The crux of the matter, the root of the problem, if I can be allowed to mix clichés, is that we have a problem with death.
Death is something we don’t like talking about. We don’t even like thinking about. The fact that we are going to die, that our loved ones are going to die, is an anathema to everything we think and feel. It destroys the egocentric way we view the universe and makes it all pointless. How could the universe exist without us? Surely all this is here for a reason?
We see order in the universe and mistake it for a planned design. Death upsets that plan.
Death is disturbing. It seems contrary to order and negates purpose.
Our own death indicates that the universe really doesn’t care about us or need us. It carries on regardless. That seems illogical to us so we have invented an afterlife. Our deceased loved-ones are now with the angels or are now stars in the heavens.
That seems absurd and stupid to me. I prefer death. But many people find these ideas of an afterlife comforting.
We don’t even want to acknowledge death! It is too frightening a concept. Our whole lives are based around routine. Each day is much the same as the last. Life goes on. Nothing drastic is going to happen. We don’t doubt that we will wake up tomorrow.
Then – BAAAANG!! We are knocked out of kilter by some religious madmen flying planes into skyscrapers. We watch in horror as the buildings collapse. This cannot be happening! Those buildings are permanent! Like mountains! It is not possible that anything that permanent can disappear so quickly and unexpectedly! That shows how impermanent we are! That shows us that death is real. We are going to die.
Buddhists meditate in graveyards to think about impermanence. They don’t avoid death. They try to accept it and come to terms with it. That seems healthy to me. They also don’t believe in gods.
If I had to choose a religion I’d be a Buddhist.
The answer is to pretend that there is no death, When we die we go to a better place. Problem solved. Death is a rebirth. Life is an interlude. No need to worry. We can go on thinking about all those everyday important matters. Life and death will take care of itself.
The next step is to get there quicker. If it is such a good place to go, after you are dead, let’s get there quicker!
‘Hey, injun, meet yer maker!’ Bang. Just like in the Westerns.
We are doing them all a favour by bumping them off.
Put your faith in Jesus!
But inexplicably, in the real world, these guys are flying planes into buildings because they are buying in to eternal paradise. That’s real commitment!
People actually believe these things.
Maybe I should start a new cult – ‘Nutters for death – the gateway to eternal life!’
I could have a series of decals made up with catchy mottos:
‘Put an end to all worries – kill yourself!’
‘In debt? Can’t solve your problems? Put a bullet through your head and wake up in heaven!’
‘Unhappy? Lost a loved one? Be reunited forever in paradise!’
‘Don’t like other religions? Think yours is the best brand? Show God you really care by blowing a whole bunch of them to fuck and fly an airbus into them!’ ‘God’ll love you for it!’
It’ll catch on!
We could sell the merchandise and turn a nifty profit.
Green plastic luminous exploding heads with ‘death for life’ on them.
Car stickers – ‘Make someone happy – kill a friend today!’
‘One God – kill anyone who says different. Save them from hell!’
‘Jesus loves you to death!’
There’s a big commercial franchise to be established. Surely we can’t allow the religions to corner the market?
But in reality, death is real. Death is the end of everything. All we have is the time between birth and death. We really have to make the most of it.