Just Waiting To Die

Back in June, I commented under a post declaring that George Carlin is no longer an atheist, that he is now a believer because he’s burning in hell, or whatever.

I stopped commenting when a couple of folks decided that racism makes good entertainment. The discussion is still going (gah!) and it keeps showing up in My Comments. I usually glance through it and move on, but today this got my attention (I think D.J. is obsessed with me):

What is logic and rationale? How do you know what is logical or rational? Oh, and I believe Lottie got struck by God after that last post! Man, listen. You’ve got nothing because if you’re atheist, what is life but just waiting to die?

Is this guy serious? If anyone is “just waiting to die”, wouldn’t it be those who believe in an afterlife?

Before I go any further, this is not a Christian-bashing post. I’m not even claiming that Christians are waiting to die. I’m simply pointing out the flaws in D.J.’s reasoning here. That said, on with the show:

On one hand, we have atheists who do not believe in an afterlife. Atheists believe that when we’re dead, we’re dead. See also – story, end of. With that in mind, many of us value life in a way that can’t be appreciated by people who believe in life after death.

With no afterlife, there is more incentive to live life to the fullest, to fight for the causes we believe in, to do everything we can to leave the world a little better for future generations. This is, after all, the only life they will have too. With no afterlife, there is more incentive to enjoy this life, to create happy memories for those who remain after we die.

There are no excuses. We don’t have the luxury of declaring that Earth is Satan’s kingdom, or that this world is not our home, we’re just passing through. We have a vested interest in making the world a better, happier, more peaceful place to live – it’s the only one we and our children will ever have until the end of time.

We need to live as long as we can to accomplish as much as possible. I sometimes think that I have another forty years left in me. Then I remember how quickly the first forty flew by, and I feel inspired to make the rest of my life even more productive: to leave behind something worthwhile. Why? It’s all the time I have! After this, it’s over. The end.

On the other hand we have Christians who believe they are going to a place of eternal bliss when they die, who think of this life as a stepping stone to the next.

Many of them sing songs like this:

This world is not my home I’m just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Even if they don’t sing this song, it is in line with Christian doctrine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it said, when someone died, that he’d “gone home to be with the Lord”, or “God called him home”. With smiles on their Christian faces, they say things like, “She’s better off than we are now.”

Christians don’t have to care about this world or what’s going on in it, which is not to say they don’t. This world, though, is just a layover, time spent in a metaphysical airport. And like time spent in a departure lounge, while you might not leave trash all over the place or take a crap on the carpet, you wouldn’t be too bothered if someone else didn’t get a seat and had to sit on the floor, especially not if you already had your ticket.

Another song I heard throughout my life as a Christian goes like this:

Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear,
Freedom we all hold dear, now is at stake.
Humbling your heart to God saves from the chastening rod.
Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake!

Troubles will soon be o’er, happy for more for ever more,
When we meet on that shore, free from all care.
Rising up in the sky, telling this world goodbye,
Homeward we then shall fly, glory to share.

Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon,
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound.
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies,
Going where no one dies, Heavenward bound!

This is an upbeat, toe-tapping, pickin’ and grinnin’ song too! And I know it’s just a song, but I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t basically agree with the theme. They look forward to leaving this wretched world and spending eternity with Jesus. They believe that in Heaven there is no sorrow, pain, sickness or disease. When they leave this world (die), they will simply enter a new one. A better one. A perfect one.

So, logically, of these two groups, who is more likely “just waiting to die”?

Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

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7 responses to “Just Waiting To Die

  • Selena

    Good post! Some of those old church hyms are so depressing, it’s like life is about a funeral or something! What about the here and now! There are Christians that seem to be just waiting to die, it’s sad. People look at them and think, “WOW! there must be a God!” 😆

    I don’t believe in a literal, eternal hell fire. I believe hell to be separation from God’s presence. If you can imagine being completely cut off from the object of you affection and all the love that his emotional presence brings. As a believer I belive that all love comes from God. The love one has for another, for their children, mate, friends, etc.

    People get “saved” to escape a “hell-fire”, yet live a life without joy and love and emotionally connecting with people.

  • Billy Marsh

    Lottie,

    I clicked over from my blog because I saw that someone had come to mine over from yours. This is my first time stopping by, so how’s it going?

    These are some very good observations regarding the comment from D. J. and how Christians may be more anticipatory of “death” than atheists. Earlier, some of your thoughts on how atheism affords more incentive for living life to the fullest sounded a little aristotelian.

    Though I would agree with the idea that Christians do in fact look forward to the afterlife, and for good reason, it has more to do with what the afterlife ensures rather than a certain displeasure with this present life, or even dwelling place, namely, earth.

    I know Christians have not always done the best job of living this truth out, especially in the past 100 years, but that has not always been the case in Christian history. I think right now, within Christian culture, we are seeing a revival of social concerns and environmental interest, as well as political involvement that reflects better what the Bible teaches with respect to how a believer should live the Christian life out this side of heaven or Christ’s return.

    The Scriptures teach not only that followers of Christ should be passionate about leading people to salvation in Jesus Christ, but also to live as the best of citizens, neighbors, friends, and so forth. Christians should never check out on this earth, despite the promise of an eternal joy, forever abiding in the loving and glorious presence of our Great God. Some good books that faithfully represent what the Bible teaches on some of these matters are Heaven by Randy Alcorn; True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer; and How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Lottie

    Selena: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. Your ideas about hell are interesting.

    I actually thought about you while I was writing this post. I hoped it wouldn’t cause any hard feelings. I’m glad to see that you understood the point I was making.

    Billy: Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts as well. I want to reiterate that I’m not seriously arguing that Christians are just waiting to die. I just wanted to point out the absurdity of D.J.’s claim. All too often, Christians claim that life is meaningless for atheists. I believe quite the opposite.

    Thanks again for your comments. Feel free to stop by any time.

  • Mike

    Treating life as base camp for some heaven is essentially going to devalue it to anyone who holds that opinion; it will make life basically a way of keeping time until the main event… Which, I don’t think I need to tell you, is unlikely to promote a healthy attitude or very much enjoyment.

  • archiearchive FCD

    Sometimes I think the more fundamental believers are trying to bring Judgement Day closer. That God will return in a blaze of nuclear fire. They are very scary people. You may like to have a look at God’s Comment of Fundamentalists and Fanatics 🙂

  • Lottie

    They are indeed a scary bunch.

    Nice comment from God! 😀

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