What a fanciful, hopeful idea. The concept that when we die, we don’t just turn into worm-food or ashes. But that we actually ‘survive’ our deaths and go on to live somewhere else.
Christians will call it Heaven. Muslims will call it Paradise. Jews call it ‘no more having to deal with my mother-in-law’. Hindus call it reincarnation.
What do you call it?
I know what I call it;
B to the U to the double-L….shit! Bullshit! *cheerleaders come out and chant this*
When we die, biologically, our brains cease to work, simple as that. When our brains cease to work, we cease to work in every way we know of. But believers in the afterlife believe that once our brains and we die, our ‘souls’ or some other phenomena rise off of our bodies and go somewhere else.
This is a problematic idea. Why? Because we know that if certain parts of our brains are damaged, we lose the ability to do many things; speak, move, think etc. The afterlife believers are married to the idea that once the whole of our brain dies and is damaged irreparably at death, our entire personalities and thoughts and brains become fully intact once again and float on up or down or sideways to another realm. You can see the problem here……it goes against everything we know about the brain.
People often say, “Don’t you want there to be a Heaven and a Hell? Wouldn’t you like Hitler and all the bad people to go to Hell!?” I would love it if Hitler was in Hell right now, burning forever. But he suffered when he lived. He saw his plan crumble around him, “Allies to the left of him, Soviets on the right, here I am, stuck in a bunker with you!” (what Hitler sang to Eva Braun) He killed himself in utter defeat, and I applaud him for that! We intuitively want punishments for people who were awful and rewards for people who were great! Well, we kinda get that while they’re living.
Dealing with death is immensely upsetting and horrible. I can imagine how the idea of an afterlife was invented – a grieving caveman widow, father or mother was so lost and depressed about the death of their loved one, that they made up the concept of their life going on somewhere else, where they may join them eventually. It’s a truly heartwarming idea that would no doubt have eased the pain of the people who thought it up, and many billions today who still believe in it.
There are MANY believers in the afterlife, you reading this may be one. That’s all good. I probably won’t be able to change your minds anyway.
But the alternative to the afterlife (the fact that we only have ONE life and then we’re done) is so much more beautiful to me, at least.
Think about it, you were born against all the odds! You are descended from people who lived long enough to breed, from people who were never killed in war, killed by disease or famine or mosquitoes (half of all deaths of all humans have come from mosquitos! Fucking dickhead creatures they are!). MANY BILLIONS died from those things, but you made it!
Stars and galaxies had to die for you to be here. The atoms that make up your body came from dying stars and solar systems billions of years ago! The universe recycled itself to make up you and I and all life on Earth! A natural cycle so much more amazing and awe-inspiring than any religion has ever come up with!
You only have one life. Live it as best you can. There’s probably nothing waiting for you after you die. This is all you’ve got!