Eternity is not something that starts after you die. That is the afterlife. Eternity is something that’s already going on. It was going on before you were born and will be going on after you die. If you think about heaven or hell, you are talking about what you’re already experiencing, a place you are already in. It’s easy to wait for purgatory, to simply wait for heaven or hell to come to us. But that’s the problem with these eternal things. We can’t out-wait them. That just isn’t going to happen. You’ll be stuck in purgatory forever waiting for heaven or hell to come to you. They’re not moving. Ever.
It’s not just that the system is against individualism. It’s just that individuals are so difficult to accommodate, so difficult to fit into mass production and standard processes.
It’s easy to pick on the Catholic Church, so I will. Mass is aptly named because we’re talking about an intensely personal spiritual experience that we’re trying to extend from a few mystics to the masses. This is both futile and necessary. It is how civilization proceeds: the work or creation of a genius becomes the tool of a common person. Newton and Leibniz invent calculus in one century and a few centuries later, it is a required subject for children in the early throes of relational passions, young adults distracted by libidinous impulse. Mass is an attempt to broaden an intensely personal experience.
I suppose everyone has some measure of discomfort with any religion in which they find fellowship. Where we find community isn’t necessarily where we find all our answers or even answers we like or that make sense to us. The people who accept us aren’t always the people who provide answers we can accept.