There were a lot of interesting comments on my last post about endings. I invite my readers to look at those comments. I see now that what I wrote had some (at least partially) unintended interpretations. I believed I was writing about what everyone knows to be true – at least all rational people in contemporary life. We know that the body dies and decomposes. We know that nothing of this world is forever, that cultures disappear, that ecosystems change completely and that one day
both the earth and the sun will be gone.
I myself, as many of my readers and family know, do not believe in an afterlife. But I know that many people do, and that includes some who are near and dear to me. I think that the Catholic Church has accepted Darwin’s idea of evolution as science, and that the Church’s metaphysical explanation is that at some point in the evolution of humans God inserted a soul. I certainly could be corrected on this; I don’t pretend to know much theology. At any rate, I think the idea is of a soul which has an eternal existence quite separate from the material body and the material universe.
I suppose there is some ambiguity in Christian theology about whether or not it was actually the physical body of Christ which was resurrected and rose into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. But I presume that most people these days believe it was his soul. And I suppose that those who believe in life after death do not think that their physical being will be somehow reconstituted. What lives on would be some inner essence of consciousness: the soul.
When I wrote about the attempts of humans to perpetuate corporeal existence and earthly memories of it I was arguing that such attempts must be futile; that our bodies and our world (with all its history) will, in time, disappear. I think this must be true, and I myself think that is all there is. But I am just a human, just a speck in the vastness of space and time. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I hope I am wrong. At least I think I hope that.
I have never yet heard or read of a kind of heaven that I would prefer to being alive as I know it here.
I always thought with age would come great wisdom. But it seems the more I learn, the more I find out what I don’t know. The more questions I can answer, the more questions I have.
I wish I could go back to a time when I knew everything.
I used to know more than I do now also. I tend to think when life ends, it’s really over because that’s most logical but it leaves me with some areas that I don’t know how to explain which I then don’t try to explain either as I am content to leave it unknown… mainly because I don’t think there’s anyway to bring it to known.
It’s an amazing and thoughtful and though-provoking post, as is this one too. I was brought up a Christian but questioned all this already in my teens. There is comfort for a lot of people in following the church (or whatever faith one follows) and many of the lovely traditions. Yet there were, and still are for me, many things I cannot accept. I do feel some kind of spiritual pull or force “out there” but have never tried to put it into words, how can we of the unknowable? In the meantime, as you say, we live our lives in the present as best as we can.
I like to think that after I die I’ll become one with the universe and still be consciously aware. It would be very cool to be one with the universe, and know it. But I don’t really believe that, I lean more to the when you’re dead you’re dead side. Still, it would be very cool…
Yo Mamma. View me as a testament to your ability to teach your children freedom of thought and to find their own way, even if it differs vastly from yours.
I am absolutely sure of one thing: you only live but once, and when you’re dead you’re done.
So get out there and live while you can and celebrate your life.
I knew that you were my soul sister. I gave up the belief in an afterlife long ago. Thanks for having the courage to post it.
I think your latest comments describe what most adults have come to believe. I never thought of a heaven with diamonds and precious stones lining the streets –how poetic that is but not reality. Thanks for your insight.