Sunday, February 20, 2005

Life After Disembarkation

The last full day of my cruise, I’m ready to be home. The last leg of the course, the final point B and I’m ready to conclude. I wonder if I will feel the same in my old age.

I doubt that I will. This conclusion brings another point A and that is what I hurry to, not the conclusion itself. I smile and plan for the next point A.

Life after death doesn’t sound like a point A. It sounds like an eternal vacation from living. I like living. I like growing and changing. The promise of heaven is not an escape that I need. I would enjoy being free from sickness, but health without purpose sounds empty. This life with purpose feels rich.

Pearly gates and gold paved streets do little for me. I’m not drawn to ostentatious displays of wealth on earth and doubt that I will care for them after this life either.

Idleness does little for me too. I do not wish to die and become a lazy sluggard. I do not wish to retire into idleness in this life; I certainly do not pine for eternal indolence.

What is this promise of eternal life? It does not sound like living to me. It sounds like a vegetative state. Some shocked Christian may suggest that we will worship at god’s feet for eternity. This is just as unattractive. Does god really need this kind of reinforcement from those who consider themselves his children? I find modern rulers who need excessive praise to be the lowest form of leader: posters plastered all over their nation, songs sung in their honor at all occasions. This is the sign of a very needy and weak leader; they usually employ force and severe punishment to ensure their respect and continual worship. I say this to point out the contradiction between the view of “god the father” and the view of a god who desires eternal worship.

I do not assume to understand the after life. There is no way that I could. There are no facts to base an understanding on. It will be as Jesus will have it be. I will take it as it comes or as it does not. There is really no other position to hold.

I do not believe in the disciple John. I believe in Jesus. John’s book named “Revelations” does not deserve the position of fact. I don’t believe in the bible. I believe in Jesus. Jesus is my leader, not John and not the Bible. I do not believe in the men that chose the content of the collection of writings we call the bible. This was put together hundreds of years after even the original disciples were dead. The book was put together to formalize doctrine, and to consolidate power. This book was organized for political reasons as much as for the purity of the faith. I appreciate John and the bible. Both are useful. They are not Jesus nor do they hold a position in my faith approaching his. I follow Jesus not the men who put the bible together and not John.

So what can be known of the after life? We only know what we can sense and what we can abstract from these sensations. I was born with no sense organs that can aid me in understanding what comes after death. This does not mean that I think John false, I doubt him, but without data I can not be sure he is wrong or right. I simply can not be sure. I also do not feel the need to be sure. I enjoy this life. I expect that I will enjoy the next one too.

And I do not respond to the threats of men.

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