PROVOCATIVE QUESTION – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #25

It’s existential question time for some of us, not so existential for the rest of us. Because the question is:

So today’s provocative question is all about the before and after:

“Where do you believe you were you before you were born and what do you believe will happen to you after you die?”

For me, it’s pretty simple. Before I existed, before I was born, I wasn’t anything. After I die, I’ll be gone. Dust to dust.

What will happen? Damned if I know. Maybe something, probably nothing. Will “my soul” become a new soul in a new body? Karma? Oh please, be kind. This life has been rough enough and I have no urge to do anything like this again.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – As close to heaven as I can imagine.

So the answer is “maybe, or maybe not.” I don’t know. Because there are a million theories around. Some of them are charming, some not so charming — but none of them can be proved. If there is a God, he hasn’t dropped by to discuss the matter with any of his billions of adherents and definitely not with me.

Regardless of dogma, if he or one of the many adherents have conversed with any of us, none of them have dropped by to reopen the conversation. It’s the same mystery it always was.

If there is some kind of heaven, I’d like to assume that all good people will be there, regardless of what (or nothing) that they believed before their passing. If there’s nothing afterward? Then we will all go into that great nothingness. Finally, at long last, there will be full equality for everyone.

Heaven is what you make of it.

I personally would love to believe in a beautiful afterlife, so I leave open the option that there may be one, even if I don’t know anything about it. For the hedge-bettors amongst us, you can always be religious now and if it works out to be true, you’re a winner. If it doesn’t, you’re no worse off than you’d have been anyway. Some would consider that a win-win.

As for me, I will just live as I have lived, deal with life as it comes, hope that whatever happens after we die is at least peaceful — and finally, there won’t be any more bills to pay.

#FPQ

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

12 thoughts on “PROVOCATIVE QUESTION – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I too would love to surrender to the idea of an afterlife – the kind where everyone I loved and lost is waiting for me, and everyone I disliked is revealed in their loving reality, freed from the constraints of all this earthly nonsense.

    I used to be convinced that people who believed all that stuff were simply deluded, but as I got a bit older it seems more likely that the desire to want that place is a truly gorgeous manifestation of love and yearning. I too want to believe that I’ll see my loved one again. But I don’t feel that with any conviction.

    If there is nothing then it will presumably feel like it did before my birth, and it’s best not to think about that in the wee small hours or I have an existential crisis.

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    1. You’ve summed up my feelings really well. It’s far more yearning than faith or conviction. I would really like it to be true, but I can’t say I actually expect any such thing. But it would be nice after all the strain and strife and toughness of life to live in glory forever. Meanwhile, we trudge along, trying to make the bills and still have food on the table and I don’t think I spend a whole lot of time to worry about the afterlife. I’m happy enough I have a “right now” life.

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      1. I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head from the Humanist perspective there. Focusing on the here and now and being happy and grateful for these moments is really key to a level of contentment.

        A theistic style afterlife may seem self indulgent or greedy, but I think it does speak to the fact that despite the struggles of surviving in this world, the very act of being, or living somehow suffuses us with a type of joy?

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  2. I would like to embrace the notion of a blissful afterlife, but my pragmatic, practical, logical brain just can’t. If I’m wrong, and there is such a magical, mystical place, great. And if I’m right and there is nothing, well, that’s fine, too. I could use the eternal rest.

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    1. I think most of us would be perfectly happy and full of joy to discover our afterlife is pure bliss. It’s a lovely wish. Kind of like moving permanently to Hobbiton — AFTER the war. A lot of us just don’t really SEE it, but we really would love to and if it turns out to be true, I’d be very glad to meet all my old friends, family, cats, dogs, et al under a warm, sunny sky in the hereafter. In the meantime, there are bills to pay and doctors to see and life crunches on.

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  3. I don’t know if there was anything before I was me or if there will be anything after. Like you, I’d be happy if I got to see loved ones and pets again I haven’t thought past that. I sincerely hope there is no reincarnation because I don’t think I want to go round again they way the world is going even if it wouldn’t be as me.

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  4. Of all of the trillions and trillions of living organisms on this earth, I’m always amazed at my luck that I wound up being born as a human. There are those who’d disagree with me, but I’d rather be a down on its luck person than getting to be alive a few days or weeks (and then getting squashed by a big plastic implement of death) like the countless houseflies that inhabit this world. If there’s a next life, I’ll probably end up being one of those creepy things that lives on the ocean floor…

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  5. I’m always feeling uneasy when questions like this come up. To me having faith, believing is simple. I always believed in God and always will. I believe that everyone will get his/her doings ‘renumerated’ in one way or another and those who do only terrible things will get haunted down by Karma or whatever. But mostly I believe because I couldn’d live without the sure knowledge (although unproven scientifically, hence the word belief….) that there is an afterlife. About a before-life I don’t know. I was born into a Christian believing family and never left. My son is ‘nothing’ although he was confirmed in our church. He tells me however far more often than I would dare telling him that I am under God’s special care – a fact which astonishes me always. So, in short, I couldn’t not believe. And I very much like to think that my dead friends, parents, beloved ones ‘look down’ on me and I even crack jokes about them having opinions on our rubbish behaviour on a daily basis….

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