Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted July 19, 2022


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Rambling thoughts about the unknown after death.

Am I scared?

by jp88

As a child, I told my parents I couldn't sleep because thoughts of what happened after death kept me awake. Granted, I lied with the sole intention to avoid bed a few minutes longer. It took a while for the thought to occur seriously.

I was raised Catholic, so the idea of heaven and hell loomed in the back of my mind, but as a distant, vague concept. As a teenager, going through the hormone-prescribed unavoidable questioning of the universe phase, I circled back to those concerns about what comes after. Rather than pondering the specific setup though, I was preoccupied with a single thought: "Would an eternity not be boring?"

My dad said no. To date, he is one of the wisest men I've ever had the pleasure to meet, so I'm inclined to believe him. He explained that, from a Catholic's perspective, the afterlife is eternal but a state rather than a temporal progression, and as such exempt from time-associated concerns such as boredom. Are you confused? I was, and still am.

Now, I'm a bit older and have come back to an approach similar, if unintended, to the naivete of the much younger me. I don't know what will come, but I am convinced that whatever it is, it is inevitable (more so than Thanos) and it is unaffectable by insignificant me. As such it doesn't bother me, since I've been blessed with the ability to simply not be concerned by what cannot be changed.

That being said, it is an interesting thought experiment and such a joy to ponder. What comes after directly ties into what we do during life, does it not? If there is nothing after death then why bother adhering to any laws, any standards of human conduct? Is it not the idea of a judgmental eternity that has shaped our understanding of civil togetherness?

And, if one follows that train of thought, is it not the lack of our belief in such an entity that causes today's society to slowly crumble like old paint scraped off a wall? If we lose our accountability, why bother to be a good person? For what reason? Is it the threat of a horrible hell, or the joy of promised paradise in exchange for our deeds that truly motivates us to behave as good humans should?

I will admit that I have the easy way out. Despite my upbringing, some would say, I am still quite religious, and with that have co-opted the ultimate get out of jail free card: Everything is because God has made it so. A cheat? Maybe, yes, but there is so much relaxation in simply handing off the problem and not having to have answers to everything.

Has God created an afterlife? Out of instinct, but also canonical teaching, I'm inclined to say yes. It doesn't fit the narrative to not have it. Do I know what it is? That's a definitive no. But the much more interesting question, I find, is: Does it scare me that I don't know? Truth be told, it does not. At least at the moment. I will admit, it is easy not to be scared of something I am still young enough to perceive as a far future event. As the years come by, I wonder, will I be more affected? Probably.



Your view of the afterlife contest entry

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#29
July
2022


A few rambling thoughts about the afterlife. I'd appreciate hearing what you think of it.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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