Barring those with suicidal ideation as a feature of a mental illness, why would anyone think that?
The neighborhood Southern Baptist Church has a lighted electronic marquee sign, and they change the message on it daily. This morning’s genuinely brought me up short. It read:
My life will be so much better…after I die.
Cast me as intolerant, but that seems so incredibly wrongheaded as to border on pathological. Or, as I yelped in my early-morning brainfog, “That’s just crazy-talk!” The illogic is stunning in its own right, but it goes deeper than that. Of course your life won’t improve upon death, because you’ll no longer have a life. You may or may not have an afterlife, but lacking any empirical evidence one way or the other I wouldn’t go putting all my eggs in that potentially nonexistent basket, either.
Mulder: Do you believe in an afterlife, Scully?
Scully: I’d settle for a life in this one.
(Excelsius Dei, episode 2:11)
I freely admit that I have no concept of the kind of worldview that advocates such a total denigration of human existence, while on the other hand allegedly championing the value of “life.” It looks, to this outsider at least, as though the only “life” to be valued is that which remains in a foetal state, or that which is dependent on machinery to keep it going; the healthy, independent human organism should be dead to the world, so to speak, and longing only for the next world–which one fervently hopes will be a pleasant place, but may not be. My brain hurts just trying to wrap around this.
All right, yes, I know; I’m a big ol’ heathen and just don’t get it. If I had a dime for every time someone, pagan or otherwise, had told me I didn’t get something I’d have no worries for this life or any potential others. Maybe I get it and don’t want it. The life I’m living now–this one, right here, on planet Earth in the 21st century–is the only life I’m absolutely assured of having. Everything else is just conjecture. I’m not enough of a gambler to risk the bird in the hand for the (theoretical) one in the (also theoretical) bush.
My life will be so much better…when I start to fully live it.