The Fear of Death Deserves a Normal Response

          What would you do if someone told you an asteroid was about to collide with the planet? Well, the answer depends on a number of questions. First of all you would have to decide if your source was reliable or not. It would make quite a bit of difference whether you heard about it from a scientist at NASA on the evening news or from the mouth of your next door neighbor’s six-year-old daughter. Secondly, you would evaluate the specific dangers: How big is it? Where is it expected to reach land? Finally, if the threat seemed credible and you thought that you might be a potential victim, you would begin to evaluate your escape options.  If the impending disaster were simply a local threat, you might be able to drive away from the area of risk, or bankroll all your money in order to buy a one way airplane ticket to the other side of the world.  But if there were no escape—if the asteroid was so immense that it would wipe out the entire planet—then the best thing to do might be to turn off the television and go back to what you we’re doing. After all, what difference does it make?

            This scenario is admittedly extreme, but there’s a lot of obvious lessons we can learn from it that teach us how we should approach the question of death and the afterlife. The same series of questions that we asked above should also be investigated when we are deciding what to do about hell. First of all, who claims that hell is real? Is the source reliable? Second of all, what does our accepted source say are the specific reasons why someone goes there? Finally, what possible options do we have at our disposal in order to escape from hell?

            Unfortunately, most people do not follow a clear line of reasoning when it comes to thinking about the afterlife. Their thought process is often vague, convoluted, and contradictory. 

For instance, many people will tell you that the afterlife is uncertain because there are some things that we’re just “not supposed to know.”  They make this statement with an air of authority and finality as if they’re party to some kind of divine revelation. Yet these are the same people who claim that divine revelation is unlikely or untrustworthy. They have no authority that they can quote other than their own feelings and speculations.  They really don’t know any more than the next person, so what then, is their motivation for acting so sure of themselves?  Probably because they simply don’t want to worry about it any more. Thinking about death is stressful. It can give you an ulcer.

            So why, then, am I trying to give you an ulcer? The answer is because I am a believer. I believe that there is a literal heaven and hell, and that the choices you make right now in your life directly affect which one you end up in.  If you are offended by this assertion, it’s probably because you believe the opposite. You believe that either we can’t really know about the future, or that there’s nothing we can do about it, so it’s better to enjoy life and do a little good to others without giving ourselves stomach aches about things that are beyond our control. These two views are not compatible. On the one hand, there is no way that I, as a firm believer, can let you go on living your life in ignorance. On the other hand, there is no way that you, as an unbeliever or partial believer, want to listen to my rants day in and day out.  This is why we clash. You can try to find some common ground, but you won’t. Either you have to accept what I’m saying or reject it. You cannot ride the fence on this issue. 

            My overarching message, then, is that you owe it to yourself to figure out what you believe right now. Can you be certain of hell or not? Is there a way to escape it or not?.  In any other situation it is not normal for human being’s to ignore their fears. If you see a car speeding at you, you jump out of the way. If your house is on fire, you get out of your house.  Running from danger is not cowardice; it’s common sense.

            If you are an atheist, and are absolutely convinced that God does not exist, then this post should not phase you. However, if you’re a deist, agnostic, or theist who is sitting on the fence, this post should make you scared. Figure the answers out now, while you still can.

________________________________________

I’ll paint at times throughout these rhymes           
            A shadow of these folks,
Whose hope gave way that awful day
            When fraught with dreadful yokes.
I don’t imply their strength was shy,
            Or claim it’s wrong to flee:
I’d hate to think how much I’d shrink
            If that poor guy was me.
 
My point instead from why they fled            
            Is that their souls were wise.
It’s common sense to jump the fence
            That holds our sure demise.
Our souls have points at which the joints
            Will crumble down and break.
The world is rife with things in life
            That none of us could take.

 

(Excerpt from Chapter Four of the September 11th Epic Poem)

Matthew 5:22 “I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!” shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

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