Death’s the Final Step

Dying is the last thing you will do with your life. We all are guaranteed to die, some earlier and in more tragic circumstances than others. Some go kicking and screaming and fighting to live, some of us die with acceptance and quickly.

But the truth is we all die.

Fear of death is natural, and we all fear it to the point of creating an escape mechanism. A Reward for Dying. It helps us face death and indeed helps us deal with the deaths of our loved ones. But heaven has a darker side.

While it is nice to believe that someday we will meet our loved ones who have died, the fact of the matter is that the world doesn’t work like that.

The problem with the afterlife is that religion utilises it as a stick to beat those who stray out of it’s proscribed path. Don’t believe in wearing pointed shoes as dictated by this book? You don’t get to live on Cotton Candy Plaza. I can list real examples. Many christians believe that the sole way to heaven is through Jesus and the BIble and that anyone outside it is doomed for all eternity to torture. That part of belief is just as entrenched as the notion that somehow we will go to heaven and see our loved ones again and has been responsible for countless tragedies across the world and indeed the notion that anyone who doesn’t believe in your particular book is doomed and should be ostracised. Many Jihadis believe their divine war will net them a place in heaven. Many Hindus ruthlessly enforce the caste system because they believe that is the way to Morksha/Nirvana. In every case the eternal reward is used to enforce loyalty and to get people to behave in the way a particular religion wishes.

In real life this means that it drives the faithful to contort their lives solely to meet the demands of religion in order to make the “grade”. The belief is not dangerous in itself, it’s how it’s being used.

And we are better than this. Hindus manage to grieve without a heaven to meet loved ones. If they can do it then we realise that it isn’t vital to the process.

The quest for heaven has often lead people to a living hell.

On a brighter note?


  1. says

    Sometimes I consider the proposition that I’ll likely die not having accomplished everything I want to in life. I might die painfully or embarrassingly, and then what will people say? Then I realize that I’ll be dead and won’t be able to care anymore. Seriously, the idea that your consciousness will just cease at some point actually has a significant level of comfort to it, and makes this life all the more meaningful. I’d even go so far to venture that the idea of heaven and eternal life strips this life of the meaning we atheists aren’t supposed to be able to see in it.

  2. says

    For Christians and Muslims, it’s not just the promise of heaven. It’s the threat of hell.

    Believe and you will be rewarded. Do not and you will be punished. Forever and ever. The Koran positively revels in the torture of nonbelievers.

    I think it was primarily a Christian invention to turn the non-heaven place into one of torment. Prior to that, Greeks/Romans went to a “sad” place (Hades), but you weren’t tormented. The Egyptian afterlife was just a continuation of your “regular” life.

    The Christian invention was the twin idea that right-thinking (yes, that’s all it takes) earns you a spot that was previously reserved for gods/heroes, AND that wrong-thinking (yes, that’s all it takes) earns you eternal torment.

    It’s no wonder so many Christians and Muslims are afraid to question their beliefs. Wrong-thinking is PUNISHED!

  3. Willie says

    Heaven is a reward for following Christ and being faithful only achieved by the Blood of Christ not by works of man or right thinking. Hell is a place of eternal DEATH earned by non-believers who think that they can buy their way into Heaven just by thinking good thoughts. Faith without works is useless

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