fear of death and misbehaving
Lurking around Christian posts can give a real insight into their preoccupations. Two things that stand out as particularly problematic for them are the looming thunderhead of death, and an intense fear that they can’t control their own behaviour.
I thought it might be interesting to compare my approach as a non-Christian on these two issues to those of god God-guided, eternal-life-believing Christians.
1. Me. I’m not afraid of dying. Seriously, I’m not. I didn’t exist when cavemen were around, when Romans were conquering or when the Inquisition was torturing. It didn’t bother me then, and it’s not going to bother me in 2130. I’m not afraid of suffering. I don’t enjoy it, or look forward to it. But I’ve been in so much pain I’ve wanted to die, and I’ve been threatened by an insane man with a club on a murderous rampage, so it’s not like death is likely to have anything new or worse to throw at me. And if it does, I’m sure I’ll get through it eventually to the blissful ignorance on the other side.
2. Christians. Christians believe that life here on Earth is not the main course. It’s scarcely even the pre-starter nibbles, as they are expecting an eternity of bliss when the lights go out. But do we get any sense of joy from Christians at the thought of meeting benevolence incarnate and spending the rest of forever and beyond in paradise? Actually, no. Not in the slightest. Never. Not even a little, excited yet smug smirk when they mention their deathbed. They seem to be constantly trying to reassure themselves that everything will be okay, everything will be okay, everything will be okay, in the manner of a person who is quite sure that everything won’t be okay.
1. Me. I’m not afraid of my own behaviour. I do things that make sense to me in the moment, and if on reflection my actions had unpleasant consequences, I try to develop and reassess similar situations differently. I don’t have any thoughts that disturb me or that I can’t control. I suspect this is because I don’t think an invisible spirit is trying to trick me into being evil, but I could be wrong.
2. Christians. Christians believe they have the most powerful being in the universe on hand to help them be nice people. In spite of this, they’re terrified they can’t control themselves. Have a quick look round the ‘sin’ tag in WordPress. Obsessed and potentially dangerous bundles of insecurity and confusion is what I see. These people think they have little influence over their own actions, and that they’re not to blame (except in a self-indulgent martyr manner) because people are evil and Satan is afoot a-tempting. What a dangerous doctrine.
In spite of claiming to believe in a lovely afterlife and a helpful supernatural friend helping them in this life, Christians don’t look forward to death and they don’t think they can control their own behaviour. Not only are they deluded, they don’t actually believe their own delusion.