The Afterlife What Happens in the Next Life
I have done a lot of thinking and research lately on religion and what I would like to call my search for the divine truth. Ever since I was a young boy something in the back of my mind always told me that the stories they describe in the bible or at Sunday school were somewhat unrealistic. As a child I just accepted what I was told because it didn't really impact my life or at least I didn't think it directly impacted my life. It wasn't until after college that I begin to question my religion beliefs seriously.
I have always questioned why the outcome of certain events have happened one way or another. Generally, I have accepted beliefs such as fate, karma, God's will or any other process that makes the outcome seem easier to accept in hindsight. I was brought up in a Christian household where it was always very important for my mother to instill Christian beliefs. However, I never really liked going to church to be lectured to and often felt I would rather spend my time doing something on my terms or more productive.
As a kid I would rather be playing a game than sit through stories being read to me from the bible. In church I would look around and wonder if all of these people believe what is being told to them. Is this a trick that everyone else is in on to fool me? Is this no different than the Easter bunny or Santa Claus? I did not realize that later in my life I would come back to this question once I had more time to ponder and a greater ability to conduct research on my own.
Along the way I was given the opportunity to establish some wonderful friendships with other people who grew up with various beliefs instilled upon them. I am glad I got the opportunity to speak with others about religions other than Christianity. I spoke to Buddhists whom I was able to relate to at the time about Karma and the possibility of reincarnation. I was able to attend a Catholic church my senior year of high school although I would say I did it more so for the social aspect than for more understanding of the religion. I never really like the belief in Hell nor did I like the Catholic belief that we are to be punished for our sins. After college I had the chance to become good friends with a coworker who believes in Hinduism. We often spoke about our knowledge on religions and the similarities and the differences. I was surprised to find out the overwhelming similarity between stories from his religion and stories I heard growing up.
Eventually, I was able to come to a conclusion that perhaps all religions have a similar origin and based on certain opinions throughout history followers eventually will branch off into their own path. So I continued to have an open mind about religion and view it from a logical perspective. During the 4th of July in 2008 I watched a short series known as John Adams which fascinated me. I felt that it presented the historical independence of our country in a way that would make sense if I were living in that time period today. The beliefs, views, and questions that were depicted in the series are the same questions that I search for answers to today. One example of an answer that I am searching for would be my personal search for divine truth. When conducting research on our founding fathers I noticed that these gentlemen had a strong belief in deism. Which holds that by rational methods alone men can know all the true propositions of theology which it is possible, necessary, or desirable for men to know.
In my research I found this statement on Wikipedia, "God's greatest gift to humanity is not religion, but the ability to reason." I could not agree more with this statement because my search for divine truth was based on my own personal ability to reason. It was my ability to comprehend information, analysis it logically, and understand it from various points of view that lead me to wanting to discover something more out of life. Letting go of tales that tend to be authoritative about what is right and what is wrong and telling you how you should live your life can be refreshing. Experience things for yourself rather than to let someone else control your life.
As far as death is concerned I am completely comfortable knowing that what ever force put me here on this earth and gave me life could just as easily completely remove me permanently. If there is life after death I do not feel that I am owed everlasting life or eternal happiness. There is nothing in my mind that tells me I was owed all the blessings and joy that I experience from my current life. All I can do is enjoy the experience I have living in the moment and take away from it what I can if there is anything permanent that is mine to keep. I think the in the movie Troy, Brad Pitt put it best when he said, "The gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal. Because any moment might be our last. Everything's more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again." Realizing that any moment could be your last should not be a depressing thought. The fact that it is uncertain what occurs after death should not bring us to simply accept whatever we hear as the ultimate truth. Spending your whole life suffering in order to hopefully spend your next life happy is one concept that goes against my reasoning. My point is to live for today, enjoy how you spend your life, appreciate the blessings of our lives, and try not to take life for granted. Don't spend your whole life doing something you don't enjoy or feel is a waste of time just because others tell you that you must do it.