Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A dead uncertainty


What do you believe happens after we die?

I am not after a big religious discussion here.
I just want to hear what people believe is waiting for us on the other side.


I have a severe fear of death.
Natural enough, yes.
But if I start to think it through;
the idea that with death comes nothing...for ever and is just the complete and utter end...
I get chills and sweats and really don't cope.

I was brought up with religion until my mid-teenage years.
I still have some beliefs.
Those Catholics do a good job ;)
But I don't have a real faith anymore.

I have a scientific background from my studies.
I find it really hard to grasp the concept of anything that isn't material or proven.
So such a spiritual idea as Heaven is a bit hard for me to accept.
(Then I have this whole practical issue with living with all your ex-partners or spouses, in-laws for all eternity.
Don't get me started on that as a design flaw)

I have a friend, also in her 40s, who is nothing if not pragmatic.
She believes that she will be ready to die when she is older.
That once the quality of life has gone, so then she should go too.
What gives her the strength to calmly and rationally accept this?
Not faith.
She has no religious beliefs and no belief in anything on offer once you have taken your last breath.
She just feels that once you are dead, it wont worry you anymore.

Another friend fears living forever.
He has the same chills and sweats thinking about that
as I do thinking about death.

But boy, do I envy people who have faith.
Not specifically in Christianity.
But a faith none-the-less.

A faith that gives them the ability to take life as it comes and run with it.
A faith that makes them feel supported and comforted.
A faith that helps them believe that everything happens for a reason.

I feel more and more fragile as I get older
and especially since I have become a parent.
I can't say I find the "Walt-Disney-freeze-your-head"
eternity option appealling
but I would like to believe in something.

I do have frequent periods of deja-vu.
Combine that with a pretty lucky life so far
and, if nothing else,
I hope for a repeat cycling through of my life as it is.
(Granted, maybe I just watch too much Dr Who)

Of course, then my scientific side kicks in with the theories of
what your brain is doing to cause deja-vu
and poof! That idea disappears in a puff of logic.
(see footnote below)

But I want to believe in something.
Cause the other option just scares me beyond belief.


All of which reminds me...
does anyone else love Douglas Adams?

"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God.

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing"
(Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)


Tracy aka Mad Quilter said...

I love Hitch Hikers!!
I like to believe there is more. As for faith well mine is pretty wobbly a lot of the time. But I like to think energy is only ever converted, never destroyed, therefore there is something more.
I was with my dad when he passed and it was peaceful and freeing in the end. Death used to scare me but since being with dad at the end I just know there is more. You don't need a faith to know that.

Vic said...

I like Tracy's take on it & think I feel the same, there is a balance of energy in the natural world, so once it leaves us, it moves on.
I am not religious or spiritual, although I have been both, & I know what you mean; it really would be easier to believe in something, but intellectually, I can't.

Dying scares me, but not death... Does that make sense? I'm scared of dying & leaving my loved ones & scared of my loved ones dying & leaving me (really, terrified), but like your friend, what happens after I'm dead is of no concern... I'll be dead!!

Lovely musings for a Wednesday evening lol.

willywagtail said...

I'd be a bit worried about the Catholic background because their dogmas are based almost purely on Greek philosophy, filtered by the Church Fathers who put their own spin on things. The Bible, supposedly the book of Christianity? says that when you are dead you are ... dead. Logic, no? It also tells how man at first was perfect, made to live forever and then how that was lost through Adam and Eve's sin. Long story short is that Jes (who incidentally is NOT the same as God) gave is life as the price for universal justice and the restoration of God's original purpose, ie that perfect man live on a perfect earth. Included in the benefits of Jesus death is the resurrection to come in which all in God's memory will be restored to life. So... death is the end of life but life will be restored at a future date so that you can continue to live. Only catch is you need to agree with God's way of doing things, which Adam and Eve didn't. Cherrie

Sarah said...

I also envy those who have a faith, but I can't help but see the controlling motivation of religion, and I can't go there!

That said, I am always fascinated when people who have had near death experiences report visiting their loved ones or seeing their lives play out in front of them... fascinating!

My daughter, who is 4, has been fascinated by death since she first discovered the concept at 3. She has announced to me, with the confidence of a four year old, that when we die we go into another mummy's tummy and be born as another baby. She deeply believes this. And as I haven't got my own story straight I've never given her anything but the facts. I kinda like her version of events!

Tania said...

I'm beginning to think you and I were separated at birth. Or something. I shall be back to check the comments for top believing tips.

Carolyn said...

I am a born again Christian, so I have a firm faith in God, Satan, heaven and hell. I have a firm belief in what the Bible teaches of them.
If you want scientific proof of creation, its not that hard to find.
If you want to know more from me just ask.

heavy for 3.28am :D

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

I was raised Catholic, the nun tried to put the fear of God into me but the kinder ones taught me faith, gratitude etc.
As I grew older, like many, I drifted away from the church.
Then seven years ago I converted to Islam because I wanted our family to have the same beliefs and after studying Islam I saw it as an extension to Christianity. I tried but failed as a "good" Muslim. I lean more towards what I am comfortable with.
Hmmm that was a long way to say ... I believe there is more. I believe there is a God. And I believe that when we die our souls go to heaven and there is something good and rewarding ahead.

Hmm deep thoughts for a Wednesday night...

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh, as a non religious scientist too, i want to donate my body to science, i don't think anything happens to your body or spirit, it's all about when you're living & what you pass on in your lifetime. No one knows, certainly not worth worrying about, karma is a nice thought, if it makes people act better, not going to argue.
i was talking about death with a friend a couple of days ago, she reckons cancer will get her, i said "i just don't want a heart attack, i think that's a bit butch". She snorted with laughter "yes, you must die a lady like death". Death doesn't scare me, planning to avoid a disaster of an aftermarth helps too. I'd die if i died & left an untidy home & unpaid bills!! Love Posie

Lillabilly said...

I won't go into my beliefs just now but just have to say that you mentioned Douglas Adams AND Dr Who in the same post...I'm hooked!! Also that sign is hilarious and I soooooo want to stick one at my front gate.