Following Religion, Comes Death

I like to tell myself that I am not afraid of death. I think that part of me believes that as well. Yet this nagging sensation, hidden deep within me, tells me that I have tricked myself into believing this. I want to believe it so badly, that I have lied to myself, so cleverly, so convincingly, that part of me has started to perceive that I am unafraid. That what comes After is not something to be afraid of.

What comes after is a question I have forever questioned, ever since I was first confronted with death. This first time, must’ve been when my Grandmother died. I was young then – five, maybe six years old. I think I was too young to truly feel the emotions you’re meant to: shock, sorrow, anger, even manic feelings.

I was still too young when it came to her funeral. I was sat in church, listening to the priest rattle on. But I wasn’t really listening. I was a child, more intent on the people around me. And they were all crying. And I wasn’t.

I remember turning round to my cousin – merely a month older than me – to check if he was crying. If I should be crying. I can’t even recall if he was. I just remember I wasn’t. Saved by my child-like innocence.

I don’t remember my mum actually telling that my Grandmother had died. That is a benefit of being an innocent child. Your mind blocks out all the horrors that you experienced. My only memory of seeing my Grandmother in a state of near death, was when we visited her in hospital. I think she was asleep, or was on some heavy drug. I can’t even remember what she died from – I think it was cancer.

Either way, that is my only memory. I have few other memories of my Grandmother truth be told. My abiding memory is one where she taught me about etiquette. As a kid, I was always in a world of fantasy (nothing has changed). I suppose most kids were, but still. I had a plastic Zorro sword, one which I carried everywhere. One time, my grandmother asked to see the sword, so I handed it to her. She shook her head, taking the sword as she did and gripping the handle.

“You should never hand someone a blade with the sharp end pointing towards you.”

So she turned it back round, and gave it to me, handle first.

And you know what? I have never forgotten that lesson. I always hand people sharp objects blade first, be it a kitchen knife or a screwdriver or whatever. Handle first.

Yet then she was gone, with only pictures there to remind me of what she looked like. And I never remember feeling sad. Sure, I felt sad once I came to grips with the concept of death. But never before. Never when it mattered most. When I should’ve been mourning.

It was like this when my parents got divorced. I was nine at the time, possibly ten. I remember walking into my dad, sitting on the end of the bed, crying, with my mum stood up. My mum said that she was no longer happy and wasn’t laughing as much with him. I don’t remember feeling anything. Perhaps I was too young to. Spared those emotions by my age.

But my sister. My sister was at the age where children just start to understand how the world works. Love, death, all those sensations that I was yet to fully understand – to appreciate. She was almost two years older than me and must’ve been upset for weeks.

Later on, I was told that she wasn’t only upset at my parents, wasn’t only upset that the divorce, or the world, but was upset by me. By my lack of emotion. Perhaps, in some ways, she was jealous. Jealous that I had been spared the pain and suffering that comes with a broken family.

I never remember feeling upset about it. They both moved on. A few months of mourning for my dad, but soon he was happy. It didn’t affect my life, save for that I now visited London every four weeks for the weekend.

Now I’m at the age where death and loss would affect me. Reading Pet Semetary (Stephen King) got me thinking about death. I had a neighbour – not quite a friend, but someone who I was close to – who died when I was in year nine (around the age of thirteen). He was about six himself and he died of meningitis. That I remember being distraught about. Longest day of school I remember, constantly close to tears.

I wasn’t even close to him. I had played with him maybe twice. Yet it hit me: that death can come snatch people away at any moment.

When my thoughts turn to this, my mind becomes depressed and sullen in itself. It starts to think what if. What if my mum died? Or my dad? Or even my sister? And I feel the emotions rise up, the emotions I should’ve felt when I was young, when my grandmother died.

Then I snap myself out of it, realising there is no need to think about it.

But what comes after?

When my grandmother died, I did not know what came after. I had been told before – whether it was at school or family, I do not know – that there is nothing after death. Nothing. Just nothing. Blackness so absolute that nothing can exist. But, as a child, I could not imagine there being nothing. Children have so much life, so much energy, that the idea of everything stopping is far too foreign to them.

Even now, I do not know what comes after. No one does. But what people believe is key. My belief? I do not believe in God, therefore I cannot rightly believe that heaven or hell exist. As comforting as the idea of heaven is, I cannot bring myself to believe in it. Yet I do not believe there is nothing after death, either.

The idea of reincarnation fascinates me. Coming back to life with no memory of previous life sounds plausible. I do not know if I believe that a good previous life leads to reincarnation of good fortune, or vice versa, but I think I could believe that we are in a never-ending cycle of life – always forgetting; never remembering. That could be plausible.

But you see, could. Could is the word that makes all the difference. Anything could be, but nothing is known. Nothing is certain. And so I carry on guessing, never sticking with a belief, for the more I think about them, the less likely they seem.

That is the point though: life after death is something no one can report upon. It is a myth about what happens next, much like the story of Christ. Belief, much like religion, is what keeps the idea alive.

I suppose one day I will find out what comes after life. But not for a while, if death is kind. No, not for a while.

Religious Views For a Second Time

Sparked by a recent article I read about the Pope stating that the scientific creation theory and the religious creation theory walk hand in hand, I thought I’d best try and tackle my views on religion (again… one of my earliest blog posts was about it – almost a year ago, Christ – and you can find the post here). Looking back on that post, my thoughts haven’t really changed much!

When people ask me whether or not I believe in God, my answer is usually just a straight and definitive no. In other words, I say I am an atheist (just I usually state it in a less eloquent way). However, truth be told, I actually believe I am open to the concept of God. Oddly enough, it was Hot Fuzz that introduced me to the word: an agnostic:

“I’m open to the concept of religion, I’m just not entirely convinced by it.”

“You’re an agnostic, then?”

“I think I have a cream for that!”

 

After researching the term, I quickly found the dictionary definition: “A person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience”.

This, I entirely agree with. How can anybody know whether or not God truly exists? Stories and myths have been passed down and down and down, most likely distorted and changed to suit the needs of each individual story-teller. True, you can believe and the person who best sums up religious belief (you can tell I’m a wannabe writer), is Terry Pratchett.

Within his book Small Gods, he talks about the Great God Om, who, much to his/its displeasure, has been transformed into a tortoise (or is it a turtle… truth be told, I’ve never known the difference). Normally, Om has some giant manifest that currently escapes my memory, and is also omnipotent and omnipresent (I think). Yet, due to a lack of belief by his followers, he has been reduced to this tortoise. As the Discworld Wiki states: “Om becomes a tortoise as the religion becomes more important than the faith.” This, is what I believe all religion is.

God only exists because people believe. They believe that each ‘miracle’ is a work of God. If they did not believe in God, then what would they blame the ‘miracles’ on? He is brought to life, in their eyes, by their belief. If they did not, if they found some other thing to find solace in, then He would cease to exist.

It comforts them, comforts them when nothing else can. If there is faith or belief, then they have something, or someone, there for them. Not someone temperamental, like a partner, but someone who is omnipresent, and can forever comfort them.

Reverting back to my views, that is what I see. I, for one, do not have faith in God – I find that there are several other explanations for these ‘daily miracles’ that occur, and though I do not like science (I was always bad at it, and therefore severely disliked it), I accept it as a possibility, perhaps more of a probability.

I welcome people with religious views – they are more than welcome to them, in fact – but I for one do not believe. I also get extremely aggravated by it when they try force their views upon me, as though they believe that it is the correct belief, and you are a sinner if you do not.

This could bring me onto my thoughts about the afterlife and heaven and hell, but I think I will leave that for another blog.

As an after-note, I shall include my picture that perfectly sums up what I think about religious people.

Religion.

Please, I meant no offence by this picture, I just found it highly entertaining and, in a way, correct.

The mindless views on Religion from my point of view

A question has always bugged me: What actually happens after you die?

Christianity believes that you go to heaven, or you go to hell; Buddhism believes that you are reborn, and that how you acted in your previous life affects what you are reborn as. Personally, I’d love to be reborn as a cat. Cat’s lives are so easy; they just sleep, then VERY occasionally go for a little walk around the garden, before settling back down and having another nap (there you go – you now know of my wish to be a cat).

Overall, I don’t believe either. Neither do I believe that there is nothing after death. In fact, I don’t really know what to believe about the afterlife…

Moving on from death (a very trepid, morbid subject I know), I wanted to state my views. I apologise if I offend any Christians out there but in all honesty, I have no problem with your beliefs, as long as you don’t try change mine. There was a meme that I found which I personally believe sums Christianity up perfectly (apologies for the crude analogy): “Religion is like a penis. It’s alright to have one, it’s alright to be proud of it, but please don’t get it out in public and start waving about, and PLEASE don’t try shove it down my children’s throat.” Not that I have children – but you get the point.

put bluntly: I do not believe that there is some omniscient, omnipotent and whatever other omnis God is supposed to be. I fail to see proof of his existence. In all honesty, when it comes to Jesus, I believe that he was just some crazy man who told everyone he was the Son of God and during his Resurrection, he actually died and that the reborn “Jesus” was in fact his twin brother, Rodney (it just seems like the right name, I don’t know, go with it).

 

And there you have my views on Religion! No offence was intended to anyone; so apologies if any has been caused…