Life eternal

June 12, 2017.

I woke up very tired today looking forward to death. Sorry about that but it’s true. So what can you do when you are 90? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing,

Sober historians consider it a myth but some people still are convinced with Ponce de Leon there is a “fountain of youth” or at least–or maybe at best (?!)–an eternal life in heaven as promised by Jesus (or if you are a Muslim by Mohammed and if Shinto Japanese by the Divine Emperor). I hate break it to you that there is precious little evidence for any fountain of youth or for any life after death.

I know this is heretical and not that many years ago, as a Christian, I would be in deep trouble–actually in danger of being burnt alive at the stake–for even speculating about that possibility. If I lived in a majority Muslim country I would be in grave danger today!

In a previous blog I mentioned my belief that belief in an after-death life was one of the bad religious ideas with a half-life, like other religious faith ideas, with a thousand year half-life. Christians, for instance, are today on the down side of the bell curve that describes such half-lives. Still, if pressed, most Christians today in this country say they do believe Jesus died on the cross to redeem our sins so that we can have an eternal life after death. But most Christians today are really not that firm about this article of faith!

The Pew Foundation who does studies of such beliefs says in my non-belief I am a part of the Religiously Unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics or simply not very interested in churches). It turns out that we “freedom from religions” are the fastest growing religious group in the US today. In Europe today we are probably the majority.

So I do admit to being a non-believer of no religious faith. As such I think that when I do die I will pass into the scientific state known as entropy (random nothingness). I think this is sad but in away fortunate too, and not at all tragic. No eternal heaven, hell, or purgatory for me. A few will remember me personally. For a little while. This too is sad but no tragedy. (As regular readers know this is not quite true in my case. I have enough arrogant chutzpah to believe that the some of my insights in blog, books, and videos will survive in the scientific, historical, and philosophical hereafter.)

I would further argue my non-belief is, if not the most comforting faith, the most reasonable one. I also think that the faith in a life after death is a deeply reactionary idea with truly horrible consequences in the past, and today as well.

As an example take Sir Thomas More, the 16th century English Catholic Saint. Even the left-liberal clergy considers him a hero (A Man for all Seasons) for his courageous refusal to submit to fashion and following his own conscience even when faced with certain death from the powers that be. I admire him too. But not for every season. Some seasons he did what I consider despicable acts.

(It’s really hard for me to believe how seriously people took people having the Politically Correct faith in the Reformation, Medieval, Roman, and all earlier times. For the most part that’s not true of most Christians today. Unfortunately, it is true of more than a few Muslims today.)

When King Henry VIII was a Catholic prince he was praised by the Pope as a “Defender of the True Faith”–Catholic branch. After Henry finally got his divorce outside the Church and was excommunicated, the pope and Catholic priests and monks were mocked as foreign devils (even though the mockers believed nearly identical truths!) and King Henry was hailed as a brave and heroic defender of the true faith–Protestant branch.

To his credit Thomas More did not take his convictions lightly. But his courageous consistency also led to his eternal shame. When he was a Catholic Prime Minister he condemned (and personally supervised) the burning alive of quite a few Protestants. After all, the argument went, since they were destined to spend an eternity in hellfire because of their sinful, false, and wicked beliefs. Burning them alive here on earth might be a blessing if they would convert and save themselves from a worse fate in the eternal fires of hell!

The same argument was used in the Reformation’s Thirty Years War between Christian Protestants and Catholics. A third of the cities in northern Europe were wiped out in this awful war and their populations brutally massacred. Actually, it was virtually the same more recently with the Japanese Shinto kamikaze fighters and pilots in WW2, Communist and Nazi true believers, and the many religious cults in South America and the US who engineered mass suicides in the 20th century. And then most recently it surfaced again with suicidal Radical Islamic bombers who killed 3000 people in NYC with similar faith arguments.

I know full well how comforting it is to believe loved ones (and pets) survive in a good life after death, but the above events are also the tragic results of a firm religious faith in a life after death. I choose not to hold to that faith in a life after death.

As an addendum, I do think some of that fervor for the right PC belief is probably a memetic carry over in Modern Age societies in the Progressive/Green clergy. Their weekly scientific faith in climate change is one example. Their wholesale dismissal of science when it comes to genetic engineering, nuclear technology, and bell curves when it comes to racial issues–are others.

I also fully realize most modern Christians (and Progressive/Greens) in this country will not accept my analysis of their comforting belief in the hereafter. Who is to say they are wrong?

I respectfully and somewhat sadly volunteer.

I do say they are wrong in their misguided faith. At the same time I can also sympathize, and as a thinking moral Christian myself, wish it were not so. Maybe Saint Thomas More did this as well. I sincerely hope so.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For more details curl up, buy, read, and watch–Spaceship Earth, Democracy in World History, Twilight or Dawn: a Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs.

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