The Afterlife

I personally think that we are our brains, and that when they die so do we. I really see no convincing reason to think otherwise. I think people came up with the idea of an afterlife; because,  the alternative wasn’t as comforting. Death is the ultimate loss whether it’s us personally who dies or just someone we know. Contemplating mortality is often saddening and scary ;because, we are smart enough to know there is no escaping.

Death is certain. Life is uncertain. We are truly lucky to be alive at all. We are even luckier to be conscious humans. I instantly become amazed at the great fortune I’ve run into every time I think: I am human! I get to look up at the stars at night, feel the sun shine upon me, talk, walk, think, breathe, have relationships, but sadly one day it all has to go away, and I don’t want to go. I’m not fearful of death; because I know nothing bad is going to happen. I may not be going to heaven, but I’m also not going to hell. I just don’t want to lose everything I have. I suppose if humans didn’t have a survival instinct we’d be extinct by now, so it is only natural and healthy that I don’t want to go. Still, if there was an immortality pill, I’d take it.

Knowing there’s nothing beyond this frail thing we call life, I choose to make the most of it. I keep my loved ones close. I try to avoid petty arguments. I do the things that make me happy. I try to make all my dreams come true. I try to accomplish my goals. I figure in the end, perhaps quality is better than quantity.


Personal Identity

Have a look at the above link about personal identity. Is there truly an I, and am I the same person I was when I was a child? You may be interested in my previous post “You Can Now Stop at Least One Existential Crisis,” which talks about our brain cells lasting a lifetime. However, this article is more philosophical in nature. Perhaps, there is still reason to have an existential crisis. Hope everyone enjoys.

Does Religion Free Us From Fear or Cause It?

Religion is based primarily upon fear. .. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.” – Bertrand Russell

If you haven’t read Bertrand Russell, I suggest you do. If you are interested in his views on atheism, start with the essay “Why I am not a Christian.”

Anyways, I  mostly agree with Russell.Of course, if a person believes they are going to heaven that alleviates the fear of dying. Heaven promises that you will live for ever, and no matter how bad a person’s life circumstances are in the end everything will be okay, but this only works if a person doesn’t doubt God, their belief system, or the after life. However, I also believe there are some fear causing agents within religion, and I think people have found various ways to deal with these fear causing agents.

One of these agents is hell. Believers have to worry about living and believing the right way. I remember being 10 years old and having frequent nightmares about going to hell; because, I was slowly losing faith in God.  However, for most hell believing Christians, they believe they will make it to heaven while everyone else they distaste won’t. Hell is not just a source of fear, but it is a source of othering of people who are different. I don’t just mean among Christians and non-Christians, but also there is othering among Christians and other Christians. For example, some Christians believe it’s either baptism or hell, and some just see it as a ritual. The list could go on drinkers vs. non-drinkers etc.  If there were a hell, people should be a lot more worried about exactly which of the Christians are going there considering the variety of Christians.

Another fear causing agent is sin. Some believers have a great deal of anxieties about upsetting God by their sin, and their “sin” can be very small such as a white lie. However for many, this fear is alleviated by the ease at which one can be forgiven. They can pray a few words or go to confession, and they are free of even large sins.

I think religion stepped in at an early age of our existence to rid our fears of the unknown and especially of death. However, there are fear causing agents within them. I think some people can be more fearful with religion than without depending upon the religious institution they attend and their personality. On the other hand, I think many people have found ways to rid their anxieties.