Believe It or Not
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by Laramie Boyd
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Sometimes we just don't know who to believe. President Obama says $17 trillion,
and growing, is not an excessive national debt that our grandkids and their grandkids will end up owing. He promised to close Guantanamo,
but kept it open. President Bush said there were weapons of mass destruction that were never found. President Nixon claimed "I am
not a criminal," but resigned when the facts of Watergate came to light. And President Clinton reassured us that he didn't do it,
then admitted that he did. Would a president lie? If we can't believe our president, is there anyone we can trust?
So who do we decide to believe? There are those who say when you're dead, you're dead, and that's all there is to it. Your remains
just turn to dust and you are only a memory. But there are also those who believe that death is only a passing stage leading to an
afterlife, one that is difficult to define or explain, and you either believe it or you don't. (But you will pay the price if you
don't believe it and act accordingly, and it turns out that Hell is a place.)
If we assume then that there is no life after death, using the simplistic view of life and death that most of us mean when we talk
about them, then there's not much to discuss, and any fears about "Hell fires" mean little in the long run. But if we were to consider
that there is a "life" after "death" for a moment, and do as a TV ad suggests, we would "Question everything." There is a long list
of uncertainties & questions, that those who, on faith alone, believe there is life after death, that they turn their back on.
Some of the rest of us like to explore alternative possibilities, including details hard to imagine but easy to ponder. Here are a
- What shape or form would our afterlife take on? Would it be physical, spirit-like, or of some unknown quality? How long after
death would the new life begin?
- What characteristics would the life have? Would we breath, eat, speak, have "reasoning"
powers, free will?
- Who among the dead would be chosen for after-life, if everyone was not eligible?
- Where in the Universe would
the new lives exist, and how would we get there?
- Could we communicate with each other, or with the living?
- What would our daily
routine consist of?
- Would we need housing, sleep, water?
- Would there be rules and laws we must follow? - Would we recall our former
- Would we reproduce?
- Would the new life be everlasting?
- Would there be some form of government?
- Why die in the first
place, if only to be brought back to life?
- Is the new life a "reward" for a "good" life?
- Any attempt to give any even remotely
reasonable answers to these and other similar questions could easily lead one to a particular point of view on the reality of an afterlife.
I like to think there may be another life to live, and that it is not all damnation and Hellfire.
I just wish that if there was one, that it could be made perfectly clear, one small hint or sign given, to all who would like to fulfill
the requirements to live that afterlife, if such was needed. As I see it, life after death is no more hard to fathom than the fact
that there is life in the first place. Since my life exists once, why could it not exist twice? Maybe we are the afterlife of those
who came before us, part of a never ending chain of related, but unique, lives, one after another. Is that miracle any harder to understand
than that we have even one life to live?