Is There a Fate Worse Than Death? December 29, 2010Posted by jetson in Personal.
Tags: Atheist, christian, Christianity, evil, god, Heaven, Hell, religion, The Bible
I heard the phrase “fate worse than death” on an unrelated YouTube video, and it got me thinking about the topic. For humans, we know that we will all die one day. Of course, there are many who believe, or at least hope, that there is some kind of life after death. These beliefs are all over the map in terms of details, but they are quite popular. I don’t even have to wonder why this is the case, as I myself do not want my life to end. Or, so I say.
My personal belief is that when we die, we revert back to the same state we were in prior to conception. Which is my way of describing to others the state I believe I will be in; that of non-existence, and with no ability to recognize or acknowledge my existence. Before the egg and sperm united that created me, I was not, nor was I even intended. I was a rather rare luck of the draw, so to speak. And so it will be, I presume, after I die. But for some, there is a fate even worse if one considers death to be a bad thing.
Christianity claims that those who do not get accepted into heaven will be doomed to Hell. And Hell is described in most sects as an eternal lake of fire, or an eternal burning, gnashing of teeth, etc. Sounds awful to me. Yes, it sounds far worse to me than being a corpse, even if my body were cremated, the burning stops once the fuel (my body) is consumed. But Hell is an eternal burning of my body, while I am aware and alive, and while I can always feel the burning! This sounds horrific. To be fair, not all Christians believe in this type of Hell.
But, no matter how I look at it, if rejecting God, Jesus, or Christianity is going to land me in this awful place, this fate, then I don’t see any way to call Christianity a loving or peaceful religion. I don’t see how I have been given the “free will” to accept or reject this god, if this punishment exists. There is nothing more evil and despicable in my book. As a parent, I would never hold a punishment so severe over my children, for any reason. It is simply not necessary. However, I hold no delusion that fear is not the greatest motivator for most humans. And if Hell is real, it has certainly scared many people enough to keep them at least pretending to believe.
I know there are Christians who will say that the love of Jesus and the promise of Heaven are far greater rewards, and that this is the reason they choose to accept Jesus. But those same people refuse to renounce the punishment of Hell. In other words, they claim that they are not afraid of Hell, because they believe, but they simultaneously claim that we have a choice to believe or not. So, if I don’t believe, they prefer to claim that I don’t want to be in Heaven, or to accept Jesus as my savior. And they believe that it is always my choice to believe, or go to Hell.
If there are in fact only two fates, Heaven or Hell, then the only rational choice, according to believers, is to believe! It never occurs to many of them that a reward alone should be enough to gain believers. It never occurs to some of them that the reward of eternal life would still work for most believers, and that NOT making it to Heaven is punishment enough. Why add Hell to the mix at all? Well, if you’re a god like the one in The Bible, you can add Hell as the ultimate punishment, thereby cutting off all options and choices for everyone. What choice does anyone actually have if the reward and punishment are equally eternal, and at polar opposities in terms of fate?
I do not want to die. But then again, do I really want to live forever? We’ve all seen enough fictional movies to see where eternal life could get awfully boring. For me, Heaven is a human idea designed to ease the finality of death. You don’t come back, as they say. And if that’s what it takes for many humans to accept the finality of death, that’s OK with me. I know I have one shot. And I know it is relatively short.
I can say that at this point in my life, I am happier than I have ever been with the knowledge that I was able to be so lucky to be here, and that I was able to experience the love of my family and my children. I want to be there for my youngest son, and for my grand-children, but I know that I cannot be here forever. That makes everything I am doing right now even more important. It makes me want to be as kind and helpful as I possibly can. It makes me want to share my knowledge, help others in need, and smile a lot more.
But what do I know, I’m just a godless heathen!