip into, but the response is rather extensive so I decided to summarize with my first post. Generally speaking, any traditional idea of Heaven is unappealing to me, however if you do have an alternative interpretation of what Heaven is like, I'd be interested in hearing it.
So what would Heaven be like? Being with God and...have all kinds of good things. That's pretty much the description I have received. Of course, there are a few more descriptors than that. It's often described as the perfect place where there is no pain or anguish and everything is good under the light of God. However, anguish and pain are interwoven with human nature, and I will assert that it is impossible not to experience some level of anguish within the time-frame of eternity. Let me provide a good example:
Let's say a mother and father are in a tragic car accident that claims both their lives. Their child is alive and well, and grows up with a foster family. The mother and father, good christian people, are in heaven and awaiting to finally see their child when he passes on to the other side. The child, due to his experiences, turns away from God and becomes an atheist. He dies and goes to hell. Now, can you really tell me that the mother and father would ever be happy with that series of events? Their child, being tortured endlessly for eternity (or stuck in a shameful state-of-mind). Imagine how they must plead to God for mercy and receive cold callousness in return. In this respect, they must suffer for eternity and Heaven itself is a hell. It's impossible to retain human nature--that which makes you you--and not suffer in some form or another. Relationships and love beget pain and loss and this is an inevitable process that cannot be rectified.
There is the other, more horrifying version, where we are essentially stripped from our nature and put under a sort of happy-haze. We are in a magical realm where we are in a perpetual, blissful stupor. Does that sound appealing? Maybe so, but are you even you anymore? I would assert not. There is also a problem with this in terms of free-will, this supposed gift that God has bestowed upon us to liberate itself from all responsibility. The entire point of free-will is moot if by the time you reach your eternal existence, it is all stripped away. What kind of system is that?
I could not imagine the horror of being able to watch with Jesus as my loved-ones suffer in hell with a grin on my face.
Religious arguments tend to work backwards. They draw a conclusion (God exists), and then try to form a hypothesis that supports it. It's asinine and an ineffective way to discover the truth. Any religious argument that follows this backwards methodology is what I am referring to when I talk about "dumb arguments".
Have you ever heard of Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome? You should look it up for it is a great example of how human perception can become so very warped, and it's another argument against any sort of "out-of-body" experience.
With AIWS, everything around you is huge because you are very tiny, but does that make you tiny? No, it does not.
With out-of-body experiences, you view things from out of your body and "see" yourself. Are you really out of your body? Arguable, but most probably not.