As many members of Atheistnexus expressed on these pages, I also was a victim of parochial schools.  Not just Catholic school but all the other institutions that teach students how to worship and adore God, some more regimented that others. I learned to “march in step” with all the other kids and kneel, sit, pray, sing, stand, then kneel again according to how many clicks there were or stern whispers from an adjoining pew.  

But in high school when I became a little more educated, especially in biology and science in general, it all seemed clear to me by the time I was a sophomore. Humans are animals like all the rest: humans grew out of the planet instead of being placed here by an omnipotent god; many animals like primates are close to us anatomically;  humans have the same genetic code as all other living creatures.  To think that humans are God’s gift to nature seemed ludicrous.  Just take a stroll in some squalid slum in Mumbai, Mogadishu or Darfur.  You’ll see how precious human life is.  With study it becomes clear that the forces that created life didn’t have humans in mind as the end result.  The whole concept of Intelligent Design is wishful thinking. 

Once we accept Darwinist principles, to my mind the most plausible conclusion about death and the afterlife is that we return to the place we were before we were born, i.e. non-existence.  And if we consider the vast, cosmic dimension of time dating back 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang, our paltry 80-year average life expectancy seems insignificant.  We become ephemerons, like may flies, and life becomes an illusion—a snap of the fingers. 

These considerations throw a new slant on Steph S.’s popular question about the purpose of life.  Though life is an illusion, it’s almost certain that life will go on after we die.  As proposed in Mirror Reversal, the concept of heaven and hell is a human-contrived ruse to control behavior but the concept of “Futureworld” is all but certain.  It’s the future of the world that should concern us and gives our lives meaning and purpose. 

In my case, the purpose of life is to help change consciousness and free mankind from the mental cage that religion has imprisoned humanity since the beginning of thought.  When we consider how long it took for thought to evolve on the planet, the concepts in Revelation and the Second Coming become despicable.  Religious people take the end of the world with a grain of salt and thereby increase the likelihood of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  My worst nightmare is for some moron like President W. Bush to initiate the end times, and then followers say, “You see, we were right all along.  It’s God’s will.”


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Comment by Rich Goss on June 2, 2013 at 6:27pm

Thanks for the lengthy reply, Debra.  You wandered a little off topic, however.  To me Mormons are just plain weird and don’t concern me much, except when they try to run for president.  I believe they are so far starry-eyed and misguided that they are deranged in the most degenerate sense of the word.

The purpose of the post was to find out if other atheists have any ideas about the afterlife different from mine.  To me it’s a no-brainer.  It seems so self-evident I can’t even understand why there’s controversy.  We go back to where we came from.  Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Gore Vidal all concur.  Stephen Hawking’s latest book compares dead humans to a computer with the plug pulled out.  Twain in a late essay said nothing bothered me before I was born and nothing that happens after I’m dead will inconvenience me in the least. 

As far as the Mormons go, some believe they become gods of their own little universe when they die.  Now that’s pretty far out, yet there are thousands of worshippers who believe it.  


Comment by Rich Goss on June 1, 2013 at 7:24pm

Thanks Ruth.  Our perception of time is relative; that’s for sure.  When we contemplate the vastness of time, I believe “ephemeron” applies.  After all, it’s a mere two thousand years since the Lord walked the Earth, yet it seems so long ago.  But it’s a second in geologic time.


My main point is that we should be concerned about what happens to the Earth after we’re departed rather than focus on our individual afterlife.  Would you agree with that?


Why reduce humanity, or even an individual, to that one trait?


Just because I mentioned that time is fleeting, I don’t see how I reduced the human experience to that one trait.  Surely there’s a lot more to it than that.


What’s your view on where we go or what we do when we shed this mortal coil and leave the bustle and turmoil of this mortal life? 


That was the point of the post:  to compare my view with that of other nonbelievers. 



Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 1, 2013 at 6:38pm

We may be ephemeral in cosmic time, but I disagree that that makes us "ephemerons". Why reduce humanity, or even an individual, to that one trait? It no more sums my existence than the fact that I had blueberries and toast for breakfast. As I see it we are how the cosmos knows itself.+

Nor does it follow from our relatively brief lifespan that life is an illusion.

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