I wonder what percentage of religious folks embrace their religion because they fear the finality of their own life. How many embrace their faith hoping for a favorable afterlife from themselves. Most of these religious folks believe that chimps, dogs, cats, cows, birds, insects and amoebas all other animal except themselves just rot and disappear after death. They believe that unlike all other animals, human can survive death in some pleasant form if they do or believe the right things.
It is not just eternal life the entices believers. People embrace religion for various reasons, not just to secure a wonderful afterlife. Other functions that religions serve include: community connections, status, moral codes, magical blessings (such as healings, safety, or success). But today I wondered: When people embrace afterlife promises, do they do it more in hopes of their own eternal lives, or is it that the afterlife promise they treasure most is that they don’t have to imagine their loved ones being really gone when they die?
The death of a loved one is very painful: Friends, parents, children or even, for some folks, their favorite celebrities. So, any religion which can promise you that we will see your loved ones again, offer an excellent selling point. So maybe it is the promise that we will be back together with our loved ones after death that believers value most — not just their own personal survival. Maybe most people aren’t worrying as much about their own eternal life. Maybe they clamoring after an eternal state of playing a harp, or standing around with cocktails in hand chatting with friends and family, or floating in some eternal bliss state, or living in a wonderful heavenly retirement community or sitting in pews and praising their God forever. Maybe they just want the promise that loved ones don’t really disappear forever when they die. Mind you, either way, the motivation is probably always selfish — “I want to see them again.” and “I want to live forever.” But what do you think, do people embrace the eternal-afterlife idea more for their loved ones, or for themselves?
This 2013 research article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) should that religious people spend more on aggressive medical intervention at the end of life than religion-free people. Does that mean that religious people really don’t believe they will live in eternity? Maybe this supports that their concerns about eternity are about not wanting to think their loved ones are gone.
- I acknowledge that there are Jewish folks who don’t believe in an afterlife. I met many of these folks when I attended a reform synagogue for a year. Some Jews don’t even believe in their own tribal god, “Yahweh”. And so there are many religious folks who hold variants of beliefs that don’t include the afterlife promise.
- I have many posts chastising non-believers for criticizing believers for their silly beliefs, as if is those silly beliefs which are the focus of the believers. They do not understanding that it is the other functions of religion that keeps believers belonging.