There are two perspectives on life and after-life.
“Only two?” you might reasonably wonder. I would argue that there are only two of all binary choices. You only have the choice between standing up and not standing up. If you choose to do anything other than standing up, you are choosing the other thing. There is subtlety here – you can do millions of things that aren’t standing up – but if the sets that you are working within are a narrow one and a broad one, you only have two choices.
The after life
When it comes to the after-life you either believe there is one, or you don’t. There are no other options. If you believe in an after-life, it might be one of infinite different configurations. If you don’t believe there is an after-life, that is the other option (see footnote).
But either way, your time in this life is about the same length – only about 70 – 90 years depending upon your luck, health, choices, etc. I include choices in there, even though there is much debate about whether we have free will.
So if you have only 70 – 90 years, of which 15 to 25 are had while immature and perhaps 10 to 15 are in increasingly weakened health, you only have around 40 to 60 years of life to enjoy relatively freely.
Let’s assume you’re unlucky and you only have forty years to enjoy – that sounds like a good long time. But how much of that has already past? How long do you have left of healthy and happy life left in this life? For the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s still forty years – that’s 14,600 days, 2085 weeks.
How long you have
You have 2,085 weeks. In those weeks you will spend much of your time earning money. But the rest of that time… Are you going to spend that doing chores, doing “things you should do”, or are you going to enjoy it? If you are tee-total for non-health-related reasons, are you wasting an experience? Should you deny yourself relatively harmless drugs like cannabis; are you wasting your life? If you believe in a God (or Gods), won’t they be upset that you didn’t try all the foods, drinks, experiences, and wonders that you could? Gods made the Earth, say, and to utilize too little of it is to turn ones nose up at Gods’ creations.
Have you tried everything?
So if you’ve never left your country (Americans), or if you’ve never left your continent (Europeans), or if you’ve never eaten [insert meat here], or if you’ve never drunk [insert drink here], or if you’ve never ridden a roller coaster, or driven a super car, or read a novel, or watched a Star Wars film (US: movie), or played a video game, or sky dived, or any number of other things. If you haven’t done these things, ask yourself whether you want to.
If you want to try a curry you’ve never tried, try it. The worst that can happen is that you won’t like it, but the alternative is that you will have missed out on an experience that you literally won’t be able to have after those forty years have passed. Even if you believe in reincarnation or heaven, the experience won’t be the same as during these mortals years, so do it. And do it now, before you only have a few weeks left – before you are too physically ill, too tired, or too mentally ill to do and enjoy the things.
If what you have never tried doesn’t hurt anyone or cause anyone to suffer, what have you got to lose?
The binary nature of belief also applies to faith in God or Gods. Most people think there are three categories:
- Agnosticism, or
There aren’t. There are two categories of belief:
- Belief in God(s), or
- Non-belief in God(s).
Agnosticism is about what you know but atheism and theism are about what you believe. Almost no-one, except zealots, know there’s a God, or know there’s not a God, so we’re all on the spectrum of agnosticism from 99.9% likelihood of God, to 0.1% likelihood of God. But everyone is also in one of the two camps: atheist, or theist. If you don’t believe in any Gods you are an definitionally an atheist, even if that label makes you feel uncomfortable.
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