More than anything, humans fear death. The end of life. The knowledge they will be gone from this earth, never again to share time with loved ones, watch a sunset, climb a mountain, or simply enjoy Life and all that that encompasses. It is this inevitable fate that creates a heaviness in the heart of every human being.
The ancients experienced this dread as well. So they put their imaginations to work and soon came up with ways to overcome (or at least minimize) this innate, and most unpleasant, emotion. They devised paradises, nirvanas, heavens, promised lands … final destinations designed to offer complete bliss and delight and peace. While not totally removing the fear of one’s demise, the hope of “something better” at life’s end became a rallying cry for the impermanence of human life.
At the same time, there were those who believed not everyone “deserved” to enjoy such pleasures at life’s end. They saw some humans as mean, cruel, evil, immoral. Simply Bad People. So they came up with another end-of-life solution to deal with these malevolent individuals. And while it takes many forms, the end result is pretty much the same — punishment in some sort of “hellish” environment.
The Christians, in particular, took this idea and honed it to perfection.
In Christianity’s early days, there was a contingent of esteemed individuals who claimed “heavenly” knowledge, and it was this assembly that set the standards for proper “Christian” living. They determined that all who lived “godly” lives would, at death, be allowed to spend eternity in “God’s Presence.” However, if a person chose to rebel against the standards set forth by this prestigious group, that individual would be required to pay a penalty for their “evil deeds.” The punishment would come at death and consist of an eternity of suffering in what these “godly souls” christened the Lake of Fire.
This revered group did, however, make a small allowance for those who might come to regret their evil ways. They instituted a simple solution in which “sinning” individuals were required to say a few words (and convince themselves they were Truth™) and they would be SAVED from the horrors of this established end-of-life event.
Even in today’s modern world, there are many who still cling to these tenets put forth so many years ago. They are totally convinced that by remaining “in the good graces” of a supernatural entity, they will be able to face death without fear and/or trepidation.
However, at the same time, there are scores who reject this approach to life … and death. They dismiss the stories and platitudes offered by the religious and believe it is far better to face life’s end with resolve and single-mindedness. These are the individuals who live life with gusto … facing their demise without trepidation or dread. For them, these ancient words contain the real truth … ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The following comment was made by a Christian on another blog:
Of course, there are many … reasons people choose to disbelieve or walk away from God. We may have prayed for someone and they died, or we suffered some other tragedy and blame God for not intervening. It could be we want to be free from some oppressive version of religion that we experienced, so we look for reasons not to believe.
It seems to me it usually comes down to either being angry with God or not wanting to be accountable to anyone but ourselves.
My response to this statement was the title of this blog post.
Feel free to add your own …
On another blog, someone shared an article on religion that I found rather intriguing. I decided to “pass it on” so others could take a look and see what they think. It’s rather long so you might want to set aside some time to read and absorb.
Religion has been a part of humanity since the first astronomers peered into the sky and created elaborate stories to define the movements of our universe. It made its way into our minds as we fearfully created devils and demons to explain the danger lurking in the darkness of night. It has both enchanted and burdened us as we attempt to define our world with the information available to us as we work our way through history.
However, things are quickly changing. For a growing number of us worldwide, what was once indescribable is now easily explained by the vast data we have gathered as we work towards refining our understanding. We are becoming painfully aware that, although our religions gave us a starting place for thinking about how our world functions, they no longer serve us in that process; and in fact, have left a trail of destruction in their historic path.
P.S. The entire article is superb, but if you see something that really stands out to you, I hope you’ll take a moment to copy and paste and share it in the comment section below. 🙂
Steve asks some VERY good questions in this post. Would you like to offer some solid answers?
I keep seeing people on the Internet arguing fine points regarding the Christian narratives surrounding the Garden of Eden, the Exodus, the Resurrection of Jesus, or Noah’s Ark. Too often it seems to me that people limit themselves to critiquing the fine points of the narrative offered. With regard to Noah’s Ark people ask: how such a small group of men make such a large ship? How could so many animals fit into such a small space? Where did they store the animal’s food? How did they shovel out all of the shit produced? Were there dinosaurs on the Ark? If one steps back from the narrative and looks at it from afar, one asks quite different questions.
Yahweh is apparently disappointed in his creations. He declared them “good” but now has decided to kill them all and start over. This seems more than a little like admitting a mistake…
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