What is there is nothing after this life? No heaven, no hell, no purgotory, nor reincarnation-just nothingness, the idea of ceasing to exist. Does this mean I have lived this life in a matter that ultimately worked towards nothing, was it all for not? Have I waste my short life living in vain- chasing a myth in hopes of a nonexistent reward?
I do not believe that I have wasted this life whether or not there is a God, heaven or hell.
Here is why…
If there is nothing after this life, there is no feasible way for those of us who are still living to know. I do not believe we can talk to the dead and vice versa. There is no way for some one to come back and say, “Umm… Hey guys, I hate to be the bear of bad news, so here I go… There is nothing for y’all when y’all die, it’s just nothingness- no heaven, no hell, death is just the end of it all… Just thought I would give you a heads up. Sorry.” (In truth someone has come back, Jesus Christ. Jesus, when he died on the cross I am lead to believe that He did go hell and came back (See: 1 Peter 3:18-20), and after His resurrection, He ascended into the heavens to prepare a place for his follower. That place is heaven. However, I digress.)
I have faith that what is writing in the bible it true, that it is the living, breathing word of God. In that word God provides promise of life, an outline of how one should live a life pleasing to God and a glimpse in to the future. But you say, “Uhh Zach, the bible is a bunch of phooy and no amount of reasoning will change my mind about that and I don’t care what it says. Tell me why you would still live your life the same.” I am getting there.
The bible actually talks very little about heaven and afterlife. Many of the images and description of heaven the at prevail today are extrapolation of the little described in the bible. The bible talks more about finances than it does talk about heaven. But much more of the focus placed is on heaven than the proper use of finances. When we talk about heaven, it is either go there or to this place of eternal fire and suffering called hell. Hell is used as a scare tactic to persuade people to accept Jesus as their God. There is no encouragement of a relationship with God, just a dose of fear. People profess faith so they can be “g2g” when their time on this world is over and move on to the next.
Many people who profess to be christians live life in a “g2g” manor. They profess faith, yet they do not live according to biblical ideals. I do not believe gospel is not only about getting saved to go to heaven…
But I do not think this is what Jesus had intended when he told his followers to go out and tell the gospel. The gospel is not about death and the afterlife, a safety net to avoid eternal damnation. I strongly believe the gospel is about how people ought to live when they are on this earth. It is about the relationship one can have with the creator of the world and the relationships they have with the people they interact with through out their live.
I am going to come forth right and just say it.
I will probably get some flak for putting this on the interweb. (But most likely not, ’cause blogging for me is like yelling at the open sea, stranded in a little vessel- a very small possibility of anyone responding. 😉
So here I go, with no further a due.
*Drum roll please*
Heaven is not the end all. It is not the focus of my life here on earth!
It may be the end the road, the final destination of this life, but it should not and is not be the only reason I chose to serve God. I believe that I am called whether or not there is a god to treat everyone fairly. To love justice and show mercy and compassion for those around me. In cultures devoid of the gospel, people developed morals and measures of living. There is no reason to believe that I, devoid of religion would not follow a set of moral wrongs and rights.
Sure, heaven sounds like a lovely place, but there is a reason I am still living and breathing, not dead six feet under with my soul departed. Whether or not there is an afterlife, heaven or hell, or nothingness- whatever happens when I am dead is not the motivation for me to live a life pursuing God and His word.
Making it to heaven is not the goal of my life. I believe that the journey is more important than the destination. Paul says we must keep our eye on the goal, but he admonishes believers to be aware where they are, in the present. Paul talks about training to run the race- if we don’t run the race, there is no prize… Therefore, I extrapolate this life is not a minor inconvenience be for we meet our maker. No, we are here for a reason; therefore, I must make the most of it- living life to the fullest. (Clique, I know, but this whole post is speckled with cliques, but they work.)
I believe I am called to not only look to the future but the present. If I get so caught up with the end point, heaven; I lose focus on my purpose in life. That focus is to be sensitive to the world directly around me, not ignoring in my quest for the end. I am called to be aware of the current events of this world, to care about social justice and have compassion on people around me in all circumstances. (FYI, pity and compassion are not interchangeable terms. I think this may be a topic for another time)
To summarize the preceding paragraph: I am called to love and be love to my world (See Matthew 22:36-40).I am called to love those around me, and for me to love those around me, I must be aware of my immediate surroundings, no focused myself and my life.
I could go and quote 1 Corinthians 13, you know the one about love and what not. For the longest time I thought it was talking about love between a man and a woman. When I realized that I was called to love my neighbors, I realized that Paul was talking about the way I need to treat all people, not people I have a romantic love for. Sorry for the tangent, but I think it is related.
To conclude this post, I want to let y’all know that I wrote a long Community College essay worth of thoughts (7 pages, single space, 12pt font, .75 margin- I do more writing now than I did when I was in school, and I enjoy this)- some of them that showed up here and other that are so off topic that I might save for later.
But I digress.
For me, I can not stress enough, this is my personal conviction, heaven is not why I live the way I do. I live this way because I believe I am not alone in this world- that here is some one greater than I, who loves me and cares for me deeply. His desire for me is to share that love He has shown me with the people around me. That in itself is enough for me to live a life full of love and devotion to God’s word.