Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hereafter- my thoughts and opinions

I am meant to be doing my university assignment...which is due tomorrow, but every time I look at that thing I get a headache out of pure boredom. Who cares about the four methods of managing integrated communication and the dimensions of integrated communication evaluation. They sound like the same thing!. My professor on this course also happens to be one the authors of the textbook that is used and she actually penalized me 5 marks in my last assignment for not putting her name first in my references!. A professor with an ego problem...that's all I need.

So this is actually part 2 to a post I wrote about a month ago. Basically in the last post I asked for every one's thoughts and opinions on life after death. I really appreciated all of your comments. I planned on writing a follow up post about my own thoughts and opinions and this is it. Please take note: like I said these are my opinions and interpretations, this is not a sermon or a statement- you are free to agree or disagree. No one has to read this, these are just my own narcissistic thoughts:)

*Contains biblical material so if it that makes you feel uncomfortable better not read this.

Life after death: Death can be an unnerving topic to talk about but I think it is a shame for someone to live their lives being so afraid of death since it forms a big part of life. It's not something you should focus on but it is something you should prepare for. No one is guaranteed to live to old age and death can come like thief in the night.

My belief at it's very basic- with everything else stripped away-is that it is possible for a person's consciousness to exist separate their body and to possibly go on after the body has died.

Even when I was an atheist, after I had let every thing else go, the one thing I struggled with was believing that when we died that was it. And believe me, at that time it was not because I secretly wanted to go on for ever- I actually liked the idea of ceasing to exist after death.

My thoughts on heaven: If there is life after death we have to go somewhere. Everyone has their own interpretation of heaven. I just can't get an idea of heaven in my head and I am not sure I like the popular Christian idea of heaven. I don't know if it's because my Mom once told me I'd probably land up sitting by the gate for all eternity. For some reason I have more of a problem believing in heaven then I do in life after death. I could happily settle for our souls just becoming loose energy after we die if I didn't have the a strong feeling that there is a bigger picture- something that is so big we do not have the ability to compute it.

My interpretation of the Bible's "eternity":  I don't know if this will surprise you but I do read the bible rather a lot. As a historical document it is fascinating. I had been hearing about God my whole life from other people and had them telling me what I should believe in. I decided that I wanted to get to know God by myself and decide what I believe, I figured the best way to do that was read the bible. I actually love it.

In Revelations...(my least favorite part of the bible) 21 Paul talks about a " New Earth". My interpretation of the Bible's heaven/ eternity therefore is the earth made new and whole again. It will be just like the earth is today except absolutely perfect without any evil or pain. I have to say I like this idea better then the pearly gates stuff and there will be lots of places to hide from those...ahem...irritating fanatical Christians I spoke about in my previous post.

There seems to be a growing idea amongst Christians that when you die you go to a place of waiting... in other words not the real heaven. I think that this could be possible since in Revelations it says that God's kingdom will only be revealed on Christ's return. This belief mostly comes from Luke 23:43: When Jesus was on the cross the thief that was next to him asked His forgiveness and that Jesus would remember him. Jesus said to him, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise". People argue that because he didn't say "heaven" or "house of my Father" people go elsewhere when they die and we all go to heaven together.

A large part of my family is Seventh- Day Adventist, they believe that your soul "goes to sleep" and only awakens once Christ returns. I don't believe this.

But then....if you believe in heaven there's got to be the darker know what I am talking about...The Eternal Barbecue, The Lake of Fire, HELL. I haven't thought much about hell in my life, for obvious reasons. I have been condemned to it more times than I can count, mostly by some very well meaning Christians. Because I haven't thought much about hell I don't have any definite thoughts. My Mom has an interesting belief, she does believe there is a hell now but she believes God will destroy it and that there will be a spiritual death of everyone that isn't saved (my mother is a born again Christian). She believes this because the she God she loves and has a personal relationship with is not capable of letting people suffer in agony for all eternity. I would love to believe this but I just know.

My hope is that one day I can resolve all my confusion and jumbled up ideas and have a belief and a faith that is strong an unwavering. I don't like the spiritual state I am in at the moment. I feel I either need to be for or against something...being in between is no good.

What I want heaven/ eternity to be: This is very simple and personal thing but bear with idea of heaven is South Africa, the house we live in now. I would have my Mom young, carefree and playful again. My Dad before life did things to him, a dashing young man with great charm and the ability to make every one
roll around with laughter. My sister would never have had her heart broken and her and I would have a second chance at becoming best friends before our childhood tore us apart.

All our beloved pets that have passed on would be with us: Muffin, our Maltese "lady", "Cat" our first cat, Jock- not sure what he was!, the sheepdogs, Tosca and Sheba and of course my precious bunnies, Basil and Buttercup and my baby kitty, Milo.

Our house would be in the most peaceful, green valley. All our loved ones that had passed on would be with us, my best friend Karen would live down the road, not across the globe. And there would be perfect more death, no more sickness, no more fear, anger, war. And of course the would be loads of chocolate :)

Helix Nebula
Sometimes when I am really confused and I just can't seem to figure all this stuff out, I have to remember that the human brain, as incredible and advanced as it may seem,  has a limit to it's understanding. We cannot compute the infinite or how enormous something can really be because we just don't have that ability. Apparently the universe with it's stars, galaxies, nebulae, supernova's etc is never goes on forever. This is hard for even the best minds to imagine because we are sitting on a little planet that wouldn't even feature as a grain of sand if the universe was a beach.  What I have decided is to accept that there is a lot I can't know because I do not possess the ability to understand it. Somehow I just know- some would say against my better judgement that things do not end when we die.


  1. It's funny that you start out talking about procrastinating. I can't believe how many blogs I read that begin with a confession that they should be doing something else. Such a human experience, procrastination. I am reading blogs when I should be editting my friend's modules.

    As far as your thoughts, my religion teaches many of the things you believe in. We believe the earth will be cleansed and will serve as the highest degree of glory. We also believe there are other degrees and people will go to that state of being where they will be comfortable. We believe in paradise and spirit prison as the in-between, where you go after death while you wait for the final judgment after Christ returns to the earth. Paradise and spirit prison are kind of the same place with those who know teaching those who don't. Continued growth.

    We believe there was a war before earth and that one third of our Father's children chose contrary to His plan. This one third was cast out and never came to earth to receive a body. They are in outer darkness. This is the closest thing to hell we teach. In order to go to outer darkness after having come to earth a person must have a sure knowledge of the truth and then reject it. Not likely many people will fit this category. For those who have lived a life of evil, they will go to a realm of lesser glory. I believe they will continue to grow and progress, but only to a certain degree. We believe that those who attain the highest glory will go on to become gods and create their own worlds, continuing the cycle that our own Heavenly Father went through to become who He is.

    There is so much more, but I've already written too much. Good luck with your search. I admire how seriously you are taking this and your open heart and mind. I believe you will eventually find what you are looking for.

    Good luck with your paper.

  2. Hey Miss Robin, Thank- you for your comment. I am assuming that you are part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints (Just going on the link you sent me a while ago). The concept of the afterlife and the "beforelife" you have is very interesting, I actually know A LOT of people from LDS and I had no idea that this was some of the things they believed in. I wanted to know is your bible any different from the conventional bible because I noticed while reading that link you sent me that some of the excerpts were from the book of Moses etc.

    I grew up in a evengelistic charismatic church. I sometimes went to mass with my Dad who is Catholic, I went to a Seventh- day Adventist high school and there were a lot of Baptist infulences in my life. These churches all believe in the same God, but it is amazing how different they are. I was taught the only way to eternal life was to ask Jesus forgiveness of my sins otherwise I would go to hell. There were no discussions about the afterlife beyond going to heaven or hell. I always wondered what we would do for all eternity if we went to heaven. You've made some very interesting points (e.g becoming gods of out own worlds...). My church did believe that some people would receive more than others in the afterlife based on how they had lived there earthly lives. I believe this is only fair. They also believed that every soul lived in heaven before they come to earth, but this was never focused on.

    I am no longer afraid of death, more the separation from those that I love. I will freely admit that I haven't done a lot in my life to earn great glory in heaven, but I hope that I can be with my family that is all I want.

  3. Hi Stephi,
    Your account of what your version of heaven would be like is very moving. Your parents young and happy, your pets returned to life, a calm and tranquil environment, peace all over the world. I think we would all like to live in a place like that.

    But we don't. And whether we are in 21st century South Africa, first century Judea, or living in a cave 50,000 years ago, we have always lived in a world that is tough, where people die and suffer unjustly, bad things happen for no good reason. We want so badly to live in a fair world, but it never quite seems to be here. That is not what nature is, unfortunately.

    Christianity promises that these things will come after death (at least for the chosen), and explains that all of this pain and suffering is due to theft of fruit and god's incredibly harsh punishment for that. I don't find this particularly compelling, nor the god described to be either existent or admirable. But I do find it very human to try to make sense of the world of pain we live in in such a way. All cultures seem to have some version of this, some way of making sense and promising a better future.

    I don't really see these stories as providing hope for a better tomorrow. I see them as giving up entirely, and hoping for a deity to come and save us, either in this life or the next. But I don't see evidence of such a deity, nor a soul, nor a next life. Which means that all we have is us, and this life. There are no do-overs. Any change must be made by ourselves in this life, the only one we can really know exists.

  4. Hi Stephi,
    I think it's normal for people to change their beliefs as they get older, and as they read or learn more, and it's okay to do that. You don't have to have al the answers; nobody really does in my opinion. I grew up in a born again, charasmatic, pentacostal Christian church and school, but my dad was Catholic. One thing I was taught which was very damaging was that my dad and all my Catholic family members were going to burn in hell for eternity This is probably one of the main reasons I left that religion! It's neat that your mom is Christian but doesn't believe in hell. I think that makes more sense than what I was taught in my church and school.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say you have the right to believe whatever yo uwant. I think the problem with religion is when people try to shove their own beliefs down others' throats, but that is obviously not what you are doing, so don't worry about offending anyone. This is your blog; you have the right to say what you want on it. I know I have probably offended some people on my blog by saying I don't really believe in God anymore, but I never said to anyone that they shouldn't believe in God themselves. To each their own!

  5. @Depressed Reader: To me everything you say makes sense- you sound exactly like I did a few years ago (Of course I'm not saying that you will land up like I am now). But there is something to be learned from what you have said. People should not just sit around and wait for God to save them. People should not live this life as if they are just passing time by, waiting for heaven or the second coming.

    I believe that God gave us common sense and freewill so we can help ourselves and not just be a puppet on a string. This world can be a cruel and horrible place. I have witnessed the most terrible things in my side of the world- that will always make me doubt God's existance. In circrumstances like that when everyone is saying, "Where is God now" I always try and remember what are WE doing about it to make it better.

    @Jen We have similar backgrounds. I grew up in the same sort of church and my father is also Catholic. When I was growing up the church was a very dominant part of my life and I HATED it. For the people that were raised to believe in God there comes a time where they have to decide whether they believe in God beciase their parents told them to or if they believe in God because they sense he is really there.