Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ghosts and the Afterlife

A couple of issues that I had been confused about came together this week. Firstly, what happens to us when we die according to my religion? Secondly, why are the ghost hunters on the TV always so damned scared? The ghosts they're hunting can barely manifest themselves let alone do them any harm.

I have always believed that when we die we "rest in the Lord". We cease to exist except in the mind of God until the Resurrection whereupon we exist again. We die, then as if no time at all has passed we rise again in Paradise with everyone else. When I explained this to a coreligionist one time, she asked how that could be if Jesus had promised one of the thieves on the cross that he would be with him that day in Paradise. I was stumped. Did Jesus go to Paradise on Good Friday to get the thief situated? The creeds don't mention it. They have Jesus descending into Hell and then rising with no stop in Paradise.

Having been raised as a fundie, the idea of Jesus in Hell is difficult to reconcile with the concept of Hell as a place of eternal torment. Then again, if we think of Hell as the place of the dead, like Hades, it would make sense for Jesus to visit there and interact with some of the dead. Is there a place of the dead where some aspect of each of us, our souls perhaps, wait for the Resurrection? Or do we believers ascend to Heaven to wait? Is that what Jesus meant when He promised that believers would never die? How would we exist in Heaven or Hell without bodies? What would existence even mean? I'm still drawn to the idea of nonexistence before the Resurrection for the sake of simplicity. Since I reckon that the End of Days won't occur for billions of years, it would be more merciful to the dead for them to sleep in the Lord. Of course, it doesn't make any difference to how we live here and now, does it?

Back to ghosts. I reckon that there are no ghosts. I once heard a preacher argue that there are ghosts but that they're really just demons pretending to be dead people. I suppose if that's true, then ghosts would be scary. If you're scared of ghosts, though, why be a ghost hunter? It seems to me that ghosts are extremely easy to avoid. Most folks have never seen one. I'm scared of grizzly bears. You don't see me traipsing around in grizzly habitat looking for trouble, do you? The ghost hunters should follow my lead.

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