What a strange statement. I think quite a lot of people think about death an awful lot of the time. Large chunks of religion are directly related to death.
Well they outsource the thinking-about-death to religion, maybe ;-)
Yes, that's the priest's business; we'll leave it to him.
Death, I think, is ever present for most people of a certain age. Some just suppress the thoughts better than others.
I believe I've always thought about death- sometimes with anxiety, sometimes with curiosity.
Does this make me a goth?
As for being a goth, I think not. They are very theatrical in their death obsession.
As a very young child one hardly knows death exists, but as soon as I found out about it I was fascinated. I said yesterday- in another post- that the first entirely adult author I read was Belloc. This isn't entirely truth. The first entirely adult book I read was Lord Halifax's Ghost Book- a collection of case histories of hauntings and supernatural experiences. Even then I was interested not only in the ghosts themselves, but in theories about ghosts.
Lately I think about death all of the time, too, and I wish I wouldn't.
Do you have beliefs about it?
I don't know what to think. During my formative years the idea of heaven and hell were firmly pounded into my head, and I wasn't exposed to any other viewpoints. About a decade ago when I finally faced the fact that a lot of what I had been told about spirituality by the people I trusted simply wasn't true, I no longer knew what to believe...and I still don't.
Hell is a wicked idea. And a god who maintained a hell would be a wicked god. I was lucky to be brought up in a tradition (Episcopalian) which dismissed the idea of eternal damnation as unEnglish.
I go with Reincarnation for a couple of reasons. Firstly because it seems to make sense- and be fair and equitable. And secondly because there seems to be rather good evidence for it- for example the testimony of children who know things they couldn't possibly know unless they'd been here before. I once knew a little boy (barely past toddling) who knew all about tanks- and could recount the story of how he'd died as a German tank commander in WWII
That's incredible! I have heard stories about people like that toddler, but I have never known someone like that. I've never known what to think about that, either. As a kid I dismissed it as "demons" (the typical pentecostal/evangelical explanation for something that cannot be pushed off on God), but now I just shrug and say I don't know what causes that.
The idea of reincarnation upsets me, though. Since I had so much pain for so much of my youth, I don't like the idea that the pain won't truly be over after this life is over. I hate the idea of coming back again and again and again. The idea that we are joined to a collective consciousness and never comes back is far more comforting to me.
I hated the idea of reincarnation at first (mainly because it meant my precious self was only a temporary performance I was putting on) but I've been wrestling with it for decades now- and it's grown on me.
I don't think we're forced to return. If we've really had enough of life on earth we can opt out and do something else. If most of us choose to come back it's because living in the material world is the fast track to wisdom. You learn more and you learn quicker when you're dealing with the obstacles incarnation throws up than you do if you're floating around in the frictionless world of spirit.
I don't think we're forced to return. If we've really had enough of life on earth we can opt out and do something else.
I like that idea!!!!! I always assumed we were forced. Thanks for presenting a different theory.
2010-08-15 02:47 pm (UTC)
I wanted to find Stan Freberg's parody of this...
2010-08-15 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: I wanted to find Stan Freberg's parody of this...
I'd have thought that was beyond parody...
2010-08-15 04:35 pm (UTC)
I think when we are still young we hide death very deep into the recesses of our mind to be able to enjoy life. Then as we grow older we slowly dig up death's hide away from our mind as we realize that time and aging is not stopping so it's futile to pretend and hide from the fact that sooner or later we will actually meet death.
When I was young I used to spend a lot of time in graveyards. I've always been fascinated by death- and what comes after...
2010-08-15 05:54 pm (UTC)
Being born and raised up in a predominantly Catholic country we have been taught that what comes after is either hell or heaven depending on what you did while still alive. So it's sort of like a choice between black or white with no gray area in between. Then when I reached my teens I came to meet the baptist, protestants and the born again Christians to learn that it's by the grace of God or Jesus Christ and not your good deeds that is going to save you from going to hell and get you to heaven. Then in my adulthood I came across the atheists who told me that there is no God and that when you die it's just that...you're gone and you don't exist anymore and that there is no heaven or hell. So it's one hell of a confusion for me as to what really comes after. Wouldn't it be nice if what comes after is like a beautiful dream where every wish you make can be granted and so in death you get your happily ever after. I think I like my version more. :)
All those Christian groups use the threat or promise of an afterlife to keep people in line.
I think your idea is nearer the truth.
I like your version more, too.
My favorite uncle recently died. His death was sudden, and since he lived alone, his body was not discovered for a few weeks. I wonder what that was like for him, and I wish I could ask him. I keep thinking of movies where the person leaves their body and walks around for a bit, and I wonder if that is what it was like for him. "Man, that was strange...what the...woah, that's me laying there!" I could imagine him saying. :-)
2010-08-15 07:56 pm (UTC)
I suspect most people deliberately try and avoid thinking about it, in our post Christian society people are afraid of a void (as i admit I am a little) or they are afraid of some sort of judgement and then eternity.
I'm sure you're right, but it's a mindset I barely understand. If I'm confronted with a mystery- whether it's what happens after death or UFOs or crop circles or whatever- my instinct is to run full tilt towards it.
I believe. If I die and there is nothing there, I won't know it and I won't care because I'll be dead. If, however, there is something, a lot of people are going to be either pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised, aren't they?