For many years, I preached a special Easter sermon that had people wowed, on their feet, and full of joy. I meant it, too. I thought there was nothing more important than our faith…. well, it’s true.
That’s how I felt back then. But I was also a sincere seeker of TRUTH. Faith is the assurance of things HOPED for (Hebrews 11:1) — or put another way, faith is the culmination and actualization of wishful thinking..
Our reference reading for today is a Newsweek article: Can Science Explain the Concept of Heaven? – Newsweek.com – and the truthful answer can be called, literally, a no-brainer.
The thesis here is very simple: heaven is not a real place, or even a process or a supernatural event. It’s something that happens in your brain as you die.
When you get into actual research instead of relying on the many and varied stories people tell themselves, it starts to get very simple. In fact, basically, this is one of those things that is so obvious that nature is rubbing it in your face. It’s just that the meaning is too uncomfortable for us, so we run to our fantasy fiction tales instead.
I sympathize with the strong desire to believe that we are worth more than just a lifetime; that we have to have an existence beyond this or life would be pointless. I was an ordained minister, after all, because I believed in all of that. If you care about the truth, though – I mean, REALLY care – then you need to move beyond your comfort zone and look at the evidence.
You know how conscious you are in dreamless phases of sleep, right? When you dream, you’re in your own alternate reality inside your head. But between REM dream states, there is a whole lot of nothing. This is evidence from your own life, which you can test on a daily basis.
The Empirical Evidence: If you’ve ever been under general anesthesia then you have an even bigger clue. Full anesthesia is as close as we ever come to death while being able to tell others about it – and here is what we learn: When your brain isn’t working right, you don’t exist. Even time doesn’t pass. The Anesthetist tells you to start counting backward, you get a couple of numbers out and then you notice you’re staring at the ceiling of the recovery room …and it’s like 8 hours later. With just a little chemical inducement, your conscious existence ended. You were extinguished. Your mind ceased to exist. And it stayed extinguished until the chemical wore off.
What kind of leap of back-assward logic does it take to say that – sure, you cease to exist under deep anesthesia, but once your brain is completely gone THEN all of a sudden you are going to be conscious again!”?
That doesn’t even rise to the grade of retarded logic. Seriously. BUT we have a strong personal incentive for denying what is in our face and readily apparent when it makes us uncomfortable..
We all want to believe that our lives are bigger than the here and now, even though that belief is demonstrably false. So we cling to these things anyway and will even become angry when someone points out the patent absurdity of our beliefs. It is not uncommon for religious people to even threaten to kill those who point out the truth and sometimes they even act on their threats. That’s how desperate they are to avoid the facts in evidence.
I know because I was one of them.
Back to the article: It’s sad to see scientists shucking and jiving in the way you see in this article: They can’t just come out and say, “yeah, we do know what happens when you die – you can even figure it out for yourself with no help from anybody if you think about it for 5 minutes.”
They can’t do it because they would be publicly vilified, probably threatened with violence, and perhaps even actually targeted with violence. So they say they can’t prove it (yes you can) and “we can’t be sure” (yes you can!) …because they are afraid. That part makes me very sad. But I also understand that there are believers out there who are willing and even eager to kill anyone who challenges their fantasies with facts. It’s something a reasonable person should fear, I suppose, but it certainly says something unfortunate about the state of human intelligence.