Death On The Brain

Question from Leon:
Hey, I’m a 17 year old boy and I can’t seem to get my mind off the idea of God and religion. It all happened during the May 21 end of the world BS caused by Harold camping. I knew it wouldn’t happen but it got me thinking, if I did die what would happen to me?

For the past 4 months I have thought about it every day and it’s beginning to kinda scare me.
I am not religious at all. To be perfectly honest I don’t believe in God as there are so many contradictions and lies and things that have been logically proven against religion.

But I can’t stop thinking about it. Like “What if?”

I think you stated once in another question/answer that you had a similar problem and managed to stop thinking about it.
Any help would be great.
Thank you.

Answer by SmartLX:
Yes, here’s where I briefly discuss my childhood issues with death. All I really said about it was that it’s better for me now.

What happened at the time was what often happens to little boys: I got distracted by other things. A few years later, though, I saw death for the first time; my grandmother died after a failed operation. I barely gave a thought to the afterlife because I was completely shattered by the fact that she was gone from my life. That’s what really happens when you die: you leave a great big hole in the lives of those close to you. While this can be tragic, at least you know you can prepare for it.

A month after writing the piece linked above, I did another one called Death: just curious. There I talk about one of the really scary ideas people have about death (scarier than Hell, I think). The thing to remember is that if there is an afterlife, the possibilities are endless; if there’s something specific you’re really afraid will happen to you, the chances of it actually being what happens are vanishingly small next to the endless alternatives. It’s like the chances that the real god (if any) is the specific one a person happens to believe in. In an infinitely wide race, backing any one horse is a bad bet.

In just under a month you’ll have a chance to get some closure on the whole Harold Camping business. When nothing happened on May 21, Camping revised his prediction to say that the Rapture and the end of the world would happen together on October 21. Camping had a stroke in June and it may not be possible to get his reaction to looking even sillier on October 22, but what you will see is a lot of Christians doing their best to put the whole sorry mess behind them. It will further highlight the lack of evidence that religious predictions are worth the paper they’re written on, even if they’re in a free Gideon Bible.

One thought on “Death On The Brain”

  1. I started thinking very very intensely about God and religion at about the same age as you. I look back at it as time utterly wasted – I could have done so much more with that time.
    I could also have had so much fun instead of being serious all the time thinking about these topics.

    The best advice I can give you is don’t let religion and god related thinking become a major part of your life. Any religious belief you come across – look at it through the lens of logic and reason (just as you would any normal piece of information you come across). If it fails the scrutiny, do not bother thinking about it too much no matter how many people say its true.
    To take an example if religion says there is a soul, ask religion about the utility of the soul in the real world. If you can explain the real world and your experiences without the requirement of a soul, then the soul is basically a useless hypothesis / construct and its best to discard it.
    If you think you need the soul to explain some stuff you have heard about or come across then 1) Check if the stuff you have heard about is true 2) Check that the stuff you have personally come across / experienced cannot be explained by the natural sciences (physics, biology, psychology anything that is known and proven knowledge).
    Above all ask tall proofs for tall claims.

    Don’t waste too much time thinking about religion. Take up other intellectual pursuits that keep you busy. Math, science, programming, economics, psychology, philosophy anything … most of these will lead to some productive outcome compared to religion related works.
    Treat religious books at the same level as you would treat the Harry Potter series. Interesting but obviously untrue and not related to reality. Good for making movies about.
    Getting into the details of religious teachings is like getting into the details of the effect of various materials on the effectiveness of a wizard’s wand. Interesting and fun if you have time to kill. But usually unproductive and entirely imaginary.

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