Why Afterlife is Scarier than Death

The worst thing about becoming a christian as a teenager was the thought that consciousness never ever ends. I actually struggled with the whole concept of death because all these different ideas of ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ and ‘ghosts’ and ‘afterlife’ sounded absolutely tortuous.

Heaven

I remember our youth pastor saying that in heaven we will be singing songs to god for the rest of eternity. I thought (and was fairly certain I detected that he though this too) that sounds like the most boring eternity ever. Yet he asserted it was biblical. What would be the point of going through all of this life here on earth then if in the end we just end up mindlessly worshipping in an endless cycle? It makes no sense.

Even thoughts of a heaven that contain everything you could ever want sound a) illogical and b) like the novelty would wear off very quickly. First of all, how would you divide all the individual heavens? People would have to have separate dimensions because each person’s heaven would be so incredibly different and highly conflicting. The show Supernatural tried to illustrate this when Sam & Dean went to heaven, but it quickly becomes confusing jumping from one person’s heaven to the next. Is heaven filled with memories? Fantasies? Does gravity exist in heaven?

Not to mention the many times I was told that there is no marriage in heaven. Although, other faiths do have marriage in heaven. Some say that we won’t know our family members, but then how could that be heaven without the people we love the most? That, and animals don’t go to heaven so our sweet pets that have departed wouldn’t be there.

Then of course there is the novelty factor. I liken it to an ongoing video game like World of Warcraft or The Sims – collecting, questing, working toward something is way more fun than having everything. It gets boring really quick. I imagine sitting in heaven with all your gold crowns walking on streets of gold would get old with nothing new or unexpected.

Hell

Taken from jesus-is-savior.com because nothing says come to me, a loving god, like this image right here.

Eternal torment simply does not fit with the image of a loving god. I remember trying to rationalize this and make sense of the fact that people who didn’t know jesus were supposed to suffer for all of eternity because their names were not written in the book of life. (This all sounds so stupid to me now). I wondered if maybe god gave everyone a second chance to accept him when they are being judged.

What really blew my mind is the friend of mine who was our resident expert on christianity believed that hell was simply ceasing to exist. God would annihilate all of the souls that rejected him. In a way, this ‘mercy’ fits better with the image of the loving god. I think it helps believers sleep at night. Yet, to me, the concept of heaven and eternity was so problematic that the thought of life just coming to an end like a good sleep at the end of a long day sounded the most appealing. Being forced to continue to live forever in any of the heaven scenarios I described would’ve been my personal hell.

Afterlife

There are so many speculations and doctrines and ideas about what lies beyond the grave. I think being aware of our own mortality is difficult to come to terms with so we make up stories to bring comfort at the thought that our loved ones still exist somewhere, that we will not cease to exist. In the last year, we have been living in a more rural environment and we’ve seen lots of life and death of animals. Baby goats, chickens, puppies, squirrels, birds, and all sorts of animals. We have also seen dead animals that have been hit by a car, caught by a dog or cat, died of illness or old age. The bodies are lifeless. An empty shell. One moment the creature was alive and the next it is dead. There is no coming back. The rest of the squirrels continue on with their squirrel business and life goes on. Creatures are born, age, mate, eat, sleep, play, die. We are no different. Our body shuts down and our brief mark in history is over.

At first I was relieved to know this for the reasons mentioned earlier, but occasionally it is a difficult pill to swallow. The reality that life will continue to go on in our absence is disquieting because it delivers a blow to our ego. How can the world go on without us? And yet, I have had friends whose spouses have died and left children behind and while it is incredibly sad and the spouse is missed, the children continue on with their lives and adjust to the absence. I realize that sounds insensitive, but it is true. That is the ultimate goal of parenting, right – to raise kids to become self-sufficient and able to get along without you? I wouldn’t want my kids to fall apart if I died. I would want them to keep on doing exactly what they are doing and grow to be capable adults.

I only even thought of all this tonight because I watched the movie, Dream House. Without giving it away, let’s just say there are unresolved issues as there are in most all scary supernatural movies. It was unsettling for me, not because it was scary or supernatural but the thought of having died and being stuck freaks me out. Limbo, purgatory, ghosts haunting houses, whatever you want to call being stuck in the space between the living and the dead or heaven and hell just sounds awful to me.

It is not because these concepts are unappealing that I no longer believe in them, by the way. There is simply not enough evidence to believe in any of it. As much as I would like fairies and unicorns to exist, wanting them (or not) to exist does not make it so. There is no evidence and so I do not believe unicorns exist (even if the bible references them). We have no evidence of an afterlife and quite frankly, it’s rather arrogant to think that we are important enough to have an eternal consciousness.

I will say that the one thing that I am sad I will miss out on is storytelling. Stories like Harry Potter, video games, movies, literature – all the creativity that sparks our imaginations. I am sad to miss out on future stories, but that’s all the more reason to be grateful for today and relish every moment of it. We have one shot. Life is so much sweeter when you realize it is only temporary. When you are always looking forward to life after death, you forget to cherish life here on earth.

So, today and every day I will try to be conscious about the mark I’m leaving on this world and love every minute of it. Hug your kids. Encourage. Inspire. Love. Create. LIVE.

9 thoughts on “Why Afterlife is Scarier than Death

  1. Hi, while you went one way, others like me went the other way, using reason. First see my post 12 Sep about God’s Love vs Hell, 12 Sep on “our Hope: he is risen” to better understand what eternal means, and where we spend eternity after the judgment (see also jewishnotgreek.com). While many renown people leave the faith like Charles Templeton (Farewell to God), other like ex-atheist Anthony Flew realized God exists (There is a God), although as per my article he could not believe in Jesus because of endless punishment. As an engineer, I also endeavored to check creation and like Flew and many PH.D Scientists, had to conclude “There is a creator” (see creation.com). Unfortunately, no one down here has all the truth, and we all learn and follow errors. Blessings, Christian

    Like

    • I read the blog post. I didn’t see anything that contradicted the idea that eternity is forever unless you are talking about the ‘new earth’ idea. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Even though I, myself, used to believe it. First of all, this would have to be an immense planet to hold all the billions of souls that have died throughout all of human history. He is just going to conjure up a new planet in the solar system just for us. Will he make us a new sun too when the sun finally burns out? Of all the vastness of the many universes, he is so concerned with one universe, one planet and the teeny inhabitants of it so much that he is going to make them a new planet after he destroys their planet and keeps them in heaven for a bit while he works on it and gets it just right.

      Like

  2. A few points.
    Main point was that there is an end to the eternal punishment. The punishment is imparted once at judgment, and it is an everlasting destruction (end of existence) for the rest of eternity, which is much better than endless torment. Just as you are given life once, the second death (end of existence) is also given once at the judgment. Endless torment was kind of invented by religious systems to control people. The wages of sin is death, so after death nothing, nada. You no longer exist, for the rest of eternity. So God is good in the judgment – he will not torture anyone endlessly. As you said, take comfort in that there is an end for some.
    Ref the earth being too small, you seem to forget that 2/3 is now water, and there is many deserted and frozen areas. The earth at some point could sustain billions of animals including large dino (See creation.com/dino) now buried as fossils and fossil fuel, found all over the world in gigantic quantities, buried by a huge very catastrophic flood (tsunami after tsunami). Anyway, there is more than enough space once the whole earth is restored with rich vegetation all over again.
    The reason we are so special in God’s eye is that this earth is used to demonstrate to the entire universe what happens when we don’t trust God – maybe google great controversy between Christ and Satan. If God would have destroyed Satan immediately, the rest of the universe would have obeyed in fear – not love. Love requires self-sacrifice and God showed us His love in Jesus. And in front of the news now, we see what happens when we don’t love God the creator and his creation/neighbors – the world becomes full of wickedness, injustices, lack of respect, murder, broken families, etc etc. Once we understand how wicked we tend to be, we understand why God will destroy this earth again – like at flood. God has to will be just in the judgment. This world can be very dark and painful to us and that is why the reward of persevering is so big – eternal life in the presence of God.
    Unfortunately, we have now many confusing views of God/afterlife – it is hard for example with endless torment to understand how good God really is. Search creation.com & amazingdiscoveries.org for answers. My skeptic eyes were opened.
    .

    Like

    • You agree there is an end for some. What about the faithful? They continue on for eternity? I understand the desire behind the new earth idea. But, what happens when all the inhabitants of that earth eventually become wicked. Does he keep wiping the earth and starting over with the same souls? Do you realize how completely arrogant it is to think that god would go to such great lengths to keep every single soul in an endless pattern of recycling so they can be joyful? We do have many confusing views of god/afterlife as you say. This confusion should lead to concern. How might you determine which view is the correct one? It seems to me that heaven is whatever you WANT it to be. No one has an entirely biblically supported view of heaven. And what about all the ideas of afterlife in all the religions that came before and after Christianity? They are just totally off the mark?

      How about I check out creation.com and you check out the 50 proofs on godisimaginary.com and we can meet back here and discuss.

      Like

  3. Hi, I’m new at this but I plan to check those 50 tomorrow.
    Yes, as you say God did Ctl-ALT-Delete once (flood) but the devil and his minions, as well as normal humans, were still around so God will have to do CTL-ALT-DELETE once more, to get rid of the devil, all evil, all pain, suffering, death, decay, abuse, and selfish humans, and to re-create everything perfect (like it was for Adam & Eve). However, those he accepts in his kingdom are not those who go to church, who judge others, who believe themselves better than their neighbor (many of us me included are or tend to be more like the Pharisees), but only those who thru repentance and reliance on the Holy Spirit develop the loving character fit for “heaven” on new earth. Our creator God has let history show us in the great controversy between Christ and Satan that no matter what He does (i.e. left to ourselves (before flood), left with the 10 commandments from Sinai, or even left with the message of His Son who died for us), we still tend to suck and are unable to really love others. For example, both large religious and large atheist regimes killed many to force their brand on others– that is not love.
    As an aside, that’s why I really like Walter Veith’s amazingdiscoveries.org site (whose Genesis Conflict series opened my eyes to creation) as he unmasks much religious deception such as about Hell (endless torment is neither just nor loving), religious systems, religions, Bible versions, salvation, creation/evolution, etc). Note that Dr Veith is a very smart ex-atheist Ph.D. professor in zoology who reluctantly became a creationist from the evidence. He has since unmasked many other religious deceptions (especially as his wife’s family was very involved in masonic/spiritual deceptions).
    Back to God. Think of it, God had to, to some degree, allow our lives to be somewhat difficult so unlike many of us satisfied westerners*, we would really seek Him, follow Him, and have hope of something better. As we westerners have pushed Him out, do we find our neighborhoods safer or neighbors more loving. Our only hope is that in the end, He will make everything right because we sure can’t – we obviously can’t bring peace and safety to this world on our own or with big religious systems (but again check Amazingdiscoveries.org because there is a lot of deception out there).
    *although somewhat satisfied, many of us westerners long for something else (why many stars seek satisfactions with drugs, parties, and often battle with depression and commit suicide – think of Robin Williams…

    Like

  4. Hi, I had a read of those 50 and not sure where to go next. With limited knowledge I can see that some don’t really apply or are a distortion. I can also reason through most of them. There was even some that I am ill prepared to defend but there are answers.

    Like

  5. Oops, sent in incomplete. Anyway, I enjoyed the 50 because it forces me to think about these, but I certainly hope amazingdiscoveries.org and creation.com were also able to make you think. Although I am far from perfect, I can see that evolution of matter and life still requires that nothing made everything, while a pillar of genetics, the creator of the gene gun, Dr John Sanford (see creation.com) believes in Creation, because the genes show devolution (loss of genetic information not increase). The main fallacies of non-believers is that all top scientists believes in evolution, which is not the case. Anyway, hope you enjoyed both sites, and if you would like me to attempt a specific answer, I could try. Blessings. Christian

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s