Heaven is a 'Fairy story': Stephen Hawking

Cambridge University based British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a " fairy story " for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions. There's no denying the fact that heaven, as described in all religions, is indeed a 'fairy tale' and the hell is ' a devilish concoction.' "Greed is the greatest driving force and all religions are based on greed.

 In fact, all the existing religions as well as the extinct ones have exploited this common and collective attribute of mankind by projecting a very rosy picture of an idyllic place which never existed, nor will it ever exist, " wrote Nietzche to his sister. When you compare the descriptions of heaven and hell in all faiths, you're surprised to see the common factors prevalent in the heaven and hell of all these faiths. 

Religions, despite their differences in tenets, are surprisingly unanimous on the 'eternally blissful life' on heaven. One's forever fated to suffer in hell because there's no concept of 'doomsday' in heaven and hell. One's either condemned for 'permanent damnation' or 'eternal joy'. If this is not a 'fairy tale' or 'old wives' tales', what else could be? When Dr Mervin Redbricks and Dr Stuart Collins of the Princeton University (US) clinically hypnotised 144 healthy and relatively 'rational' people and found that they had deeply engrained 'common imprints of heaven and hell as euphoric and execrable places respectively'. 

They concluded that this was as an outcome of their religious upbringing, in which heaven and hell played very important roles. Those 144 people comprised 33 Christians, 35 Muslims, 30 Jewish, 19 Hindus, 5 Jains, 6 Buddhists, 3 fire-worshippers (Zorastrians) and the rest belonging to the cults and quasi-religions. All had almost same belief patterns at least in terms of heaven and hell and even the followers of the so-called atheistic religions like Jainism and Buddhism had monotonously similar ideas of heaven and hell. 

This surprised the neuro-biologists and they concluded that this was nothing but an outcome of 'perpetual inculcation' caused by religious imageries and utter absurdities. This comprehensive test was carried out way back in 1979 but was not made public for fear of followers becoming atheists and rejecting the conventional faiths. 

Even the hedonistic followers of Charvaka school of Eastern philosophy  rejected the very idea of god, heaven and hell centuries back. Charvaks called heaven, an imaginary destination created by the priests to fleece the gullibles. And this has been going on. I've read that in a religious sect in Islam (Bohras), the head priest  even allots a specific place in heaven to his fawning and unquestioning followers and charges hefty amounts for a secure place in a 'fairy land'. 

This is still in vogue and no one dares question. When will all the religions be expunged from the face of the earth and when the mankind will bury all the gods and the associated beliefs for a rational existence? Aren't you all 'rationalists'  expecting the same?   

                                                       -----Sumit Paul