Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Christian Death Cult

What is it about Christians and death? They seem to think everyone should be as obsessed about it as they are. Going through some books out in the garage (most of my library is unfortunately stored in boxes) I came across an Evangelical book defending a literal Hell with actual flames that tortures the "lost" forever (and you thought Joe Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot were monsters when obviously they've got nothing on the Christians' god).

I may have bought the book back in my born again days, I'm not sure, but it starts out in the first chapter by emphasizing that, yeah, we're all gonna die (tells us something we don't know, please) trying to lay the ground for the scare tactics to come in the rest of the book.

It relates a tale of Alfred Hitchcock and an encounter with him by actress Ingrid Bergman on the great director's 80th birthday:

He took both my hands and tears streamed down his face and he said, "Ingrid, I'm going to die," and I said, "But of course you are going to die some time, Hitch- we are all going to die." And then I told him that I, too, had recently been very ill, and that I had thought about it too. And for a moment the logic of that seemed to make him more peaceful.

The book's author wants to get you thinking about your mortality and pondering what comes after, and that even the "rich and famous" can't escape it, so we all better cower in fear and seek out the invisible god to save us. But the notion of "after death" is nonsensical. As Ayn Rand explained in an interview with Tom Snyder, after Snyder expresses his preference for not believing that we are just "corpses in graves after we die":

But we aren't corpses in graves. We are not there, don't you understand that when this life is finished you're not there to say "Oh, how terrible that I'm a corpse". No, it's finished.

What I've always thought is a sentence from some Greek philosopher I don't unfortunately remember who it was that I read at sixteen and it's affected me all of my life. "I will not die, it's the world that will end." And that's absolutely true. I know for me now, it should be a serious question, because my time is fairly limited, and I have the same feeling , that I will enjoy life to the last moment, and once the end I don't have to worry about it, I'm not there. It's too bad that the world will end and I think a very wonderful world will end with me, but I had my time, I can't complain.

And when asked by Tom, "Ayn Rand does not fear death?"

No, only the death of someone I love, but not my own.

I have felt the same way for a long time. It's not my own death that tremendously bothers me, it's the death of others I care about.

It is only as self aware beings that we suffer as we think and linger in our thoughts on those who "pass away". We could survive most anything and do quite well without gods and religions (it's all about getting to Heaven, in the end) if there were no death. But understand that it is even the case now that that is so, for you are everlasting from your birth, as you can never experience a moment when "you" don't exist. You will always exist in that sense. But still, don't waste your life chasing after phantom mansions in the sky where you'll live in bliss forever. Those castles are not there, they are as imaginary as sand castles, which may appear for their short time before the waves dissolve them as castles of a sort, but are merely playthings for the mind, as Heaven and religions are.

In time, the Deity perceived that death was a mistake; a mistake, in that it was insufficient; insufficient, for the reason that while it was an admirable agent for the inflicting of misery upon the survivor, it allowed the dead person himself to escape all further persecution in the blessed refuge of the grave. This was not satisfactory. A way must be contrived to pursue the dead beyond the tomb.

The Deity pondered this matter during four thousand years unsuccessfully, but as soon as he came down to earth and became a Christian his mind cleared and he knew what to do. He invented hell, and proclaimed it.
- Mark Twain

Love is one of the things that makes life worthwhile and gods unnecessary (though I do not mean to suggest that one necessarily has to "be in love" or be married to have a fulfilling life) and so I end this with one of my favorite songs, a song Frank Sinatra proclaimed "The greatest love song ever written".


  1. Great post. If I lived my life in constant fear, I would be a huge theist and a huge statist. Both of them are snake-oil promises sold to people scared of "corporations," dying, etc.

  2. What's interesting is that the "fiery hell" that so many preach about and scare people with is a misunderstanding, a mistranslation, to begin with. People have feared and are fearing something that the original scripture do not preach.

  3. Fire, ice, a painful absence of the divine... whatever awaits those who are not "saved," it is still a scare tactic.

    @Cork: You may not fear gods or companies, but you fear the government. Why fear your democratically elected, constitutionally bound institions over unregulated, profit-driven ambition?

  4. A copyright claim, EMI? You motherfucking capitalist bastards! You Statist pigs! Your "copyrights" couldn't exist or be enforced without the evil State to due your bidding, you sick, anti-free market assholes!

  5. So I guess "Kadri Luik" (a Moslem? Hindu? Probably an Arab at any rate) is a Biblical scholar who is able to throw away a 2,000+ year old doctrine (that of Hell) based on...authority? Oh yeah...atheistic presumption, ignorance, and intellectual dishonesty.

    I think you guys are just bitter because you wish you could attain to the level of the pseudo-intellectual...don't worry, you're almost there!

  6. I used to believe all that crap once upon a time!! Thank "God" I have a brain to see through the emotional blackmail that is the end times death cult a large portion of Christianity had devolved into.


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