Suffering, Death, and the Afterlife

When I was a Christian I had great faith that there would be a place in heaven waiting for me when I died.  This faith gave me the confidence to live more freely and fearlessly.  There are many things I miss about being a Christian, and this confidence in a blissful afterlife is one of them.

The reason I couldn’t continue being a Christian is because I found deep flaws in the theology of the church (explained in detail in my book Ultimate Truth).  I don’t believe in free will.  Instead, I believe God is actively in control of everything that happens in the universe.  This means ideas like sin, judgment, and the devil, make no sense to me.  These are deeply significant ideas and problems that I could not overcome, even after lengthy discussions with Christian friends and pastors and priests.  I simply had to leave the faith and live with my new understanding.

Since I have turned away from Christianity, the problem of death has become a little more complex.  These days, despite extensive exploration of different faith groups, I do not associate myself with any particular religion.  So there are no scriptures to comfort me and no pastors to tell me how to live in order to achieve that great prize of Christian faith – a place in heaven.

I know there is a God and I believe there will be an afterlife for everyone, regardless of their beliefs.  I believe this because my intuition tells me consciousness, by it’s very nature, is eternal.  It is impossible to not exist.  There has never been a time when I haven’t existed, and there will never be an ending to my existence.  Instead, there are simply transitions into different states.  I believe this because we are all expressions of God, and part of God’s nature is existence.  It is impossible for God (and therefore us) to stop existing.

Living for eternity seems appealing but what really frightens me is suffering.  I am frightened of suffering whether it be in this life or during the event of death or in the afterlife.  Believing as I do that God is in control of all, I am constantly and fervently praying and reaching out to God as I desperately don’t want to suffer hellish experiences.  Through my spiritual journey and mental illness I have had a small taste of suffering, and I know how much worse things could be.  I even believe hell is possible.

But having said all this I still have a good amount of hope.  I believe that God is ultimately merciful and although He might give us a terrible taste of suffering, that suffering is always under control, and limited.  Unlike many Christians, Muslims, and Jews, I believe that God is in control of all our suffering, and I explain why God might cause us to suffer here and in more depth in my book Ultimate Truth.

Death is to be feared, as the unknown is always frightening.  But most fearful of all is suffering, as we live under the control of an infinitely powerful God who could drag us through hell if He so chose.  I suggest that we all need to pray fervently to God for mercy, and to try to come to a deeper understanding of why it is that God causes us to suffer.

2 comments

  1. Hi Steven!

    I’m sorry I haven’t responded to this post earlier.

    I believe that we have no need to fear the afterlife. God has many creatures with whom He can experience suffering during the period of consciousness we call ‘life’ and I doubt that life is confined to this planet. God could easily bring life to a smaller universe, perhaps just the Milky Way, if He wanted life to be confined to just one planet. The rules of Physics, as we perceive them, could be different to accommodate this smaller system.

    I believe that the perceived mortality of humanity has caused an elite section of it to exercise control over the rest. You may argue that if this is so then God has caused this to happen, but the result is the same: a small section has most of the wealth and power to affect the lives of the rest of us, even if God is causing them to act in this way.

    Fear of ceasing to exist can make people greedy for wealth and good experiences in this life. if we all believed in continued existence then nobody would have a need to acquire wealth, experiences and some sense of security in this life. We could lead a life that’s fairer to all and food could be distributed more evenly to avoid poverty: we could all suffer together in a more equal way, if suffering was necessary.

    My feeling is that any suffering that we may experience when we are united with God will be nothing compared to the joy of sharing consciousness with Him. Also, all that God wants from us is to treat others as we would like them to treat us: a Christian message maybe, but also a Godly one.

    Finally, I do not believe in a judgement by Christ or God: the quality of our experience on unification may depend only on how well we treat His creatures and our planet.

    I hope this helps and that you will feel like responding to my message.

    Convivially yours,

    Dinos

  2. Hello Steven!

    I don’t know if you’re aware that when you click on the ‘Comment’ or ‘See all comments’ fields at the foot of this post it comes back ‘Page not found’. This was one reason I didn’t manage to post my comments sooner and may be the reason there are no other comments except mine?

    I went to some of your other posts and clicked from them onto this post as a ‘link’ and I was surprised to find ‘One thought’, which was the response I sent to you by email! Did you add it for me or was it added by ‘WordPress’ – I replied to ‘WordPress’, as well as copying you in?

    It was what I wanted to do anyway, so I’m pleased it’s done, but I’m curious and should be grateful if you would let me know, please?

    Best wishes, Dinos

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