08.04.2010 – Eternal Life from an Atheist’s Perspective
I mentioned in my last post, that there’s comfort to be had in the atheistic viewpoint when it comes to death. This post deals with some of my thoughts on the matter.
I think when people talk about eternal life, I’m not sure that they totally grasp the magnitude of the concept. In Christianity (and most other major religions), the believers will spend eternity in heaven worshipping God and singing his praises for ever. Do these people ever sit down and try to conceptualize the amount of time that actually is? Our lives consist of, at most, a paltry 100 years (to round-up to a nice easy number). To most of us, that’s a long time (of course, that’s because of our reference point of not knowing anything else beyond our own years of life). Imagine being in heaven. You worship and sing praises to God for 100 years. An entire human lifetime. Doesn’t just THAT seem like an awfully long time to be doing anything? Then take and double that to 200 years. Then double it again, and again, and again, and again. Over and over until you are up to millions and millions of years. At that point, you are still at only a drop in the endless bucket of eternity.
To be completely honest. This has NO appeal for me. When I was a believer, I never fully sat down and considered this. This life is relatively very short in the grand scheme of things. But from our limited points of reference it can, at times, seem very long. And often times, very difficult. In my view, death can seem like a relief of sorts when the time ultimately does come. A silencing of ‘the noise’ of life. I don’t want this perspective to sound morbid. I definitely don’t want this to sound like I am looking forward to that time at all. That’s most certainly NOT the case. I love life and living it to the fullest. However, there are those times when I can understand and see how the relief from the stresses, and pain, and insecurities and all of the other unpleasant parts of life could be welcomed.
To get back to the point, I don’t see how spending an eternity doing what I described above would not get thoroughly boring and repetitive after only a few weeks or months. Let alone year after year. Decade after decade. Millenia after millenia. And so on. Not to mention (and this will be the topic of another post), if the Christian view is correct, all those in heaven will have to try to remain happy knowing that a lot of people they knew in life are suffering eternal torment in hell. I know I would not be able to live eternally happy knowing that.
So, for me, there’s comfort in knowing that there IS an ultimate end to the pain and suffering of this life. Obviously, that also means there’s an end to the joys and happiness as well. I think a finite lifetime can make us appreciate the moments more fully. So, as has been my ‘theme’ lately here…embrace each moment of life. You may not get another one!