Friends, your good host is feeling lazy today but that does not mean he doesn’t have gems to share. I like this one on the afterlife and if you still want an afterlife, I wish you well and I hope that you get a good choirmaster in heaven and that the people who never attempt to sing in church but are headed to heaven will have heavenly and musical voices or you will wish you died once and it ended there.
The past week, the pope announced we[atheists] if we did ‘good’ were going to heaven. A statement which one spokesman for the Vatican clarified and said something to the effect you must be catholic to go to this heaven. Well, first I don’t think there is another life. I have no proof for it, and since it didn’t bother me before I was born, I don’t see why it should bother me when am gone. The pope and his minions must know, if they are intelligent, that atheists, speaking for myself, have no belief in heaven and hell. That we wish that people live their lives here fully and as the great Marcus Aurelius said,
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
I wish there was an afterlife sometimes, I wish my mum who went before me would see what have become. I wish she would be happy that am trying to make the life of our lot better by killing gods and dealing with superstition. That she would be happy that I managed to get out of the shackles imposed on us by religion.
I share with you some thoughts of Jean Meslier on the afterlife.
But, it will be said, is not the dogma of the immortality of the soul consoling for beings who often find themselves very unhappy here below? If this should be an illusion, is it not a sweet and agreeable one? Is it not a benefit for man to believe that he can live again and enjoy, sometime, the happiness which is refused to him on earth? Thus, poor mortals! you make your wishes the measure of the truth! Because you desire to live forever, and to be happier, you conclude from thence that you will live forever, and that you will be more fortunate in an unknown world than in the known world, in which you so often suffer! Consent, then, to leave without regret this world, which causes more trouble than pleasure to the majority of you. Resign yourselves to the order of destiny, which decrees that you, like all other beings, should not endure forever. But what will become of me? you ask! What you were several millions of years ago. You were then, I do not know what; resign yourselves, then, to become again in an instant, I do not know what; what you were then; return peaceably to the universal home from which you came without your knowledge into your material form, and pass by without murmuring, like all the beings which surround you!
We are repeatedly told that religious ideas offer infinite consolation to the unfortunate; it is pretended that the idea of the immortality of the soul and of a happier life has a tendency to lift up the heart of man and to sustain him in the midst of the adversities with which he is assailed in this life. Materialism, on the contrary, is, we are told, an afflicting system, tending to degrade man, which ranks him among brutes; which destroys his courage, whose only hope is complete annihilation, tending to lead him to despair, and inducing him to commit suicide as soon as he suffers in this world. The grand policy of theologians is to blow hot and to blow cold, to afflict and to console, to frighten and to reassure.
According to the fictions of theology, the regions of the other life are happy and unhappy. Nothing more difficult than to render one worthy of the abode of felicity; nothing easier than to obtain a place in the abode of torments that Divinity prepares for the unfortunate victims of His eternal fury. Those who find the idea of another life so flattering and so sweet, have they then forgotten that this other life, according to them, is to be accompanied by torments for the majority of mortals? Is not the idea of total annihilation infinitely preferable to the idea of an eternal existence accompanied with suffering and gnashing of teeth? The fear of ceasing to exist, is it more afflicting than the thought of having not always been? The fear of ceasing to be is but an evil for the imagination, which alone brought forth the dogma of another life.
You say, O Christian philosophers, that the idea of a happier life is delightful; we agree; there is no one who would not desire a more agreeable and a more durable existence than the one we enjoy here below. But, if Paradise is tempting, you will admit, also, that hell is frightful. It is very difficult to merit heaven, and very easy to gain hell. Do you not say that one straight and narrow path leads to the happy regions, and that a broad road leads to the regions of the unhappy? Do you not constantly tell us that the number of the chosen ones is very small, and that of the damned is very large? Do we not need, in order to be saved, such grace as your God grants to but few? Well! I tell you that these ideas are by no means consoling; I prefer to be annihilated at once rather than to burn forever; I will tell you that the fate of beasts appears to me more desirable than the fate of the damned; I will tell you that the belief which delivers me from overwhelming fears in this world, appears to me more desirable than the uncertainty in which I am left through belief in a God who, master of His favors, gives them but to His favorites, and who permits all the others to render themselves worthy of eternal punishments. It can be but blind enthusiasm or folly that can prefer a system which evidently encourages improbable conjectures, accompanied by uncertainty and desolating fear.