HEAVENLY DECEPTIONS
Is it good to believe that we will remain alive after death?

 

PREFACE

The doctrine of life after death is very popular and there is very little agreement on what this life will be like. Many ask if God will keep us alive after we die. We will test the doctrine of the afterlife to see if it is as really beneficial as most people have been tricked into believing.

 

It is obvious that any theory that says we will be alive for all eternity and our lives on earth no matter how long are nothing at all - not even a speck - in comparison should lead to disparaging and not caring about earth life.  If it does not, then how deeply do believers believe?  How much do they think it is more important to be alive forever than to have a reasonable standard of life forever?  Obviously the living matters more than the quality for you have to live to have the chance to enjoy it.
 
We will pay little heed to the doctrine that the soul is immortal for it could be that though the soul can survive death, there might be other forces that makes sure this doesn't happen.
 
The need for life after death is not based on virtue. People should reason like sensible and kind atheists do. They reason thus, "I cannot avoid death. Therefore when death comes, I accept it knowing that I am going so that I can make room for another person. If we all lived forever on earth there would soon be no room and life would be hell."


The general outlook of the New Testament is captured in a line given by St Paul which says that sufferings on earth are nothing at all compared to the glory that will come. That is an evil statement. The truly good person sees suffering as an abomination and any good future is not a consideration. It is not right to use a good future - especially one that may not be real such as Heaven, to try and trivialise suffering. If there is a problem of evil, Christianity adds to the problem and is an evil religion with a smile on its face.

 
GOD DOES NOT IMPLY AFTERLIFE

The notion that if you believe God exists and loves you then you will not cease to exist at death but will somehow live on possibly forever is popular. But it does not follow that God will stop us going out of existence at death. People want to think injustices will be made up to us in the afterlife but that cannot be done and it makes evil people feel better. The injustice still happened. God has mysterious plans and purposes and he might intend for us to cease to exist at death.
 
Religion has always sought to make God and the afterlife inseparable. This served the purpose of making out that you are person with dangerous views if you think people go out of existence at death.
 
NO MORAL REASONS FOR AFTERLIFE BELIEF

To believe that death is the complete destruction of the mind and body of what is more valuable than money or happiness, a human person, is to find a reason for condemning murder. Even if we will return to life, it is still the destruction of what is valuable. But could it really be evil to put a diamond out of existence for a while and then bring it back into existence again? No. So, it must be the same if this is done to a person. If we simply go to another place at death then murder is not wrong and the grief left behind would be the fault of the bereaved.
 
The killer who sends us to God or Heaven would be doing us a favour. And we must be ready for God and Heaven when we go to them. No divine purpose is thwarted for if we are not ready then it is God's will for he takes ultimate responsibility for all that happens for being the all-powerful creator he has to. God has the power to take care of his plans. Even if we have free will, our choices proceed from our thoughts and feelings which can be manipulated without detriment to our freedom for thoughts and feelings are not free will. They only address it and guide its direction. So if a man kills it is because God wills it. Murder would only be a sin for one who did not intend the killing to be done for God. It is fanaticism to approve of human beings being prone to death and you have to approve if you want to believe in God. You have to agree that life after death makes murder less evil than it would be if we did not live on and that is sinister.

The attitude, “Our troubles are nothing at all no matter how big they seem when we have all eternity to be happy” is a popular religious piece of sentimentalism. It is a religious doctrine. It is a dangerous way of thinking despite being comforting. It will lead to at least some apathy for your personal suffering and especially that of others. It can't give you comfort without trying to give you apathy. And the attitude/doctrine is a natural and unavoidable consequence of the doctrine of a happy afterlife. Ignore those who try to persuade you that the attitude is innocuous. They will try to do that with statistics that allegedly prove that believers in the unchangeably happy hereafter are mentally and spiritually better than unbelievers down here below. Even if they are right the fact remains unchanged that the people supposedly helped by their faith are helped in spite of their belief. Perhaps the statisticians are able to boost the statistics by rationalizing the failures. Anyway, only greater suffering can come from the promotion of and adherence to the attitude/doctrine mainly in the long term.
 
Some prefer to deny the afterlife is about perfect happiness. They say you just have to grin and bear it there like you do in the present life. If the afterlife will have its ups and downs the dangers of the doctrine of a happy afterlife is avoided. Another danger that is avoided is the approval for murder implied by the concept of a blissful afterlife. The danger is also avoided if you drop the idea of divine beings or super-scientific beings that care for us and have a purpose for our deaths.

And how are we supposed to believe the doctrine makes people better when the majority of people claim allegiance to religious beliefs when we know that religion is manipulative and bad? Would the picture be much different if they did not? 
 
The doctrine that everlasting happiness lies beyond the grave certainly makes that life more important than this one and makes normal people feel the pain of being stuck here on earth while Heaven has all these everlasting goodies.

If the next life will be better than this one that would entitle you to neglect people who are not important in your daily life on earth now? You could argue that you may as well enjoy yourself now at their expense for they will be fine in the end. This makes sense if suffering is only an insignificant blip as Christianity tries to make out.
 
Some would say that you would expect it to imply that you could devote yourself to them at your own expense because there are so many goodies waiting for you in the hereafter and so you will only have to endure the inconvenience for a while and then it is permanent relief. But since you would rather look after yourself and gratify your affections, you can neglect the other people for you come first for all the loving you do is about fulfilling yourself. You are surer you exist than anybody else so the only compromise would be to just help those who are useful to you. The doctrine of bliss beyond the grave is a bad influence.

If the next life will not be much better then it seems you should do all you can to help others be as happy as possible now. But is this right? Why not focus on yourself now and put off the helping others till later? Plus leaving others without help ensures that they will get tougher and will struggle better to help themselves in the rest of this life and in the next. It is not wrong to neglect their lives in this world when the next world will be no better. We know that life ends in suffering and loss and death but that doesn't stop us trying to help people now. Why should it if they live on after death? It is more natural to help people. You cannot just ignore people because life is cruel. If you ignore others, they will ignore you. It is unnatural to do nothing at all for others.
 
It is certain that it is better to hold that the next life will be imperfect for that is a bit more encouraging to do good works for others than is the view that the next life is perfect.
 
When you deny the next life, you will find it is more encouraging to help people now for we are more sure people exist and that they need help than we are that the next life exists. Then the tendency towards good is maximised. We know we have to deny some of our inclinations in order to gain acceptance of the trials of life so that we can bear them better because this life is all there is and we have to make the best of it. We have to help others even if we would rather not. Not helping people does us no good.

We must never teach that this life is nothing and the next life is more important. Making the next life more important is what happens when we see it in terms of everlasting happiness. We must not teach that we came here for some sensible purpose for that implies that suffering is necessary. Acceptance of a life after death should give us courage to do good better and if it does not there is little use in believing in it and there is no point in believing in it.

Recognise that it is not how long you live that is important but how much you enjoy the time you have got and we dedicate ourselves to help you to do that. If you fear death you are not grateful enough for the time you have here and for being born.  Your gratitude should be able to handle the fear and neutralise it.

If you were content with life on earth and with helping other people you would not be even looking for evidence for an afterlife. Looking demonstrates a selfishness that is certainly unbalanced. How can apparitions and near-death experiences prove life after death when they proceed to defend a harmful doctrine?

To believe that you should endure terrible inconvenience and suffering to help others while thinking you will have a superb life after death because of it is fanaticism for this life, the life that you are most sure of, comes first. You are not as sure that you will live on as you are that you are alive now.
 
It would be selfish to say prayers and do good for the sake of an afterlife. It would be selfish to spend years writing the laws down that you are going to make when you become Emperor of the world for that is not likely to happen or you can't be sure enough it will happen. So it is with the alleged afterlife.
  
CONCLUSION

People are trained to take comfort in the idea of God who will keep them alive after death but this is a false hope for even if God existed why think that he would do that? There is no reason to think we can live on. However it is still possible that we survive death. We have no reason however to think that we do and to really care for our lives in this world we have to abandon the concept.  The doctrine certainly tells us that murder is not really murder.  It is luck that people don't take it seriously enough to do harm with it though they think they do.  It is not the doctrine.  It is luck.  It is the people.  The doctrine remains appalling and some do kill or let others die.  Mormonism used to murder certain sinners in the belief that if they spilled their blood they would atone their sin and go to Heaven.  Gary Gilmore is a well-known instance.  Christian Science lets sick people die without a doctor for it thinks death is not real.  The Bible says God praised Abraham for being ready to kill his young son Isaac.  God asked him to.  Hebrews says that this was because he believed God who promised to make a nation of the grown-up Isaac.  To kill him meant that for God to keep his promise he would have to revive him back to life.  So the New Testament is admitting that belief in an afterlife can lead to murder.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED

AFTER DEATH – WHAT? Fred Pearce, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
ETERNAL LIFE, Hans Kung, Collins, London, 1984
GOD AND THE NEW PHYSICS, Paul Davies, Penguin Books, London, 1990
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
JEHOVAH OF THE WATCHTOWER, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH? Paul Kroll, Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, California, 1988
MIND OUT OF TIME, Ian Wilson, Gollanez, London, 1981
LIFE AFTER DEATH THE WONDERFUL FACTS, Alan Hayward, Christadelphian, ALS, Birmingham
REASONS FOR HOPE, Ed Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
TEACH YOURSELF PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, Mel Thompson, Teach Yourself Books, London, 2003
THE AFTER DEATH EXPERIENCE, Ian Wilson, Corgi, London, 1987
THE DEVIL HIDES OUT, David Marshall, Autumn House, Grantham, 1991
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE INCREDIBLE CREED OF JEHOVAH WITNESSES, Frs Rumble & Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1977
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HEAVEN? Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Publishers, Oregon, 1988

 

The Web
 
www.csicop.org/sb/9803/reincarnation.html
Case of Reincarnation Re-examined by Joe Nickell. This refutes the reincarnation claims of Jenny Cockell.

BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible 



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