Reflecting On Death

by Charles Gillette 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • john.prestor

    I'm reading the Marquis de Sade and he wrote in a dialogue between a priest and a dying atheist, "There is no other world." It's sad but it's just that simple. I don't know of any good reason to believe in an afterlife and anyone who ever told me there I would get one when I died, whether some bright and lofty heaven, some fiery hell beneath the earth, some fairy island in the South China Sea the innards of Mount Tai the jeweled paradise of Amida (see, no one even considers those afterlifes because they're so far out of our experience, but people in imperial China believed in them) whatever, had an agenda of some kind, usually making me stay in line or maintaining their own livelihood, the Governing Body anyone, but it's not just them by far, many religious leaders profit off telling us we'll live forever. We're one of the few animals we know of who know they'll die, elephants seem to also, whales, some other primates. Who wants to die? It's the perfect promise to make because it's a promise that you can't back up, sure they try to but their proof proves nothing, and that's what makes it so appealing and so sinister in some circumstances, if the leaders don't just repeat what someone told them and they believed all their life, too, which I think is usually the case.

    Charles Gillette, I take sparky1's perspective as to why you and I and others on this forum still wonder about death from time to time. As a kid the pastor of the church I grew up in taught me that Jesus would return any day now, the trumpet would sound, the dead in Christ would rise first, I can remember the exact words he spoke because he told us so often. It's hard coming to terms with death when you never believed death would find you. But it will, it always does, and if you're not ready it'll come like a "thief in the night."

    Get ready for death, do everything you want to do while you're alive, anything you've ever wanted. The only immortality we'll ever know is the world we'll leave behind, the seasons, the hills, the children we bear or adopt in whatever way, our writings, our wisdom, the things we build, recipes, the stories we pass along, the places we love and show to others. That's our immortality. That's our afterlife. It's so hard to accept that sometimes but I'm tired of running from the truth, tired of believing the empty lies of men with nothing to offer but their empty words.

    In the Gospel of Thomas it says: "If those who lead you say the kingdom is in the sky, the birds will get there first... But the kingdom is outside you and inside you, whoever knows himself will know this." Which means our body and the world, that's the kingdom, that's where we reign as kings over our own pleasure, over our own experience.

    Enjoy your body and this earth while you can, they're truly wonderful. I've just begun to myself.

  • Finkelstein

    Speaking in terms of the JWS, its really a bad thing for humanity to fold its arms and say well we'll wait for Yahweh or Jesus to correct and remove humanity's problems and enduring perils..

    In the end its always humanity that has to strive to solve or improve the human living experience, ancient mythical expressions are fictional and imaginary until proven otherwise.

  • Nathan Natas
  • no-zombie

    CG ... I'm not a young person myself any more and as I learn of the people I've grown up with in the various congregations I've been in die, I've had the same thoughts. While not believing in the Organization or any "Organized" religion any more, I still think about the small possibility of life after death every now and then. Whether it happens or not, I don't know but what is strangely comforting for me, is the inevitability of death. Why worry about something that I cannot change. Of course I look after my heath and try my best to delay when that may happen ... but one day it will. I guess when I think about it, the feelings that do wash over me is sadness ... sadness for what my children will feel when I'm gone and a kind of sadness for what I'll miss in the future. If this makes any sense.

  • westiebilly11

    I knew nothing of life before my birth, and I shall probably know nothing after I'm dead. As a father, I'm also saddened that I brought children into the world only for them to one day die...Bitter truth. How I wish that there was more to life than that.

    Kenneth Williams once said that if life is a joke, let's make it a good one.

    Hopefully I shall leave the world in a better state than I found it, but perhaps not..! I dread death. I face my own mortality with trepidation and fear. But, it does seem inevitable. I did find the meetings and the hope of a better life etc a comfort at one time, but , sadly, little evidence to back it up.

  • Old Navy
    Old Navy

    My wife, who was from Japan, turned 80 this past November while in a Nursing Home. I myself am 77.

    She passed away on December 13 after nearly 54 years of marriage. She was wonderful and I miss her terribly.

    Without the Grace of God I'd be without hope or happiness.

    My time as a Publisher was brief (1957-1959) thankfully, and I was able to get away from The Cult relatively easily. I can see now more clearly than ever that The Cult is stuck in the First Covenant (Works) and has no comprehension at all of the Second Covenant (Grace) which covers all who have ever lived. Somehow, I knew this even back then, so while it was for a short time in the Organization, the Organization was never really in me. I have great empathy for those who were not so fortunate and those who devoted much of their life to the deceptions of The Cult.

    This life is a necessary experience with all of its beauty and ugliness, for what is yet to come. As we shall all see, Death is only temporary. We shall live again in The Promise.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    So sorry for your loss Old Navy.

    Although I would disagree with the likelihood of life after death, as free agents we all have choice in what we want to believe (except for JWs!) However "belief" has no connection necessarily with what is true.

    Doesn't this thread bring home that the greatest tragedy everyone experiences is death. It is hardly surprising that humanity has developed social convention and indeed institutions such as organised faith, aka religion, which attempt to lessen this unavoidable hardship?

  • Charles Gillette
    Charles Gillette

    Thank You for your responses. I work third shift 12 hours so when I get home I'm tired and sometimes I don't get a chance to respond to you all.

    Sparky 1 Thanks for the recommendations.I ordered three of his books. Now I have one for you. Ernest Becker..The Denial Of Death. His brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence.

    Desirous of change, I don't either. Thank You.

    Willyoudfme,thanks for your response.

    Saethydd,I agree,thank you.

    Prester John, Thank you for both of your responses. Me too.

    Half Banana, Thanks for the poem and both responses. Rationally there is no alternative, so sad so true so far.

    Betheliesalot, Thanks for Steve Jobs'. I will watch later.

    Xanthippe,Thank you for the poem. I agree with the last sentence as hard as it is not to worry.

    eyeusezbadub, Just said a lot thank you.

    Finkelstein, Thank You.

    Nathan Natas,I read his book and thought the full expression was in there somewhere. Thank You.

    No zombie,Yes it is a sadness that washes over me too. Thank You.

    Westiebilly, That is exactly what my 46 year old son said in your first sentence. Thank You.

    Old Navy,I too have been with my wife now 52 years. I will watch Keith later when I can catch up. These 12 hr 3rd shifts don't give me much time to be here.

    Keep your hope and happiness. I am sorry for you and her.

    Thanks everyone, Blueblades

  • Charles Gillette
    Charles Gillette

    Betheliesalot,I watched it Steve Jobs' sad that he is gone now. 2011 at the age of 56.

    Old Navy, I listened to Keith,I am glad for you.


  • WillYouDFme

    john.prestor - I'm with you.

    I though am having a hard time with the thought that in reality nothing really matters, the second you blink out everything becomes meaningless.

    I am trying to do things to extend my time of consciousness as long as possible. And am also trying to make life great for my kids.

Share this