LIFE’S WONDERS PRAISED IN SUGGESTIVE, ODDBALL, AND NONSENSE WAYS
As a counterpoint to my usual cynical antics, I’ve committed myself to a weekly, year-long discussion of my life’s joys. But, never one for the more traditional approaches, I intend to keep things a little off side, a tad outlandish, and always one foot outside of polite company.
//THE POSSIBILITY OF NO AFTERLIFE//
I don’t believe in an afterlife. Maybe you already knew that.
These days I self-identify as an agnostic atheist, which is to say I don’t believe in God (or the supernatural in general), but I also don’t discount the possibility that I might be wrong. If you read this blog with any regularity, you likely know that, too. I kind of don’t shut up about it. Or at least that’s how it feels to me. Every time I mention it here, I worry that I’ve maybe mentioned it once too often.
The truth is that I feel like most people think less of a person if they don’t believe in … well, something. Anything. Even if it’s nothing more than a belief in the soul.
Oh, yeah – I don’t believe in souls either.
Growing up, I was immersed in the evangelical Christian community. The lasting impact of that upbringing has been mostly negative, but I don’t blame the community or Christianity in general. For many people, belief in Jesus Christ (and all that goes along with Him) can be a good thing. For others, though, it just isn’t.
That’s the funny thing about spiritual belief and religion – it doesn’t work for everyone. For me in particular, it was like trying to fit a square peg through a round hole. For most of my childhood I tried really hard to be a good Christian who loved Jesus…
…until I realized that I didn’t, and probably never really had in the first place.
It wasn’t an abrupt about face. Rather, it was a slow drifting away – first emotional, and then intellectual.
As a rather introspective person, I think quite a lot about my past, about the belief system I was born into, and about the universe and my understanding of it. Of course, I also think a lot about death. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, what most people care about isn’t loving Jesus; it’s about living on after they die.
Put another way, if it wasn’t for the promise of heaven, most Christians would have little time for the first century preacher from Palestine.
But how can I embrace the alternative? After all, if there’s no afterlife, the only other option is oblivion.
Still, when I contemplate it, when I sit down and (to the best of my ability) grapple with the concept of complete annihilation, the feeling that wells inside of me is not horror or depression, but relief.
No, I am not depressed, and I’m certainly not suicidal. I hope to live a very long and productive life. The world is a wonderful place, and there are many great things I wish to accomplish, chief among them drinking more tea.
Where the relief comes into play is in being able to finally let go of all the anxiety and fear that’s stayed with me from my childhood and early adolescence. As I said in an earlier post, Jesus is like the devil on my shoulder, haunting me from an earlier time. That may be a bit melodramatic (or more than a bit, actually), but it also neatly captures the experience.
The possibility that I may one day be able to finally let it all go, fully and completely . . . well, friends, that’s something worth praying for.
To put a nice pink bow on this, let me leave you with a quotation from comedian Louis C. K. “What happens after you die?” he once asked. “Lots of things happen after you die – they just don’t involve you.”
Did you miss last week’s entry on THE “HERE IN MY GARAGE” GUY? Catch up here.
For a full list of all HOT DAMNs, click here