You’re going to die.
In 3 minutes.
Maybe 2 weeks.
In a few years.
Maybe after 50 years of marriage.
Who knows? The only thing in life we are certain of is death, that one day we will shuffle-off this mortal coil and then… well the aftermath of your death and how you look at it greatly depends on your point of view.
Essentially it boils down to 2 streams of thought. Either you will remember your previous life (whether it be in your own version of heaven, hell or limbo) or you will not (if you believe in reincarnation or just don’t believe in an afterlife). Either way, the implications of that are pretty strange to look at.
If you believe in an afterlife, you probably believe that when someone dies, then will end up somewhere where they will be surrounded by the friends and family they have already lost and live out the rest of their spiritual lives in this place, watching you live your life. As such, many people live their lives doing good in the hope that they get into this better place, so that the memories they have made and people that they have met do not just disappear. For what makes life worth living if you just forget everything and die, without an afterlife? What about the people you leave behind, surely the connections you made will be rekindled once they too pass on?
No, you see I hate that outlook on death. People living their lives to ensure that they have a good afterlife. I want to slap some of them. I have seen numerous people do good, not because they genuinely want to, but rather because they are reminded that if they do not do good, they will burn in hell. What kind of message is that?
It’s why I don’t follow a religion, even though my parents still force me to partake in certain rituals (they say prayers, I say rituals. You can only slaughter so many chickens before I call it a ritual). I understand the gap that religion fills in our society, but I do not see the point in it.
If there is a God, and he really does know how we each live our life, surely he would be satisfied that I have lived my life doing good, regardless of what my religious beliefs were? In saying that too, what about all the different religions. Most of them claim that if you ‘worship’ another God(s), then you will go to hell. Which means that the majority of the population of this planet will go to hell if it exists, simply because they interpret religion differently to other people, even if they live their lives as good people.
If I there is an afterlife and I cannot get in because I am not a believer (no matter how well I lived my life), then is that really the type of place I want to go to? Where blind obedience is the key?
If there isn’t an afterlife, then I need to die satisfied that I lived life to its fullest, enjoying every moment and making memories with the people that mean the most to me. For when we go, that’s all we leave behind. Our deeds and memories are the legacy we leave when we go and no matter where you end up, it is how people will remember you.
Death is scary, but it shouldn’t be treated like a shadow hanging over our every moment. It will come for us all eventually, but that doesn’t mean that we need to fear it. Face the scary thing now, then be scared later.
Live life like you’re going to die tomorrow, but dream like you’re going to live forever.