love and heretics

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

Why play in the rain?

And so…Religion, the Essence of Morality poses that someone who believes there is no life after death is a nihilist. I find this a rather unfair conclusion. I am being told that if I do not believe that “traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless” than I am not a “true believer” that there is no life after death. To be fair, it is an accusation I have run into rather frequently. Mostly by believers who wax philosophical and truly believe that without religion, and life after death life has no purpose, there is no reason to be moral etc.

I have a couple of problems with this. First of all, I do not believe there is life after death. I do not believe there is evidence of such. I suppose I will remain agnostic on it, scientifically speaking because truly unless we experience death…how can we know? But at this point I see no reason to base the way I live, off of some hope or fear that this is not all there is.
Just as I do not avoid going to work, out of fear that someone will wreck into me while i am driving, and I will be killed, or out of hopes that I will win the lottery and therefore not need to work anymore. I function going to my job because it is what i need to do while I live in order to help provide for myself, and my family. (plus I rather enjoy my job) 🙂

Just so, I do not live my life in hope or fear of what is to come. I live it now..in the present.
It is true that we have the ability to make as much or little meaning out of our lives as we choose.
For some…this is a fearful thing. But for myself, I find meaning and purpose in my life. Relating to those around me, and those I am privileged to be allowed to walk alongside whether it be briefly or long-term, via the net, or IRL. I am fully aware that no man is an island to himself, unless he chooses to erm…go live on an island. 😉 But if we choose to remain in society, we are able to use things like empathy to understand how to work together. Do unto others? Well sure…It makes sense. The Law of Reciprocity was discovered early on in the human reasoning with good reason. So I myself without any thought to life after this…with this being all there is…find reason and purpose for moral standards, compassion because of empathy and because of my desire to live well…with those around me. Those who affect me, and those whom I affect.

One of my favorite quotes explaining this discovery…is from the story Contact.
From an alien greeting our species for the first time…

“You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other. ”

yes…this…”the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable , is each other.”
This is what so many of us have found. This is why you see atheists, secular humanists who give,
to charity, to others in need…

My second problem is that this argument ignores the other side of the problem..
theism that counts on the future, and instead looks at this world and our experience here as temporary.
All can be forgiven…
Consider groups like Heaven’s Gate who used this, ”

“to be eligible for membership in the Next Level, humans would have to shed every attachment to the planet.” This meant that all members had to give up all human-like characteristics, such as their family, friends, sexuality, individuality, jobs, money and possessions.” (Balch, 2002, p. 211)

They took their belief to the logical end. 39 committed suicide ready to leave this world behind and enter their new bodies. So perhaps some could take either philosophy, the one where this is all there is, and the one where this is just a temporary spot with no meaning…
to an extreme. But not all do.

So…maybe by your definition, I am a nihilist..but your definition is just simply…
not true.

For me, this realization that this is all there is has made every moment I have here even more valuable and treasured. Watching the sun rise and set, comforting a friend who has lost someone, nursing a boo boo on one of my children…scratching my spouses back…holding hands…

A good joke!…
reading a book…
a kiss…
missing someone…
moonlight…
a barbeque…
a hay ride…
swinging with my boys in the sunshine
playing in the rain…

each moment in time…more precious, more valuable…
V in the rain

kind regards,
holly

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4 Comments

  1. It doesn’t say much for the theist who tries to insult non-believers with accusations of nihilism. It actually reveals how shallow their thought processes are, as the evidence to the contrary is all around them.

  2. Tongue Sandwich™

    Whenever I’m asked if I believe in life after death, my reply is always the same: I believe in life before death.

    • I love that, T S !!!!!!

  3. You pose a very interesting viewpoint here, although it seems to me as though you’re agnostic rather than nihilistic. It’s difficult not to respect your thoughtful approach to such issues.

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