Can we use the threat of denied entry to Heaven as a deterrent against terrorist acts?
Well the answer is a definite NO but to me it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s not about whether or not we can execute convicted terrorists with pig blood soaked bullets. It’s not about our potential ability to defile a body in any manner that would, according to that persons beliefs keep them from their Heavenly reward for eternity. It’s not even about knowing in advance the effectiveness of such a deterrent. If it would actually work to reduce the number of attacks on innocent people and save lives.
It is about asking ourselves some questions that are going to take a lot of soul searching to answer.
Questions like, do we have the right, regardless of how atrocious and despicable the crime, to attempt to deny the guilty party the afterlife of their bosom beliefs?
Let’s face it, this is a philosophical question. Most likely no government would ever actually issue such a threat. The backlash would be out of control and would no doubt cost many more lives than would have been saved. It’s still a fair question though but we must look at it through a different lens before attempting to arrive at an answer. We have to look at it as if we absolutely know, beyond any shadow of a doubt that there is a Heaven and we could in all certainty prevent a soul from ascending to it. We would also have to believe, down to our very core that barring a soul from Heaven puts them in a state of eternal nothingness or the perpetual agony of a Hell. The question is entirely irrelevant unless we can embrace the religious dogma of Heaven and Hell or of eternal punishment or reward meted out by a supreme deity. For now let’s pretend we all do.
What would give any person or government the right to condemn a living being to eternal misery, nothingness or damnation? I think most would agree that even if we could do it there are certain things that should be beyond the authority of humans. If we believe in a just God why wouldn’t we trust in God to do the job for us?
What makes us think, as those who would do us harm must, that a just God would reward any mortal for committing a heinous and cowardly act? Do we think the Gods of other religions are less just than our own? Many believe we all worship the same God in a different manner. Wouldn’t we be trying to second guess God by trying to keep a terrorist out of Heaven? Do we really suppose the God of any religion would say “that’s OK, as long as you’re just killing innocent men, women and children who don’t believe in me I’ve got no problem with it”?
The fact is, we don’t believe we can render someone ineligible for a Heaven we’re not even sure exists. Maybe it’s enough that some would-be suicide bomber or other terrorist might believe it. Maybe not. Obviously, anyone induced to commit the most unthinkable crimes against innocence and humanity in the name of their God must be drinking some serious Kool-Aid. I’m sure the providers of such beverage could think up a work-around for the pork defilement thing if they don’t already have one.
Perhaps coming up with more and more horrendous potential punishments as a deterrent for religiously inspired crimes against humankind isn’t ultimately the solution. Maybe understanding, looking at the world through each other’s lens would go a lot farther toward ending senseless bloodshed once and for all!