Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Eeny Meeny Miny Mo

I have been informed (more than once) that once my death is upon me, I will revert back the Christianity. I have thought on this…

Of course it is impossible to actually place oneself in this situation, unless you really have lived it. I have not. I do not know what my emotions will be like, my reasoning, my thought process, upon learning that I will die. I could certainly see how, at that moment, an afterlife would be very attractive.

As best I can, I imagined the clichĂ© of “The doctor informs you, that you only have two months to live.” What would I do? What would I think? Who I turn back to Christianity, in the hopes of a perpetuality? In the hopes of seeing those I love again?

Frankly, my first thought would be, “I better get this right, since I only have a short time to figure it out!” It would be tempting to pick the religion that has the best heaven. One that I would enjoy, and would hope those about me enjoyed as well. In a selfish fit, it would be really tempting to pick the one with the worst hell. This way I could be certain that, even if wrong, I was not in the worst possible hell there is. I could breathe a sigh of relief, knowing somewhere out there is a worse hell.

But I would think what most would compel me is to pick the “right” one. Again, I don’t have a lot of time to do this, really only have one shot at it. Need to take the best possible shot there is at it.

I was born into Christianity. It was “correct” because it claimed to be correct, and it claimed to be exclusive, therefore by definition, all of the other religions are “incorrect.” Easy as pie. Now, outside Christianity, I see that it claims to be right and exclusive, but a variety of other theistic beliefs also claim to be right and exclusive. In fact, MOST theistic beliefs, by virtue of their defined god(s) exclude the possibilities of other god(s), and therefore cannot both be correct. One cannot hold to a deistic, impersonal god, and an interactive personal god at the same time. They exclude each other.

Being outside of any religion, I have to pick them on their merits alone. Just because I am told, “Over here! Over here! Pick me, and I will exclude the others” doesn’t help me one bit, because to the left of that religion is another, shouting, “No, pick ME!” and to the left of that religion, another shouting, “No, I am right!” and another and another. Guess what? You all claim to have the “in” on God, and the others are on the “out.” I don’t have time for that nonsense—I only have two months to get it right.

Now I only have time to look at the merits of the viability (there’s that word again!) of each religion as it stands or falls on its own. Christianity would be out. I know too much. I have studied too far to convince myself in the facts of that religion. And if I couldn’t convince myself, there is no way I could convince a God. In fact, having studied the basis of Christianity, all of the Abrahamic God(s) would get the boot. That God surely does not exist. No time can be wasted there.

But what about reincarnation? Hinduism? Taoism? Some African religion I haven’t even discovered yet? I don’t have the time to start investigating each and every one. And, from my philosophical study, and study of evolution, and study of how humans are so good at creating god(s), I would be skeptical of almost every theism there is.

I might see a selling point of a deistic force that started the universe in a mistaken belch, and has long since forgotten its faux pas. But what good does it do me to start believing that for the last two months of my life? I haven’t believed it before and there is no after-life there!

The safest bet, would be continuing to be convinced by the evidence I have before me, that there is no God, and continuing to exist in that manner. It’s like finding out that I only have 10 minutes to complete a test. No sense wasting it going over the answers I had written previously. Just because I thought I had 2 hours, and now I only have 10 minutes doesn’t mean to change the previous answers.

No, I don’t see me reverting back to Christianity, simply because time becomes more limited. Religions need to learn to rise or fall on their own, not just to “hedge a bet.”


  1. I wonder whether we can really state without any doubt that as we near certain death, that we will still be confident in our reasoned and rational convictions? I would like to think that a person's conviction remains unchanged until the very end but I can't place a guarantee on this.
    Is a reversion on a deathbed sufficient for acceptance back into God's good graces or is it too little and too late? A kind and benevolent God will see this for what it is. Lack of faith.. a natural occuring phenomena as part of the gift of "free will".

  2. I agree, roman, that we cannot say with certainty what we would do in any given situation, until faced with it. Having never been confronted with my own death, I can only speculate, to a degree, as to what I would or would not do.

    Who knows how a God would view revision? Too little, too late? A method of protecting your bets? A genuine sign of faith. Regardless, death-bed revisions do not make it true.

  3. Well, I've been close to death several times. Once, a man held a gun to my head and threatened to blow it off. Once I had really bad pneumonia, and was close to death (a day or two away, most likely).

    The thing is, being an atheist isn't based on fear, so it isn't influenced by it either. I was an atheist when there was a gun to my head, as I was an atheist when I was close to death due to illness.